Tier 2 (General) Visa
What is a Tier 2 (General) Visa?
You may apply for this visa if you have been offered employment by a UK Employer who has a Sponsor Licence and that employer has issued you with a Certificate of Sponsorship through the Sponsor Management System(SMS). It is a points based visa which means you will be given points for meeting the different requirements(as stated below) and if you meet the points, you will be given a visa.
Which countries Citizens can apply for the Tier 2 (General) Visa?
Before 31st December 2020, only Non-European and Non-Swiss Citizens can apply
From 1st January 2021, Citizens of any country can apply, including the European and Swiss Citizens
What is the maintenance or savings required for the Tier 2 (General) Visa?
There are two ways to satisfy this requirement:
You should have at least £945 in your bank account as savings. This should be held in your bank account for at least a period of 90 days before the date of filing the application, in order to support yourself for your first month of stay in the UK. The Bank statement should be dated or the most recently dated part of the Bank statement, must be dated no earlier than 28 days before the date of application. The minimum balance throughout the 90 day period must not fall below £945.
The funds can be held in any currency, anywhere in the world, please ensure that the Bank is not listed on the list of Banks whose statements cannot be verified at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-p-lists-of-financial-institutions
If the funds are not in GBP, then use the currency converter at https://www1.oanda.com/currency/converter/
Your employer can certify maintenance in the Certificate of Sponsorship. If your employer has certified maintenance, then on the Certificate of Sponsorship, you will see "Y" written in the field 'Certify maintenance for Migrant(and Dependants, if applicable)'
How soon before my job start date can I apply for the Tier 2 (General) Visa?
The Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your employer will be valid for 3 months, which means you can apply for your Tier 2 (General) visa during those 3 months. You can apply for this visa within 3 months of your start date of your job in the UK.
Can I apply for the Tier 2 (General) Visa, if I am living in the UK in another category of visa?
Yes, you can apply for the Tier 2 (General) visa if you are in the UK on any other category of visas such as any Tier 1 Main applicant , any Tier 2 Main applicant, Tier 4 Student visa(provided you meet certain requirements), Dependant Partner of a Tier 4, Representative of an Overseas Business, Start-up, Innovator, etc.
If you are not in any of the above categories of visas, then you will have to file this visa from outside the UK, either from your Home Country or from any other country where you have a right to remain for at least 6 months or more, from the date when you attend your Biometric appointment.
We have successfully filed applications for applicants who have been in the UK on other categories of visas as mentioned above.
Can I switch or change to another type of visa while I am in the UK on the Tier 2 (General) Visa?
Yes, you are able to move/switch/change to another category of UK visa such as Unmarried Partner Visa, Spouse Visa, Civil Partner Visa, etc.
We have successfully switched applicants onto other category of visas in the UK to enable them to live in the UK for a longer period or permanently, if they have resigned from or lost the job with their Sponsoring Employer
Can I bring Dependants/Family members on Tier 2 (General) Visa?
You can bring dependants to the UK with you while you are holding a UK Tier 2 (General) Visa. Your family members or dependants can apply along with you or apply separately later. Their visa will expire at the same date as yours, irrespective of when they apply.
Only the following family members can apply:
Child under 18 years of age
Additional maintenance amount of £630 per Dependant Family member will have to be shown as explained above in the Maintenance requirement question.
What is the Cost for the Tier 2 (General) Visa?
The fees are subject to change without notice, please refer to the fees tab at https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general
You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of your application, which would be calculated @ GBP 400 per year of visa applied for. You should look at the fields 'Work Start Date' and 'Work End Date' to calculate the number of years for the IHS calculation. This fees is payable per individual applying. If you application is refused for any reason, then the your IHS will be refunded to the same card you used to pay the IHS within 90 days after the date of the refusal of the application. You can read more details about IHS at https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application
How long is the Tier 2 (General) Visa given for? or
What is the duration / validity of the Tier 2 (General) Visa?
