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Tier 1 (Investor) migrants are high net worth individuals, who are capable of making an investment of £2 million in UK government bonds, share or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies.

Applicants in this category are not required to meet any English language requirement at the time of making the application nor do they need to satisfy any requirement as to maintenance.

The investment of at least £2 million must be made within 3 months of a successful applicant’s arrival in the UK. Failure to do so will entitle the Home Office to withdraw the leave to remain granted under this visa category.

Applicants in this group are not permitted to be absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 calendar months. As such they will become resident in the UK for tax purposes and subject to UK tax.

The more you are able to invest the quicker you will obtain permanent residency. There are 3 qualifying periods for applicants on this visa route

Investment Settlement
£2 million 5 years
£5 million 3 years
£10 million 2 years

However, any dependants of the main investor would still have to live in the UK for at least 5 years before they can apply to settle. Also at present accelerated settlement, does not affect naturalisation, therefore you will still need to complete 5 years residence to be entitled to apply for British nationality.


This used to be a route for those individuals who were seeking to establish a business in the UK or to take over an existing business within the UK. Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route was closed to new applicants on 29 March 2019. In its place, the new Innovator visa has been launched.


The applicant will need to have access to £50,000 of investment for a new business and to have a letter of endorsement from an endorsing body. The government has a list of organisations (‘endorsing bodies’) that are authorised to provide such endorsements. The endorsing bodies will assess an applicant’s business plan based on three criteria:

  • Innovation;
  • Viability; and
  • Scalability.

The applicant may not be absent in the UK for more than 180 days in any given year. An applicant may apply for settlement, provided a minimum of two of the following requirements are met:

  • At least £50,000 has been invested and actively spent furthering the business plan assessed in the applicant’s previous endorsement;
  • The number of the business’ customers has at least doubled in the 3 years and is higher than the mean number of customers for other UK businesses offering comparable main products or services;
  • The business has engaged in significant research and development activity and has applied for intellectual property protection in the UK;
  • The business has generated gross revenue of at least £1 million in the last full year;
  • The business is generating at least £500,000 in revenue with at least £100,000 from exporting overseas;
  • The business has created at least 10 full time jobs for resident workers for a period of 12 months;
  • The business has created the equivalent of at least 5 full time jobs for resident workers paying on average at least £25,000 a year (gross pay, excluding expenses) for a period of 12 months.


Start-up category is for early-stage but ambitious entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the UK for the first time. This visa will allow applicants to take on work outside of their businesses, to support themselves, given they spend the majority of their time growing their businesses.

There is no requirement for funds. However, the applicants will have to be endorsed by an approved body (this can either be a university with the right to provide endorsements in this category or one of the authorised organisations) and must satisfy the minimum English language requirement.

Similar to Innovator Visa, the endorsement letter will have to assess the applicant’s business against 3 key criteria (as above).

Successful applicants will be granted a leave for 2 years and can apply to switch to a different visa category, such as Innovator visa (above) but cannot apply to extend this visa.


This category is for individuals who have been offered a skilled job in the UK. Employers will have to have a sponsorship licence i.e. be authorised to hire individuals from outside the EEA and Switzerland. If your employer would like to offer a job to you but they do not have the sponsorship licence, we can assist in applying for a sponsorship licence on their behalf (please see sponsorship licence application section).


This category applies to those wishing to develop a business idea immediately upon graduating. Applications for this category will close on 5 July 2019 and this route will be replaced by Start-up visas (above).

If you already hold a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa and you are looking to extend it, you may have a choice between switching to Tier 1 Entrepreneur or the Innovator visa/start up visa, depending on your circumstances.


This category is for or exceptionally talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology, fashion, architecture, the arts, film and television. You will need a letter of endorsement from an authorised body depending on your area of talent.

Make an Enquiry

For more information or to arrange a free, no-obligation discussion about your circumstances, please make an enquiry or contact our immigration law team on +44 (0)20 7632 1446.