Investor / Entrepreneur
The incentivised Tier 1 investor and Tier 1 entrepreneur visa routes have led more high-net-worth individuals to live and invest in the UK
High-net-worth individuals with a minimum of £2 million to invest in the UK should seriously consider the option of applying via the Tier 1 (Investor) visa route. With the added inducement of acquiring UK permanent residence through an accelerated route, this visa category has become even more appealing.
There are practical aspects of the investor rules that you will need to consider including:
- the source of funds you need to have
- the types of investment that are permitted, and
- whether you are willing to maintain the investment for the designated period.
Let us help you make the right choices and realise your immigration aims.
The current government says: The UK is the ideal location for entrepreneurs to achieve growth and success. For those overseas nationals seeking to establish or join a UK business, the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa could be the answer.
Whilst distinct rules relating to this visa type need to be adhered to, the scheme has been modified. As a result, it now offers greater accessibility in relation to the amount of the investment and the sources of funding. There is also scope for elite Graduate Entrepreneurs to qualify, too.
How we can help
UK immigration is what we do. We have extensive experience of filing successful Tier 1 applications on behalf of our clients. By partnering with Smith Stone Walters, you can be assured that your immigration application process will be managed in a professional and cost-effective manner.
Settlement & Citizenship
'SSW assisted me with both ILR and naturalisation. In terms of service and information provided during both processes, SSW has exceeded my expectations.’ M.G., Private Client
After you have lived legally in the UK for a certain length of time, you may be able to apply for permission to settle here. This is known as indefinite leave to remain.
In most cases, qualifying for settlement is possible on completion of five years’ residence in the UK. In 2013, over 153,000 people successfully secured permission to stay permanently in the UK. Let Smith Stone Walters help you do the same.
If you are over 18 and have been living in the UK for the last five years (or three years if you are married to or a civil partner of a British citizen), you may be able to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen.
Although citizenship applications can be complex, our experienced immigration specialists understand the processes, the legal requirements and the issues that cause problems. Smith Stone Walters will support you every step of the way.
How we can help
Let us make your application process stress-free and professionally successful. Through our commitment to client satisfaction, we will realise your immigration goals and ensure there are no delays in the processing of your application.
Same day service
‘Excellent service! Thorough explanations on process and lightning fast approval of my visa.’ S.G., Leading Investment Bank
This service is open to clients who wish to submit their application by appointment at one of seven different UK Visas & Immigration Section offices in the United Kingdom and receive a decision on the same day.
During your appointment, the counter officer will examine your papers and make a number of checks on the Home Office immigration databases. Before your case is considered, you will be asked questions about your application according to the current Immigration Rules and Regulations.
How we can help
We will support you from start to finish. We will book a convenient, same-day appointment on your behalf before preparing your application for presentation. On the day of the appointment, one of our experienced representatives will accompany you to the Home Office and walk you through the process.
Given the popularity of this service, we accompany clients daily to the Home Office to have their cases assessed and successfully completed. You don’t have to go through this process alone; we will be right beside you.
This section is intended for quick reference. It introduces many of the terms encountered in immigration and refugee law, from the most common to the most technical. Note: not all the terms set out below are used in our website, but they may be used by immigration officials or other advisers and are included for that reason.
An adopted child is one who has legally become the child of a parent or parents who are not the child’s biological parents. To be legally recognised in the United Kingdom, the adoption must be made by order of a court or under the terms of the Hague Convention. A foreign adoption order will be recognised in the United Kingdom if it was made in a ‘designated country’ – a country included in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973.
- Approved education provider
An education provider that is approved by the Home Office and has been given a licence to bring students to the United Kingdom under Tier 4 of the points-based system, in either the adult (known as a general student) or child student categories, or both.
Asylum is protection given by a country to someone who is fleeing persecution in their own country. It is given under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. To be recognised as a refugee, you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you have a well-founded fear of persecution.
Biometrics is the science of using digital technology to recognise a person from a physical characteristic (for example a fingerprint or iris pattern of the eye) or another unique personal characteristic (for example a voice pattern or handwriting).
The place at which someone leaves another country and enters the United Kingdom. The border is mainly the coastline around England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, but also includes the line between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In practice, a person who enters the United Kingdom legally will do so by being permitted to enter by an immigration officer at one of the border control points at a port or airport. Some of these border control points are outside the United Kingdom and a passenger must pass through them before being allowed to travel to the United Kingdom.
