The UK is a highly desirable destination for investment and settlement for high net worth individuals. It offers excellent commercial opportunities, lifestyle, culture, political stability and UK immigration rules are specifically designed to attract investors, entrepreneurs and people of talent.
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is designed for high net worth non-EEA individuals who wish to relocate themselves and their family to the UK. Only a few hundred of these visas are usually granted per year.
The minimum investment threshold is £2 million, which must be invested in the UK. Acceptable investments are UK government bonds and share or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies. Investors may not use cash on deposit or the value of their residential property as part of their investment.
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa category applies to the main applicant and all immediate family members, including spouse and children under the age of 18. There is no requirement to demonstrate English language proficiency. Investor visa holders are permitted – but not obliged – to work, study or engage in business activities in the UK, although some restrictions apply.
An investor visa is granted initially for three years and four months, which can then be extended for another two years. The length of time required to qualify for permanent residence – known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’ (ILR) – depends on the amount of investment, as follows:
• £2 million – ILR eligibility after five years in the UK
• £5 million – ILR eligibility after three years in the UK
• £10 million – ILR eligibility after two years in the UK
Having secured ILR, applicants in the first category become eligible to apply for full British citizenship after spending six years in the UK. Those in the second and third categories are eligible to apply after five years of residence in the UK.
Main applicants for ILR may not be absent from the UK for more than 180 days in each 12-month period. If applying for British citizenship, however, they must not have spent more than 450 days out of the UK during the five-year qualifying period, and no more than 90 days during the final 12 months.
Sovereign and its specialist external partners can guide an applicant and their family through the application process. Sovereign can also provide a variety of support services in respect of UK real estate options, financing, UK fiscal advice, relocation assistance and schooling options.