The period of visa granted usually depends on how long your certifiate of Sponsorship is valid for. You should look at the fields 'Work Start Date' and 'Work End Date' to calculate the period of the visa. Usually this visa is granted for either 3 years or less or 5 years.
What are my rights and duties whilst living in the UK on Tier 2 (General) Visa?
You are able to work for your sponsor in the job that is described on your certificate of sponsorship
You are able to take a second job (if you are working up to 20 hours a week in either a profession on the shortage occupation list (please check gov.uk website) the same profession as your main job and at the same job). Check the Shortage Occupation list at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-k-shortage-occupation-list
You are able to take up some voluntary work
You are able to study in the UK, but only if it doesn’t affect your job that you are sponsored for
You are able to leave and enter the UK freely during the validity of your visa
You are unable to get any kind of public funding/social assistance which is available to British Citizens/Settled people
You cannot apply for a second job until you have started working for your sponsor
You cannot own more than 10% of your UK Employer's shares (unless you are earning over £159,600 per year)
When will I get a decision on my application for the Tier 2 (General) Visa?
If you are applying from outside the UK,
70% of the time, you will get your decision within 10 business days from the date you attend your Biometric enrolment appointment. Only 30% of cases wherein the Entry Clearance Office (ECO) needs any further documents or information or wants to interview you, then the decision on your application may be delayed. You may be able to get a decision in 5 business days by paying additional fees for Priority Service.
If you are applying from within the UK,
6 to 8 weeks from the date of your Biometric Enrolment Appointment - if you use the Standard Service
5 working days from the date of your Biometric Enrolment Appointment - if you use the Priority Service
Within 24 hours(working days only) from the time of your Biometric Enrolment Appointment - if you use the Super Priority Service
What documents do I have to provide along with the application for the Tier 2 (General) Visa?
Current passport with at least one blank page to stick the Visa Vignette
A bank statement showing you have at least £945 in savings held anywhere in the world, This should be held in your bank account for at least a period of 90 days before the date of filing the application
(please check Appendix P of the UK Immigration Rules: the lists of financial institutions that do not satisfactorily verify financial statements, or whose financial statements are accepted at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-p-lists-of-financial-institutions
Your Tuberculosis test results - Check if this applies to you at : https://www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa
Valid Certificate of Sponsorship copy or at least the Certificate reference number
English Language: (check https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/knowledge-of-english )
English Language test pass certificate – at least CEFR level B1
-- Link to book the IELTS Life Skills test at https://www.ielts.org/book-a-test/find-a-test-location
Criminal Record Certificate (only for Specific UK Jobs) from any country you have lived in for 12 months or longer, in the last 10 years, this includes countries which you have even visited for tourism or to meet family, if the cumulative total number of days you have visited that country in the last 10 years is more than 12 months, then you will need a Criminal Record Certificate - Check if you need a Criminal Record Certificate and how to get it at
Any documents which are not in English or Welsh, will need to be translated in English and you will have to submit both a copy of the original document and its certified translation
Can I extend my Tier 2 (General) Visa?
You can apply for any number of extensions of your visa upto a maximum stay of 6 years in the UK. After completing 5 years of stay in the UK on this visa, you and your dependants can apply for Indefinite leave to remain in the UK, if you meet the minimum income requirement, see the question on Indefinite Leave to remain below.
Can I qualify for Permanent Residence or Indefinite Leave to remain in the UK by being on Tier 2 (General) visa
Yes, you can qualify for Indefinite leave to remain in the UK after completing at least 5 years stay in the UK on the Tier 2 (General) visa. If you are not in any of the Shortage Occupations or PhD-level occupations, then you will have to meet the following minimum earnings requirement. Check Immigration Rules Appendix K: shortage occupation list (Source: UKVI) to see if your job is in the Shortage occupation list.
You should be earning at least the appropriate rate for your job/occupation as per Appendix J or GBP 35,800, whichever is higher.