The Tier 1 Investor visa is not for everybody: the starting point is that you have at least £2 million or equivalent in foreign currency in the bank (in the UK or elsewhere). Probably not everyone can meet this requirement, and you might need to start saving up.
But assuming that you do have at least £2m in the bank you then need to commit yourself to the idea of investing that money into a UK-registered company or companies. Investment can be by share capital or loan capital, so there is at least some flexibility to that extent, but nonetheless you need to be prepared to lock your money up for a few years if you want to acquire settlement on this route.
To be more precise, if you can invest £2m you will need to lock your money up for five years; if you can invest £5m for three years; and if you can invest £10m for just two years. To be able to achieve settlement in two years is pretty good, and quicker than any other working or investment route. Another attractive thing about this visa is that there is no English language requirement for initial or extension applicants.
And migrants in various visa categories in the UK are able to switch into the Tier 1 Investor route if they meet the relevant requirements.
So far so good, but if you are applying from outside the UK the landscape is a bit more complicated: every applicant for a Tier 1 Investor visa must already hold a UK bank account. The UK account does not have to have any particular sum of money in it (your investment funds may be held elsewhere) but you must at least have such an account.
And there is another potential difficulty, with some countries at any rate. If your investment funds are held outside the UK you must show that those funds are transferable to the UK.
Both these requirements have to be met and, if they are not, then the application cannot succeed.
And there is another requirement, which could be relevant either if you are applying from inside the UK or outside: you must provide a criminal record certificate from any country in which you have lived for 12 months or more over the last ten years to show that you are “clean” of criminal convictions. This requirement also exists for any adult dependants.
But if you are fortunate enough to have either £2, £5m or £10m in the bank and you are not sure what to do with it, and you are interested in coming to the UK or remaining in the UK as a Tier 1 Investor, we will be able to advise you.
OISC Level 3 Immigration Adviser