1. Overview

You can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa if:

  • you’ve been offered a skilled job in the UK
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

Getting sponsored

You need to be sponsored (ie have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor) before you can apply to come to the UK to work.

The work you do in the UK must relate to the work of your sponsor organisation.

How long it will take

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the date you travel to the UK.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

You can check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.

Fees

How much you pay for a Tier 2 (General) visa depends on your situation, where you are and how you apply.

Tier 2 General (up to 3 years)

Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch in the UK Extend or switch in person in the UK (premium service)
You £564 (Rs.55,650.48) £651 (Rs.64,121.74) £1,051 (Rs.1,03,520.65)
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £509 (Rs.50,135.12) £596 (Rs.58,750.52) £996 (Rs.98,210.29)
All dependants £564 each person £651 each person £1,051 each person

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

Tier 2 General (up to 3 years) - shortage occupation

A shortage occupation is a skilled job where there is a shortage of workers in the UK.

Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch by post in the UK Extend or switch in person in the UK (premium service)
You £428 (Rs.42,189.97) £428 (Rs.42,189.97) £828 (Rs.81,615.53)
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £373 (Rs.36,739.49) £373 (Rs.36,739.49) £773 (Rs.76,194.21)
All dependants £428 each person £428 each person £828 each person

 

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

Tier 2 General (more than 3 years)

Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch by post in the UK Extend or switch in person in the UK (premium service)
You £1,128 (Rs.1,11,226.11) £1,302 (Rs.1,28,473.64) £1,702 (Rs.1,67,774.13)
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £1,073 (Rs.1,05,877.28) £1,247 (s.1,22,960.07) £1,647 (Rs.1,62,352.52)
All dependants £1,128 each person £1,302 each person £1,702 each person

 

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application.

How long you can stay

You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (General) visa for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.

Your stay must start no more than 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship.

You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 5 years, as long as your total stay is not more than 6 years.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • do a second job in the same sector and at the same level as your main job for up to 20 hours per week
  • do a job which has a shortage of workers in the UK for up to 20 hours per week
  • do voluntary work
  • study as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family members with you

You can’t:

  • own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £155,300 a year)
  • get public funds
  • start working before you get the visa
  • apply for a second job until you’ve started working for your sponsor

You’ll need to make a new application if you want to do a second job that’s not in the same sector as your main job.

2. Eligibility

You must have all of the following to be eligible for a Tier 2 (General) visa:

  • a certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • an ‘appropriate’ salary
  • the required level of English

You must also have £945 in savings - this is to prove you can support yourself. You must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply, unless you’re exempt.

Certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship is a reference number which holds information about the job and your personal details. It’s not an actual certificate or paper document.

Your sponsor will give you your certificate of sponsorship reference number.

They must also give you some other information to help you to apply, eg how much you’ll be paid.

You’ll need to add your certificate of sponsorship reference number to your application form - you can only use it once.

Appropriate salary

The job you’re offered must pay £20,800 or more, unless your current or last permission to stay in the UK is as:

  • a Tier 2 (General) migrant before 6 April 2011
  • a Jewish agency employee
  • operational ground staff of an overseas-owned airline
  • a minister of religion, missionary or member of a religious order
  • a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
  • a work permit holder
  • an unregistered nurse but your salary will be at least £16,271 while you’re doing your supervised practice or £21,478 after you have Nursing and Midwifery Council registration - and you’ll still be sponsored as a nurse by the same sponsor after you’re registered

 

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