Investor/ Business Visas

Sole Representatives of Foreign Companies

This category does not currently fit under the new Tiered system; however it remains open for applications. It is designed for overseas organisations wishing to establish in the UK for the first time and needing to send one person as their “sole representative”. The proposed representative will need an entry clearance, issued in the home country, before travelling to the UK. He/she will need to be an existing and senior employee of the overseas organisation (but not a majority shareholder) who will be given authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas organisation for the purpose of representing it in the UK and establishing and running either a registered branch or wholly owned subsidiary. This visa has work restrictions whereby people can not take employment beyond establishing a branch in the United Kingdom for the company.

These visas are normally granted for an initial period of three years. The visa can be extended in the United Kingdom one month prior to the visa expiry date for up to 5 years. After 5 years continuous stay in the United Kingdom on this visa you may apply for a settlement visa or ‘indefinite leave to remain.’

Tier 1 Entrepreneur

The Entrepreneur sub-category is a merging of the previous Businesspersons and Innovators schemes. The Entrepreneur sub-category is perfect for those individuals wishing to start a business in the UK who can meet the criteria.

A pass mark of 75 points are needed to satisfy the requirements for the specific criteria under the Entreprenuer sub-category: applicant has at least £200,000, 25 points; funds are held in a regulated financial institution, 25 points; and funds are disposable in the United Kingdom, 25 points.

Alternatively, an applicant will score 75 points if they have access to at least £50,000 from:

  • 1 or more venture capital firms regulated by the Financial Services Authority;
  • UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions listed as endorsed on the UK Trade & Investment website; and/or
  • 1 or more UK government departments, which have made the funds available for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business.

An additional 10 points are required for each Maintenance and English language requirement.

Furthermore, a new type of visitor visa will be created for prospective entrepreneurs. They will be allowed to enter the UK so that they can secure funding and make arrangements for starting their business before they transfer to a full Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa while they are in the UK.

Tier 1 Investor

This visa is for investors who have at least £1 million of their own money to invest in the United Kingdom and who want to make the United Kingdom their main home. Holders of this visa can ultimately obtain permanent residency status. This visa has work restrictions whereby people can not take employment beyond managing their investments.

You will need a total of at least 75 points to be able to apply:

  • You have money of your own held in a regulated financial institution and disposable in the United Kingdom amounting to no less than £1,000,000; or
  • You own personal assets which, taking into account any liabilities to which you are subject, have a value exceeding £2,000,000; and
  • you have money under your control held in a regulated financial institution and disposable in the United Kingdom amounting to no less than £1,000,000, which has been loaned to you by a financial institution regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

These visas are normally granted for an initial period of three years. The visa can be extended in the United Kingdom one month prior to the visa expiry date. After 5 years continuous stay in the United Kingdom on this visa you may apply for a settlement visa.

Accelerated Settlement Rules

Under recent changes to the Immigration Rules, people who come to the UK under Tier 1 (Investor) of the points-based system will be able to settle here faster if they invest large sums of money. Those who invest £5 million will be allowed to settle here after 3 years, and those investing £10 million or more will be allowed to settle after 2 years. This compares with the current minimum 5-year requirement.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants will also be able to settle in the UK more quickly if they create 10 jobs or turn over £5 million in a 3-year period.