Important notice for Tier 1
(Investor) visa holders
27 April 2022
On 17 February 2022, the UK government closed the Tier 1 (Investor) visa route to all new initial applications for entry clearance or leave to remain. The Tier 1 (Investor) category is for high net worth individuals making a substantial financial investment in the UK. The decision to scrap this so-called ‘golden visa’ category was made in response to security concerns and fears that the route was being abused by people who had acquired their wealth illegitimately.
The route’s closure means that it is no longer possible to switch to a Tier 1 (Investor) visa from other routes, and any applications for initial entry clearance or leave to remain made on or after 16:00 on 17 February 2022 will be void and not considered. However, there are arrangements in place for those who currently hold permission as a Tier 1 (Investor) migrant and who wish to extend their stay in the UK or apply for settlement.
If you already have a Tier 1 (Investor) visa
If you already have this visa (or had one in the last 12 months and it was your most recent visa), you can still apply:
- To settle in the UK (indefinite leave to remain)
- To extend your visa for 2 years
- For family members to join you
The Home Office has published updated policy guidance for the route which confirms that:
- Applications for entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Investor) migrant must be made before 17 February 2026.
- Applications for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) must be made before 17 February 2028.
Entry clearance applications
All applicants for entry clearance must have leave as a Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant on, or must have had such leave within the last 12 months immediately before, the date of application. The application must be made before 17 February 2026. Entry clearance will be granted for a period of 2 years.
Applicants for leave to remain must have, or have last had entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant (in the 12 months immediately before the date of application). The application must be made before 17 February 2026. Entry clearance will be granted for a period of 2 years.
For extension applications, there are different investment eligibility requirements depending on when you successfully applied for your visa.
If you successfully applied before 6 November 2014, you can apply to extend your visa if all of the following apply:
- you have had at least £2 million invested in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active UK companies since 6 April 2020
- you had at least £1 million under your control in the UK before 6 April 2020
- you invested £750,000 in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active UK companies within 3 months of your ‘investor start date’.
If you successfully applied on or after 6 November 2014, you can apply to extend your visa if all of the following apply:
- you have at least £2 million under your control in the UK
- you have invested those funds in share capital or loan capital in active UK companies
- you invested this sum within 3 months of your ‘investor start date’.
Note: If you successfully applied before 29 March 2019, you can also apply to extend if you invested your funds in UK government bonds.
Your ‘investor start date’ is either the date you came into the UK (if you have proof of this), or the date your original visa application or switch from a different visa category was approved (if you cannot prove your date of entry). More information on investment eligibility requirements for extension applications can be found in the guidance.
If you wish to apply for settlement under the Tier 1 (Investor) route, you must submit your application before 17 February 2028.
You can usually apply for settlement under the Tier 1 (Investor) route once you have reached 5 years’ continuous leave in the UK under the route. However, if you meet additional criteria, you may apply for accelerated ILR after a continuous period of either 2 years or 3 years. You cannot combine Tier 1 (Investor) leave with leave in any other category to meet the continuous leave requirement.
You can apply for settlement up to 28 days before you will reach the qualifying period. If you apply earlier than that, your application may be refused.
Absences from the UK
The settlement rules state that applicants cannot have had more than 180 days’ absence from the UK during any consecutive 12 months of the qualifying period. When you apply, you will need to list details of your absences from the UK, including the reasons for those absences, on the form but you will not need to provide any specified evidence to support this.
If you have been outside of the UK for more than 180 days in a consecutive 12-month period, you will need to start the qualifying period for settlement again. If this happens, you may need to obtain a further grant of limited leave to remain to complete your continuous period in the UK.
Those Tier 1 (Investor) migrants wishing to settle in the UK should therefore be aware of their qualifying period and take care not to violate the rules on continuous residency if they wish to apply for ILR before 2028.
Advice for Tier 1 (Investor) visa holders
If you have a Tier 1 (Investor) visa and need advice on meeting the requirements for settlement in the UK, Smith Stone Walters can help. Our team of immigration experts can assess your eligibility and provide practical support with the application process.
To find out how we can help, please contact us today.