There are a number of visa types that can be used to gain entry into the UK, including those that are designed for use by high net-worth investors. The investor visa is more properly referred to as a Tier 1 (investors) visa, requires that you have at least the equivalent of £1m to invest in the UK, is not directly linked to any form of employment, and will last for an initial period of three years, although this can be further extended and can eventually lead to permanent citizenship.
Visas generally allow a person to enter the country for a set period of time, but it is necessary that that person meets certain requirements. While work visas require that you take up prearranged employment within the country, student visas require that you study in the country, investor visas demand that you have a minimum of £1m that you will invest into the country. There are no work or study requirements associated with this type of visa.
Your application will be judged and rated according to a number of factors. You will essentially be given a number of points according to the money that you have available to invest, and will also be asked how you intend to invest that money. Your application will be considered according to the responses that you give and the investment that you are looking to make. Those with greater investment potential will have the greatest chance of a successful application.
The investor visa is granted for an initial period of three years. Following this period, it is possible to extend your visa for an additional two years as long as you meet the extension criteria. Following the total five year period, you will be able to apply for permanent citizenship. Recent changes mean that if you invest £5m then you will be allowed permanent citizenship after the first three years, while those that invest £10m or more will be offered citizenship after just two years.
The Tier 1 (investor) visa is aimed at those investors with a high net worth that are willing to invest considerable amounts into the UK economy. You will need to show an ability and willingness to invest at least £1m, and you will need to continue to invest money if you want to prolong your stay.