UK Business Investor Visas for Foreigners in 2022: How to Secure Yours
The UK has several business investor visas available to foreign nationals, but it’s a competitive market out there, and the visas don’t come around often. If you want to make your move into the UK, here’s what you need to know about obtaining your business investor visa in 2022 and beyond.
If you’re interested in investing in the UK, but you’re not already a resident, there are still ways to make your dream of owning your own business in the UK come true. In 2022, the new five-year UK Business Investor Visa will be launched with an initial limit of 2,000 places available to investors willing to invest £2 million into UK businesses with high growth potential.
A new UK Business Investor Visa scheme has just been approved and will become available to successful applicants in 2022. This new visa will allow successful foreign entrepreneurs the chance to secure their residency rights in the UK by making investments of £2 million into a UK business venture of their choosing. What are the details of this investment visa? How does it compare to other similar entrepreneur visas on offer around the world? Can you still apply if you’re not able to make the full £2 million contributions? Here’s everything you need to know about the UK Business Investor Visas for Foreigners in 2022!
A Brief History of Investor Visas
There are currently three different types of business investor visas (or Tier 1 investor visas) available to foreigners who wish to invest a minimum of £2 million into UK businesses. The first type is an entrepreneur visa, which requires that you make your investment from outside of Europe.
This visa allows you and your family permission to live and work in the UK as long as you continue investing money into startups and other businesses. With an entrepreneur visa, you can apply for permanent residency after three years if you continue investing over £10 million each year; if not, then you’ll need another visa or leave Britain after those three years have elapsed.
What are UK business Visas?
If you plan on running a company based out of the UK, then you will need a UK business visa. The UK offers visas designed specifically for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a business or own/manage a branch of an existing firm. As of August 1, 2021, these visas are available through two separate routes, one geared toward individuals with £10 million or more (Tier 1 Investor Visa) and another dedicated towards those with at least £2 million (Tier 2).
These visa routes will be valid until April 5, 2023. In addition to your primary Tier 2 visa application, you can also apply for an Ancestry Visa if you have one or more grandparents from England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. What is a Tier 1 Investor Visa?
Who can apply for a UK Investor Visa?
If you’re eligible for a UK investor visa, you must have a net worth of at least 2 million pounds and be able to invest between 200,000 and 1 million pounds into an active UK business or government bonds. You can apply if you want to set up your own business or buy a stake in one.
You cannot apply if you’re doing so as part of another business scheme, such as applying on behalf of a company that wants to expand into Europe. There are other conditions too, including health and security checks before your application is approved. In most cases, successful applicants must live in England during their first two years on investor visas.
What will I need?:
- A completed application form
- Passport-sized photos
- Two copies of your passport (with details of any previous visas issued)
- A letter from the company that will offer you a job on behalf of their employer.
What are the requirements?
You must have £2 million (about $2.58 million) and be able to prove that you can maintain that level of investment over at least two years. You also need a personal net worth of £1.5 million (about $1.97 million). If you don’t meet those requirements, you may still be eligible if your business is considered an Innovative Company; these companies are defined as high-potential startup businesses that are creating new markets or using technology and innovation in novel ways. The company also needs to have a fully functioning business plan and submit an application detailing its growth plans and strategies.
However, we have also provided you with the general documents required below as well.
- Proof of the business activities you will be doing in the Uk
- Proof that you will leave the UK at the end of the visit
- personal details
- salary and financial details
- travel itinerary and travel history
- proof that you can fund your stay adequately
- proof that you can pay for your air travel to and fro the UK
Requirements for the UK business visa
UK business visas have certain requirements that depend on whether you’re applying as an individual or as a member of a group. The following is an overview of what you need to qualify for either. For more detailed information about UK business investor visas, visit our dedicated UK business visa page. Find out if you're eligible for a UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa With a bit of planning and preparation, securing your business visa is not too difficult — but it can be time-consuming and expensive.
To secure your Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa from overseas, you'll need to prove that you have access to at least £200,000 ($262,000) in investment funds and £10,000 ($12,800) cash — which will only be released after establishing residency.
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must be able to financially support yourself for the duration of your visit.
- You must meet the authorities’ basic health requirements.
- You must have a legal invitation from a legitimate company in the country with whom you are/will conduct business.
How much does it cost?
The UK has business investor visa programs available which are open to those who can invest either £2 million or £10 million into a UK business. This investment must create at least two new jobs. Each of these types of visa offers an indefinite period of stay with no cap on how long you can stay, but each also has its own benefits and drawbacks. If you’re serious about investing overseas, it pays to know your options before making any final decisions. Here’s a look at both programs and how they might apply to you!
Who doesn’t qualify?
Fortunately, there are some limitations on who is eligible to apply. For instance, you won’t be able to include any of your dependents in your application. Also, if you’re a minor (i.e., under 18), then you can’t apply until adulthood—unfortunately, that means you have to wait another three years before attempting to secure your EIS visa. If neither of these exclusions applies to you, then congratulations! You can officially begin preparing your business plan.
How to Apply for a UK Investor Visa?
In order to qualify for a UK investor visa, you must have at least £2 million (or foreign currency equivalent) available. If you can’t meet these investment requirements, you’ll be able to apply through an alternative route. Investors who don’t have at least £2 million will be able to apply through a high-value migrant route that requires them to either invest £10 million or create 10 jobs. Additional qualifications might also apply, depending on your proposed business activity and other factors. Visit Immigration Direct for more information about how and when you can apply.
UK Citizenship by Investment
To be eligible, foreign investors must have at least £2 million of their own money available to invest in a UK business. If their investment is in shares of a company that employs 10 or more people, then they will need to inject at least £10 million.
