Switch Your Visa

in the UK

Sadly, UK Tier 1 Investor visa is now abolished and it is no longer possible to apply. This blog post is left unaltered for historic purposes only.

If you currently hold Tier 1 Investor visa, you will be allowed to complete the requirements of this visa category and apply for the indefinite leave to remain once you are eligible.

You are no longer permitted to switch to Tier 1 Investor visa from any other visa category as this UK immigration route is now closed.

You are currently in a visa category, which does not help you to establish long-term residence rights in the UK, such as Tier 4 Student or Graduate Route visa.

Your circumstances might have changed and you are no longer able to remain in the UK under the Skilled worker or Tier 2 Worker visa category. You need to find a new solution, which would allow you to continue to remain in the UK.

Whatever your current circumstances you want to establish your long-term residence rights that lead you to obtaining indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Your ultimate goal may be British citizenship.

However, your current visa is not leading you to obtaining indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship. Therefore, you are reviewing your options and considering switching your current UK visa status.


What does it mean to switch the visa?


Switching a visa means to transfer from one visa category to another. Your circumstances might have changed and the new visa may appear to be more appropriate than the current leave.

You may be looking to gain long-term residence rights and switch to the visa category, which offers long-term residence rights to you in the shape of indefinite leave to remain.


3 steps to watch out for when switching the visa


1. Switch before your current leave ends


You need to apply for the new visa before your current leave expires. Leave means a permission to stay. As you are switching to a new visa category, you need to make sure that your current leave is still valid. You need to apply for the new visa category before your current leave expires.


2. Can you stay in the UK or apply for a new visa overseas


Some visa categories, such as:

  • Tier 1 General, 
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur, 
  • Tier 2 Worker visa and 
  • Tier 4 Student visa

allow you to switch your visa category without having to leave the UK. 


Important changes to these visa categories


Please note that the Tier 1 General visa category is now obsolete and you may be considering switching to a Tier 1 Investor visa for this reason alone.

Currently the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category is also obsolete and you may be considering switching to a Tier 1 Investor visa.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category is now replaced with the Tier 1 Innovator visa category.

Tier 2 worker visa is now replaced with Skilled Worker visa, which applies to all workers coming to work in the UK.

From the 1st Janauary 2021 all EU/EEA/Swiss nationals arriving to the UK to work in the UK need to hold a Skilled Worker visa.

This requirement does not apply to EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members who have acquired their indefinite leave to remain under EU Settlement Scheme, which is also known as settled or pre-settled status.


Other visa categories require you to apply for the new visa category from outside the UK.


If this is the case, you will be expected to travel back to your home country or your country of residence in order to apply for the new visa category, such as, Tier 1 Investor visa. 



3. Long-term residence rights on the path to indefinite leave to remain



UK Tier 1 Investor visa most definitely allows you to acquire long-term residence rights also known as indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

However, not all visa categories allow you to get on the path of gaining indefinite leave to remain.

Your previous visa depending on the visa category may not have had the provisions to allow you to accumulate the years of residence that would be treated as sufficient for indefinite leave purposes.


Book a call with me to discuss your UK immigration application. Submit your UK immigration enquiry here if you need assistance with any UK immigration application.

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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.

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