UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Programme 2020

Looking to move to the UK by investment in 2020? Discover your investment residency options with the UK Tier 1 Investor Programme here, or contact us now for a free consultation.

A Tier 1 Visa affords the primary applicant and their immediate family members the right to settle, work, study and conduct business activities within the UK, making it an excellent Plan B option for South African families seeking a Plan B beyond South Africa.

Launched in 2008, the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Programme enables high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs to establish a business and residency footprint in the UK. The programme has recently come under fire from a number of quarters due to corruption related fears, however the UK government did not suspend the programme in late 2018 as was widely reported.

Looking for a more affordable solution for UK residency? Be sure to check out the UK Sole Representative Visa:
– No investment or job creation requirement.
– No minimum stays.
– 3 Month application process.
– Clear path to ILR and UK citizenship.
– No need to relocate immediately.
– Only GBP22,500 per family, excluding GBP400 NHS surcharge per applicant per year.

Tier 1 Visa Programme Overview

Up until January 2019, the Tier 1 Investor or so-called “UK Golden Visa Programme” required applicants to make an investment of at least £2 million (R33 million) in the UK.

The programme has proven very popular among investors from South Africa, Russia, and China, amongst other countries.

Given recent controversy, it is expected that new, more stringent requirements will be announced with a view to allay the opposition and regulatory watchdogs’ fears that the programme could be exploited for money laundering purposes by foreign high net worth individuals with ill gotten gains.

Tier 1 Visa Investment Options (to be revised in 2019)

As of December 2018, the investment requirements to obtain a Tier 1 Visa were as follows:

  1. £2 million investment: Eligibility to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after 5 years

  2. £5 million investment: Eligibility to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after 3 years

  3. £10 million investment: Eligibility to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after 2 years.

The above investments can be made into UK Government Bonds, or by investing in the loan or share capital of UK registered trading companies.

Eligibility for British Citizenship

Tier 1 Visa holders who have invested £2 million can become eligible to apply for British citizenship after 6 years of continual residency in the UK, whereas those investing £5 million or £10 million can become eligible to apply for citizenship after 5 years.

It is important to note that applicants are only allowed to spend a maximum of 180 days per year outside the country in order to maintain their visa eligibility, and that leave to remain (settlement or residency type status) does not constitute actual citizenship.

Why Choose The UK

Ties with SA: Given the UK’s historic relationship with South Africa as a former British colony, many South Africans find resonance with the English way of life. The fact that English is the country’s lingua franca also means that migration to the UK comes without any language barrier related challenges, especially within a professional or business context.

Cultural hub: The UK is home to foreign migrants from across the world. As one of the world’s premier super cities, London has a lot to offer – you could spend a full year exploring it and still not have seen it all. 

Free healthcare: Once you become a legal UK resident, you’ll gain access to the National Health Service (NHS). The UK is one of the world’s leading jurisdictions when it comes to medical research, and their hospitals rank among some of the world’s best.

Geographical hub: Strategically positioned within Europe, the UK is just a stone’s throw from a host of EU countries. Air connectivity to London Heathrow is excellent, with many low cost local and regional carriers flying into the city on an hourly basis. 

Natural beauty: The UK’s dramatic coastline and Lakes district feature some of the best scenery in the world.

Arts and entertainment: The cultural and music industries in the UK are booming. For live music lovers there literally is not a better city to live in than London.

Why choose us

Golden Visas gives you access to some of the world’s most acclaimed business immigration experts. We are Tier 1 Visa application specialists proudly serving the needs of high net worth individuals and families from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and further afield.

 Whether you’re seeking residency in the UK, EU, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Moldova, Turkey or the Caribbean, our specialist consultants will help you identify the second residency jurisdiction and programme that best suits your requirements.

Complete the below form to get in touch now. One of our consultants will be in touch to schedule a fee consultation. Annual visa and residency slots are extremely limited, so contact us now to get your application process started and avoid having to wait until 2020.



Be sure to review the Irish Immigrant Investor Program, and the Irish Diaspora Loan Fund, in particular. With an investment requirement of €1 million, and also offering visa-free access to the UK, this could be a viable alternative to the Tier 1 Investor Visa for South African investors.


For established business owners or senior executives of companies with a monthly turnover of more than £5,000, the UK Sole Representative Visa Program offers even better value. No capital investments are required, and the total application and setup fees for this program amount to only £22,500 all-in.

What’s more, the program application process can be completed in only 90 days, with a clear path to UK permanent residency and eventual citizenship. The Sole Rep Visa allows your spouse and children to live, work and study in the UK, and you don’t need to remain in the country permanently in order to qualify.

Contact us now to find out more.