The UK Tier 1 Visa: the Ultimate Guide

There really is no other country like the United Kingdom in the world. Its richness in history and culture are simply unmatched.

Sure, it is not located in the best climate zone if you’re the ‘sunshine and blue skies’ type, but there is nothing that its excellent connectivity can’t fix.

In the world of investment immigration, the UK is a highly desirable country to gain access to. 

In fact, we always highlight if a certain passport gives one a chance to travel to the UK visa-free when a client of ours is considering citizenship by investment.

Such is the appeal of the United Kingdom that its Tier 1 visa is one of the top three most popular investment programs in the world. It’s also one of the most popular in Europe, jostling with Portugal’s Golden Visa for the top spot in the continent.   

Is it because it’s extremely cheap? Quite the contrary. 

If you’d like to take the investor visa route, you’ll need access to at least £2 million in capital. 

The alternatives – the innovator and the start-up options – are considerably cheaper, but can be tricky to figure out. 

So, is the United Kingdom worth the investment? What are the three ways of gaining residence in the UK in 2021? 

And what about Brexit – will it change the investment landscape in the country and make it harder for investors and entrepreneurs to set up shop? 

We’ll answer all of the questions that you might have about the UK’s Tier 1 visa in this article. 

Why the United Kingdom?

Let us just say this:

We don’t think that many people could be on the fence about investing in the United Kingdom. 

Hands down, it’s one of the freest, richest, and most stable countries in the world.

The United Kingdom is a key player in many global organizations, has one of the best developed public services (e.g., healthcare and education), and offers its citizens a passport that’s ranked 6th in the world in terms of its travel power. 

The quality of life in the islands is also top-notch. You simply wouldn’t have access to some of the world’s best cultural and sports events in, say, Malta or Cyprus.

The United Kingdom is a great place if you’re an investor who wants to actually live in the country that he invests in. 

All that said, the post-Brexit uncertainty is still high and it’s bound to affect the country in many ways. 

For example, critics say its passport rank will drop and its restricted access to the European Union market will make some investors think twice.

Still, the country remains one of the leaders in the investment immigration world. 

And it’s great that it offers not just one, but a plethora of ways to gain access to its market. 

UK Tier 1 Visa – Three Routes 

UK Tier 1 Visa 3 Routes

There are three ways to obtain the UK Tier 1 Visa.

The UK has a long history of offering foreigners routes into the country, either for work or for investing. 

For years, it has welcomed migrants from both the EEA and further afield. However, as the public pressure mounted about European workers ‘taking jobs from the British,’ the immigration discourse has changed.

Saturated with workers who came from poorer European countries, the United Kingdom has now scraped many of its past visa programs.

Post-Brexit, it’s become all about wealthy investors, innovative entrepreneurs, and highly skilled workers. 

And that’ great news for you as a high-net-worth individual – there are now three ways for you to become a resident of the United Kingdom, develop your business, and make capital gains in this huge market. 

The first option is for investors. The minimum investment sum required is a lofty £2 million, although you can throw £5 million or even £10 million at the country to speed up the process of getting settled status in the United Kingdom.

Second, the Tier 1 Innovator Visa is all about having established business expertise and wanting to develop a business in the UK. You must have at least £50,000 in investment funds to apply. 

Finally, if you have a brilliant idea for a start-up, you can apply for a Tier 1 visa as well. Your idea must be endorsed by a local organization and have high potential. 

Let’s talk about each of these options in more detail.

UK Tier 1 Visa for Investors

Invest £2, £5, or £10 million in UK business shares
Gain residence for 3 years, with a possible 2-year extension
No knowledge of the English language required
Application costs of approximately $2,200

Are you a high-net-worth or an ultra-high-net-worth individual? Then, the UK’s Tier 1 Visa for Investors will probably make the most sense for you. 

This path to temporary residence in the UK is designed for those who want (and can) make a substantial financial investment in the country. We’re talking about at least £2 million in funds invested or more. 

It sure is no small sum, but if you’re looking for a way to access not just the European Union but also the Commonwealth, plus a way to secure UK residency and even citizenship, this is the most straightforward way to achieve it.

