Investor visa qualifying investments

We set out the Tier 1 Investor visa qualifying investments and evidence needed to secure entry clearance to the UK.

Background

The Tier 1 investor visa permits high net worth individuals to enter the United Kingdom (UK) on the basis of their substantive financial investment in the UK

There are a number of advantages to the Tier 1 investor visa. They include:

  • A path to settlement or indefinite leave to remain.
  • A path to British citizenship.
  • Accelerated path to settlement and citizenship depending on the level of investment funds.
  • The right to work or study in the UK.
  • The ability to sponsor dependant family members.

It is also possible to switch into the Tier 1 Investor visa route if you hold a highly skilled worker visa, student visa or another qualifying visa.

The downside is that the rules around Tier 1 Investor visa qualifying investments can be less than straightforward.

If you would like assistance with protecting your status in the UK, or if you have any questions, contact us now at [email protected] or on +44 (0) 203 488 1061.

Requirements

To secure entry clearance as a Tier 1 Investor, as per paragraphs 245EB to 245EC of the Immigration Rules, the applicant must score 75 points for attributes.

Points will be awarded where the Tier 1 Investor applicant demonstrates that:

  • They have funds of their own, under their control, held in a regulated financial institution and disposable in the UK, amounting to not less than £2million
  • They have opened an account with a UK regulated bank for the purposes of investing not less than £2million in the UK.

If the funds are held in an overseas currency, care must be taken to ensure that the funds convert to a minimum of £2million GDP on the date of submission of the application, by way of the prescribed calculations.   

The funds of £2million may be belong to the applicant, and if so, the applicant must have an unrestricted right to transfer and dispose of the funds. They funds may also belong to their spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner, or be held jointly with their partner. If so, the applicant must evidence their relationship to their partner and provide permission from their partner of the applicant’s right to control the funds in the UK. The latter should be accompanied by written confirmation, from a from a legal adviser, of the validity of the partner’s declaration.

In addition, the applicant must:

  • Provide unconditional written consent of the sponsoring government or agency if they have or were last granted leave as a student or Child Student and are or were sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency.
  • Provide an overseas criminal records certificate, where applicable.
  • Not fall for refusal under the general reasons for refusal.

Qualifying investments considerations

On submission of the application for entry into the UK as a Tier 1 Investor, the Entry Clearance Officer will consider the applicant’s access to the investment funds. In particular, the Entry Clearance Officer must not have reasonable grounds to believe that:

  • The applicant is not in control and at liberty to freely invest the investment funds.
  • The funds have been acquired by means which would be unlawful in the UK or would constitute unlawful conduct if it occurred in the UK.
  • The funds have been transferred internationally to the UK by means which are unlawful in any of the countries involved.
  • The character, conduct or associations of a third party providing the funds are such that approval of the application would not be conducive to the public good.

Where the Entry Clearance Officer has reasonable grounds to believe that one of the above applies, zero points will be awarded for attributes leading the application to fail.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) provide the following examples to their Entry Clearance Officer, where they may have reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant or investment funds do not meet the requirements to be awarded points. They are:

Example 1: The applicant is subject to financial sanctions yet have failed to provide additional proof from the relevant official body that they are authorised to transfer funds to the UK. If so, the funds will not be deemed to be freely transferrable.

Example 2: Where the applicant has been gifted funds by a third party who has been accused of serious fraud in their home country.

Example 3: The applicant is currently a domestic worker for a third party, the third party is intending to base themselves in the UK and the applicant will remain in the third party’s employment if they are approved under the Tier 1 Investor category.

Example 4: Criminality checks show that the funds held by the applicant are likely to be the proceeds of criminal activities.

Therefore, the applicant must clearly evidence the source of the investment funds and that they have control of the funds.

Qualifying investments

The following sources of funds will meet the Tier 1 Investor visa qualifying investments criteria:

  • Gifts.
  • Deed of Sale.
  • Evidence from a business.
  • Will.
  • Divorce settlement.
  • Award or winnings.

Other funds may qualify, though all sources of funds must be supported by documentary evidence.

Non-qualifying investments

UKVI clearly state that an applicant may not use assets or possessions such as property as evidence of investment funds for the application for entry clearance. This often causes a great deal of concern for clients that hold large residential and commercial property portfolios in the UK.

