The UK is one of the World’s most popular Immigration destinations for people wishing to live and Work in a new country.
UK Visa Tier point-based Immigration System.
Non Tier UK Business visas
UK Visitor visas
UK Family Visas
UK Entry clearance guide
EU, EEA and Swiss National Working in the UK
UK Permanent Residence and UK Citizenship
Archive of old UK Visa Categories
In many cases you need to come under the UK tier points-based visa system which measures applicants against various criteria designed to assess their eligibility for a UK work or study visa.
The UK tier visa (UK Visa) system consists of the following
Tier 1 Visa (UK Visa): This UK Visa category is for high-value migrants from outside the EEA and covers the £2000,000 Tier 1 Investor Visa Schemes, and those very few people who come under the Tier 1 exceptional talent visa and Tier 1 exceptional Promise visa.
Tier 2 Visa (UK Visa): This category is for skilled workers from outside the EEA with a job offer in the UK from a Tier 2 sponsor. It includes skilled workers who are transferred to the UK by the international company via the Tier Intra-Company Transfer visa route, skilled workers where there is a proven shortage in the UK, ministers of religion and sports people.
Tier 3 Visa(UK Visa): This category was designed for low-skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortage. The government has so far never allocated any visas under this scheme.
Tier 4 Visa(UK Visa): This category is for students from outside the EEA who wish to study in the UK. Application must have a place at a registered UK educational establishment before they can apply.
Tier 5 Visa (UK Visa): This category contains six sub-tiers of temporary worker including creative and sporting, charity, religious workers, and the youth mobility scheme which enables about 55,000 young people every year to work in the UK on working holidays.
The UK tier visa system covers most work, study, and investment visas. But visitor visas, family visas, and some UK business visas fall outside of the five tiers.
For people who have at least £2,000,000 available to invest in invest in active and trading UK registered companies.
For people with access to at least £50,000 to invest in the UK to set up a UK business with endorsement from endorsing body.
For people endorsed by a designated body as a leader or emerging leader in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology, fashion or the arts.
Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa has been replaced the start-up visa category.
Tier Investor applicants must score 75 points for their visa to be granted. The following table gives a detailed breakdown of how points are awarded for this visa. Tier 1 Investor applicants do not need to provide proof of their English language proficiency or their access to maintenance funds.
You are granted entry for a period of up to three years and four months. Depending on the investment level you can gain indefinite leave to remain in the UK after spending between two and five years (minus 28 days) in the UK.
There are accelerated routes to indefinite leave to remain if you have invested more than invested more than £2 million pounds.
£2 million investment-Towards the end of 5 years stay in the UK
Investment of £ 5 million – Towards the end of 3 years stay in the UK
Investment of £ 10 million – Towards the end of 2 years stay in the UK
Tier 1 Investor applicants must provide several documents with their application:
Current passport and/or other travel document
A separate passport photograph
A clear tuberculosis(TB) test result letter.
A criminal record certificate from any country they have lived in for more than one year in the past ten years.
Tier 1 investor visa holders can work and study in the UK alongside investing in active UK business, and can apply to settle (gaining legal permanent residence in the UK) after a set period of time which depends on how much they have invested in the UK. Those who invest £5,000,000 or more can apply to settle after 3 years, while those who invest £10,000,000 or more may apply after 2 years.
Investor on this visa cannot invest in any company whose main business activities involve managing, developing, or investing in property
Talent visa is similar and is also difficult to obtain with only a limited number of people qualifying. One bit of good news is that there is no longer any cap on the number of visas available. It now includes a new fast-track scheme arranged by UK Research and Innovation UKRI for world-leading science, top researchers and mathematicians for entry to the UK.
This category allows a limited number of people who are considered to be leaders or emerging leaders in a small number of fields to enter the UK. You will need to come under Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa or Tier 1 Exceptional Promise criteria. A big benefit of this category compared to the Tier 2 visa and Tier 2 Sponsored License scheme is that you can work freely for almost any employer or run you own business or be self-employed. Before applying for this visa applicants must first ask for endorsement by a recognized designated competent body via a UK Home office application in one of the following fields:
The Exceptional Talent visa is subject to an annual limit so 2000 places set by the UK Home office.
In the first stage you need to apply to one of the recognized Designated competent bodies to apply or the tier1 exceptional talent visa:
Art Council England- for arts, culture fashion, film and television applications:
The British Academy- for humanities and social science applications:
The Royal Society –for natural sciences and medical science research applications.
The Royal Academy of Engineering – for engineering applications
Tech Nation- for digital technology applications.
Once you have endorsement you need to apply for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa and must provide certain documents with your application. Some people based in the UK can switch to this UK visa category.
Current passport and/or other travel documents
A separate passport photograph (depending on the circumstances).
A letter of endorsement from the designated competent body
A tuberculosis test result letter
Length of stay and Indefinite leave to remain for this visa
The length of stay for this visa depends on whether the applicant is already in the UK. Those applying from outside the UK can stay for 5 years and 4 months. Those switching to this visa from inside the UK can stay for up to 5 years.
