How much it costs to buy a Tier 1 UK Visa

 ·24 Jun 2017

For those who wish to live and work in the UK there are two attractive visa options: The Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas, each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages, according to Sable International’s John Dunn.

“The most notable difference between the Tier 1 (Investor) visa and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa is the level of initial investment, and involvement thereafter,” notes Dunn.

“The Tier 1 (Investor) visa requires a minimum £2 million (R33 million) investment which is largely passive, whereas the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa requires a lower initial investment of at least £200,000 (R3.3 million), but requires a greater degree of involvement in the business one invests in.”

According to Dunn, certain restrictions apply to both visa sub-classes. For example, you may not invest your funds in companies that are involved in property investment, property management or property development. You, or your family, also may not access any public funds while living in the UK on one of these visas.

Both visas allow you to stay in the UK for three years and four months. Once this has elapsed you can apply to extend these visas for a further two years. After five years of continuous residency on the same visa in the UK, you may apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). ILR is the stepping stone to full British citizenship.


The investor visa is a more straightforward option for those with the required funds, but those required funds are significant, noted Dunn.

“Investors will have to provide £2,000,000 in capital.  Your investment is restricted to UK government bonds or share capital of active and trading UK companies.”

“Despite these restrictions, the Tier 1 (Investor) visa generally provides more flexibility than the entrepreneur visa.”


The entrepreneur visa requires an individual set up, join or take over a UK-based business and be actively involved in running the business, according to Dunn.

“This requires more investment into the business further down the line, therefore it is vital that one chooses the right business to invest in,” he said.

“If the individual is keen to be actively involved in growing a business in the UK, then the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa allows for their funds to be used to develop that business.”

Other visa options

The UK updated its official visa costs in April this year, applying with immediate effect.

While not as steep as in previous years, the changes will arguably have a much bigger impact on traveller’s pockets as recent political and economic uncertainty have caused the rand’s exchange rate to fluctuate wildly, note emigration experts.

Visa Cost in local currency Cost in rands
6 months (visit) £89 R1 476
2 years (visit)   £337 R5 586
5 years (visit)   £612  R10 142
10 years (visit)   £767  R12 710
Skilled worker   £575 R9 524
Student worker   £328 R5 432

Read: Free travel and tax breaks: the global passports you wish you could own

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