Immigration Corner | How to obtain an investor's visa
Dear Mr Bassie,
I have a product that I think is suitable for the British market and I would like to set up business over there to spearhead the operations. I am informed that I may be eligible to obtain an investor's visa. I am hoping that you can advise me on this.
Persons can apply for a Tier 1 (investor) visa if they want to invest £2 million or more in the United Kingdom, they are from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, and they meet the other eligibility requirements. Persons must have access to at least £2 million in investment funds to apply.
The earliest that an application can be made is three months prior to the date of travel, and the applicant should get a decision on the visa within three weeks. It is advisable to check the guide processing times online to find out how long getting a visa might take in the country from where the application originates.
Persons must pay £1,561 to apply for a Tier 1 (investor) visa online or by post. The fee is the same if the application relates to extending or switching visas. The applicant will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of the application, and it is advisable to check how much will have to be paid before applying.
Persons can use the Super Premium Service to apply for or to extend in person. They must pay a one-off fee of £10,500, plus £2,030 for each person applying. This service can be used for up to four 'main applicants' and a maximum of 10 people per visit. 'Main applicants' are the people with access to the investment funds.
With this type of visa, persons can go to the UK with a Tier 1 (investor) visa for a maximum of three years and four months, and they are eligible to apply to extend this visa for another two years.
With this visa, persons are able to invest £2 million or more in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies; work or study; apply to settle after two years if investing £10 million; apply to settle after three years if investing £5 million.
Persons cannot invest in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development; work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach; or receive public funds.
In addition, persons cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training unless one of the following applies: they have a primary degree at bachelors level or above in medicine or dentistry from a UK institution that holds a Tier 4 sponsor licence or is a UK-recognised or listed body; they have worked as a doctor or dentist in training the last time they were in the UK; neither of those conditions were part of the terms and conditions on a previous visa.
With respect to eligibility, as previously stated, persons must have at least £2 million investment funds to apply for a Tier 1 (investor) visa. Persons must be 18 years or over to apply for this visa; be able to prove that the money is their own or belongs to their husband, wife, unmarried or same-sex partner; have opened a UK bank account.
In addition, funds must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions and free to be spent, 'disposable', in the UK. Please note the applicant's money can be in the UK or overseas when the application is made.
Students with financial sponsorship may be able to apply for a Tier 1 (investor) visa if they are already in the UK and they are a Tier 4 (general) visa holder; a student nurse; studying, writing a thesis or resitting an exam; a postgraduate doctor or dentist; an overseas qualified nurse or midwife; a student sabbatical officer. With respect to students, please note that persons must have unconditional agreement in writing from their financial sponsor to re-enter or stay in the UK if their course fees and living costs were paid by either a government and/or an international scholarship agency.
I hope this helps.
- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: email@example.com