- British citizen
British citizens have the right to live in the United Kingdom permanently and are free to leave and re-enter the country at any time. British citizenship is given to people who have a close connection with the United Kingdom, which includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. A close connection may be by birth, adoption, descent, marriage, registration or naturalisation.
- British dependent territories citizenship
Now known as a British overseas territories citizen. You will be a British overseas territories citizen if you are connected with a British overseas territory because you, your parents or your grandparents were born, registered or naturalised in that British overseas territory.
- British national
A British national is anyone who has a form of British status. There are six forms of British nationality: British citizenship, British overseas citizenship, British overseas territories citizenship, British protected person, British subject, and British national (overseas).
Only British citizens have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom.
- British national (overseas)
A person who was a British overseas territories citizen by connection with Hong Kong was able to register as a British national (overseas) before 1 July 1997. It is no longer possible to become a British national (overseas).
- British overseas citizen
British Overseas Citizens are people connected with the former British colonies who, for the most part, did not acquire citizenship of the new country when it attained independence.
- British overseas territories citizen
You will be a British overseas territories citizen if you are connected with a British overseas territory because you or your parents were born, registered or naturalised in that British overseas territory. If you were born before 1 January 1983, you may gain the citizenship through your grandparents.
- British overseas territories
These were formerly known as the British dependent territories. The territories are: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands and Dependencies, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, St Helena and Dependencies, the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Virgin Islands. (The sovereign bases of Akrotiri and Dhekelia do not count as qualifying territories for nationality purposes.)
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands were the dependencies of the Falkland Islands, but were not British overseas territories between 3 October 1985 and 3 December 2001.
Hong Kong stopped being a British overseas territory on 30 June 1997 when sovereignty returned to China. St Christopher and Nevis was a British overseas territory until 18 September 1983, when it became an independent Commonwealth country.
- British protected person
This is a form of British nationality held by a resident of a former British protectorate who did not take the citizenship of the country to which he/she belonged before it stopped being a protectorate.
- British subject
Until 1949, nearly everyone with a close connection to the United Kingdom was called a British subject. All citizens of Commonwealth countries were British subjects until January 1983. Since that date, very few categories of people have qualified as British subjects. It is a form of British nationality.
- By descent
British citizenship gained through your parents. This type of citizenship cannot normally be passed onto your own children. (See also Otherwise than by descent.)
- Citizenship ceremony
An event run by local authorities in the United Kingdom, usually by the section of the local authority responsible for registering births, marriages and deaths. At the event, successful applicants for British citizenship receive their citizenship. Citizenship ceremonies are also held in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and at British diplomatic posts overseas.
- Civil partner
A person in a legal relationship that can be registered by two people of the same sex and that gives the couple legal recognition for their relationship. In a range of legal matters, civil partners are treated the same as opposite-sex partners who are married.
- Common travel area
The common travel area is a ‘free movement’ area comprising the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Isle of Man. The United Kingdom currently makes no routine immigration checks on passenger travel within this area, and passengers do not need to carry a passport or national identity document for immigration purposes.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent countries that consult and cooperate in the common interests of their people to promote international understanding and world peace. All of the member countries, except for Mozambique, have experienced direct or indirect British rule, or have been linked administratively to another Commonwealth country.
- Comprehensive sickness insurance
Insurance that will cover the costs of the majority of medical treatment you may receive in the UK. You may have to show you have this insurance in order to be allowed to live in the UK as an EEA national or their family member. The documents that are accepted as showing you have comprehensive sickness insurance are: a private health insurance policy, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that has been issued by an EEA Member State other than the UK for people temporarily in the UK, or forms S1, S2 and S3. You may have to provide one of these documents when asserting a right of residence in the UK or a combination of these documents (including any previous versions) covering the relevant qualifying period when asserting a permanent right of residence in the UK.
- Confirmation of acceptance for studies
A ‘virtual document’ assigned by an education provider (which must be a licensed sponsor) to a migrant. The migrant must quote the reference number for their confirmation of acceptance for studies when they apply for permission to study in the UK under Tier 4 of the points-based system.
- Declaration of renunciation
To declare formally that you wish to give up your British citizenship.
Someone who depends on you financially, such as a husband, wife, partner, or child.
- Discretionary leave to remain
Permission to stay in the United Kingdom for reasons that are exceptional. This is sometimes given to someone who does not qualify for asylum but who the Home Office’s UK Visas & Immigration Section believes should be allowed to stay for other reasons.
E-Borders is the name of the Home Office’s programme of electronic border control. It collects and analyses passenger and crew information provided electronically by carriers (airlines, rail and shipping companies) before travel starts on all journeys to and from the UK.
