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Page UK Citizenship by Investment: Become a British Citizen

The United Kingdom is a popular destination for individuals seeking to invest in a country’s economy and obtain citizenship through investment. British citizenship offers numerous benefits, including access to world-class education and healthcare systems as well as the ability to live and work in the UK.

To learn more about UK Citizenship via investment, reach out to one of our immigration advisors. Call us on (+44) 333 4149244 or contact us online today.

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Gaining Citizenship by Investment

Citizenship by investment, also known as investment migration or economic citizenship, is a process that allows individuals to obtain citizenship by making a significant investment in a country’s economy and infrastructure.

Currently, the UK does not offer a direct citizenship by investment route. However, there are a number of options that could eventually lead to citizenship in the UK.

Investing in the UK and Possible Routes to British Citizenship

By opting for an investment visa route it can, in the long-term lead, to British citizenship as you can be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) status if you remain in the UK on a qualifying visa.

Once you have then lived in the UK as a person with ILR status for a qualifying period then you can apply for British citizenship and eventually a British passport.

What Visas are Available to Investors?

The three types of UK visas that can help you get UK citizenship are:

  1. Investor Visa
  2. Innovator Visa
  3. Start-up Visa

Please note the Investor Visa, also known as the Tier 1 Investment Visa, is closed to new applicants.

Current Investor Visa holders can apply to extend the visa and their time in the UK will count towards any future ILR application.

Extending/Renewing the Investor Visa

The Tier 1 Investor visa was a specialised investment visa scheme that allowed individuals and their dependents to reside in the UK. This route was closed to new applicants in 2022. 

However, anyone applying to extend their visa must continue to live in the UK and maintain the required level of investment while an Investor Visa holder.

The minimum investment level required for the Investor Visa was at least £2 million. Although those investing £5 million or more are able to qualify for permanent residence in a shorter time frame – three years compared to five years.

Extending the Investor Visa can take up to 8 weeks to process, although there is the option of applying via the priority service. This reduces the waiting time to 5 working days or less after attending an appointment with the UK Visa & Immigration Service.

However, there can often be delays to an extension application as the requirements for the type of acceptable investment requirements can be complicated.

Investor Visa holders applying to extend their visa are able to remain in the UK during the process and do not need to return to their home country – as long as they made the renewal application before their current visa expired.

The cost of renewing an Investor Visa is £1,623 – this is in addition to the NHS surcharge that is required to access medical treatment within the UK.

Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on UK Citizenship by Investment.

Innovator Visa

The Innovator Visa is specifically designed for entrepreneurs. By investing a minimum of £50,000 into a business, holders are eligible to reside in the UK to carry out business activities.

This visa can also be a route towards becoming eligible for ILR status and eventually British citizenship and a British passport.

Permanent Residence Requirements for Innovator Visa Holders

To begin the route to permanent residence in the UK via the Innovator Visa you should ensure your application means the following requirements:

  • You must have a viable business plan
  • You can create your own company or form a team with other investors, with each individual contributing at least £50,000
  • You must maintain this investment for five years to become eligible for ILR
  • To be eligible for a visa extension after three years and four months, maintenance of an investment of £50,000 is mandatory.
  • Being an active participant in the business is essential and you must take all the responsibility for your business.
  • It is required to employ at least two workers via the business to ensure you are generating employment opportunities in the country
  • Registering your business with an endorsing body in the UK is compulsory. . The endorsing body responsible for assessing and endorsing your business plan must hold a valid licence. If the endorsing body loses its licence, you must reapply to another body from the government list.

How Many Times Can the Innovator Visa be Extended?

The initial visa for innovators is valid for a period of three years and four months, with the option to extend it an unlimited number of times, each time for three years.

Any dependents accompanying an Innovator Visa holder can also apply to extend for the same time period.

Applying for Permanent Residence with an Innovator Visa

After being in the UK for three years, innovators and their families can apply for permanent residency and eventually become British passport holders.

Startup Visa: An Option With Zero Investment

The Startup Visa is a category under the UK’s Points-Based System designed for entrepreneurs who want to start a new business in the UK for the first time.

You must have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea that has been endorsed by an approved endorsing body in the UK.

Once you have been granted the Startup Visa, you can stay in the UK for up to two years to establish and develop your business.

After two years, you may be eligible to switch to the Innovator Visa, which allows you to stay in the UK for a further three years and is designed for more experienced entrepreneurs.

Pathway to UK Citizenship

Overview

ILR is a permanent status that individuals receive once granted. However, if a person with ILR leaves the UK for two consecutive years while still holding ILR, this status can be cancelled.

Holders of ILR have the option to apply for British Citizenship. British Citizenship offers several benefits;

  • Having a British passport.
  • The right to vote in UK elections.
  • The ability to be absent from the UK for any period while still maintaining dual citizenship.

When Do I Become Eligible to Obtain British Citizenship?

To be eligible for obtaining British Citizenship, you must first be a permanent resident for one year. During the five years before your naturalisation application, you should not have spent more than 450 days outside the UK and no more than 90 days in the last 12 months.

Adult applicants must demonstrate their knowledge of English and pass the Life in the UK test. All applicants must have a clean criminal record certificate and administrative record.

You must be at least 18 years old and provide evidence that you were in the UK five years before the Home Office receives your application.

You must intend to continue living in the UK and demonstrate good character per the naturalisation guidance.

How much does a UK Citizenship Application Cost?

The cost of applying for UK citizenship is £ 1,330. This fee covers the application processing costs and you will also be required to provide biometric information, including fingerprints and a photo.

If you have any questions about UK Citizenship by Investment, our team is happy to assist.

How Can IAS Help?

Exploring visa options and consulting with immigration experts is crucial for anyone seeking to travel or relocate to a foreign country. This can help ensure that the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible and that you are fully aware of your rights and obligations in the host country.

Immigration Advice Service can access up-to-date information on investor visa requirements, application procedures, and any changes to immigration policies. We can help you avoid costly mistakes or delays that could impact your move to the United Kingdom.

IAS offers a range of services to support your visa and citizenship applications, including guidance on common mistakes to avoid and how to prepare for interviews.

Our team of experienced advisors can help you navigate the complex application process step-by-step, ensuring that you complete all necessary paperwork accurately and on time.

Contact us today at (+44) 333 4149244 or online to learn more about our services and how we can help you with your application process for British Citizenship by investment.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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