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Citizenship by Investment in UK

Citizenship by Investment in UK

While there is no direct citizenship by investment in the UK, you should know that you can apply for an Innovator Visa which, at first, will grant you the status of a UK resident. The UK also has the Investor Visa Scheme which can be accessed by high net worth individuals.

If you are interested in buying a golden visa, our specialists in immigration by investment can guide you. Foreign citizens can rely on us for assistance in moving to other citizenship by investment countries like the USA and Malta and other states that have such programs.

Investment citizenship options in the UK

You have a number of options besides obtaining UK citizenship as a business investor. Via business investments in the UK, you can still live, work, and eventually obtain British citizenship there.

The Home Office now anticipates applicants to play an active role in a corporate enterprise here, which is the primary distinction between the Tier 1 Investor Visa and the Closed Tier 1 Investor Visa. Under the previous investment program, obtaining a visa and settling down could be accomplished by simply investing money in UK-based businesses.

As a result, adding to or building successful and sustainable enterprises in the UK is more important than simply increasing the amount of investment funds. Some of the alternatives to the golden visa are:

  • the Innovator visa;
  • the Scale-up visa;
  • the Global talent visa;
  • the Skilled Worker visa.

Foreign citizens who want to buy a golden visa can choose the UK as their country of destination even after Brexit. The main reason to choose to relocate to the UK through the golden visa program is that there are two important residence by investment programs under which qualified persons can obtain the right to apply for British citizenship quite fast compared to other European countries.

The programs under which a foreign citizen can obtain golden passports in UK are the Tier 1 Visa for Entrepreneurs which was replaced by the Innovator Visa.

If you have difficulties in choosing the best program for you, one of our golden visa specialists can advise you. If you are interested in EU citizenship by investment, we can direct you to other countries such as Cyprus, Malta, Italy or Spain.

Who can obtain citizenship in the UK?

The programs which can lead to indirect citizenship by investment in the UK are destined for non-EU entrepreneurs who need to invest specific amounts of money in various areas of interest as designated by the government.

It must be noted that before being granted golden passports, successful candidates will first be issued temporary resident visas which can be converted into permanent residence permits.

Our agents can offer more information on the requirements to qualify as a foreign investor if you want to buy a golden visa for the UK.

The Entrepreneur Visa Scheme ended, however, the Innovator Visa Program was created. This new scheme is available under the following conditions:

  • for natural persons residing outside the EEA and Switzerland;
  • for those who want to set up a company in the UK;
  • the business idea is supported by specific institutions approved by the British Government;
  • the investors have at least 50,000 GBP to inject in the company.

It is important for the applicant to be endorsed in order to obtain such a visa which will ultimately lead to British citizenship by investment.

Another important aspect to consider when applying for citizenship in the UK in 2024 is that the candidates are required to start the process at least 3 months before the arrival in the country.

This is why it is advisable to get in touch with specialists who can assist with the preparation of the documents for buying a golden visa in the UK. Our consultants can also help those interested in moving to golden visa countries in other countries such as the USA or North Macedonia.

Eligibility conditions for the Innovator Visa in the UK in 2024

In order to obtain the Innovator Visa in the UK, a person must meet the English language requirements which imply being a B2-level English speaker. For this purpose, the applicant must pass a test and obtain a certification that will be filed together with the application.

The candidate must also provide proof of self-sustenance which implies having at least 945 GBP as living costs for 3 months in a British bank account.

Apart from these, the applicant for indirect UK citizenship by investment must meet specific endorsement requirements, which together with the lower amount to be invested represent the main differences between the new and the old program.

The applicant must submit proof of endorsement under the form of a letter from one of the approved institutions. There are several organizations that can vouch for applicants and our agents can help you find an appropriate one.

With respect to the business to invest in, it must be a new company and the object of activity must revolve around innovation. For this purpose, the applicant must provide proof that the business idea is new, viable and has great development potential.

After exiting the EU, the UK has made various changes to its visa application system in order to allow easy access to businesspersons. If you are interested in buying a golden visa with the purpose of obtaining citizenship in the UK, our agents can help you. We remind you that we can also help you access other golden visa countries.

The Investor Visa Scheme for high net worth individuals in the UK

Under this scheme, foreign citizens from non-EU and non-EEA countries can obtain residency by investment in the UK provided that:

  1. they invest at least 2 million GBP in government bonds, local companies or share capital injections;
  2. make similar investments of a higher value, among which 5 million GBP and thus obtain permanent residence after 3 years;
  3. make similar investments, but with a value of 10 million GBP if they want to settle in the UK in 2 years;
  4. foreign citizens also have the possibility of working and studying in the UK under this program.

We would also like to mention that under this program, the applicants will also be subject to a few restrictions related to making investments in real estate development companies or to apply for public funds with the UK authorities.

The other requirements which apply to the candidates of both residency by investment programs for the UK refer to having clean criminal records (this aspect will be verified by the police in the UK) and to live in the UK at least 180 days in a calendar year.

