For some of the wealthiest people around the world, the UK continues to be a sought-after immigration destination.
The opportunities for luxury living, enrolling children in private schools and enjoying a vibrant business environment are too good to miss. Not to mention the chance to be part of the international hub of London and live within close proximity to key European cities.
That’s why many people with the right amount of money are taking advantage of the Tier 1 Investor Visa, also known as a ‘golden visa’.
As the name suggests, this visa route involves applicants making a large financial investment in the UK – at least £2 million, to be exact. Plus, the more you invest, the quicker you can apply for residency.
Basically, it’s an exclusive visa option available to those that can afford it.
So, apart from having millions of pounds to invest, what else is needed to apply? Let’s start by looking at who is eligible and what types of people actually apply for this visa.
As we’ve already established, the Tier 1 Investor Visa is for people with millions of pounds worth of assets to invest in the UK. ‘People’ refers to those outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
Having the right amount of money is not enough though, and there are some specific conditions that determine who is eligible to apply.
For example, if you are the main applicant, the money to be invested can be yours or belong to your partner. It must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions either in the UK or overseas when you apply. But if the funds are overseas, they need to be accessible and free to spend within the UK.
Another concern is criminal behaviour.
Sometimes, when high volumes of money are being exchanged, there can be worries about money-laundering. Particularly when moving funds internationally. The Tier 1 Investor Visa is no exception and stringent checks are applied to all applications.
As a result of the above concerns, the source of assets have to be disclosed to the Financial Conduct Authority – even if the funds are already in the UK. If there are any discrepancies then it could jeopardise the application.
Applicants also need to have an authorised UK bank account in their name to be used for the investment before they can apply for the visa.
The number of applications for this visa category has been growing steadily since 2010. But in the first half of last year they increased by 36 per cent, with 40 per cent of applications coming from China.
In fact, since 2015, the number of people coming to the UK on a Tier 1 Investor Visa from BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries has almost doubled.
And not surprisingly, once the application is approved, a large majority of Tier 1 Investor Visa holders decide to base themselves in London where they can live a luxury lifestyle alongside many other rich UK residents.
No visa application would be complete without official paperwork. Here are the main documents and evidence that is needed to support a Tier 1 Investor Visa application.
Investment funds documentation:
If using a partner’s money:
And finally, biometric information in the form of fingerprints and photographs have to be submitted with all applications.
For Tier 1 Investor Visa holders that really like living in the UK there is the possibility to make the country a long-term home.
In that case, the initial investment amount will determine how long you will have to wait before you can apply for settlement.
Here is what the different amounts will allow you to do:
So, as you can see, if you want to fast-track the process of living permanently in the UK, the key is to invest more money. Wisely, of course.
It could also be a good idea to consult financial and legal advisors to ensure a decent return on investments and to help you plan for long-term settlement.
After all, with such large amounts of money involved in Tier 1 Investor Visa applications, it makes sense to seek professional advice.
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