And investors from all around the world have taken notice. 

In 2019, the Tier 1 Investor Visa generated about £1 billion and had become one of Europe’s most lucrative Golden Visas. 

Chinese applicants account for nearly half of all applications – no surprise there – and Hong Kong citizens came second. Brazilians, Americans, and Iranians are some of the other most prevalent applicants for the UK’s investor visa.

The UK Tier 1 Investor Visa is much like any other investor visa.

You’ll be expected to invest in companies that are currently active and trading in the United Kingdom. Choose if you’d like to invest in share capital or loan capital, based on your financial standing and goals. 

But what’s up with the different investment sums, we hear you ask. 

Well, your permanent residence (known as settled status or indefinite leave to remain) depends on it:

Invest £2 million to gain permanent residence in 5 years and citizenship in 6 years
Invest £5 million to gain permanent residence in 3 years and citizenship in 5 years
Invest £10 million to gain permanent residence in 2 years and citizenship in 5 years

Whichever option you choose, you must hold the entire investment for as long as your visa is valid.


Determining whether you’re eligible to apply for a Tier 1 Investor Visa is relatively easy. 

You must: 

Be over 18 years of age
Have a clean criminal record
Be of good character
Not have tuberculosis if you come from a high-risk country
Have at least £2 million in funds at your disposal

Note how there is no longer a requirement as to your nationality. Before, only non-EEA applicants used to be able to apply for Tier 1 visas, but it has since been opened up to everyone post-Brexit.

Now, let’s talk about those funds because there are a bunch of requirements for those too. 

You can either be in possession of the money, or they can be your partner’s (married, unmarried, in a civil partnership, same-sex – the important thing here is that you’ve been together for at least two years). 

Have you held this money for at least two years? Good, because you won’t be needing to take any additional steps. 

However, if the cash has been in your possession for less than two years, you will need to trace the origin of all of it and let the UK government know too. 

The money needs to be held in a regulated financial institution (anywhere in the world), from which you’ll need to provide a certificate that proves that you’re free to use the money. 

In other words, you’ll need to show that your funds could be transferred to the UK, be converted into pound sterling (if applicable), and be spent. 

The Application Process

Once you, or your professional advisor have determined that you’re eligible to apply, you’ll have to follow a pretty straight-forward application process. 

First, you’ll apply and receive your visa. Then, you’ll settle in the UK and obtain its citizenship, if you wish. 

You can start your Tier 1 visa journey 12 months before lodging your application, but you can also choose to first apply for your visa and make the investment within three months of receiving it. 

If you have a partner and/or dependent children, each person will need their own separate application. However, the investment sum is per family. 

Here is what the entire process looks like, in a nutshell:

1. Open a UK bank account at a regulated financial institution.
2. Invest £2, £5, or £10 million in UK business shares, in a business that’s active and trading. You can also do it at a later stage, see step 9.
3. Gather all of the required documents.

A valid passport with a blank page for a visa.
Your tuberculosis test results, if you’re from a high-risk country (valid for 6 months).
Criminal record certificate from any country that you’ve lived in for at least 12 months over the last 10 years.
A letter that proves that you have a UK bank account that you can use for your investment funds (valid for 3 months).

4. Look for a place where you could reside once you arrive in the United Kingdom.
5. Approximately 3 months to 3 weeks before you arrive in the United Kingdom, fill out the Tier 1 Visa application online and submit all of the required documents (must be translated and certified, if not in English). The fee per application is £1,623.
6. Wait approximately 8 weeks for a decision if you’ve applied from within the UK or 3 weeks if you’ve applied from abroad. You can expedite the process and get a decision handed down in just 5 working days if you pay for priority service.
7. Arrive in the United Kingdom and attend a biometrics appointment (£19.20) to take your fingerprints and photographs at a local UK visa application center.
8. Within 10 days of your biometrics appointment, collect your residence permit at your local Post Office branch. You can also get your permit collected by a sponsor if you’d like; you should choose this option when you apply.
9. If you haven’t already made the investment, now is the time to do it. You must make the qualifying investment within three months upon receiving your residence permit.
10. After 3 years, renew your residence permit for another 2 years (£1,623) by proving that you’ve actually lived in the United Kingdom and that you’ve maintained your full investment. If you accrue interest or dividend payments from your investment, those can be withdrawn without impacting your visa holder’s immigration status.
11. Spend at least 9 months per year in the UK to qualify for ‘settled’ status (i.e., permanent residence). How soon you can achieve this status will depend on how much you’ve invested (minimum 2 years). To obtain the status, you will need to prove knowledge of the English language. The fee is £2,389 per person.
12. Similarly, depending on how much you’ve invested, you’ll be able to apply for UK citizenship after some time (minimum 5 years).
13. Each year that you spend living in the UK, you’ll need to pay a £400 Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This is a per-person charge, meaning that your partner and/or children will need to pay £400 too. 

