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What are the residency requirements for the U.K. citizenship-by-investment programs?

I am an investor living in Shanghai seeking U.K. residency through their Tier 1 Investor Visa program. Are there any residency requirements for applicants I should be aware of? How soon can I gain full U.K. citizenship after applying?

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    Negin Eskandary

    UK Immigration Advisor
    Answered on

    There are presently no residency requirements under the Tier 1 programmes (Investor and Entrepreneur) in the event the applicant does not wish to acquire permanent residency in the UK for the main applicant or their dependents. Should the Main Applicant and his dependents wish to be granted ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain), also known as PR or Settlement, the Main Applicant is required to not be outside of the UK for any more than 180 days per 12 months, for each of the 5 years from the date of the application for ILR. At present, there are no continuous residency requirements for dependents. Should you wish to apply for British nationality, then you may do so after holding ILR status for a period of 12 months.

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    Helena Sheizon

    UK Immigration Advisor
    Answered on

    There are continuous residency requirements for applications for indefinite leave to remain (permanent settlement). You will need to demonstrate that you have lived continuously in the UK for either five, or three, or two years (depending on the level of investment) and were not out of the country for more than 180 days in any one of those years. You can gain full UK citizenship after six years, or after five years if you are using an accelerated settlement route relying on at least €5 million investment.

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    Steven Bostock

    UK Immigration Advisor
    Answered on

    The usual residency requirement for indefinite leave to remain is six months per year and nine months per year for the British passport, which you should be eligible to apply for after six years. Although, the UK Home Office does have some flexibility in respect of the residency requirement.

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    Ashley Bayles

    UK Immigration Advisor
    Answered on

    There are a number of requirements for this type of visa. There are different routes to settlement depending on how much you invest.

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    Rajiv Sharma

    UK Immigration Advisor
    Answered on

    To qualify for British nationality under the investor route, an applicant must qualify for Permanent Residence (PR) first. You cannot be absent from the UK for more than 180 days a 12-month period. If you have been outside of the United Kingdom for more than 180 days in 12 months, this will break the continuous period and you will need to start the qualifying period for settlement again. There is a fast track route available, but the applicant must have invested at least 2 million euros (or 5 million or 10 million for accelerated settlement) to gain citizenship in 2-3 years. If you invest 10 million, PR can be granted in 2 years, 5 million in 3 years, etc. Once PR is granted, the applicant can apply for a British passport after one year. This is just a general outline for your guidance but you also need to meet other conditions.

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    Shahanara Chowdhury

    UK Immigration Advisor
    Answered on

    Thank you for your question. The Tier 1 Investor visa requires a minimum investment of 2 million euros in UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. The processing time for a Tier 1 Investor Visa from Shanghai is between 15 and 30 days. Initial visas are granted for 3 years and 4 months and must be extended for a further 2 years. After 5 years, an investor can apply for permanent residence. However, an investor can apply for accelerated permanent residence if they fulfill certain criteria. For example, investors are eligible to apply for permanent residence after 2 years, if they can demonstrate that they have invested 10 million euros, 3 years for 5 million and 5 years for 2 million. To qualify for permanent residence, you must not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month calendar period. You can apply for British Citizenship one year after securing permanent residence. During this year, you cannot be absent from the UK for more than 90 days.

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