29 Apr UK Residency by Investment [2023 Comprehensive Guide]
Between its stable political environment, strong financial business infrastructure and diverse economy, it’s easy to see why the UK is such a popular destination for investors seeking residency in another country. Investors and their families can also benefit from the country’s famously high standards of living, with excellent healthcare, education and cultural amenities.
One of the most effective ways of gaining UK residency is through investment. While the government has recently put a hold on its popular Tier 1 Investor Visa, investors still have access to a variety of routes to residency through investment. In this article, we will explore these routes and consider the advantages, options, requirements and application process of each.
We will discuss the following topics:
- Benefits of UK residency by investment
- Investment options for UK residency
- Required documents for the UK residency by investment application
- Application process for UK residency by investment
Benefits of UK residency by investment
Gaining residency in the UK through investment offers a string of benefits to investors and their families, including the following:
Visa-free travel within specific European Union destinations post-Brexit
UK residents are no longer able to travel freely within the EU under the principle of freedom of movement. However, they can still visit certain EU countries visa-free for short stays, depending on the purpose of their trip. For example, UK citizens can visit countries in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in a 180-day period without a visa.
High-quality healthcare and education system
The National Health Service (NHS), a publicly funded healthcare system, is one of the largest and most comprehensive systems in the world. It provides free and low-cost medical care to all residents. Investors can also benefit from a thriving private healthcare system. In terms of education, the UK boasts some of the best educational institutions in the world, including the Oxford and Cambridge universities.
Stable political and economic environment
The UK is a democratic country with a long history of political stability, making it a safe place for investors to do business and invest their money. The country also has a strong legal system and independent judiciary, which helps ensure the rule of law. The UK boasts one of the largest and most economies in the world, too, and is a member of the G7, with strong economic ties with countries across the world.
Access to global business opportunities
As a major economic power, the UK has strong economic and trade ties across the world. The country is also home to thousands of international companies, with a particularly strong financial services industry and it’s a hub for technology companies in artificial intelligence, fintech, biotech and many other industries.
Investment options for UK residency
Tier 1 Investor Visa
Unfortunately, the UK government suspended the popular Tier 1 Investor Visa in February 2022. It is no longer possible for investors to submit new applications, though if you already have this visa or had one in the last 12 months as your most recent visa, you can still apply to settle in the UK, extend the visa for you and your family members to join you.
The Innovator Visa replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. It allows experienced entrepreneurs to come to the UK to establish a new business venture or invest in an existing business as a means to gaining residency in the UK.
This type of visa requires an investment of at least £50,000 in a new or existing UK-based business. This must be endorsed by an approved body, which will assess the business idea, innovation, viability, and scalability. They will also evaluate whether you have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to run the business. Applicants must also show £1,270 proof of funds in a UK bank account.
As well as this initial investment, applicants will need to pay a £1,021 application fee, plus an additional £1,021 application fee for each qualifying dependent spouse and children under 18. There is also a £1,872 health surcharge.
You will also need to be able to speak, read, write and understand English.
If you are applying for an Innovator Visa from outside of the UK, you will need to ensure you have all of your required documents in order and prove your identity. We explore these specifics in detail below. Processing time for applications takes between two and three weeks.
Duration and conditions
Innovator visa holders are allowed to stay in the UK for an initial period of three years. You can then apply to extend your stay for a further three years and there is no limit on the number of times you can extend this.
The Startup Visa also replaces the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. It enables individuals to come to the UK to start a new business.
To be eligible for a startup visa, you will not need to make an initial investment. However, you must be able to show £1,270 proof of funds in a UK bank account. Your business idea must be endorsed by an approved body, which will assess the business idea, innovation, viability and scalability. As with the Innovator Visa, they will assess whether you have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to run the business.
Applicants will also need to pay a £1,021 application fee, plus an additional £1,021 application fee for each qualifying dependent spouse and children under 18. There is also a £1,872 health surcharge.
Applicants applying for the Startup Visa from outside the UK will need to ensure they have all required documents in order and are able to prove their identity. Processing time takes between two and three weeks.
Duration and conditions
Startup visa holders are allowed to stay in the UK for an initial period of two years. You cannot extend this type of visa, but you may be able to switch to an Innovator visa.
With the Tier 1 Investment Visa currently on hold, investors now have two options: the Innovator and the Startup Visa. The Innovator offers longer residency and a possibility of extension, but a higher upfront investment. The Startup Visa is better suited to those at the beginning of their investment journey.
Required documents for the UK residency by investment application
It is important to ensure you have all of your documents in order before making your application. You will need to provide the following:
Proof of identity and nationality
A valid passport or another document that proves your identity and nationality.
Evidence of the source of funds
Bank statements showing you had at least £1,270 in savings in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply.
- Criminal record certificates
- Proof that you meet the English language requirement
- An endorsement letter to show that an approved body has assessed your business.
Application Process for UK Residency by Investment
Once you are sure you meet all of the above criteria, you can apply for either the Innovator or Startup Visa. The application process is the same for both visas:
Online application submission
Once you have received your endorsement, you can submit your visa application online. You will need to pay your application fee and health surcharge at this point in the process.
Biometric information and photographs
Next, you will need to attend a biometric appointment to have your fingerprints and photograph taken. This will take place at the visa application centre, but there is no fee for this.
Once all of the relevant information has been submitted, you will need to wait for your visa to be processed. This typically takes around three weeks. Once a decision is made, the authorities will notify you of the outcome. If approved, you will be granted your visa.
The UK Residency by Investment program offers individuals and their families an opportunity to gain residency in the UK through either the Innovator Visa or the Startup Visa. With either visa, investors can tap into a whole host of benefits, from high-quality healthcare to a diverse and dynamic economy. But applying for the program is not a straightforward process, and it’s easy to slip up by failing to provide the right documentation.
At Huriya Private, we have helped countless clients obtain residency through investment. Bolstered by our specialised services and personalised advice, we can help you prepare and submit your application, as well as liaise with relevant authorities on your behalf and ensure you comply with the regulations and requirements of the program.