Tier 1 Immigration – Why Choose the Isle of Man?

So you’ve decided that a second passport would be a smart move. You’ve taken the decision to emigrate to a jurisdiction which will bring you greater opportunity and freedom and provide a far safer place for you and your family to live.

Where in the world are you going to put down roots? Surely it will need to be a place that will accept you with open arms, allow you to travel freely and to come and go as you please.

Are you familiar with the Isle of Man?

Known as the Jewel of the Irish Sea, sitting midway between the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Island may only boast a population of around 80,000, measure little more than 35 miles from top to bottom and about 12 miles across, but boy there’s plenty to commend it!



Setting aside the aesthetics – the beautiful scenery, the magnificent rugged coastlines, the wonderful walks and glens, the mild climate – the Isle of Man is your archetypal safe haven. For many outsiders, used to less stable, even downright dangerous homelands, this is a place offering peace and tranquillity in abundance.

In commerce, in sport, in education, in the quality of life (the Island has the lowest crime rates anywhere in the British Isles, for instance) – this is a friendly and outward looking jurisdiction that’s open for business.

Let’s also not forget the Island’s advantageous tax system and stable, well regulated Government. Handily, it’s also a UK Crown Dependency, where the Queen is Head of State. So whilst the Isle of Man is steadfastly independent, it boasts the world’s longest continuous Parliament stretching back over 1000 years and sets its own laws – and tax rates.  Nevertheless, there are extremely useful and close ties to the UK.  For anyone considering Tier 1 Immigration into the Isle of Man, there is also the extra attraction of a British passport for successful applicants.

The Isle of Man has:

  • No inheritance tax
  • No capital gain tax
  • No wealth tax
  • No stamp duty
  • A tax cap
  • A Common Travel Area (consisting of the UK, Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands)
  • No purchasing restrictions on property


Isle of Man Tier 1 Immigration Explained

Immigration into the Isle of Man is governed by the UK Immigration Act 1971, as extended to the Isle of Man by the Immigration Isle of Man Order 2008.

The definition of a Manx resident is an individual who either physically resides in the Isle of Man for at least 6 months in any tax year, or alternatively resides there, on average, at least 3 months per year over a 4-year period.

Under this umbrella, essentially Tier 1 provides high net worth individuals, entrepreneurs, investors and the exceptionally talented – those who can make a valuable contribution to the Island’s economic wealth and productivity – with the opportunity to enter or stay in the Isle of Man.

Tier 1 is split into two sections.  Firstly, the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa is aimed at anyone wishing to establish, join or take over one or more existing businesses in the Isle of Man. Secondly, the Tier 1 (Investor) Visa is the route for high net worth individuals making a substantial financial investment within the Isle of Man (IOM).


Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa:

To be eligible, applicants:

  • Must have access to not less than £200,000 to establish, take over or join a business in the IOM. These funds can be loaned by a partner or a family member
  • Need to demonstrate that they are a genuine entrepreneur (a business plan and appropriate experience are necessary)
  • Must be self-employed or a registered Director of the IOM business
  • Must be self-supportive once on the Island

The visa is initially granted for 3 years and 4 months. After that, an application to extend it for another 2 years can be made, provided that at least 2 full time jobs, existing for more than 12 months, have been created.

An application for each dependant (i.e. partner and children) must be produced at the same time as the main Tier 1 application.

It might also be necessary to acquire a work permit under the Control of Employment Act 1975.


Tier 1 (Investor) Visa:

To be eligible, applicants

  • Must have access to £2 million which is available to invest in IOM trading companies, other than those principally engaged in property investment and within 3 months of arriving.

As above, the visa is initially granted for 3 years and 4 months. An application to extend the visa for another 2 years can be made, provided that the funds have remained invested throughout the full period of leave to remain.

An application must be produced for each dependant (i.e. partner and children) at the same time as the Tier 1 application is made.

Unlike the Entrepreneur Visa, no permit under the Control of Employment Act 1975 is required, unless the applicant wishes to take up work.


Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

In terms of applying for ILR, the characteristics are as follows:

  • You’ve been in IOM residence for 5 years;
  • You’ve demonstrated sufficient knowledge of English and life in the Isle of Man and UK
  • There has been no more than 180 days absence from the Isle of Man in each 12 month period. (time in the UK or The Channel Islands is not counted as absence from the Island).

Immigration – Tier 1 Visa

However, the process of gaining ILR can be accelerated. A Tier 1 Entrepreneur can apply for ILR after 3 years, if the business has generated 10 or more jobs, or the net income of the business has increased by £5 million within the 3 year period.

Meanwhile, a Tier 1 Investor can apply for ILR after 3 years, if £5 million is invested instead of £2 million, or after 2 years if £10 million is invested.


Next Steps

So if you think Tier 1 Immigration to the Isle of Man sounds appealing, that’s where Abacus can be of considerable help. As one of the Island’s leading and most experienced offshore trust and corporate service advisors, we can readily assist high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs. We can explain the benefits of considering the Isle of Man as a viable jurisdiction in which to live, work and thrive, appreciating that family considerations are often a major consideration in these matters.

As well as assisting with the application procedure, Abacus provides the full gamut of corporate structure and business support services for those looking to apply for an entrepreneur visa. Similarly, for those seeking to take the investor visa route, we can establish the most appropriate asset protection and investment vehicle from the outset – and for as long as it will be required.


A future in the Isle of Man and UK

The Isle of Man has often been described as Britain in a bygone age. Whilst that may be true in some respects, living on the Island is similar in many ways to the British lifestyle – starting fundamentally with English as the common language. The Island has excellent air and sea connections to the UK mainland and Ireland, with London only an hour’s flight away.

Recognised as a great place to bring up a growing family, offering a safe and clean environment in which to live – as well as a beneficial tax system – the Isle of Man displays many compelling reasons as a credible choice for Tier 1 Immigration.

And if its many charms aren’t a sufficiently strong draw, then for anyone looking to obtain a British passport, the Island is also arguably the most convenient route into the UK.


Two for the price of one, you might say.