Investor / Entrepreneur
Some UK immigration routes allow individuals to come to the UK without a job offer if they intend to set up an innovative business here, if they demonstrate high potential or are a leader or potential leader in certain fields.
Start-up and Innovator
The Start-up visa and the Innovator visa are both designed to attract entrepreneurial talent from overseas, and are aimed at individuals looking to set up an innovative business in the UK. To qualify for a visa in either category, you must first obtain an endorsement from an approved endorsing body. Your application will be assessed for innovation, viability and scalability.
High Potential Individual
Opening on 30 May 2022, the High Potential Individual route has been designed to make it easier for overseas citizens to come to the UK without a job offer if they demonstrate high potential. This unsponsored route is for recent graduates of top global universities, who want to work, or look for work in the UK following their studies.
The Global Talent visa is a bespoke immigration route designed to attract the ‘best and brightest talent from around the world’. You can apply for a Global Talent visa if you are a leader or potential leader in one of the following fields: Academia or Research, Arts and Culture or Digital Technology. Before applying you must usually be endorsed by a recognised UK body approved by the Home Office, who will verify your expertise.
How we can help
Immigration is what we do. We have extensive experience of filing high value visa applications on behalf of our clients. By partnering with SSW, 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 the year ending September 2020, 78,411 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 a UK Visa and Citizen Application Services (UKVCAS) centre and receive a decision within 24 hours.
Appointments are for the purpose of:
- confirming your physical identity
- enrolling your biometric information
- ensuring that your supporting documents meet required standards
- submitting your biometric information to UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI)
How we can help
We will support you from start to finish. We will book a convenient appointment on your behalf, help you prepare for your appointment and, in turn, make your visit easier. Upon your instruction, one of our experienced advisers will be made available to accompany you to your appointment and walk you through the procedure.
You don’t have to go through this complicated 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 the Student or Child Student routes of the points-based system.
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.
- Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a secure identity card which contains personal details and biometric information for those who have permission (a visa) to come to the UK for more than 6 months.
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
An individual will automatically be a British protected person (BPP) where:
• they were a citizen or national of Brunei
• immediately prior to 1 January 1983, they were a BPP by virtue of The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order in council 1978
• they would otherwise be born stateless, on or after 1 January 1983, in the UK or a dependent territory and at the time of their birth either or both of their parents is a BPP
- 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
Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), British and Irish citizens can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including the right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services.
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.
- 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 the Student route 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.
- 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.
- Entry clearance
A visa or entry certificate, usually in the form of a vignette (sticker) in the holder’s passport, which provides evidence of the holder’s eligibility for entry to the UK. Commonly referred to simply as a ‘visa’. A valid entry clearance grants the holder permission to enter the UK on arrival.
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. You can only use English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualifications to prove your knowledge of English if they’re are approved by UK Visas and Immigration.
- 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 and Sweden. Although Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU), their citizens have the same rights as EU citizens to apply for settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
- 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 and Sweden.
- 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’.
- Global Business Mobility
The Global Business Mobility route is an ‘umbrella category’ consisting of five sponsored visa categories for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence in, or transfer staff to, the UK for specific business purposes. The five routes correspond to different assignment types as follows:
- Senior or Specialist Worker – For senior managers or specialist employees who are being assigned to a UK business linked to their employer overseas. This route replaces the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route.
- Graduate Trainee – For workers on a graduate training course leading to a senior management or specialist position and who are required to do a work placement in the UK. This route replaces the Intra-Company Transfer Graduate Trainee route.
- UK Expansion Worker – For senior managers or specialist employees who are being assigned to the UK to undertake work related to a business’s expansion to the UK. This route replaces the Sole Representative provisions in the Representative of an Overseas Business route.
- Service Supplier – For contractual service suppliers employed by an overseas service provider and self-employed independent professionals based overseas, that need to undertake an assignment in the UK to provide services covered by one of the UK’s international trade commitments. This route replaces the contractual service supplier and independent professional provisions in the Temporary Work – International Agreement route.
- Secondment Worker – For workers being seconded to the UK as part of a high value contract or investment by their employer overseas. This is a new route in the Immigration Rules.
- Global Talent
The Global Talent route is for people aged 18 or over in the field of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture who can show they have exceptional talent or exceptional promise.
- 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.
- High Potential Individual
The High Potential Individual route has been designed to make it easier for overseas citizens to come to the UK without a job offer if they demonstrate high potential. This unsponsored route is for recent graduates of top global universities, who want to work, or look for work in the UK following their studies.
The Innovator route is for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK based on an innovative, viable and scalable business idea they have generated, or to which they have significantly contributed. The application must be supported by an endorsing body.
- 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 to enter the United Kingdom to work, train or study. A defined level of maintenance is required before you can make certain applications.
Under the Skilled Worker route, you must have at least £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 days in a row before you apply for a visa. You will not need to meet this requirement when you apply for a visa if:
- You have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months
- Your employer can cover your costs during your first month in the UK, up to £1,270. Your sponsor must confirm this on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
- National Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC)
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.
- 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.)
- PBS child dependent and PBS partner dependent
Routes for persons seeking to come to the UK as a dependent partner or dependent child of a Skilled Worker.
- Permission to enter
Also known as ‘leave to enter’, this means permission given to a person to enter the UK. This could be via a valid entry clearance, a grant of permission by an immigration officer, or a grant of permission via an automated ePassport Gate (where the passenger is eligible to use that facility).
- Permission to stay
Has the same meaning as ‘leave to remain’ under the Immigration Act 1971 (and includes a variation of leave to enter or remain and an extension of leave to enter or remain). Permission given to a person who is already in the UK.
- 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.
The Scale-up route is for talented individuals recruited by a UK Scale-up sponsor, who have the skills needed to enable to Scale-up business to continue growing. This category is intended to help the UK’s fastest growing businesses to access overseas talent.
- 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 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.
- Skilled Worker
The Skilled Worker route is for employers to recruit people to work in the UK in a specific job. A Skilled Worker must have a job offer in an eligible skilled occupation from a Home Office-approved sponsor.
- 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.
The Start-up route is for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time. The person must have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body approved by the Home Office.
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.
Passing through the United Kingdom on your way to another country without staying in the United Kingdom.
- 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.