As you can tell, obtaining your Tier 1 visa and even getting a permanent residence status is straight-forward in the UK, even if it is a little demanding.

And although we’re sure people go through the application process on their own, it’s always better to have solid financial advice before you start making any investment immigration moves due to the tax implications that every such move has. 

UK Tier 1 Visa for Innovators

UK Tier 1 Visa for Innovators

If you have a truly innovative idea, you may be able to get your UK residence with as little as $50,000.

Have at least £50,000 in investment funds
Ideal for highly experienced business persons
Get your business idea approved by a local organization
Need to have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK
Prove you can speak English at a B2 level 

You might have heard of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa that the UK ran in the past. However, it has since been replaced by the Innovator Visa – a scheme that requires a lower capital investment, but also an endorsement of a business idea prior to an application being made. 

So, who is it geared at, specifically? 

If you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, then the promise of setting up shop in the United Kingdom, especially London, will probably seem very exciting. 

An international hub for business and finance, the United Kingdom also has a vast and relatively wealthy market ready to jump at the next innovative product or service. 

The Innovator route is perfect for those with lots of professional experience, at least £50,000 in funds available, and a business idea. 

But it’s not just any business idea that the UK government is after. If it’s going to admit you to reside in the country, your idea must be:

New. You won’t be able to invest in a business that’s already active and trading. Pretty self-explanatory really. If you want to invest in an existing business, your only option is the Investor visa.
Innovative. Do you have an original business idea, unlike anything you’ve seen on the UK’s market? Inventive and original are the main keywords here; you need to demonstrate that you’ll have a competitive advantage.
Viable. To be deemed viable, it needs to have a high potential for growth. And as for yourself, you need to have the business experience and management skills to successfully run a company. 

You will need to approach an organization that would be able to endorse your business as all three of the aforementioned things before you’re able to apply for a Tier 1 visa.

Needless to say, this is a much more convoluted option to obtain this visa in the United Kingdom. It also takes a while to get your business idea approved.

However, if you have a really great idea that you’re positive you can get approved and don’t necessarily have £2 million to invest via the Investor route, then the Innovator one is still a decent option. 


Not everyone will be able to take advantage of the Innovator visa (Tier 1) to gain entry to the United Kingdom. 

However, if you’re eligible to apply, you’ll be able to bring your family as well.

You can bring your partner (married or unmarried), as well as dependent children under the age of 18. Each member of your family will need his/her own application.

The required investment sum will remain the same, meaning no additional funds are needed for your family members to come to the UK. 

To apply, you must be: 

At least 18 years of age
From outside of the EEA and Switzerland
Able to speak English at a B2 level
Able to prove that you have enough money to support yourself
In possession of at least £50,000 in investment funds
Able to get your business idea endorsed by an approved body

Let’s talk about your business idea and its endorsement in more detail.

A local organization that’s tasked with assessing the viability and the innovativeness of your business idea will need to be contacted. 

Many of them are universities, but there are some private business organizations too, including Seed Camp, Deep Science Ventures, Med City, Tech Nation, and lots of others. 

You’ll need to apply to an endorsement body that’s relevant to your business idea and, essentially, provide them with a comprehensive business plan.

You’ll need to detail every single aspect of your business, including growth projections, profit calculations, cash flow, and job creation, and demonstrate how your business meets the three aforementioned endorsement criteria. 

