The entry and evidential requirements when applying for a Tier 1 Investor visa can be complex to navigate.
The following Tier 1 Investor visa guidance provides a general overview of applying for the investor visa under the relevant provisions of the Immigration Rules. In this way, you can understand how the application process works and the common challenges and pitfalls to be overcome.
Tier 1 Investor visa guidance – the application process
The Tier 1 UK Investor visa is intended for non-EEA nationals wishing to make a substantial investment in Britain. To apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa, you must complete a Tier 1 Investor application. The majority of applicants must apply online. If you are applying in the UK, you should check your eligibility to switch immigration categories.
After the Home Office receives your application you will be asked to submit your biometrics details. This will include having a digital photograph taken, together with a scan of your fingerprints and providing your signature.
Where you provide this information depends on whether you are making your Tier 1 Investor visa application from within or outside the UK. If you are applying from within the UK, you can provide this information at a post office branch offering Home Office biometric enrolment. If you are applying from outside the UK, you will need to provide this information at a visa application centre.
Tier 1 Investor visa guidance – eligibility criteria
The rules and eligibility criteria for a UK Investor visa are set out under paragraphs 245EA–245EF of Part 6A, and paragraphs 54–65SD of Appendix A, of the Immigration Rules. Under Appendix A of those rules you must score a minimum of 75 points.
To acquire these points you must be able to show that you are able to make an investment of £2 million or more in the UK. Accordingly, you must have:
- at least £2 million of your own funds, under your control, held in a regulated financial institution and which is disposable in the UK.
- opened an account with a UK regulated bank for the purposes of making that investment.
The £2 million investment funds may be held overseas at the time of application, or these funds may already be in the UK. If the money is not held in pounds sterling, you must convert its value into pounds sterling on the application form.
Jointly-owned funds can be used as the basis of your application, for example where ownership is shared with your husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner. In this instance, you will need to evidence your unrestricted right to transfer and dispose of these funds in the UK. It is also possible to rely on funds that are solely owned by another party, again requiring you to show your right of transfer and disposal. In all cases you – or you and/or your husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried or same-sex partner – must be the beneficial owner of the funds and not holding the investments on behalf of anyone else.
You may use, as evidence of funds, investments made in the UK within the 12 months immediately before the date of the application, provided they are held in a UK regulated financial institution. You may not, however, use assets or possessions such as property as evidence of your funds for investment.
Tier 1 Investor visa guidance – supporting documentation
In order to demonstrate that you have the necessary investment funds, you must provide at least one piece of documentary evidence as required under the Home Office Tier 1 Investor visa guidance.
This includes a letter or portfolio report from a UK regulated financial institution; documentary evidence of your holdings if you manage your own investments, or you have a portfolio manager who is not appropriately regulated in the UK; or a letter or personal bank statements from a regulated bank.
There are also strict criteria setting out what these documents should show. In particular, this evidence will need to show that the funds for which you are claiming points have been held, whether in the UK or offshore, for a period of 90 consecutive days prior to making your application.
If the funds have not been held for 90 consecutive days, then you must show the source of the funds. This can include, for example, a gift, deeds of sale, a will, a divorce settlement, or an award or winnings.
You will also need to provide a letter, issued by an authorised official of a UK regulated bank and dated within 3 months immediately before the date of your application, confirming that you have opened an account with that bank for the purposes of investing not less than £2million in the UK.
Additional documentary evidence in support of your application for a Tier 1 Investor visa will be needed in the following circumstances:
- if your money is not already in the UK, you must provide confirmation that the money can be freely transferred, and, where applicable, evidence that you have sought and gained any necessary approval to transfer your funds freely to the UK.
- if you are relying on money that is owned either jointly with, or solely by, your husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner, you must provide documentary evidence of your relationship, together with a declaration from your partner that they will permit this money to be under your control in the UK. You will also need a letter from a legal adviser confirming that the declaration is valid.
- if you are applying for entry clearance, you must provide an overseas criminal record certificate for any country you have been present in continuously or cumulatively for 12 months or more, in the 10 years prior to your application.
Tier 1 Investor visa guidance – common challenges and pitfalls
The documentation you submit must be in the format specified under the Home Office Tier 1 Investor visa guidance. The caseworker assessing your application will only accept such documents as evidence of the relevant requirement. Further, if the documents you submit do not contain all the required information, it is highly likely your application will be delayed or even refused.
In assessing your application, the Home Office will also carefully examine the provenance of the funds for which you are claiming points, and whether these are wholly under your control. The Home Office may not award points where they have reasonable grounds to believe one or more of the following applies:
- you are not in control of, and at liberty freely to invest the, money specified in your application.
- any of the money held by you, or being made available to you by a third party, has been acquired by means of conduct which is unlawful in the UK, or would constitute unlawful conduct if it occurred in the UK.
- the character, conduct or associations of any third party providing funds is such that approval of the application would not be conducive to the public good.
Your application will also be assessed under general grounds for clearance, including the good character requirement and immigration history.
Tier 1 Investor visa guidance – seeking legal advice
When making an application for a Tier 1 Investor visa you should seek legal advice from an immigration specialist. The entry and evidential requirements in support of an application for a Tier 1 Investor visa are complex, and any failure to provide the necessary documentation could result in your application being rejected by the Home Office.
A legal expert experienced in immigration applications can provide you with detailed Tier 1 Investor visa guidance. Your legal adviser can also help you to navigate any potential challenges and pitfalls.
Do you need help with your Tier 1 Entrepreneur application form?
DavidsonMorris specialise in Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applications. We work with applicants from across the globe who are seeking to enter or remain in the UK by establishing or taking over a business here.
We provide advice from the initial stages, advising on eligibility and suitability of the Tier 1 visa route and visa options for any dependants, through to detailed support with compiling your supporting evidence, completing the Tier 1 entrepreneur form and guidance on the interview.
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If you have any questions relating to your application, please contact us.