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UK Investor Visa for South Africans

If you have at least £2,000,000 to invest in the UK, you could be eligible for the Investor Visa. This immigration permission offers particularly favourable immigration conditions.

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UK Investor Visa

The Tier 1 Investor Visa is a UK immigration permission designed for those with large sums of money to invest in the UK. It is available to those who have at least £2,000,000 in funds available to invest in active and trading UK businesses.

The funds must be held in one or more regulated financial institutions and the funds must be free to spend (disposable) in the UK.

The Investor Visa is an immigration permission offering particularly attractive benefits, including the possibility to apply for UK settlement after just two years of UK residence in some cases.

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UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Eligibility

In order to be eligible for the Investor Visa, you will need to be able to fulfil a number of requirements. The most fundamental requirement is that you have at least £2,000,000 in investment funds and that you have access to the money.

You will also need to meet the following conditions:

  • Must be 18-years-old or over
  • Must be able to prove that the money belongs to either you, your spouse/civil partner or your unmarried partner
  • Must have opened an account at a UK regulated bank to use the funds

Your funds must be held in one (or more) regulated financial institutions and the funds must be disposable. The money can be in the UK or overseas when you make your UK Investor Visa application.

Evidence of Investment Funds

If you wish to invest your own money, you will need to show evidence of the sum of money you have and where the money came from.

If you plan to use your partner’s money, you must provide the following information with your application:

  • A certificate of marriage/civil partnership
  • If you are not married, you must provide evidence which demonstrate that you have been in a long-term and committed relationship for at least two years
  • A statement from your partner which confirms that they have given permission for you to use the funds. This statement must be accompanied by a letter from a legal advisor, confirming the validity of the declaration

The Business Requirement

As well as the financial requirement itself, it is imperative that the business which you wish to invest in is an active and trading one and is officially registered in the UK.

You will need to ensure that:

  • Your UK business has been registered with Companies House in the UK
  • Your UK business has at least two UK-based employees (in addition to directors)
  • Your investing business has registered with HM Revenue and Customs for corporation tax and PAYE purposes
  • Your UK business has registered UK bank accounts

Required Evidence of UK Bank Account

To meet the investor permit requirements, you must provide a letter with your application from a UK regulated bank, which confirms that your funds are disposable and available for your investment.

The documents must:

  • Be dated within three months of the date of the application
  • Have been issued by an authorised official
  • Confirm that you have opened a bank account
  • Confirm that the bank has carried out checks for money laundering

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Required Documents for UK Investor Visa

You will need to provide certain information and documents with your Investor Visa application to show proof of your eligibility for the visa.

The specific documentation which you will need to provide depends on your particular circumstances. Some of the information which you will need to provide includes:

  • Your passport or another identification document
  • A criminal record certificate from any country which you have stayed in for at least twelve months over the previous ten years
  • A portfolio of your investments (if available)
  • Bank documents and/or statements from a regulated UK bank, including confirmation that you have a valid bank account to use your funds
  • Tuberculosis test results (if needed)
  • A certificate of marriage or civil partnership if you will be using your partner’s money

If any of your documents are not in English or Welsh, they must be translated by an accredited translator. You must include both the original and translated documents in your portfolio of evidence.

UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Fees and Application Process

You must apply online for the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa. The current fee for an Investor Visa application is £1,623.  You will also need to pay £624 per year for the immigration health surcharge as an Investor Visa holder. The cost of any translation fees is something to keep in mind too.

You can expect to receive a decision within twelve weeks of the submission of your application. If there are any problems with your application, such as an insufficient portfolio of evidence, the processing of your application will be delayed. UK immigration officials may request additional documentation in these circumstances.

As part of the application process, you will need to have your fingerprints and photograph (biometric information) taken at a visa application centre in South Africa. This costs an additional £19.20.

When you arrive in the UK, you will need to collect your biometric residence permit within the first ten days of the date you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if the date you arrive in the UK is later).

The UK Investor Visa application requires applicants to provide substantial evidence to prove their eligibility for this exclusive visa. Our UK immigration lawyers are highly experienced in Tier 1 Visa applications, and we understand what it takes to formulate a successful application. To find out more about our specialist application package, please call us now on 0333 305 3612.

Can I Include Dependents in my Application?

Yes, certain family members will be able to join you as dependents in the UK. A dependent can be:

  • Your spouse/civil partner/long-term partner
  • A child under 18
  • A child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependent

A dependent family member must provide a criminal record certificate from any country they have lived in for at least twelve months in the last ten years.

They will also need to complete an application online and have their biometric information taken. The application fee is £1,623, just as it is for Investor Visa applicants themselves.

How Long Can I Stay in the UK Under an Investor Visa?

The Investor Visa is valid for a maximum 3 years and 4 months. You can apply for an Investor Visa extension before your original visa expires, which will be valid for a further two years.

If you got your Investor Visa on or after 6th November 2014, you will need to prove that you:

  • Have access to at least £2,000,000 under your control in the UK
  • Have invested those funds in share capital or loan capital in active UK companies
  • Have invested this sum within three months of your ‘investor start date’

It costs £1,623 to extend the Investor Visa and you will also need to still pay the annual immigration health surcharge.

Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for the UK Investor Visa. Contact us

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Applying for UK Settlement

One of the main benefits of the Investor Visa is that it offers particularly favourable conditions towards UK settlement. Under certain circumstances, you could be eligible for UK settlement, otherwise known as Indefinite Leave to Remain, after just two years of residence.

The rules for Indefinite Leave to Remain for Investor Visa holders are as follows:

  • Apply to settle after two years if you invest £10 million
  • Apply to settle after three years if you invest £5 million
  • Apply to settle after five years if you invest £2 million

When Can I Apply for British Citizenship?

You can apply for British citizenship after you have lived in the UK for at least twelve months under Indefinite Leave to Remain status.

As explained above, the time after which you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain depends on how much money you invested in the UK.

Provided your circumstances haven’t changed significantly, you will be eligible for British citizenship after:

  • Three years of UK residency if invested £10 million
  • Four years of UK residency if invested £5 million
  • Six years of UK residency if invested £2 million

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Frequently Asked Questions

The application fee is currently £1,623. Any dependents who are joining the applicant in the UK will also need to pay £1,623 for their application.

In most circumstances, you can expect to receive a decision on a UK Investor Visa within twelve weeks of submitting the application.

If your funds have not been held in your bank account for at least two years, the UKVI will require detailed evidence about the source of your funds.

Generally speaking, the following sources will be accepted:

  • A sale, provided you can show a detailed deed of the sale of the assets
  • Gifts, provided you have official documents from a legal advisor which confirm the relationship between you and the person giving you the funds and that the money transfer is irrevocable
  • Business financial accounts
  • A will, if you hold a notarised copy of the will
  • Divorce settlement, if you have evidence of a notarised copy of the divorce terms
  • Financial winnings or award

Your ‘investor start date’ is one of the following:

  • The date you entered the UK (provided you have proof of this)
  • The date your visa application was approved
  • The date you officially switched from a different UK visa

There are certain things which you cannot do under a Tier 1 Investor Visa:

  • You cannot access public funds
  • You cannot work as professional sportsperson or coach
  • You cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training, unless specific conditions apply