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April 8, 2024
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How to get a Tier‑1, EB‑5 or E‑2 investor visa

You can get US and UK investor visas by investment. An investor visa is the first step towards citizenship. The whole process takes at least 5 years.

We explain how to get a t1 UK investor visa, an EB5 US investor visa or an E2 non-immigrant US visa.

Albert Ioffe
Albert Ioffe

Explains how an investor can get a UK or US investor visa

US or UK investor visa

How to get a Tier-1, EB-5 or E-2 investor visa

Tier 1 UK investor

A Tier 1 UK investor visa allows the holder to live and work in Britain. To get it, you need to buy shares in British companies for £2 million.

In order to apply for a UK investor visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • be at least 18 years old;

  • have at least £2 million in a UK bank account;

  • be able to confirm that this money has belonged to you for the two years prior to filing the visa application and the legality of the sources of your income;

  • no criminal record or criminal prosecution;

  • not be infected by tuberculosis.

The applicant’s spouse and minor children can also be included in the UK investor visa application.

The UK Tier 1 investor visa is initially issued for the following periods:

  • for 3 years and 4 months if the application is submitted outside the UK;

  • for 3 years if the application is made in the UK.

After the expiration of the visa, the investor can extend it for another 2 years, and then obtain permanent residence in the UK.

In order to extend the visa, you need to maintain your initial investment in the UK throughout the validity period of the original visa and the period of the extension. After receiving permanent residence, you can recover your initial investment by selling the shares.

How to get permanent residence in the UK. Permanent residence is the next step towards obtaining citizenship. UK permanent residence holders have practically the same rights as UK citizens.

The main difference between permanent residence and citizenship is that a permanent residence holder cannot participate in elections or hold public office.

The time required to obtain permanent residence depends on the size of the investment made.

Path to UK permanent residence via UK Tier 1 investor visa

Investment amount

Time required to get permanent residence

£2 million

5 years

£5 million

3 years

£10 million

2 years

In order to get UK permanent residence, you must live permanently in the country: you cannot spend more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12-month period.

The investor, their spouse and adult children have to take an oral exam in English at the B1 level and also pass a test on their knowledge of the social structure and history of the UK.

After five years of residence in the country, including at least a year as a permanent residence card holder, the investor and their family are eligible to apply for British citizenship.

Immigrant Invest’s experts will help you obtain and extend an investor visa, open a bank account, get a tax number, and become a tax resident.

How to get a US EB‑5 investor visa

The EB‑5 US immigration visa makes it possible for the holder to get a green card. A green card is similar to a temporary residence permit. It is initially valid for 10 years, and can be renewed an unlimited number of times. At the same time, the investor is required to live in the United States for 183 days a year.

To obtain a green card, an investor needs to invest at least $500,000 in the US. There are two options available:

  1. Invest $500,000 in a new commercial enterprise that is located in an arearnwith high unemployment or in a rural area. The list of admissible places is approved by the US government.

  2. Invest $1 million in a new or existing business located anywhere in the US.

You can invest on your own and until 30 June, 2021 it had also been possible to invest through regional centers. The latter option has been suspended for the time being.

Investing by yourself in an American company should lead to the creation of 10 jobs for a period of 2 years or more. The investor needs to confirm that the source of the capital is legal and participate in the formation of the company’s strategy or be engaged in day-to-day management.

10 jobs

Need to be created when you invest by yourself

The investment cannot be held in the form of a loan to American companies. Moreover, there is no guarantee for the investor that their original investment will be returned.

In the past, when investing through regional centers, it was not necessary to actively participate in the management of the company or create 10 jobs. The investor could also receive annual income ranging from 0.25 to 2% of the investment amount and after 5 years recover the initial investment.

Regional centers most often worked with companies in rural areas or in areas with high unemployment rates. They mainly invested in commercial real estate: hotels, retail outlets and office buildings.

Investment through regional centers has been suspended

The option of investing through regional centers as a way of obtaining an EB5 visa was suspended at the end of June, 2021. A final decision on reinstating or withdrawing the option of using regional centers will be made in 2022. Currently, the only option open is for applicants to invest on their own. Why it has become more difficult to get an EB-5 visa →

The investor’s spouse and children under 21 years old can also get a green card.

Obtaining US citizenship based on an EB‑5 visa takes 5 to 7 years. The investor will need to prove that they spend more than 183 days a year in the United States and have not broken the law. They also need to take a basic English test and take a naturalization test.

Getting an investor’s visa is an expensive way to move to the United States. If you do not plan to apply for a green card and US citizenship, depending on eligibility, it may be more suitable for you to apply for the E‑2 non-immigrant visa.

Green card: US investor visa

A green card looks like a plastic card and contains the holder’s name, surname, date and place of birth, validity period and category

How to obtain a US E‑2 non-immigrant visa

Only citizens of countries that have signed an agreement on trade and shipping with the United States can apply for a US E2 business visa: for example, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Poland. Citizens of countries that do no have such an agreement can apply for Grenadian citizenship by investment. They can then apply for the US E2 visa as a Grenada citizen, as Grenada does have such an agreement with the US.

A US E‑2 visa can be obtained with a Grenadian passport. However, in addition to applying for Grenadian citizenship, the investor needs to invest a significant amount of money in a business in the United States and own at least 50% of the company or control the business. The minimum investment amount has not been established, but usually an investment of at least $200,000 is required.

To obtain Grenadian citizenship, the investor has to contribute $150,000 to the state fund or buy a property for $220,000 in the country. There is no requirement to pass an exam on the knowledge of the language and history of Grenada.

With an E‑2 visa, the investor can live and work in the United States and can include their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age in the visa application.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Will you obtain residence permit of United Kingdom?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain residence permit of United Kingdom?

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the difference between the US EB-5 visa and the E-2 visa?

    The E‑2 visa is a non-immigrant visa and is suitable for applicants who do not plan to obtain US citizenship. Citizens of countries that do not have trading and shipping agreements with the United States must first obtain a second passport of a country that does have such an agreement with the US: for example, Grenada citizenship by investment.

  • How do I get US citizenship?

    As an investor you need to find a suitable project, invest in it, file an I‑526 petition for an EB‑5 visa and get a temporary green card. After living in the United States for a year and 9 months, you have to file an I‑829 petition for a permanent green card.

    You can apply for US citizenship if you meet the following requirements:

    1. Have lived in the US for more than 183 days a year.

    2. Did not violate any of the laws of the country.

    3. Have passed the basic English test.

    4. Have passed the naturalization interview, which assesses your knowledge of US history and government.

  • What is required to obtain British citizenship?

    You need to obtain a UK residence permit and then permanent residence.

    To obtain permanent residence, you must have lived in the UK for at least 186 days in any 12 month period. The investor, their spouse and adult children must take an oral exam in English at the B1 level. They also need to successfully pass a test on their knowledge of the history and social structure of the UK.

    After five years of residence in the UK, including one year as a permanent residence card holder, the investor and their family have the right to apply for citizenship, as long as they meet the following requirements:

    1. Did not violate any of the laws of the country.

    2. Have sufficient income not to depend on the state.

    3. Have confirmed their knowledge of the language at the B1 level.

    4. Have passed the naturalization test.

    5. Swo allegiance to the monarch and confirmed their desire to live in the UK or keep in touch with the country.