From our recent experience, ideas that do well in the endorsement process are in the fields of fintech, edtech, and medtech, although you can also apply within other industries. 

Since you will need an endorsement for your business in every stage of your Innovator visa (the initial application, an extension, and for settling permanently in the UK), you will need to maintain regular contact with the organization that endorses your businesses. 

You will have a mentor assigned to you and speak to them every six months to monitor the progress of your business. 

Sounds like a handful, doesn’t it? Well, you won’t have to go at it alone. 

You’re allowed to apply for the Innovator visa with co-founders. You can even put an entire entrepreneurial team together. 

Each of you will need to put in the required minimum sum, however. 

The Application Process

If you would like to pursue an Innovator visa to live and work in the United Kingdom and have successfully gained the endorsement for your business, you can then apply for the Innovator visa.

The process will go like this: 

1. Approximately 3 months before you intend to lodge your visa application, initiate the process of the business idea endorsement with the relevant organization.
2. Once you’re issued with an endorsement letter, you must send its electronic copy to [email protected].
3. Collect all of the required documents for your application. If any of the documents are not in English, they will need to be officially translated and verified. 

A valid passport with a blank page for a visa.
Bank statements showing you have at least £945 in savings in your bank account.
A tuberculosis test, if applicable (valid for 6 months).
Proof that you meet the English language requirement (CEFR B2).
Evidence of at least £50,000 available in your bank account.

4. Apply online for your Tier 1 Innovator Visa (£1,021). The earliest you’re able to do this is 3 months before your planned trip to the United Kingdom. You will get approved within 8 weeks.
5. Make an appointment at a UK visa center to have your biometrics (i.e. fingerprints and photographs) taken. This costs £19.20.
6. Find a place to live in the United Kingdom and travel to the country.
7. Within 10 days of your arrival, attend your biometrics appointment. Collect your residence permit at your local Post Office. It will be valid for 3 years.
8. Within 6 months upon the issue of your residence permit, start and develop your business. You will only be able to work for your business when you’re living in the United Kingdom under the Innovator visa. No other work may be undertaken.
9. Just before your visa expires, you can either apply to renew it (£1,277) or switch to the Tier 1 Investor visa. You will need to get another endorsement of your business before you’re able to extend your Innovator visa. You may not travel outside of the UK until a decision to renew your visa is reached or your application will be canceled. A decision is normally handed down within 8 weeks.
10. You’ll be able to apply for a settled status (permanent residence) in 3 years. You will need to get your business endorsed again.
11. You could become a naturalized British citizen if you’ve lived in the UK for at least 6 years; various conditions apply.
12. Each year that you spend living in the UK, you’ll need to pay a £400 Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This is a per-person charge, meaning that your partner and/or children will need to pay £400 too.

There are some further conditions if you wish to apply for settled status. You will be eligible to apply for settlement if you’ve invested at least £50,000 in your business AND you’ve accomplished one of the following:

Your business has created at least 10 full-time jobs
Your business has created at least 5 full-time jobs paying at least £25,000
Your business has generated gross revenue of at least £1 million
The number of business customers has doubled in the past 3 years and is higher than the mean number of customers at comparable UK businesses
The business has engaged in significant R&D and has applied for intellectual property protection
The business is generating at least £500,000 in revenue with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas.

UK Tier 1 for Start-Ups

Businessman in London Train Station

Can you picture yourself getting your startup off the ground in London? The Startup Tier 1 visa may be for you.

No minimum investment
Have a brilliant and innovative business idea
Need to prove you speak English
Must have enough money to support yourself and your family

Perhaps the most obscure of all three UK Tier 1 options is the start-up one. 

Do you have an early-stage, but high-potential startup and are looking to start a business in Britain for the very first time?

You, an ambitious entrepreneur, are probably eligible to apply for UK’s Tier 1 Start-Up Visa.

It’s very similar to the Innovator Visa, but here’s the curveball – there is no minimum sum that’s required for you to apply. 

You simply must be able to show that your business idea is the next Netflix or Spotify, with endless potential to grow. It also needs to bring a wider benefit to the British economy.

