The Investor Visa Programme
Under the Investor Visa Programme, non-EU nationals may remain in the United Kingdom if they are willing to invest at least £2 million in Britain’s economy.
Permanent Residence (i.e. Indefinite Leave to Remain) may be applied for after a continuous period of time, the length of which depends on the level of the applicant’s investment. With a £2 million investment, applicants must reside in the United Kingdom for 5 years before they can obtain Permanent Residence. With a £5 million investment, applicants need only reside in the United Kingdom for 3 years before they can obtain Permanent Residence. Finally, with an investment of £10 million, Permanent Residence may be obtained after only 2 years.
Importantly, Permanent Residence will only be issued under the circumstances noted above if the applicant passes the ‘Life in the UK’ test and the Government’s English language test (or equivalent), and if the applicant can demonstrate that he or she was not outside of the United Kingdom for more than 180 days in a period of 12 months.
Once applicants have legally resided in the United Kingdom for 5 years, they may be eligible to apply for citizenship.
Applications for the Investor Visa must be made from the applicant’s original country of residence. The application is made under Tier 1 of the UK points-based system, and requires that applicants score sufficient points based on their investment funds.
Applicants may apply for a visa up to 3 months before their date of travel to the United Kingdom. The decision on whether to issue an investor visa is made in around 3 weeks.