What is the Tier 2 General Visa?
The Tier 2 General visa is a UK work visa of the British Point Based System, that is issued to highly skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, who have a job offer for a skilled job or a job in the Shortage List. To be eligible to apply for this visa you must have a job offer in the UK and provide a certificate of sponsorship issued by the employer. Besides getting a paid job, with this visa you are also allowed to get involved in a volunteer job.
As a holder of Tier 2 General Visa, you will be permitted to travel outside the UK while on this visa and also to bring dependents to the UK on a Tier 2 Dependent Visa.
Who Needs a UK Tier 2 Visa?
This visa is part of the British Points Based System which categorizes the different reasons one might be eligible to apply to enter and remain in the UK under a specific purpose.
The Tier 2 visa type is part of this system, established for highly skilled workers who have a job offer in a skilled job in the UK and are not from a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
Therefore, if you belong to any of the third countries, you are eligible to apply for this visa and you will be able to obtain it if you fulfill the other requirements as set by the UK Home Office.
Tier 2 General Visa Eligibility Criteria
The UK Home Office has set a number of eligibility criteria that the applicant must fulfill in order to be able to get a Tier 2 General Visa. These criteria are as following:
- You must pass the general grounds for refusal.
- The candidate must have a job and from a sponsoring employer in the UK
- Have a Tier 2 Visa minimum salary offered of £30,000/year.
Aside of that, since the visa is part of the Point Based System, the applicant should also fulfill the following criteria and be able to collect points in each of these requirements as listed below:
- Have 50 points in attributes.
- Have at least 10 points for knowledge of the English Language.
- Be older than 16 years.
- A maximum of 10% of shares of the company when their sponsor is a Limited Company – An exception of this makes the case when the candidate has a minimum yearly salary £159,600.
- Must not take any type of public funds.
- Must not get any other job in the UK apart from the job in the certificate of sponsorship checking service – Not including supplementary employment and voluntary work.
- Meets the Condition to hold an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate.
To learn more about the points attributed in the Tier 2 General category visit the Points Based System article, or complete the form below:
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What are the Document Requirements for a Tier 2 Visa?
To apply for a Tier 2 Visa, you must submit the required documents for any UK visa and also provide the following documents which are specifically required for a Tier 2 visa application:
- Tier 2 visa sponsorship letter from the employer. – The certificate must have a reference number for a job in the UK issued by an A-rate certified sponsor employer in the UK with an accepted Job Salary.
- Criminal record certificate. – which shows the criminal record of the candidate in the past years. It must be obtained at the competent authorities in their home country.
- Tuberculosis test results. – If the candidate is from a country that has to take the test.
- Police registration certificate.
Tier 2 Visa Application
You will have to complete your application process for a Tier 2 General Visa from outside the UK, more specifically from your home country. You will need to submit your application online through the official website of the UK government, where you will have to give some basic information, on you and your purpose of traveling to the UK, as well as to upload scanned versions of your original documents
If this is your first time traveling to the UK, you will need to schedule an appointment at the nearest application center, UK embassy or consulate in your home country, where you will need to submit biometrics and a photograph of yours.
The cases when the application can be done from within the UK are when the person is already in the UK with a valid visa and wants to switch into a Tier 2 visa or apply for an extension.
Switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 Visa
To switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 visa, you must be a holder of of either Tier 4 student visas or Tier 4 child visa. However, the following conditions must also be met:
- They hold an undergraduate or postgraduate degree from a UK educational institution
- Have studied in a UK Education institution that is a degree awarding and licensed as a Tier 4 sponsor
Tier 2 General Visa Maintenance Funds
The applicant must provide the minimum required saved money in disposition to cover their own and their dependents’ living and accommodation costs. The minimum required is:
- £945 – for the applicant;
- £630 – for any dependent of the applicant
If the sponsor employer takes care of the applicant’s living and accommodation costs, then they are exempt from this requirement. In this case, the candidate should provide the official document from the sponsor as proof.
How Long is the Tier 2 General Visa Valid?
The validity of a Tier 2 General Visa is fixed, meaning that you can stay in the UK with this type of visa for a maximum of 5 years and 1 month, or 2 weeks after the end of the employment contract (as shown in the Certificate of Sponsorship Checking Service), whichever is less.
Tier 2 Visa Certificate of Sponsorship
A candidate applying for a Tier 2 General should have a job offer to be proven with a Certificate of Sponsorship from an employing organization or a company that is licensed to sponsor candidates in Tier 2.
This is an electronic document with a reference number with all the details about the candidate, the company, the job offered and the salary, as well as all related dates.
The certificate can be used only one for one visa application and for a new application a new certificate should be taken.
Both the Home Office or Sponsor can take the certificate away and the visa application will be refused as a result. From 6 April 2017 an on, the certificate will not be considered as a valid evidence, if the sponsor does not pay the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC), with exceptions.
Tier 2 Visa Extension
If the holder of a Tier 2 visa wishes to remain longer in the UK in order to engage in a skillful job beyond the period the existing visa, they should apply for an extension of the Tier 2 visa which is also known as a Leave to Remain. This visa can be extended to an additional period of 5 years considering the total stay is not longer than 6 years.
The extension can be issued for the difference between the dates of visa issuance with the start of the job contract (if this does not result in a negative value).
The 6 year limit does not apply if the applicant had been issued either of the following visas before 6 April 2011:
- Tier 2 (Minister of Religion);
- Tier 2 (Sportsperson);
- Jewish Agency Employee Visa;
- As a member of the Operational Ground Staff of an Overseas-owned Airline;
- Work Permit;
- Representative of a foreign newspaper, news or broadcasting agency
To be eligible to apply for an extension the applicant should:
- Work for the same employer that has issued the sponsorship certificate in the initial application.
- Have a salary minimum £30,000/year or the appropriate salary and allowances for the job.
Settle in the UK as a Tier 2 Visa Holder
A person who has lived in the UK for at least 5 continuous years on a Tier 2 General visa can apply to get an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). They need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Fulfill initial Tier 2 General visa requirements
- Provide documents to prove absences from the UK Maximum 180 days absence per 1 year, each year of the entire period are allowed.
- Certificate of sponsorship by a valid Tier 2 Sponsor – The sponsor must either still have the license as a Tier 2 Sponsor for the relating category, or is waiting to get the decision on their application to renew it. The certificate must display a sponsor’s readiness to continue keeping the candidate employed for a specific period, with a specific salary.
- Needed understanding of the English language and life in the UK;
- Must not have any history of overstaying in the UK.
Tier 2 General Visa Fees
Visa Fees for a Tier 2 General visa depend on whether you are applying from inside or outside the UK as well as your citizenship since different fees apply to citizens of Turkey and North Macedonia.
Keep in mind that the application fees for UK visas may change on regular basis almost . You can visit this article to see all the UK visa application fees available from 6th April 2018.
Recognized Jobs Under the Tier 2 Visa
Jobs are categorized according to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) which was launched on October 2015, with the sole purpose of helping people understand all the qualifications that the UK Home Office regulates, which are general and vocational in England, and Vocational in Northern Ireland. These levels are categorized according to their difficulty. The Tier 2 General visa includes the 4th and 6th level of the RQF job levels.
Visit this article for a complete list of recognized jobs: Recognized Jobs for Tier 2 General Visa