Evidence of Tier 1 Investor visa qualifying investments

We have talked a lot about evidence but let us focus on what that actually means in more detail.

To secure a Tier 1 Investor visa, the applicant must provide at least one of the following pieces of evidence:

  • A portfolio report or letter of investments produced by a UK financial institution.
  • A portfolio report or letter of investments produced by someone not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) with documentary evidence of the holdings used in the application.
  • Personal bank statements or a letter from a regulated bank.

Different sources of funds may attract specific pieces of evidence. In summary:

Gift

The applicant must submit:

  • An irrevocable memorandum of gift, or an official document that confirms the investment funds are not expected to be returned to the person that gave the gift of funds. Details about the person that gave the gift and their legal ownership prior to the transfer must also be included.
  • A letter from a legal adviser practicing in the country where the gift was made. The legal adviser must set out details of the gift and confirm that the irrevocable memorandum of gift is valid and binding on the applicant and person that gave the gift, according to the laws of the country with jurisdiction.

The applicant must show that money was given to them and/ or their spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner within 2 years immediately preceding the application date. If more significant funds are to be used in the application, the applicant need not have held the funds within 2 years.

The applicant must submit:

Deed of Sale

  • A deed of sale of the asset, such as a business or property, assuming the applicant had generated these funds within the 2 years immediately preceding the date of application.
  • A letter from a legal adviser practicing in the country where the sale was made. The legal adviser must set out details of the sale and confirm that the sale was genuine and valid and that the funds are available to the applicant to invest.

The Entry Clearance Officer will make checks to satisfy themselves that the information provided is correct.

Evidence from a business

The applicant must provide:

  • The applicant’s, or their partner’s or joint business accounts, such as a profit and loss account, or income and expenditure account if the business is not trading for profit.
  • A letter from a legal adviser practicing in the country where the business operates. The legal adviser must set out details of the business and confirm that the applicant may lawfully extract the money from the business.

Will

The applicant must provide:

  • Evidence that the applicant, or their partner or that they were joint beneficiary of a will within the 2 years immediately preceding the application date.
  • A notarised copy of the will.
  • A letter from a legal adviser practicing in the country where the will was made operates. The legal adviser must set out details of the will and confirm its validity.

Divorce settlement

The applicant must provide:

  • A notarised copy of a financial agreement of the applicant or their partner for the funds received from a divorce settlement, within the 2 years immediately preceding the application date.
  • A letter from a legal adviser practicing in the country where the divorce took place. The legal adviser must set out details of the divorcees, settlement and funds received.

Award or winnings

The applicant must provide:

  • A letter from the organisation that issued the award or winnings, and which declares the award or winning to be genuine.
  • A letter from a legal adviser practicing in the country in which the award or winnings was made.  The legal adviser must set out details of the award or winnings, such as the amount and that the matter is genuine.

Other

Tier 1 Investor visa qualifying investments extends to other investments. An applicant may have been awarded funds as the result of defamation court ruling or court order. For other sources of investment funds, the applicant must provide:

  • Documentary evidence of the source of funds.
  • Independent source of funds.
  • Where possible, a letter from a legal adviser practicing in the country in which the sourced derived. The legal adviser should set out details of the source of funds such as the amount and the source is genuine and in the control of the applicant or their partner or both.

The Entry Clearance Officer will wish to satisfy themselves that the applicant lawfully holds at least £2million, as outlined above. If necessary, UKVI will make checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Conclusion

There are several factors that make the Tier 1 Investor visa desirable for high-net-worth individuals, providing that the applicant properly demonstrates that they hold the qualifying investments. This is critical and a key reason for the refusal of Tier 1 Investor visas to enter the UK. An assessment of your prospects of qualifying for a Tier 1 Investor visa and a review of the Tier 1 Investor visa qualifying investments that you may hold, can be greatly beneficial. We also offer professional immigration assistance with preparing a visa application, to help the process go as smoothly as possible.


Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families.

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If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or help with applying for a visa, feel free to contact us. Our processes are tried and tested and have proven successful. Yet, we offer an individual touch when assisting you and presenting the matter to UKVI.

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