This is one of the categories (known as ‘attributes’) for which you can gain points under the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work, train or study. It means the amount of money you have been paid in your job or business in 12 consecutive months during the 15 months before your application.
- English language
This means your ability to speak and write in English. A defined level of skills is required before you can make certain applications. Under the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work, train or study this is one of the categories for which you must gain points.
- Entrepreneur start date
If you were granted entry clearance as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, your entrepreneur start date is the date when you entered the United Kingdom (if you can produce evidence of your date of entry) or the date when you were granted entry clearance (if you cannot produce evidence of your date of entry). If you were already in the United Kingdom when you became a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, your entrepreneur start date is the date when you were granted leave to remain as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur.
- Entry clearance
Documents that give permission to travel to or enter the UK. There are 4 types of entry clearance document:
- entry certificate;
- EEA family permit; and
- exempt vignette
English for speakers of other languages. This is a course for people who do not have sufficient English to be able to live independently in the United Kingdom. This course is run by both state-funded and private colleges.
- ESOL Entry 3
This is the minimum standard of English that will enable an applicant to pass the knowledge of life in the UK test.
- European Economic Area
The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Although Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU), their citizens have the same rights as EU citizens to enter, live in and work in the UK.
- European Union
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
- Experience you have in the United Kingdom
Under the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work, train or study this is one of the categories (known as ‘attributes’) for which you can gain points. You may be able to score points for this if you scored points for previous earnings in the United Kingdom, or have a qualification at bachelor’s degree level or above that was gained in the United Kingdom.
- Family member
The partner, child or other dependent relative of the main applicant.
- Freely landed
Applies to people who entered the United Kingdom before immigration time restrictions were imposed. These were usually Commonwealth citizens and they will normally have entry stamps in their passports with no conditions attached.
- Further leave to remain
An extension of your existing permission to stay in the United Kingdom for a specified length of time.
- Giving up your citizenship
To give up your citizenship to gain another country’s passport or avoid losing another citizenship. The official term for this is ‘renouncing’.
- Good character
The quality that makes you worthy of becoming a British citizen, through respect for the laws and values of British society and for the official process for becoming naturalised.
- Highly Skilled Migrant Programme
The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) allowed highly skilled individuals from outside the European Economic Area to migrate to the United Kingdom. HSMP has now closed and been replaced by Tier 1 of the points-based system.
- Leave to remain
Leave to remain is permission to stay in the UK, either temporarily (‘limited leave to remain’) or permanently (‘indefinite leave to remain’).
- Legal adoption
Legal adoption is adoption by order of a court or under the Hague Convention. A foreign adoption order will be recognised in the United Kingdom if it was made in a ‘designated country’ – a country included in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973.
- Legal representative
A solicitor or other qualified adviser who advises you on how our laws apply to your case.
- Limited leave to remain
Permission to stay in the United Kingdom temporarily, for the length of time stated on your visa.
This means your available maintenance or funds when you apply under the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work, train or study. It is one of the categories for which you must gain points. A defined level of maintenance is required before you can make certain applications.
- National Recognition Information Centre
Also known as UK NARIC. The United Kingdom agency that is the official source of information on international qualifications and how they compare with qualifications gained in the United Kingdom
This may be the same as your citizenship, but it is possible to hold a nationality of a country without being a citizen of that country. For example, British subjects are British nationals but not British citizens.
Naturalisation is a legal process by which someone with no automatic claim to British citizenship can become a British citizen and obtain the same rights and privileges as someone who was born a British citizen. You can normally apply for naturalisation as a British citizen if you have lived in the United Kingdom for 5 years or more, or are married to a British citizen and have lived in the United Kingdom for 3 years or more.
- Non-visa national
A non-visa national does not need a visa to come to the United Kingdom for less than six months, unless it is a requirement of the immigration category under which they are entering. A non-visa national coming to the United Kingdom for more than six months will need a visa.
- Oath of allegiance
An official oath sworn by those taking British citizenship, promising to faithfully support the British monarch. An affirmation of allegiance is a similar declaration.
- Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)
OISC is the body responsible for ensuring that all immigration advisers meet the requirements of good practice.
- Ordinary residence
Proven close link with a country which shows that country is where you are settled and normally live. Proof of ordinary residence would be the length of time you have spent in the country, and the continuity and general nature of the residence, which must be voluntary and legal.
- Otherwise than by descent
British citizenship gained in your own right (not by descent through your parents or grandparents). This type of citizenship can be passed onto your own children. (See also By descent.)
