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The Investor Visa: the UK “Golden” Visa
Please note: This Visa route was closed by the Home Office without prior warning on 17 February 2022 and took immediate effect from 4pm on that date. We are awaiting assurance that cases currently under consideration will be assessed in line with the Immigration Rules existing on the date of application. If you have any queries about this development, please contact Sarah Marangoni or Emre Vurgun.
2021 has presented many challenges for businesses and individuals, not only due to changes brought about by the pandemic and Brexit, but also because of the new immigration system.
As a result of Brexit, EEA nationals who want to live and work in the UK, or visit for more than 180 days a year, must now obtain visas to access the country whereas previously they were free to do so without following any formal procedures.
For those foreign nationals who are not sponsored, it might be difficult to legally live and/or work in the UK, even if some of their family members already live in the UK or are UK nationals.
In a recent blog, we highlighted that Spain offers a Golden Visa for non EEA nationals who invest over €500,000 in Spanish real estate, but is a similar opportunity available in the UK?
The UK offers one kind of visa that does not need the intervention of a third party that would be sponsoring a job or studies, or that would be endorsing an activity – the Investor Visa.
To be eligible for the Investor Visa the applicant must fulfil the following conditions:
- have at least £2,000,000 of investment funds
- be 18 years old or over
- be able to prove that the money belongs to either the applicant or their husband, wife, unmarried or same-sex partner
- have opened an account at a UK regulated bank to use for the funds
The funds must be:
- held in one or more regulated financial institutions
- free to spend (‘disposable’) in the UK
At the time of the application, the applicant’s money can be either in the UK or overseas.
It is possible to stay in the UK under an Investor Visa for a maximum of 3 years and 4 months. This visa can be extended for another two years, provided that the funds have been invested within three months of the arrival in the UK and remain invested.
This kind of visa opens the route to settlement which is possible after 2 to 5 years of residence in the UK, depending on the amounts of funds invested.
The Investor Visa allows you to live, work and/or study in the UK. However, it does not allow you to work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach, receive public funds, or work as a doctor or dentist in training (unless exceptions apply).
It is possible to apply for an Investor Visa three months before travel at the earliest, and it takes around three weeks to get a decision.
Family members (dependants) can join the applicant but must apply for their own visa.
Is it possible to switch to this visa from another visa?
Holders of visas such as Start Up, Skilled Worker or Student visas, can switch to an Investor Visa from within the UK. The other categories would require the applicant to leave the UK and make their application from abroad.
If you are considering coming to the UK and are uncertain about immigration routes, we are here to help; our specialist immigration solicitors can advise you on the choice of visa options available and assist you with any application.