A further route for foreigners seeking UK citizenship by investment uses land instead of money; if you make an investment worth at least £5 million into UK agricultural land, you could also apply for a visa as part of your application. After living and working in Britain for 5 years, you can apply for full citizenship.
Things To Know Before You Start
The UK investor visa requires you have a minimum of £2 million of funds available for investment in property, government bonds, or loan-backed securities. To qualify, you must also show you can support yourself and any dependents during your first five years in the UK (via salaries, pensions, or other means). You must also pass various character checks.
For example, if you’ve ever been arrested or convicted of a crime not related to tax fraud or theft—and didn’t tell immigration officials—you could be denied an investment visa. Applicants under 18 will need consent from their parents (or legal guardians) before they can apply.
Can I Get UK Citizenship by Investment?
Given UK's membership in the EU, a lot of people wonder if they can become EU citizens without moving to Europe by investing in British businesses. The answer is yes! You can get a UK visa as long as you are a non-European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen and have at least £2 million or equivalent investment funds available.
Most importantly, you must be able to prove that you have those funds readily available. If that's not possible, you may need a longer time frame and maybe even assistance from professional investment experts. For more details on how to secure your own UK business investor visa, check out our Guide and follow step-by-step instructions there!
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Can My Family Join Me With a UK Investor Visa?
As a business investor on a UK business visa, you can be joined by your spouse or unmarried partner and dependent children. If you are from outside of Europe, though, it may take longer—up to three years—for your family to join you as dependents on your UK investor visa.
After living with you for five years on a resident visa, however, they should then be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and thereafter apply for British citizenship.
Can I Work in the UK with an Investor Visa?
The UK has three business investor visa categories - The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa, The Tier 1 (Investor) Visa, and The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa. However, each one of these business investor visas is exceptionally strict as you need to meet a high financial threshold and a low-risk test. If you do manage to obtain one of these UK business investor visas then there is no requirement that you work in your business or even set up a company.
There are numerous other options such as sole traders or freelancers where individuals can work within their own companies without having to be employed by an employer. That said if you wish to earn money from your business then you would require authorization under one of these routes.
UK Investment Visa Options
To qualify for a UK Investment Visa, you must invest at least £2 million* in one of the following options:
- An active and trading UK registered company. This means that the company must be:
- Registered in the UK (or at least have a registered office in the UK)
- Actively trading – not dormant or non-trading.
- Have a UK bank account that shows recent transactions and payment of taxes.
- UK Corporate bonds, by way of share capital or loan capital.
- Investment in Government Bonds is no longer a viable option, as of March 29, 2022.
*The amount of investment is decisive on when you receive permanent residence (Indefinite Leave to Remain):
- If you invest £2 million, you can get ILR after five years.
- If you invest £5 million, you can get ILR after three years.
- If you invest £10 million, you can get ILR after two years.
Required Documents for a Tier 1 UK Investor Visa
To apply for a UK Investor’s Visa you will need to submit several documents as a part of your application process. Based in these documents, and the online application form, the UK authorities will take a decision on your application.
The required documents for a UK Tier 1 Investor Visa are as follows:
- Valid Travel Document. Your passport must have at least one blank page in order to be able to put the visa sticker on it.
- Tuberculosis test results. Check if you are required to take a tuberculosis test since only the nationals of certain countries do.
- A criminal record certificate. You should obtain this document from any country you have stayed in for at least 12 months, over the last 10 years.
- Evidence that you have the required funds. You will also need to submit proof of where that money came from, and if it can be transferred to the UK and converted to sterling.
- If the money is provided by your partner you should submit the following as well:
- A certificate of marriage or civil partnership, as applicable.
- A confirmation from your partner that they will allow you to control the funds in the UK.
- A letter from a legal adviser stating that the statement is valid.
- Evidence you have a UK bank account. This document should be dated within three months of your application. It should be on the headed paper of the bank and state your name and account number. It must confirm that the bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and that the checks for money laundering have been carried out.
- Certified translations of all documents that aren’t in either English or Welsh.
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How to Apply for a UK Investor Visa?
You have to apply for a UK Investment Visa via the Visas and Immigration website of the UK Government. The application process is as follows:
- Complete the online application form.
- Provide the required documents.
- Pay the visa fee.
- Pay the health surcharge.
- Once you submit the application online, you must locate the nearest UK visa application center to submit your biometric information and fingerprints, as well as any other required documents.
- Wait for the visa application to be processed. This usually takes up to three weeks.
- Once the visa application is processed, you can collect your biometric residence permit.
Online Application Form for a UK Investor Visa
As explained above, before you start any other procedure to apply for an Investor Visa, you should complete the application form.
The application form for a UK Investor Visa contains questions regarding:
- Your name & surname.
- Your date and place of birth.
- Parents, their names, date, and place of birth, and nationality.
- If you have traveled to the UK before.
- If you have traveled anywhere in the world before.
- The purpose of your trip to the UK.
- The visa type you are applying for.
- Whether you are meeting the requirements, etc.
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Can I Switch to an Investor Visa if I Am Already in the UK?
Yes, if you are in the UK with one of the following visas, you can switch it into a Tier 1 Investment Visa before your current visa expires, provided you fulfill the requirements:
- Tier 1 (General)
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
- Any Tier 2 Visa
- Tier 4 (General Student)
If you have any other visa, you have to leave the UK and apply via the regular method.
In short, you can soon apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa from inside of Great Britain if you’re a citizen from a select few countries. You’ll get a three-year visa, which can be extended for another two years. To qualify, you must have £200,000 of investment funds and £20,000 in your bank account.
You must also secure business funding of at least £100,000 before applying. Once granted your Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, you’ll be able to work freely and set up any kind of business you wish—whether it’s retail or digital—and will also get access to an entrepreneur quota route to permanent residency after five years.