Although the UK is a member of the European Union (EU), it does not belong to the European Monetary Union (EMU). Its currency is the British Pound Sterling (GBP). The country belongs to the Commonwealth of Nations and is a (permanent) member of the United Nations Security Council as well as NATO.
In 2008 the UK revised the application process for non-EU nationals to enter and gain residence in the country. The new process is based on a points system and has five tiers. The country aims to attract high net-worth individuals and their immediate family members (including a spouse and all children younger than 18 years at submission) with its Tier 1 Investor Visa. The Tier 1 Visa offers temporary residence status, which may result in permanent residence and eventually citizenship.
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The Tier 1 Investor category requires an investment of at least GPB 2 million in either UK government bonds or share/loan capital of actively trading companies registered in the UK that are not primarily involved in the (real estate) property market. The full investment amount must be maintained for a holding period of five years. The initial Investor Visa is valid for a period of three years and four months. At the end of this period, the main applicant and their dependents may apply for their stay to be extended for a further two years, provided qualifying criteria have been met. After a second extension –– in other words, after having legally resided in the UK for five continuous years –– the family may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
Only when ILR has been granted are applicants expected to demonstrate English language ability. The ILR permits applicants to work and study in the UK as well as do business there. How long it takes to qualify for permanent residence depends on the investment amount.
To obtain a residence permit, applicants must choose one of the following three options:
The application process comprises the following steps:
|Government bonds, share capital or loan capital (with holding period of at least five years before ILR status can be granted)||GBP 2 million|
|Government bonds/share or loan capital (with holding period of at least three years before ILR status can be granted)||GBP 5 million|
|Government bonds/share or loan capital (with holding period of at least two years before ILR status can be granted)||GBP 10 million|