UK Tier 1 Investor Visa or Ancestry Visa:
Which is the Right Choice
There are 5 Signs that the UK Investor visa is the right choice for you. As you relocate to the UK under Tier 1 Investor visa you need to be mindful of at least 3 important considerations.
If Tier 1 Investor visa is not the right choice for you at the moment, you have at least 7 alternatives to consider. If a Tier 1 Investor visa is indeed the right choice for you, then you are able to choose between mainland UK or explore Guernsey and Jersey.
What is an Ancestry visa?
Ancestry visa is currently the ‘friendliest’ visa there is in the UK immigration law after Brexit. European (EU/EEA/Swiss) nationals are once again eligible to explore their options under Tier 1 Investor visa.
The UK Ancestry visa allows the grandchildren (and their families) of British citizens to come, live and work in the UK.
The children of British nationals who are born overseas cannot pass on their citizenship as easily. There is no automatic entitlement. The entitlement is automatic if the child is born in the UK to a parent who is British or British by descent.
British by descent are children of British nationals who are born overseas. British nationals by descent cannot pass their British citizenship to their own children if they are born overseas as easily. It is a privilege, which is not automatic.
Therefore, the Ancestry visa route is designed to enable the grandchildren of British nationals (usually, mainland British nationals) to come, live and work in the UK.
Typically, these grandchildren will not be entitled to immediate British citizenship, but are allowed to come, live and work in the land of their grandparents.
It is almost as if the country of the forefathers is welcoming the next generation to come, live and work in the UK.
If your entitlement to UK Ancestry visa is clear, the Ancestry visa should be your first choice
The entitlement to the UK Ancestry visa is proven through the birth and marriage certificates of the parents and grandparents.
The documents are usually old and fragile as some of them go as far as and more than 100 years back into the family history.
Family tree is recreated through the birth and marriage certificates. It is an exciting process for everyone involved. It is the precious family history that is being recreated.
Typically, you have an English grandparent born in mainland UK. At some point in their life leaving the UK and travelling to a Commonwealth country.
There are 54 Commonwealth countries.
Please note that only citizens of the Commonwealth countries are eligible to apply for the UK Ancestry visa.
Therefore, if you are a European (EU/EEA) or Swiss national, you will not be eligible to apply for the UK Ancestry visa. If you are a European (EU/EEA) or Swiss national, your UK visa options are listed here.
1. UK Ancestry visa: only the citizens of Commonwealth may apply
The UK Ancestry visa is only open to the citizens of 54 Commonwealth countries who can demonstrate that they are the grandchildren of the British nationals born in mainland UK.
Tier 1 Investor visa is available to ultra high net worth individuals from all around the globe irrespective of their family heritage as long as they satisfy Tier 1 Investor visa requirements.
2. The duration of the visa: UK Ancestry visa and Tier 1 Investor visa
UK Ancestry visa is issued for the duration of 5 years.
Tier 1 Investor visa is issued for the maximum duration of 3 years and 4 months initially, if the minimum investment of £2M is made. One must apply to extend for additional 2 years before the initial period of leave expires.
3. Indefinite Leave to Remain
The indefinite leave to remain is achieved within the first 5 years of legal residence in the UK under the Ancestry visa route, provided all requirements are met.
Depending on the level of investment made into the qualifying investments under Tier 1 Investor visa, it is possible to accelerate the process of reaching the indefinite leave to remain.
For instance, it is possible to achieve indefinite leave to remain within 2 years of legal residence in the UK, if the initial investment of £10M is made. It is 3 years if the investment of £5M is made.
It is 5 years, if an investment of £2M is made. However, one is required to extend their visa after the initial 3 years of legal residence in the UK.
4. Applying for citizenship: Tier 1 Investor visa and British Ancestry visa
Once you obtain your indefinite leave to remain and complete 5 years of residence, you are eligible to apply for British citizenship.
You will become eligible to apply for British citizenship once you complete 12 months of residence after you receive your indefinite leave to remain.
Please note that you have to have completed 5 years of residence and have a 12 months of residence after the indefinite leave to remain is received in order to be eligible to apply for British citizenship.
5. UK Tier 1 Investor visa and Ancestry visa allow to bring your family members to the UK
Both UK visa categories (Tier 1 Investor visa and UK Ancestry visa) allow you to bring your family to the UK.
The family typically consists of the spouse and children who are less than 18 years old at the time of their application.
Family applications are processed at the same time as for the main applicant. Therefore, the whole family may apply together at the same time.
Be mindful if your children are turning 18 at the time of your visa application
As long as your children are concerned. They are able to join you in the same visa category provided they are under 18 at the time you submit your own and your family’s application.
Once your children turn 18, they are required to apply in their own right and can no longer be your dependent for UK visa purposes.
In relation to your minor and adult children, other options may be relevant for you:
- Travel to the UK with your Studying Child;
- UK Tier 1 Investor Visa for Students – 3 Reasons it is the most Popular Choice.
Not sure where to start or how to find the right UK immigration adviser for you to apply for a Tier 1 Investor visa and you want to book a consultation, get in touch!
Saule Voluckyte, M.A.E.S, LL.B, FAIA
I have been working exclusively with UHNWI in Mayfair, London since January 2008. I built specialist knowledge and expertise required to serve ultra high net worth individuals investing, operating and relocating to the UK or Switzerland.
Within the industry, I am the single adviser who is able to traverse the different areas of expertise and bring a comprehensive approach across: global structuring, UK immigration, international taxation and FOREX to develop their global wealth strategy, while they build, grow and expand their wealth worldwide.
Previous experience as one of the senior advisors for the government, made me a go-to person when delicate and uncomfortable scenarios involving heads of state need to be handled with care and preserve privacy.
Contact a family office specialist to discuss your needs.
As somebody who specializes in tax, wealth management of ultra high net worth individuals’ assets and legal requirements for high net worth families, my sole purpose is to help you protect your family’s legacy.
Should you have a specific enquiry on how to start your own family office, please book a call below.
If your specific enquiry is about how to invest, operate or relocate to the UK or Switzerland and you are looking to align your UK immigration, tax, overseas wealth concerns and benefit from favourable currency conversions…