Tier 2 General
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 day you’re due to start work in the UK.
This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.
You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.
How much you pay for a Tier 2 (General) visa depends on your situation, where you are and how you apply.
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
- 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
- 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.
You must have all of the following to be eligible for a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa:
- certificate of sponsorship reference number
- an ‘appropriate’ salary
£945 in savings - this is to prove you can support yourself and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply
You don’t need to have £945 in savings if your sponsor is fully approved (‘A-rated) and they can certify that they’ll support and accommodate you for the first month you’re employed - check your sponsor’s rating.
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.
Your certificate of sponsorship is valid for 3 months from the date it is assigned to you.
You’ll need to earn one of the following:
- Long-term Staff applicants - at least £41,500 or the ‘appropriate rate’ for the role (whichever is higher)
- Short-term Staff, Graduate Trainee or Skills Transfer applicants - at least £24,800 or the ‘appropriate rate’ (whichever is higher)
- staff already in the UK on a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa or work permit issued before 6 April 2011 - at least the ‘appropriate rate’
Appropriate rates vary by sector. You can check the appropriate rate for your role in the ‘Codes of practice’.