Another unique thing about the start-up route is that you won’t be able to extend it; this visa does not lead to settled status, nor can it lead to citizenship directly. 

You will need to switch to some other visa, like the Innovator visa, once your business is up and running. If that’s the scenario, the investment requirement for the Innovator visa of £50,000 would be waived. 

Furthermore, unlike the investment option, you do need to prove that you speak English and prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while you’re in the UK. 

That’s because you wouldn’t be able to draw on the local social security system if you fell on hard times. 

And, as with the first two Tier 1 visa options, those applying under the Start-up route are able to bring their partner and any dependents under the age of 18. 

Each family member will need their own application (and must pay the application fee, too). 


Nearly all of the eligibility criteria are the same for Start-up visa applicants, as they are for the Innovator visa applicants. 

Namely, you’ll need to be: 

At least 18 years of age
From outside of the EEA and Switzerland
Able to speak English at a B2 level
Able to prove that you have enough money to support yourself
Able to get your business idea endorsed by an approved body

What you won’t need to do is be in possession of at least £50,000 in investment funds. If you have a truly innovative start-up idea, you need no prior capital at all.

Similar to the Innovator visa, your business idea must be judged as being innovative, viable, and scalable. The same industries – fintech, medtech, and edtech – are recommended for the applicants for this visa.

Once endorsed, your business will be supervised by a mentor who will monitor your progress twice a year and either continue endorsing it or not. 

Finally, you don’t need to be a solo entrepreneur as you are allowed to put together a team to work on your business. 

However, each member will have to apply for their Start-Up visa separately. 

The Application Process

Once you’ve determined that you’re eligible to apply and would like to initiate the process, it goes like this:

1. About 3 months prior to applying, obtain a letter of endorsement from the relevant endorsing body. Forward this letter to [email protected].
2. Gather up all of the required documents.

A valid passport with a blank page for a visa.
Bank statements showing you have at least £945 in savings in your bank account.
A tuberculosis test, if applicable (valid for 6 months).
Proof that you meet the English language requirement (CEFR B2). 

3. No earlier than 3 months before your trip to the United Kingdom, apply for the Tier 1 Start-Up Visa online (£363 fee).
4. Make an appointment at a UK visa center to have your fingerprints and photographs taken (£19.20 fee).
5. Travel to the UK and find a place to live, not necessarily in that order.
6. Up to 10 days within your arrival, attend the biometrics appointment and collect your residence permit at a local Post Office branch.
7. In 2 years’ time, when your Start-Up visa is about to expire, switch to the Tier 1 Investor visa (outlined in the section above). The fee for making the switch is £493.
8. You’ll become eligible for permanent residence and citizenship as outlined under the Investor visa requirements.
9. Each year that you spend living in the UK, you’ll need to pay a £400 Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This is a per-person charge, meaning that your partner and/or children will need to pay £400 too.

The Pros and Cons of UK Tier 1 Visa

There’s no need to go on and on about the key benefits of applying for a Tier 1 visa to live and work in the UK. 

However, sometimes it’s easier to weigh up a decision that’s as big as this when you see it all clearly written out. 

So, here are the  main pros of a UK Tier 1 visa: 

Straightforward requirements. Unlike many other countries in the investment immigration world, the UK has a long-standing tradition of welcoming foreign investors. Its government website is also crystal clear on the eligibility requirements, application procedures, and everything in between.

It’s fast. Obtaining your Tier 1 visa will take just a few months. The entire process can be carried out online too, which adds to its speed. 

Bring your family. Under every Tier 1 visa option, you’re able to bring your partner and children under the age of 18 with no additional investment needed. What’s great is that you can be in a civil partnership, marriage, or be unmarried. Same-sex couples are also eligible.

A great quality of life. The UK is one of the best countries in the world to live, work, and study in. It offers unmatched cultural heritage and it’s very well connected to the world. 

Attractive tax regime. High-net-worth individuals who are resident in the country but are not domiciled there can take advantage of a very flexible tax regime. 

But there are some negative sides to the Tier 1 visa too: 

Brexit. A lot of uncertainty remains when it comes to Brexit and the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Whereas there is no dire and imminent threat to most UK businesses, only time will tell how the country’s economy changes in general.

