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An overview of Tier 1 Investor Visas

As COVID-19 restrictions are eased, businesses throughout the UK are getting back on their feet and new opportunities for investment are appearing once more.  

High net worth individuals based overseas who are looking to take advantage of such opportunities may do so by applying for  Tier 1 Investor visas. This visa allows individuals with sufficient investment funds to invest in existing UK companies, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.  

Why choose an Investor visa?  

A Tier 1 Investor visa offers high net worth individuals greater flexibility than alternative options such as the Start Up or Innovator visas, allowing them to invest in already established companies without the need to create their own unique business modelThis means there is no requirement for an endorsement from a government-approved organisation to begin investing. Other notable differences between the visas include:  

  Investor   Start Up   Innovator 
Length of stay   3 years 4 months 

Option to extend for further 2 years 

2 years  

No option to extend  

3 years 

Option to extend for 3 years 

Allowed to work?  Yes  Yes  Not outside of own business 
Requirement for endorsement?   No   Yes   Yes 
Requirement for new, innovative and viable business idea?   No   Yes  Yes 
Ability to settle?   Yes  after 2 to 5 years depending on level of investment  No   Yes – after 3 years if satisfying other requirements 
Language requirement?  No   Yes  Yes 

 Eligibility criteria  

To apply for the Tier 1 Investor visa, an individual must have £2,000,000 in available investment funds; and meet the following criteria:  

  • Be over 18 years of age;  
  • Prove the funds belong to them, their husband, wife or same sex partner, or their unmarried partner; and 
  • Have opened an account at a UK regulated bank to use for the funds.  

The entirety of the investment funds must be free to spend in the UK and be held in one or more regulated financial institutions. The individual will be required to provide UK Visas and Immigration with written confirmation from regulated UK bank verifying that an investment account has been opened for the purpose of holding the £2,000,000 in investment funds.   

Why choose an Investor visa?


As with any application for a UK visa, there are multiple documents that individuals will need to provide to UK Visas and Immigration. For a Tier 1 Investor visa, this will include:  

  • A current passport or valid travel identification;  
  • If required, tuberculosis test results;  
  • A criminal record certificate from any country the individual has been resident in for a total of 12 months in the last 10 years.  

Individuals will also be required to provide evidence of their investment funds. They should be able to provide documents that show how much money they have, and where these funds are being held. They will also need to evidence the origin of the funds if the money has been held for less than 2 years, and prove the funds can be transferred to the UK if held overseas.  

Where the investment funds belong to the individual’s partner, they must either produce a marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate, or where unmarried, provide evidence that the relationship is genuine and has subsisted for at least 2 years. They must also have a signed statement from their partner confirming they can control the funds, and an accompanying letter from a legal adviser that confirms the statement is valid.  


Given the information and numerous document requirements for a Tier 1 Investor visa, it is advisable to instruct a specialist UK immigration lawyer when completing the application.  

Should you need any assistance or advice on applying for an Investor visa, or any queries regarding the alternatives, our UK Immigration team at Clarkslegal is more than happy to assist.  

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This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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