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

This visa category can lead to permanent settlement in the UK, and the opportunity to apply for British citizenship.

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

The visa can be applied for up to 3 months before the intended date of travel to the UK, and usually takes up to 3 weeks to a decision to be made.

In many cases, the visa validity is:

  • Up to 3 years and 4 months for initial visas; and
  • Up to 2 years for Extension visas.

Broadly speaking, the main visa requirements are:

  • Availability of a minimum of £2 million to invest.
  • The money has been held for at least 2 years continuously prior to the visa application (although there are exceptions).
  • The money is in the UK or is freely transferable to the UK.
  • A UK bank account has been opened.
  • The money will be invested and maintained in qualifying UK investments.

Once the initial visa has been granted, there are strict time limits to investing the money, and funds must remain invested throughout to be eligible to make subsequent applications, up to and including applying for permanent settlement.

For the purposes of this visa category, qualifying UK investments no longer include property (services) or real estate.

There is no limit to the number of times an Extension visa can be applied for, but the visa requirement must be met every time.

There is no English language requirement for the Initial and Extension visa applications, but it becomes a requirements at the permanent settlement “stage”.

The UK Investment Visa

This visa category is open to applications from non-British/Irish citizens.

One of the most flexible visa categories in the UK. Visa holders and their dependants (e.g. partner and children under 18) will be able to live, work (including being self-employed), and study in the UK with very few restrictions.

Applicants can apply for permanent settlement if they meet all the requirements, after:

  • 5  years (minimum investment of £2 million)
  • 3 years (minimum investment of £5 million)
  • 2 years (minimum investment of £10 million)

The funds must remain invested in qualifying UK investments throughout the entire relevant period mentioned above.

Dependants can only apply for permanent settlement after 5 years. Other requirements apply.

There is a minimum residence period. Main applicants and partners cannot be absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period, over the relevant period mentioned above.

Applicants can apply for British citizenship if they meet all the requirements, including:

  • Having permanent settlement for at least 12 months
  • Having no more than 450 days’ absence from the UK in the previous 5 years prior to the date of application

There are other requirements, and the time limits are different if applicants are married to, or in, a civil partnership with a British citizen.

  • Benefits
  • Financial/Other Obligations
  • Additional Criteria

The UK Start-up Visa

This visa category does not lead to permanent settlement in the UK, or the opportunity to apply for British citizenship.

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 visa can be applied for up to 3 months before the intended date of travel to the UK, and usually takes 3 weeks for a decision to be made.

The visa validity is:

  • a maximum of 2 years.

Applicants require to have their business idea approved by an Endorsing Body who will assess for:

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

Once the business ideas has been “approved”, it is possible to apply for the visa. Broadly speaking, the main visa requirements are:

  • Meeting the English language requirement.
  • Holding adequate maintenance funds – a minimum of £1,270 for at least 28 days consecutively before the date of the visa application.
  • Continued endorsement throughout the validity of the visa.

Initial funding is not required.

The UK Start-up Visa

This visa category is open to applications from non-British/Irish citizens.

Visa holders can start-up and run their own business, as well as seek employment. It is not possible to join a business.

Dependants (e.g. partner and children under 18) will be able to live, work (including being self-employed), and study in the UK with very few restrictions.

It is not possible to:

  • be in this visa category for more than 2 years
  • apply for permanent settlement

However, applicants do have the option of applying to continue their business venture(s) and extend their immigration status in the UK for longer, for example by applying for an Innovator visa (please see the Innovator visa category).

  • Benefits
  • Financial/Other Obligations
  • Additional Criteria

The UK Innovator Visa

This visa category can lead to permanent settlement in the UK, and the opportunity to apply for British citizenship.

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

The visa can be applied for up to 3 months before the intended date of travel to the UK, and usually takes up to 3 months for a decision to be made.

The visa validity is:

  • Up to 3 years for Initial visas; and
  • Up to 3 years for Extension visas

The ‘Financial/Other Obligations’ criteria relating to the UK Start-up visa apply, and an “Innovator” also requires to be endorsed.

In this context of scalability, this looks at potential for job creation and growth into international markets.

In most cases, a minimum of £50,000 initial funding is required. If applying as a business team, the same £50,000 cannot be relied upon by more than one team member.

The minimum initial funding is in addition to the adequate maintenance funds.

There is no limit to the number of times an Extension visa can be applied for, but the visa requirements must be met every time.

The UK Innovator Visa

This visa category is open to applications from non-British/Irish citizens.

Visa holders can start-up and run their own business only. It is not possible to join a business.

Dependants (e.g. partner and children under 18) will be able to live, work (including being self-employed), and study in the UK with very few restrictions.

Main applicants can apply for permanent settlement after 3 years if they continue to be endorsed and meet at least 2 of the 7 specific requirements. For example:

  • At least £50,000 has been invested into the business and actively spent furthering the business
  • The business has created the equivalent of at least 10 full-time jobs for “resident workers”.

Dependants can only apply for permanent settlement after 5 years. Other requirements apply.

There is a minimum residence period. Main applicants and partners cannot be absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period, over the previous 3-year period.

Applicants can apply for British citizenship – please see the “Additional Criteria” relating to the UK Tier 1 (Investor) visa.

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

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