Passport losing power. The British passport has dropped in the world’s passport rankings due to its withdrawal from the EU. Brits will need a visa or a visa-waiver to travel to the EU. 

Tax Implications of a UK Tier 1 Visa

London Bath Pulteney Bridge

High-net-worth individuals actually have attractive tax-planning options available to them as residents of the UK.

Every financial move that you make has tax implications. Investing in the United Kingdom and becoming its resident is no different. 

The good news is that you won’t get taxed on the initial investment that you’ll need to make (for both the investor option and the innovator option). Still, you will need to pay tax if you make money from the investment or the business that you used to immigrate to the UK.

If you’re considered to be non-domiciled, you also won’t need to pay UK tax on income that you don’t bring into the UK. You must report any foreign income or gains of £2,000 or more. 

In other words, the UK offers an attractive tax regime if you are a resident of the country but are considered non-domiciled. 

And the really great news? 

If you’ve spent a long time in the UK and wish to become its citizen, you’ll be glad to hear that being a taxpayer in the country isn’t a citizenship requirement. 

This is great news because most other countries that offer residence programs (i.e., Golden Visas), require one to be a tax resident for a set number of years before you would be able to apply for citizenship. 

Seeing what heights tax rates reach in countries like Portugal or Greece, you really wouldn’t want to be doing that, no matter what pros their respective citizenships would give you. 

Obtaining Citizenship of the UK 

Depending on which Tier 1 Visa option you choose and how much you invest, at some point, you’ll become eligible to apply for UK citizenship. 

Of course, you don’t have to go for it, but seeing as British citizenship holds many valuable benefits, we’ll briefly discuss the eligibility criteria. 

If you’ve applied for the Investor Visa, you can apply for citizenship in five years if you invest £5 million or £10 million.

Meanwhile, those investors who make do with the minimum sum of £2 million will need to wait an additional year. 

Under the Innovator and the Start-up visas, you would become eligible for naturalization after six years. 

The first step will be to obtain your permanent residence in the country (known as the ILR). You cannot have spent more than 450 cumulative days outside of the UK in the five-year period to apply for your ILR. 

Once you hold your settled status for at least 12 months, you’ll be able to apply for citizenship. 

Note that for the 12-month period prior to applying for citizenship, you cannot spend longer than 90 days abroad. 

In addition to the time spent abroad restrictions, people looking to get naturalized will need to pass the Live in the UK test (not required if older than 65 years), and prove that they speak English at a B1 level. 

Dual citizenship is allowed in the UK, so you won’t have to renounce your original citizenship to reap the benefits of becoming not just a citizen of the United Kingdom, but of the Commonwealth too.

UK Tier 1 Visa – Frequently Asked Questions

UK Tier 1 Visa FAQs

In the UK, permanent residence is known as ILR – indefinite leave to remain.

What are the three UK Tier 1 Visa options? 

You can gain access to the United Kingdom and become its resident if you invest in the country, establish a tech-related business, or launch a startup. Each of these three options has different eligibility requirements. 

What’s the minimum investment sum required to obtain the Tier 1 Investor visa?

You must invest at least £2 million to be eligible for the Investor visa. The cheapest option is the Start-up visa, as it has no minimum investment fund requirement. 

How many days can I spend outside of the UK to apply for ILR (indefinite leave to remain, or permanent residence)?

You can spend no more than 450 days outside of the UK in 5 years. This means you should spend at least 9 months per year living in the UK, at a minimum. 

What’s the best Tier 1 option for me?
It will all depend on your personal circumstances and financial standing. 

If you’re a high-net-worth individual seeking residence in the UK and have at least £2 million that you can spare, you should consider the Investor route. It’s the least risky of all options and doesn’t have an English language requirement.

If you’re a wealthy individual and are tolerant to more risk, then the Innovator or the Startup option could be suitable. 

What types of companies can I invest in if I choose the Investor route? 

