Property buying guide for United Kingdom
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Visas, residence permits and citizenship in the UK

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Buying property in the UK will not help or simplify residence or citizenship applications. The rights, rules and obligations of foreign citizens in the UK, as well as visa and residence permit requirements can be found on the UK Home Office website. Application forms for residency can be downloaded from the UK Visas and Immigration here.

There are favourable visa terms and residence permit rights for investors and entrepreneurs.

EU, European Economic Space and Swiss citizens do not need a visa to enter the UK.


Visa applications should be made online and cannot be submitted more than three months prior to travel dates. Applicants are advised to not purchase tickets or book accommodation (except for tourist visas where it is a requirement) before getting visa approval. Visa processing fees vary depending on the applicant’s country of origin and the type of visa requested. UK visas are biometric and require applicants will be required to give their fingerprints at the visa centre.

Getting a residence permit

Residence permits authorise long-term stays in the country. They are issued when the applicant applies to settle or prolong their visa for the UK.

Family visas are available for applicants who want to join a spouse or relatives residing in the UK, granted they have “settled in the UK” (Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR).

Entrepreneurs and investors

There are special conditions for entrepreneurs and investors. After obtaining a Tier 1 visa, they can get permanent residence rights after only five years and even less in certain cases.

Investor visa and residence permits

Tier 1 (Investor) visas are granted to applicants who have at least £2M to invest in government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active trading UK registered companies as of November 2014. Due to the strict financial regulations in the UK and the EU, interested non-EU citizens should consult a specialist regarding the requirements.

General information

Applications take three weeks to process. Spouses and dependents may also apply. Investors must transfer the funds to the UK within three months of receiving the visa. The origin of their funds will be strictly scrutinised.

Standard applications,
Super premium service,
Per applicant/dependent 1,500 1,900
One-off fee 0,N/A 7,000
Healthcare surcharge
per each year of visa
0,>200 0,200

Work and study rights and restrictions

Holders of a Tier 1 (Investor) are allowed to study or work in most positions excluding doctors/dentists in training (under certain conditions), sports coaches and professional athletes.

It is forbidden to invest in companies mainly engaged in property investment, property management or property development. The holder cannot apply for public funding in the UK.

Extending the visa

The funds must be invested during the first three months of the initial visa and must be maintained. Changes to the amount of money invested or failure to comply with the strict regulations will result in refusal for extension. The investment portfolio will be strictly scrutinised.

Permanent residence

The sum invested in the UK will determine how long the applicant must reside in the UK before receiving permanent residence rights.

Investment amount,
Maximum visa duration,
ILR after,
2,000,000 3 years 4 months 0/2 5
5,000,000 N/A 3
10,000,000 N/A 2

Standard Tier 1 (investor) visa is valid for maximum three years and four months with the right to extend it for another two years. By then, the holder can apply for permanent residence (ILR). Depending on the amount invested, applicants can “fast-track” their permanent residence application and apply after two or three years.

Entrepreneur visa and residence permits

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas are granted to applicants who have at least £50,000 to set up and run or take over and run a business. Applicants must be able to prove their knowledge of the English language.

General information

Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa are valid for up to three years and four months and can be renewed for another two years. After five years on this visa, the holder can apply for permanent residence in the UK.

Required documents

  • certified translation of their identification documents
  • business plan
  • evidence of funds for the business
  • financial evidence of sufficient funds to support the applicant (and dependents) for the stay
  • proof of English language proficiency
  • tuberculosis test (depending on applicant origin)

Work and study rights and restrictions

Holders of a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) have the right to be work for their business (including being self-employed) and bring their family members.

It is forbidden to work for any other business or to apply for public funding in the UK.

By post or online,
In person outside of the UK,
(most nationalities)
1,180 944
Turkish or Macedonian
1,125 899
All dependents,
per person
1,180 944
Healthcare surcharge
per each year of visa
0,200 200

Permanent residence (ILR)

Permanent residence is called Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). It gives the holder the right to live on British soil for unlimited time. Once obtained, the ILR must be renewed every ten years.

Who can apply?

  • family members and spouses of UK citizens after five years of legal residence in the UK
  • qualified workers, entrepreneurs and investors after five years of residence
  • other individuals legally residing in the UK for more than 10 years

Required documents

  • valid foreign passport
  • “Life in the UK” test score (language & knowledge test)
  • resident card proving residency for the required duration on UK soil
  • proof of relation or marriage certificate (if required)
Standard applications by post, GBP
Settle 1,500
Extend 649

Getting UK citizenship

Citizenship, also called “naturalisation”, can be applied for after one year of ILR. Applicants are subject to strict requirements regarding the total days spent on British soil. It is granted to spouses and children of British citizens, suc. Processing fees vary: full details are available online.

Applicant requirements

UK citizenship is confirmed by a passport issued by the Nationality Checking Service (NCS). Dual citizenship is allowed by the British government. Passports are granted to applicants who fulfil the following requirements:

  • over 18 years old
  • confirmed absence of mental disorders and criminal record
  • consistent compliance with UK laws, including immigration, during duration of stay
  • “Life in the UK” test score (language & knowledge test)
  • ESOL certificate of English language proficiency
  • permanent residence card

Citizenship rights

  • live and work in the UK without limitation
  • social and tax benefits entitlement
  • vote
  • live and work without limitation in all EU countries
  • visa-free travel to many countries
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    Property buying guide for United Kingdom
    Article 4 of 6

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    Tranio’s managers offer advice on buying real estate in the United Kingdom
    Marina Filichkina
    Marina Filichkina
    Head of Sales Tranio Thailand, Europe
    +44 17 4822 0039
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