Visas to the UK
A Start-up Visa or an Innovator Visa may suit investors who want to do business in the UK.
The Start-up Visa is designed for entrepreneurs who plan to open a company in the UK. A business idea must be innovative, different from other offers on the market and profitable in the prospect. A British university or an organisation that supports entrepreneurs must approve a business plan for the start-up.
The applicant must confirm their proficiency in English on the B2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
The visa is valid for two years. It cannot be extended, and it doesn’t lead to citizenship. Its holder must switch to another visa to stay in the UK for longer than two years.
The Innovator Visa sets the same requirements for applicants as the Start-up Visa. In addition, the applicant must invest at least £50,000 in a business. A business plan is to be presented to an endorsing body.
The visa is valid for three years, subject to extension. The holder can obtain an Indefinite Leave to Remain after three years of living in the country and apply for citizenship a year later.
One can also get a long-term UK visa for employment, family reunification and other purposes.
Malta, Caribbean and Vanuatu citizenship
If you don't plan to move to the UK but need a document for long-term visits, consider obtaining a passport from Malta, Vanuatu or a Caribbean country.
Malta, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and Vanuatu are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Citizens of these countries can spend up to half a year in the UK without visas.
During your visa-free stay in the UK, you cannot work, get married or take courses that last longer than six months. It’s also forbidden to come and live for a long time in the UK. At the border, you’ll be requested to confirm that you have enough money for the stay and will leave the UK in time.
Tarak and Nirav are brothers and owners of a chain of coffee shops in India. The time has come for their business to expand, and the brothers decided to open a cafe in London.
The brothers got St Kitts and Nevis passports to be able to visit the UK as often as their business required. The second citizenship allowed them to come to London visa-free to find a place for a future coffee shop and manage the process on the spot.
Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment is a naturalisation path: an investor can apply for citizenship a year or three years after getting a residence permit. The minimum investment amount is €690,000.
The Maltese passport provides many opportunities, like travelling to 180+ destinations visa-free and a simplified procedure for relocation to another EU country. But there are cheaper and faster solutions if an investor doesn’t plan to move to Europe and needs a second passport for the freedom of travel.
Vanuatu citizenship is granted in exchange for a contribution of at least $130,000 to a state fund. The country’s citizenship program is the fastest in the world: a month is the minimum period for obtaining a Vanuatu passport.
Caribbean citizenship requires at least $100,000 of investments. The passport-obtaining period depends on the country and starts at two months. The citizenship programs offer options allowing applicants to return invested money in a few years, including purchasing real estate or government bonds.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is rather hard to relocate to the UK. To make it you must have a job offer, relatives who live there, prodigious talents or be enrolled in a British university. You would also need a big amount of money as living in the country is expensive.
If you would like to stay in the UK for a short period of time you should consider obtaining a passport of Malta, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and Vanuatu. With it you can spend up to 180 days in a year in the UK.
If you’re moving alone to feel comfortable it is reasonable to have at least £12,000 for the first six months of living in the UK. It will allow you to calmly look for a job and an apartment. A family of four would need around £25,000 for half a year.
To move to the UK for a long period you need to have a residence permit. You can obtain it by employment, family reunification, marriage and some other ways. There are also two visas for entrepreneurs who plan to open a company in the UK: the Start-Up Visa and the Innovator Visa.
The Start-Up Visa is given for two years and can’t be extended. The Innovator Visa requires you to invest £50,000 in a business. It is granted for three years and can be prolonged. In both cases an entrepreneur must present a business-plan.
The UK residence permit can’t be obtained by investment.