Residence & Citizenship

UK

The UK Investment Visa

The UK Start-up Visa

The UK Innovator Visa

  • Benefits
  • Financial/Other Obligations
  • Additional Criteria

The UK Investment Visa

Settlement in the UK.

Visa-free travel to over 170 countries once British passport obtained.

Individuals resident but not domiciled in the UK are eligible to pay tax on a remittance basis.

Please note, anyone who has had UK residence  for more than 15 of the previous 20 tax years, will not be able to enjoy the remittance basis and so will be taxed in the UK on a worldwide basis for income and capital gains tax purposes.

There is no tax on the gains and income that arise from funds retained outside the UK, as long as the income and gains are not brought into or remitted to the UK.

In addition, clean capital (i.e. income and gains earned outside of the UK before the individual became resident, that have not been added to since the individual became resident in the UK) can be remitted to the UK with no further UK tax consequences.

If unremitted foreign income and/or gains is less than £2,000 at the end of the tax year (6 April to the following 5 April), the remittance basis applies automatically. If it exceeds this amount then the remittance basis must be claimed.

If unremitted foreign income is over £2,000 then the remittance basis can still be claimed, but at a cost (depending on circumstances costs are £30,000 or £60,000).

For more information on UK residence, please click here.

The UK Investment Visa

This is formally known as the Tier 1 (Investor) visa. Under this visa category, an individual from outside the EEA can apply for Entry Clearance (EC) for an initial UK residence visa which will be valid for up to 3 years and 4 months, by bringing £2 million to the UK and investing these funds in permissible investments.

Generally speaking, the funds must have been held by the applicant for 2 years, prior to submitting their application, although some exceptions apply to the 2-year rule.

As long as the provisions continue to be satisfied, after an initial 3 year period the individual can apply for Leave to Remain (LTR) (an extension) for a 2 year visa and, following this, can then apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. The rules allow for accelerated ILR after 3 years if an individual has invested £5 million and after 2 years if £10 million has been invested.

Once the funds have been invested, there are strict rules about maintaining the funds up to the point of applying for ILR.

The UK Investment Visa

In terms of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), the main applicant and any dependants, must not be absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period.

An individual will usually be eligible for citizenship once they have been UK resident for 5 years, and have had ILR for at least one year. In a standard situation, it will therefore usually take 6 years before an individual is eligible to become a British citizen. To meet the citizenship requirements an applicant must not be absent from the UK for more than 450 days in the 5 year qualifying period, and for not more than 90 days in the final 12 months of that 5 year period.

If an individual is married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, then they will usually be eligible to apply for citizenship once they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, and have ILR. In a standard situation, it will usually take 5 years before an individual is eligible to become a British citizen. To meet the citizenship requirements an applicant must not be absent from the UK for more than 270 days in the 3 year qualifying period, and for not more than 90 days in the final 12 months of that 3 year period.

  • Benefits
  • Financial/Other Obligations
  • Additional Criteria

The UK Start-up Visa

Settlement in the UK.

Visa-free travel to over 170 countries once British passport obtained.

Individuals resident but not domiciled in the UK are eligible to pay tax on a remittance basis.

Please note, anyone who has had UK residence for more than 15 of the previous 20 tax years, will not be able to enjoy the remittance basis and so will be taxed in the UK on a worldwide basis for income and capital gains tax purposes.

There is no tax on the gains and income that arise from funds retained outside the UK, as long as the income and gains are not brought into or remitted to the UK.

In addition, clean capital (i.e. income and gains earned outside of the UK before the individual became resident, that have not been added to since the individual became resident in the UK) can be remitted to the UK with no further UK tax consequences.

If unremitted foreign income and/or gains is less than £2,000 at the end of the tax year (6 April to the following 5 April), the remittance basis applies automatically. If it exceeds this amount then the remittance basis must be claimed.

If unremitted foreign income is over £2,000 then the remittance basis can still be claimed, but at a cost (depending on circumstances costs are £30,000 or £60,000).

For more information on UK residence, please click here.

The UK Start-up Visa

The earliest an individual can apply for a Start-up visa is 3 months before travelling to the UK.

It usually takes 3 weeks for a decision to be made and the visa is valid for 2 years.

Individuals can apply for a Start-up visa if they:

  • want to set up a business in the UK,
  • are from outside the EEA and Switzerland.

Initial funding is not required.

Applicants will have their business idea assessed for:

  • Innovation – genuine, original business plan
  • Viability – necessary skills to successfully run the business
  • Scalability – potential for job creation and growth into national markets

Individuals must have their business or business idea assessed by an approved body (the UK Government have issued a list of acceptable Start-up endorsing bodies), must meet the English language requirement and be able to prove that they have at least £945 in their bank account for 90 consecutive days before applying.

Applicants must be endorsed by an authorised body that is either:

  • a UK higher education institution
  • a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs.

Applicants will need to meet an English language requirement at Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, and may also need to attend an interview to discuss the business venture.

The UK Start-up Visa

In terms of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), the Start-up visa will not lead to this directly, however applicants do have the option of applying to continue their business venture(s) and extend their immigration status in the UK for longer by applying for an Innovator visa.

  • Benefits
  • Financial/Other Obligations
  • Additional Criteria

The UK Innovator Visa

The Innovator visa is valid for 3 years.

Settlement in the UK.

Visa-free travel to over 170 countries once British passport obtained.

Individuals resident but not domiciled in the UK are eligible to pay tax on a remittance basis.

Please note, anyone who has had UK residence for more than 15 of the previous 20 tax years, will not be able to enjoy the remittance basis and so will be taxed in the UK on a worldwide basis for income and capital gains tax purposes.

There is no tax on the gains and income that arise from funds retained outside the UK, as long as the income and gains are not brought into or remitted to the UK.

In addition, clean capital (i.e. income and gains earned outside of the UK before the individual became resident, that have not been added to since the individual became resident in the UK) can be remitted to the UK with no further UK tax consequences.

If unremitted foreign income and/or gains is less than £2,000 at the end of the tax year (6 April to the following 5 April), the remittance basis applies automatically. If it exceeds this amount then the remittance basis must be claimed.

If unremitted foreign income is over £2,000 then the remittance basis can still be claimed, but at a cost (depending on circumstances costs are £30,000 or £60,000).

For more information on UK residence, please click here.

The UK Innovator Visa

An initial capital of £50,000 from any legitimate source is generally required, however this is not the case if the individual is progressing from a Start-up visa and has achieved significant elements of their business plan (if there is more than one team member, individuals cannot rely on the same £50,000 funds).

The above ‘Financial/Other Obligations’ relating to the UK Start-up visa apply, and an “Innovator” requires to be endorsed. Business ideas will continue to be assessed for:

  • Innovation
  • Viability
  • Scalability

In this context, scalability looks at growth into international markets.

The UK Innovator Visa

After 3 years, the ‘Innovator’ can become eligible to apply for ILR, if endorsed by an approved endorsing body and the individual can meet a minimum of 2 requirements:

At least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in the applicant’s previous endorsement.

  • The number of the business’ customers has doubled within the most recent 3 years and is currently higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services.
  • The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK.
  • The business is generating a minimum annual gross revenue of £500,000 in the last full year covered by its accounts, with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas.
    The business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for “resident workers”.
  • The business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full-time jobs for “resident workers”, which have an average salary of at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding any expenses).

Download Full List of Programmes – Benefits & Criteria (PDF)

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