The UK Citizenship Immigrant Investor Programme was established in 1994 to induce high net worth individuals and their families to immigrate to the UK but, in order to be able to take advantage, applicants must be prepared to make substantial investments in the prescribed form in the United Kingdom. The program is particularly attractive for people who want to live in the UK and take advantage of everything the country has to offer including the benefit of a passport. It may seem expensive to some people but it should be noted that getting a UK passport through investment is cheaper than some of the programs offered by other countries in the European Union.
The program offers two separate investment options. The Full Cash Option requires every applicant to possess £1 million under his or her control in the country and to invest £ 750,000 of this capital in UK Government Bonds or by way of loan capital and/or share capital in actively trading companies registered in the UK ( excluding companies whose principal activity is property investment and deposits with banks, building societies and other business entities whose primary business is the acceptance of deposits). The balance of £ 250,000 can be invested at the discretion of the applicant. This investment amount is equivalent to a “stay for settlement” (ILR) timeframe of 5 years and, in 2011, regulation was established to speed up the process through increased commitments of £5 million over 3 years ILR and £10 million over 2 years ILR
The Financed Option requires the applicant to hold personal assets in excess of£2 million as well as capital of £1 million under his control in the country. This financial commitment may include money received as loans provided that the lender is regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority. The UK Citizenship Investor programme is structured so as to allow investors to enter the UK on an initial visa for three years. If applicants have kept their financial commitments, they can extend this visa by another 2 years and it gives themselves a total of 5 years of legal residency in the country. The individuals in question must be over eighteen years of age.
The advantages of the UK option become evident when compared to the programs run by many other countries. For instance, the magnitude of the investment is considerably lower than the requirements in countries such as New Zealand and Singapore. In contrast to the investment programs instituted by Australia and Canada, applicants to not need business experience and the capital can be acquired by any legal means such as inheritance. Moreover, unlike Australia and Canada, the UK does not want a medical evaluation and the interview formalities are often dispensed with. Neither does the UK require proficiency in the English language supported by the necessary certification. Finally, the process is quick and efficient and takes no more than two months from start to finish.