Invest in the UK and Gain Residency & Citizenship

In the current economic and political climate, the UK is keener than ever to attract new entrepreneurs and investors; and UK immigration for investors has never been easier.

At Investwise UK we are perfectly positioned to help you establish a business in the UK, invest in UK companies and secure a second residency and eventually citizenship for you and your family. We will help you through the investment process - from incorporating and setting up your company to applying for the visa, to helping you find existing companies to buy shares in.

Getting UK residency as an investor

Tier 1 (Investor) visa

The Tier 1 (Investor) visa programme is a form of visa designed for those with a significant amount of capital to invest in a business in the UK and enables investors and their families to enter or remain in the UK. An investor can invest share capital or loan capital into a single private company, or in their own company, or in a managed portfolio of companies listed on the UK Stock Exchange.

Whichever option you choose, the business receiving the investment must be 'active and trading', the business must not be an excluded business type, and the level of investment must be maintained.

Citizenship by Investment

Forming a holding company as a Tier 1 Investor

In order to make the permitted investment in the UK, most individuals seeking to obtain a Tier 1 Investor visa will do so by transferring investment funds into a managed portfolio of shares and/or corporate bonds issued by a carefully chosen selection of UK listed companies for the relevant period of time. As there is no 'active involvement' required on the part of the investor to be eligible for a Tier 1 visa; you will not be required to have any business experience, or to actively be involved in the running of the company. If you decide to invest by owning shares from a selection of listed companies, it might be wise to form a holding company to hold the shares.

Running your own business as a Tier 1 investor

However, some investors may prefer to invest in a single private company or their own business rather than a traditional managed portfolio. InvestWise will help you form your company, as well as act as your Company Secretaries or Nominee Directors to help you run your company, or to represent you on the board of a company that you choose to invest in.


  • Applicant must invest a minimum of £2 million in active UK companies for a period of five years.
  • Applicant must have opened a UK investment account at an FCA regulated institution
  • There are no English language requirements or language tests in the initial application (only required for subsequent residency applications)
  • There is no individual maintenance requirement
  • Applicant is required to meet good character requirements and have a clean criminal records statement.

The processing time for an investor visa is just 8 weeks if you use the standard service, and within 5 working days of your UKVCAS appointment if you use the priority service. The initial visa is granted for 3 years and 4 months and applicants can apply to extend this residency for a further 2 years. Investors can then apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years and British citizenship after 6 years. The Investor Visa has more favourable conditions than most UK Visas, and under certain circumstances, visa holders will be eligible for indefinite leave to remain (settled status) after just two years of UK residency.

  • if you invest £10 million, you can apply to settle after 2 years
  • if you invest £5 million, you can apply to settle after 3 years
  • if you invest £2 million, you can apply to settle after 5 years

Getting UK residency as an innovator

Innovator visa

The innovator visa route is an active programme designed for experienced businesspersons seeking to establish a business in the UK.

To apply for this visa, you will need to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea that is approved and supported by a registered endorsing body in the UK. You must have a genuine and original business idea that meets new or existing market needs, and demonstrate evidence of structured planning, e.g., by providing a business plan. The applicant must also provide a CV to show that they have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and market awareness to successfully run the business.

Citizenship by Investment


  • For this visa type, applicants must have an endorsement from one of the UKVI approved endorsing bodies.
  • You cannot join a business that is already trading, you will need to start a new business.
  • The business idea should be innovative - you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
  • The business idea should be viable, with potential for growth.
  • You must prove you can read, write, speak and understand English
  • You must hold a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • Applicants need to demonstrate that they have either invested or have available at least £50,000 to invest in their new business.
  • Applicants need to be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have held at least £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 days

The processing time for an investor visa is 8 weeks if made from the UK, and 3 weeks if you are outside the UK. You will need to make your visa application within 90 days of receiving your endorsement letter. Visa initially granted for 3 years, after which point it can be extended for a further 3 years.

Getting UK residency as a graduate entrepreneur

The Start-up visa is for graduates who demonstrate high entrepreneurial potential and wish to start a business in the UK for the first time. This visa category gives a great deal of flexibility; it allows a successful applicant the option to take employment alongside developing their business. An applicant must be endorsed by an endorsing body, who will also have contact point meetings with the business after six and 12 months to assess progress against the original business plan.

The Student Start-up visa is valid for 2 years, and It is not possible to extend further under the Start-up visa, but towards the expiry of the initial 2 years you may consider switching to the Innovator visa.

Citizenship by Investment


  • To apply for a Start-up Visa you must have your business idea endorsed by an authorised body, which is either a UK higher education institution or a business organisation which has a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs, who will provide you with an endorsement letter if your business is viable.
  • There are no investment funds required for the Student Start-up visa category, but depending on the type of business, an applicant may be expected to have access to funds, or plans to raise funds in the future in order to meet the viability and scalability criteria.
  • You must be at least 18 years old, and you must also meet the English language requirement
  • You must show that you have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea, and you will need to be ready to launch your business as soon as your visa is approved.
  • You will need to have a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • You must be a recent graduate of a UK university, and you can apply up to 12 months after your graduation date
  • You must have over 51% of shares in the future company or, if applying as a part of a team of two, have 50% of shares each in the future company.
  • You cannot apply for this visa if you have previously established a business in the UK.

How we can help

InvestWise UK offers a fully comprehensive service to investors and entrepreneurs wishing to invest and relocate to the UK. Our services range from providing information, to company formation, setting up offices as well as help with running the company.

Company formation and management

Order our Company Secretarial Service and form your company online, for free. We will provide you with a registered address, office addresses, arrange office space for your business, and introduce you to an accountant to provide accounting and tax advice, Payroll, VAT and Corporation Tax registration services. If you need to appoint nominee shareholders, you can add that to your order. If you need to appoint nominee directors, please call us before ordering.

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Database of companies to invest in

If you are an investor looking for UK private or listed companies to invest in, look no further. Investwise UK has access to databases with comprehensive, well researched information covering all industries and almost all of the UK's actively trading companies operating in different industries or sectors, ranging from Finance, Construction, IT & Telecoms, Motor Services, Engineering, Healthcare Services, Retail and many more. Get access to the databases of more than 1000 qualifying private and listed companies, including the top 350 stock market performers comprising of the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 index companies on the London Stock Exchange.

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Business Plans and CV writing

For the Innovator and Student Start-up visas, we can assist you with writing a detailed, convincing business plan and CV to support your application for endorsement. We can help you identify endorsing bodies that are able to endorse plans in almost all industry sectors.

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Looking for an immigration lawyer for advice and help?

Our specialist team of immigration lawyers have an excellent success rate with initial or extension of visa applications. They will guide you through each step of the visa application process from drafting the initial application, preparing a covering letter and collating the necessary documentation, to ensure a successful immigration decision. For a free initial over-the-phone consultation and advice on an immigration-related query, contact our team of expert immigration lawyers.

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