The UK Tier 1 Investor Residence Program

(Updated on 2019/04/19)

The UK government welcomes visa applications from those with capital to invest. The UK Tier 1 Investor Visa is suitable for individuals who have at least £2 million to make such an investment in the UK subject to meeting other requirements.

1. Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for the UK Tier 1 investor visa application, the Applicant must:

  • Invest at least £2,000,000 in share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.
  • Be a citizen of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA)1 and Switzerland.
  • Be over 18 years of age.
  • Provide evidence that the investment funds belong to either the Applicant or the Applicant’s spouse, unmarried or same-sex partner, either by (i) providing details about the source of funds, or (ii) showing that the Applicant has held the funds in a bank account in their name for more than 2 years.
  • Open a UK bank account. Applicants are required to provide a UK bank confirmation that mandatory due diligence checks and “Know Your Client” enquiries have been made.
  • Hold the investment funds in one or more regulated UK-based financial institutions.
  • Prove that the funds are free to spend (‘disposable’) in the UK.
  • While the program does not have a requirement to pass an English language test, this will be required if and when the applicant wishes to apply for permanent residence (normally after five years).
  • Tuberculosis Certificates from China.
  • Police Clearance Certificates are required for main applicant and all adult dependents accompanying him/her to the UK for all countries in which they have resided for more than twelve months in the last ten years.

2. Validity

The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is valid for a maximum of 3 years and 4 months and can be extended for another 2 years.

3. Allowed Activities

Applicants are allowed to live, work and study in the UK with their immediate family as soon as they receive acceptance from the Home Office (usually 28 days after application). The amount of the investment determines when the Applicant can apply for permanent residence (“Indefinite Leave to Remain”) in the UK as follows:

  • £2-million: 5 years
  • £5 million: 3 years
  • £10 million: 2 years

The Applicant is NOT ALLOWED to:

  • Invest in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development
  • Work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach
  • Gain access to public funds2
  • Work as a doctor or dentist in training3

4. Required Documents

  • Copies of the personal pages of main applicant’s Passport
  • Copies of personal pages of accompanying family member’s Passports.
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate.
  • Copy of children’s Birth Certificates.
  • Copy CV/Resume of main applicant.
  • Evidence as to the availability of £2million to invest in the UK, including in whose name it is held, country where funds held and name of Bank.
  • Details of any UK Bank where main applicant holds an account, including confirmation from the bank that all due diligence and KYC checks have been performed.
  • Police Clearance Certificates for main applicant and spouse/partner for each country in which he/she has resided for at least twelve months in the last ten years.

5. Risk

The Home Office has the power to refuse applications, if it has reasonable grounds to believe that the funds have been, or will be, transferred internationally by means of which are unlawful in any of the countries involved.

6. Indefinite Leave to Remain (Permanent Residence)

Under normal circumstances, it is possible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) after 5 consecutive years of qualifying residence. Under special circumstances, it is possible to apply for ILR after 2 or 3 years (see the section of Allowed Activities above).

Application Requirements

In order to apply for ILR, the applicant:

  • Must have complied with all conditions attached to his/her visa.
  • Must have passed the Life in the UK test, and any dependents over 18 must also have passed the Life in the UK test.
  • Must have met the English language requirement, along with any dependents over 18. The requirement is met either by passing a Speaking and Listening IELTS or Trinity College test at level B(1) or by providing proof of a qualifying English language Degree qualification.
  • The applicant and all dependents must have spent at least 185 days in the UK in each qualifying year of residence, working backward from the date of the application for ILR.
  • Must not have any subsisting criminal convictions or civil judgments against them either in the UK or overseas, and their UK tax affairs must be up to date.

7. Citizenship

It is possible to apply for British citizenship after (i) having held ILR for 1 year, and (ii) having resided in the UK for at least 5 years. In cases where the applicant invested £2 million, the application for citizenship can be made six years after making the original investment.

Application Requirements

The requirements for citizenship are much stricter than those for ILR, including:

  • The applicant must not have been outside the UK for more than 450 days in the five year period prior to the date of the application for citizenship, including no more than 90 days in total in the last 12 months prior to the application.
  • The applicant must meet all Good Character requirements and have no subsisting criminal convictions or civil judgments in the UK or overseas, and their UK tax affairs must be up to date.

Read more UK immigration in Chinese


1. EU countries + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
2. The Applicant would not be able to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance that are paid by the state.
3. Unless the Applicants (i) has a primary degree at bachelors level or above in medicine or dentistry from a UK institution that holds a Tier 4 sponsor license or is a UK recognized or listed body, (ii) has worked as a doctor or dentist in training during his/her last time in the UK, or (iii) neither of those conditions were part of the terms and conditions on a previous visa.