- Points-based assessment
The method for deciding whether you qualify to come to work, train or study in the United Kingdom under the points-based system. To qualify, you must earn a certain number of points in various categories.
- Points-based system
Immigration system for managing applications by people who wish to come to the United Kingdom to work, train or study.
- Public funds
Public funds are benefits, paid by the UK government, that are related to your income. Claiming public funds when you are not entitled to them is known as ‘benefit fraud’ and is a criminal offence.
- Qualifying period
The length of time you must live in the United Kingdom legally before you can apply for permanent residence or naturalisation as a British citizen. For naturalisation, the period is five years, or three years if you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen.
- Qualifying territories
Qualifying territories are the British overseas territories that qualify under certain sections of the nationality rules. They are all of the British overseas territories except for the sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia.
Registration is a legal process by which someone can gain British citizenship, or other British nationality status. Registration as a British citizen is available only to people who already have specific connections to the United Kingdom, the British overseas territories, or Hong Kong.
- Registration or professional accreditation
Recognition by or registration with the appropriate authority in the United Kingdom that permits a person who gained their qualifications in another country to practice a certain profession in the United Kingdom.
The procedure for giving up British citizenship.
- Right of abode
The right to live and work in the United Kingdom.
- Settled status
You are normally resident in the United Kingdom with no immigration restriction on the length of your stay. To be free of immigration restriction you must have the right of abode or indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.
- Settled worker
For the purposes of these guidance notes a ‘settled worker’ is a person who:
- is a national of the UK; or
- is a national of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia* Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or Switzerland with right of residence in the UK; *NB – workers from Croatia must still be sponsored under Tier 2 or Tier 5 and have work authorisation in order to work lawfully, unless exempt. Employers commit an offence by employing Croatian nationals who have failed to comply with the work authorisation requirements; or
- is a British overseas territories citizen, except those from Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus. (Those included are Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Virgin Islands, British Indian Ocean Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands and dependencies, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St. Helena and Dependencies and Turks and Caicos Islands); or
- is a Commonwealth citizen who was allowed to enter or to remain in the UK on the basis that a grandparent was born here; or
- has settled status in the UK within the meaning of the Immigration Act 1971, as amended by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.
- Spent convictions
Convictions for criminal offences may become ‘spent’ after specified periods of time from the date of conviction if there are no further convictions during that time. Spent convictions will be disregarded for certain purposes. They will not normally be taken into account when assessing whether someone is of good character. Convictions that are not yet spent are known as unspent convictions and will be taken into account when assessing good character.
This term is used when someone applies for permission to extend their stay in the United Kingdom in another immigration category without leaving the United Kingdom.
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
A category of the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom if you want to set up or run a business in the UK and have a prescribed level of funds to invest.
- Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
A category of the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom if you have been endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts.
- Tier 1 (General)
It is no longer possible to enter the UK under this category of the points-based system. However, you can apply to extend or switch your current visa to Tier 1 (General) if you have permission to stay in the UK as Tier 1 (General), writer, composer or artist, self-employed lawyer or HSMP.
- Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
A category of the points-based system if you are a graduate who has been officially endorsed as having a genuine and credible business idea.
- Tier 1 (Investor)
A category of the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom if you want to invest £2,000,000 or more in the UK.
- Tier 2 (General) - skilled worker
A category of the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work. It applies to skilled people with a job offer.
- Tier 2 - intra-company transfer
A category of the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work. It applies to sponsors who are transferring employees within an organisation to a skilled job under Tier 2.
- Tier 2 - religious worker
A category of the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work as a religious worker. Its applies to skilled people with a job offer.
- Tier 2 - sports worker
A category of the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work. It applies to skilled people with a job offer.
- Tier 4
A category of the points-based system which applies to people who are coming to the UK to undertake a course of study at a UK educational establishment.
Passing through the United Kingdom on your way to another country without staying in the United Kingdom.
- Treaty rights
This refers to the Treaty that established the European Community. The rights apply to citizens of the European Economic Area and enable them to live and work in the United Kingdom provided they will be self-sufficient (not a burden on the social security system).
- United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (UK) includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are considered as part of the UK for nationality purposes, but they have their own immigration laws and policies.
- Visa national
A person who is a national or citizen of certain countries and will always require a visa to come to the United Kingdom. Some visa nationals may pass through the United Kingdom on the way to another country without a visa, but in some circumstances they will require a direct airside visa or visitor in transit visa.
- Youth mobility scheme
The youth mobility scheme allows young people from participating countries to come to work and experience life in the United Kingdom for up to two years.