You should invest in an active and trading UK company. It must be registered with the Companies House in the UK, as well as registered with HMRC for corporation tax and PAYE. Additionally, it should have UK business bank accounts that would demonstrate regular trade of its goods and services. At least 2 UK-based employees who aren’t directors must also be present. You can invest in global companies with registered offices or a head office in the UK. Finally, should you want to invest in services relating to property, hotels, and construction, you’re free to do so. 

How long is the Tier 1 visa valid for? 

The visa is valid for 3 years and 4 months if you apply for it and are abroad. It’s valid for 3 years if you receive the visa while already in the United Kingdom. 

How can I renew my Tier 1 visa?

Just before your visa is set to expire, you can apply to extend your residency for an additional 2 years. You will be able to extend your visa online. 

Is there a limit as to how many times I can renew my Tier 1 visa? 

No. You can renew your Tier 1 visa as many times as you wish. 

How can I become a permanent resident in the United Kingdom?

Depending on which visa option you chose, you can apply for and receive ‘settled’ status in the United Kingdom. 

Does the UK offer a citizenship by investment program? 

As per the traditional definition of citizenship by investment, the UK does not offer any such program. One of the best routes to British citizenship is to apply for a Tier 1 visa, reside in the UK for at least 5 years, and apply to be naturalized. 

Can I invest in bonds to qualify for a Tier 1 visa?
Unfortunately, you cannot. While the appeal of government bonds is logical due to its lower risk, you will need to invest in business in the UK if you’d like to apply for the Tier 1 visa. 

Can I use real estate to prove that I have funds to invest in the UK?

No. Only money in a bank account can be used as evidence of funds available to invest in the UK. 

Can my family come to the United Kingdom if I obtain a Tier 1 visa?

Yes. An investor can bring their partner (married or unmarried), and any dependent children under the age of 18 without making any additional investment. 

What is the UK’s Innovator Visa?

It is a visa that’s geared specifically at non-EEA business persons and entrepreneurs who are looking to launch an innovative business in the United Kingdom. It’s a route that doesn’t require a high initial investment – the minimum is £50,000 – but your business idea needs to be endorsed by a professional organization. 

What are the endorsing bodies for the Innovator visa?

The government of the United Kingdom has a list of organizations that are authorized to endorse businesses for the Innovator visa applications. 

What can I do under the Innovator visa? 

You’ll only be able to work on your own business venture while you’re in the UK under the Innovator visa (Tier 1). You cannot hold any other job. 

How is the Start-Up visa different from the Innovator one?

Start-up visa applicants do not need to have any investment capital, they can work in companies other than their own business, and they cannot obtain permanent residence nor citizenship. Normally, Start-Up visa holders switch to the Innovator visa after 2 years. 


For decades, the United Kingdom has been one of the most highly regarded countries in the investment immigration industry.

It’s easy to see why. 

A huge domestic market, access to the entire Commonwealth and the European Union (albeit with some restrictions post-Brexit), its rock-solid international standing, and many more factors make it a great place to invest, do business, and live. 

Unlike other countries, the UK has so many years of experience in administering its Tier 1 Visa program (in its current iteration, as well as in its past versions) that the process is one of the shortest and the most-straightforward too, among G8 countries. 

It’s eligibility criteria is very clearly set out, its application process is effective and quick, and the outcomes of the Tier 1 applications are predictable. 

Unfortunately, the UK isn’t going to go discounting its Tier 1 scheme (unlike many other residence by investment or citizenship by investment countries have done due to COVID-19). 

But we really have very few reservations when it comes to investing and residing in the UK, even if it comes at a high price for investors. That is, if it’s the right fit for your particular needs.


We’ve guided many of our clients through the process of investing in the United Kingdom, obtaining their residence in the country, and even becoming its citizens. 

Receiving expert guidance will be essential if you’re to apply for a Tier 1 visa successfully. Plus, advising you as to which is the best route for you to take and avoiding delays is something that we’re well versed in here at Nomad Capitalist.

If you, too, are keen to find out whether this is the country that could unlock both financial and personal opportunities for you, apply to work with the Nomad Capitalist team today

Jovana is our lead R&D Associate at Nomad Capitalist. Her full-time job is to scour our global network to identify new banking, immigration, and lifestyle options for our clients.

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