Those which have been granted a tier1 exceptional talent visa can usually apply based on three years stay in the UK. Actually, applications can be made twenty-eight days before the end of the three-year period. For those on a tier1 exceptional promise visa you have to wait for 5 years (minus 28 days) before you can apply for indefinite leave to remain.
Time spent in the UK as a tier 2 general visa holder or on a tier1 entrepreneur visa should count towards the period required for indefinite leave to remain.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa holders can live and work in the UK with restrictions.
You can work as an employee for any employer, be self-employed and run your own business.
You can work in almost any area. However, for an extension or indefinite leave to remain you will need to show that you have worked in your specialist area at least some of the time.
You cannot work as a Doctor or Dentist in Training or as a professional sportsperson/sports coach.
The UK Innovator is a UK Visa category usually for experienced business people to set up an innovative business. The investment requirement is £50,000 and you need to be endorsed by an endorsing body. Because of the endorsement requirement, this visa may be difficult to come under at the moment.
You are eligible if: –
You are not a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
You want to set up or run a business in the UK. To set up or run a business in Britain your business or business idea must be endorsed by an approved body.
UK immigration rules specify the following requirements to be able for the Innovator visa:
Innovation – Proof of a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and creates a competitive advantage.
Viability – Applicants must be able to demonstrate the necessary skills, knowledge and experience, plus market awareness, to run a business competently.
Scalability – Evidence of structured planning and the potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets.
You can stay for 3 years if you enter the UK on an Innovator Visa or if you switch to the visa from another valid UK visa.
You can apply to extend your visa for another 3 years when it is due to expire. There is no limit on the number of times you can extend.
After 5 years, you could be eligible to apply for the indefinite leave to remain. (UK Settlement)
You can only apply Innovator Visa online. In addition, you will need to have your fingerprints and a photograph taken at a UK visa application centre in the country from which you are applying. You must do this to get a biometric residence permit, which is needed as part of your Innovator Visa UK application.
The earliest you can apply for the Innovator UK visa is 3 months before you travel. It can take a minimum of 3 weeks to receive a decision on your vise application.
To support your application, you must provide a business plan and supporting documents for endorsement. A business sponsor from the following approved bodies will endorse your business plan and Innovator Visa application:
Those endorsing your Innovator visa must be ‘reasonably satisfied that you will spend much of your working time in Britain developing business ventures,’ in accordance with UK immigration rules.
When you apply for an Innovator Visa, you will have to pay a UK Immigration Health Surcharge. You have to pay £400a year payable in advance for the duration of the UK visa.
The tier 2 visa allows skilled workers to enter the UK on a long term basis to fill a skilled job vacancy; including in a wide range of skilled occupations including IT, accountancy, teaching and healthcare. The occupation needs to be on the Tier 2 occupation list the codes of practice for skilled workers.
If the occupation is on the Tier 2 Shortage occupation List. In most cases the employer will not have to advertise the vacancy if you wish to sponsor someone under the Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa scheme. Before they apply, Tier 2 visa applicants must have a job offer and a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsor license.
Tier 2 jobs under the Tier 2 General visa scheme must usually be advertised to workers who are citizens or residents of the European Economic Area (EEA) before they can be offered to non-EEA immigrants, unless the job is on the Tier 2 Shortage Occupations List or it comes under the tier 2 intra-company transfer visa. This is known as the Resident Labour Market Test.
Tier 2 visa (General) visa for workers who have a skilled job offer and a certificate of sponsorship license. The vacancy must be advertised to UK workers before it can be offered to an immigrant, unless it is on the Tier 2 Shortage Occupations List. Limited to 20,700 places a year for job applicants resident outside the UK.
Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) visa for employees of multinational company who are being transferred to the business’s UK branch. Applicants must have a valid certificate of sponsorship from their employer. There are two sub-categories:
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa for workers who have been offered a job, such as missionary or minister of religion, within a religious community organisation in the UK.
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa for elite sportspeople and coaches. The applicant must be recognized or endorsed by their sport’s governing body.
Tier 2 applicants must provide several documents with their application, these include:
Current passport and other travel documents
A separate passport photograph in some circumstances.
Proof that they can meet the maintenance funds requirements for their visa, such as bank statements, unless their Tier 2 sponsor can guarantee their maintenance with the UK Home Office. Only ‘A rated’ sponsors have this option.
Proof that they meet the Tier2 English Language Requirements, such as qualification equivalent to a bachelor’s degree or higher taught in English or English language test results.
A clear tuberculosis (TB) test result letter, if the applicant is from one of the countries on the Home Office’s TB testing list.
Tier 2 applicants must score at least 70 points on Tier 2-point test.
Tier General visa applicants may be required to complete an approved UKVI version of the English language test if they are not nationals of an English-speaking country or have not completed a degree level course taught in English. There are no English language requirements for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa applicants.