Among the advantages of the Investor and Entrepreneur Visa Schemes, we mention that no interview is required when applying for any of them. Also, the application is verified within a maximum of 6 weeks.

The main differences between residency by investment programs in the UK

There are several differences between the two programs that lead to indirect citizenship by investment in the UK. Innovator visa holders, on the other hand, are required to work in the company they have invested in. However, the Innovator Visa is cheaper to obtain.

Also, the conditions for the two programs have been improved. Those who want to apply for indirect UK citizenship by investment in 2024 can still benefit from many advantages. The program now can also be accessed by EU citizens, after the UK left the Union.

If you need advice on how to move to citizenship by investment countries as an EU citizen, we can assist you. The eligibility criteria can be explained by our local golden visa specialists.

Eligibility for permanent residency based on the Tier 1 visa in 2024

To be eligible for permanent residence or Indefinite Leave to Remain as a holder of an investor visa:

  • you have to have resided in the UK for 2, 3, or 5 years based on the investor visa; any time spent in the UK on any other kind of visa will not be taken into account for ILR.
  • you must have spent more than 180 days traveling outside of the UK in a single year.
  • within 3 months of your arrival in the UK or the day your visa was granted, you must have invested £2 million, £5 million, or £10 million (depending on when you apply for ILR) in share capital or loan capital in operating UK enterprises.
  • it is necessary that you take and pass the Life in the UK Test.

The Global Talent Visa for the UK

One of the available alternatives for securing citizenship in the UK is the Global Talent Visa. This is also an indirect pathway to citizenship, however, it comes with certain benefits.

Those who are leaders or future leaders in any of the following fields can apply for a Global Talent visa to work in the UK:

  • academics or researchers;
  • specialists in digital technologies, arts, and culture.

This is one of the fastest types of visas to obtain:

  • 3 weeks for candidates applying from outside the UK;
  • 8 weeks for those who live in the UK.

Additionally, candidates have to be at least 18 of age at the time of the application. Under this visa, one may spend a maximum of 5 years living and working in the UK. The total period of time the applicant can spend in the UK is unlimited, but when the visa expires, it needs to be renewed or extended for 1 to 5 years.

Depending on the field the visa holder works in and how he or she applies for it, one might be eligible for indefinite leave to remain, which would allow he/she to live in the UK after 3 or 5 years. The advantage of this visa is that it offers freedom to enter and exit, live, work, and study in the UK, and to apply for certain benefits.

UK citizenship based on this type of visa implies naturalization.

How to obtain residency by investment which leads to UK citizenship

Entrepreneurs interested in European golden visa countries can choose the UK, however, in order to obtain citizenship, they must first secure permanent residence. One of the simplest ways is through the innovator visa. For this purpose, one must make sure his or her application satisfies the following standards in order to start the process of permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the United Kingdom:

  • ensure a strong business strategy;
  • to qualify for ILR, the investor must keep up the investment for at least 5 years;
  • remaining eligible for a visa renewal beyond 3 years and 4 months requires keeping up a GBP 50,000 investment;
  • the owner must actively participate in the business and assume responsibility for the enterprise;
  • the company must have a minimum of 2 employees who are British citizens.

The initial innovator visa is valid for 3 years and 4 months, and it can be extended indefinitely, for an additional 3 years each time.  The holder’s dependents may also apply for an extension for the same duration.

Our golden visa agents in the UK can explain the new conditions for obtaining ILR that will ultimately lead to British citizenship.

Access to UK citizenship based on residency by investment

The ILR applicant needs to be a permanent resident for a full year before applying for British citizenship. For this purpose, the person cannot have spent more than 450 days outside of the UK in the 5 years prior to naturalization application, nor more than 90 days in the previous year.

Adult applicants must complete the Life in the UK exam and show that they are proficient in English. Every applicant must possess a clean administrative record and criminal record certificate.

Prior to the Home Office receiving the application, one must have been in the UK for 5 years and be at least 18 years old.  In accordance with the naturalization guidelines, the applicant must show excellent character and plan to stay in the UK.

At the moment, most European states that were once direct citizenship by investment countries are replacing their golden visa schemes. The UK is among those offering multiple investment visas for those seeking to relocate under such programs.

Why move to the UK for citizenship by investment?

There are many reasons to move to the UK despite the country leaving the European Union. Among these, the stable economy and its treaties with other states all over the world which offer numerous investment opportunities.

Apart from these, the UK offers a great quality of life and living standards for those who relocate here. Apart from these, under the Investor Visa, applicants can also bring family members. Moreover, depending on the amount the investor is willing to invest, access to indirect British citizenship by investment by permanent residence is possible.

From this point of view, the UK is the only country to take a progressive approach to permanent residence by investment which ultimately leads to citizenship in 2024.

If you want to obtain indirect citizenship by investment in the UK and need guidance, do not hesitate to contact us. We can also assist in buying golden visas in other countries around the world.