- Tier 2 (General) Visa requirements
- Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer requirements
- Tier 2 (Sportsperson) requirements
- Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa requirements
- Extending your Tier 2 Visa
- Change of employment requirements
- The English language requirement
- Switching from a Tier 4 to a Tier 2 Visa
- The maintenance requirement
- The “genuine vacancy” requirement
- Find out how IAS can help you
- Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Tier 2 Visa requirements?
The Tier 2 Visa is the main immigration route for skilled workers who wish to enter the UK to take up employment.
Eligible applicants must have a job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK-based employer. Besides, they must score 70 points against several requirements, such as maintenance, appropriate salary, English language, and holding a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
Depending on the Tier 2 Visa category you wish to apply for, you may need to meet different criteria. To ensure that your application is filed correctly, you can ask our team of immigration lawyers to help you.
Get in touch with our immigration experts to find out how we can guide on through each step of your Tier 2 application.
Tier 2 (General) Visa requirements
Tier 2 General Visa eligible applicants must score 70 points against three conditions, which are:
- 50 points for attributes
- 10 points for maintenance
- 10 points for English language
Applicants under the age of 18 need written consent from their parents or legal guardian and from those who will take care of them in the UK.
If the sponsor is a limited company, the applicant must not own more than 10 per cent of the business’ shares, unless their gross annual salary is £159,600 or higher.
Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer requirements
The Tier 2 ICT Visa is available for those who have been offered a role in the UK branch of their overseas organization.
Eligible applicants must:
- Score 50 points for their Attributes, which include holding a Certificate of Sponsorship and earning an appropriate salary
- Have received a job offer from a UK-based employer with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship. To award the required 30 points, the job must be at Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF)
- Score 10 points for maintenance
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) requirements
Before you submit your Tier 2 (Sportsperson) application, you must ensure that you meet the following requirements:
- You must be an internationally established player or coach at the highest level
- Your sponsor must hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship
- Your sponsor needs to obtain an endorsement for your form the appropriate governing body for your sport
- Your activities in the UK must make a significant contribution to the development of your sport at the highest level in the UK
- You must intend to be based in the UK only for the duration of your permission to stay, meaning that you must go back to your home country when your visa expires
- You must also meet the English Language and maintenance (available funds) requirements requested by the Tier 2 category
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa requirements
You can apply for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa if you have been offered a valid job within a faith community (either as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order) in the UK.
Tier 2 (MoR) applicants must score a minimum of 70 points against the following criteria:
- 50 for attributes
- 10 for the English language, although the minimum required level is lower than the one for Tier 2 (General) applications
- 10 for maintenance
Successful applicants must have an in-depth knowledge of their role and genuinely intend to undertake the position for which their CoS was assigned.
Requirements to extend your Tier 2 Visa
Your leave to remain can be extended if your skills level and salary are still appropriate for your role within your company.
To renew your Tier 2 Visa, you need:
- A new Certificate of Sponsorship
- Up-to-date evidence of your maintenance funds
- Biometric evidence, including your fingerprints and a picture of yourself.
Depending on your core duties, your employer may also ask you to complete a higher level of English qualification.
If your circumstances have changed since your first application, you need to notify the Home Office before you request a visa renewal.
Requirements to make a Tier 2 Change of Employment
If you are staying with your sponsor but changing your role, you will need to make a change of employment application if:
- A different Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is required
- Your new job is in the same SOC code, but your new salary is less than the required rate
- You are changing from a position which is in the shortage occupation list to one which is not on it
- Your pay reduces from the level indicated on your current CoS, and the reduction is due to maternity, paternity, sick or adoption leave lasting a month or more
- There is a change to your core duties meaning that your position changes within the same SOC code – provided that your pay remains above the acceptable rate
What is the English Language requirement?
As a part of your application, you must score 10 points for your English language skills, unless you are applying for a Tier 2 ICT or a Tier 2 (General) as a doctor, dentist, nurse or midwife. Your English proficiency must be equivalent to level B1 or above, although a higher level may be required for Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) applicants.
If you are unable to score 10 points for your English proficiency, your application will be refused, even if you meet all the other requirements.
You will be awarded 10 points for your English language level if you:
- Are a national of a majority English speaking country
- Hold a degree that was taught or researched in English, and that is equivalent to a UK degree
- Have passed an English language test at the appropriate level
- Have met the English proficiency criteria when given a previous grant of leave in the UK
What are the requirements for switching from a Tier 4 Visa into Tier 2?
International pupils who are currently on a Tier 4 Visa may be able to switch into a Tier 2 status. Eligible applicants must:
- Currently be sponsored by a Tier 4 sponsor, which can be either a UK-based or overseas higher education, provider
- Have completed, or be applying no more than three months before the expected completion date of, a course of study leading to a UK recognised bachelor’s or master’s degree, or a UK Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Professional Graduate Diploma of Education (PGDE)
- Have completed a minimum for 12 months study in the UK towards a UK PhD or equivalent level
- Have undertaken their period of study while they had valid entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain
- Meet the requirement relevant for their Tier 2 Visa category
What is the maintenance requirement?
To be eligible for a Tier 2 visa, you must score 10 points against the maintenance requirement. This means that you must:
- Have personal savings of at least £945, which must have been held for 90 consecutive days, or
- Already have been granted entry clearance, leave to enter, or leave to remain as a Tier 2 migrant or a work permit holder
- Have an A-rated (premium), A-rated small or medium-sized enterprise, or A-rated sponsor who can certify on your CoS that they will maintain and accommodate you up to the end of your first month of employment
What is the genuine vacancy requirement?
A genuine vacancy is one which:
- Requires the jobholder to perform specific duties and responsibilities
- Meets all the requirements of the Tier 2 (General) relevant category
- Does not include lower-skilled duties
- Is not tailored to exclude suitable qualified or skilled settled workers
- Does not contain an incorrect job description to make it appear to meet the Tier 2 requirements deliberately
- Does not include a role that does not exist to enable a migrant to apply to enter the UK
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You must score 10 points for maintenance by showing that you have at least £945 available at the time of your application. Your funds must have been held in your account for a consecutive 90-day period ending no more than 31 days before your request.
Before you submit your Tier 2 forms, you should check the cost of living in the UK, and ensure that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependants.
If you wish to rely on a joint account, you must be named on the account. If you are applying with your family, any dependants must demonstrate that they have access to sufficient funds.
To support your eligibility, you can submit pieces of evidence such as personal bank statements or a letter from your bank.
To demonstrate your eligibility, you must submit a bundle of supporting documents with your application forms. This includes:
- Personal bank or building society statements covering 90 consecutive days
- A building society passbook covering the previous 90 consecutive day period
- A letter from your bank confirming your funds and that they have been held in your account for at least 90 consecutive days
- A letter from a financial institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
A valid CoS must:
- Have been issued by a licensed sponsor
- Have a reference number that links to a CoS checking service entry
- Confirm that your employer is sponsoring you in the relevant Tier 2 category for your role
- Have the same details as in your passport
- Have been assigned no more than three months before the date of your application
- Not have been used for a previous application
- Not have been withdrawn or cancelled by your sponsor or by the Home Office one assigned
- Have had any Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) paid in full by your sponsor
The following absences are considered acceptable, and do not affect your right to stay in the UK or change your status:
- Statutory maternity or paternity leave
- Statutory paternal leave
- Statutory adoption leave
- Sick leave
- Assisting in a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis
- Taking part in strike action as part of a legally organised industrial action
The following rules apply to Tier 2 ICT entry clearance and Tier 2 to ILR applications.
Your sponsor is exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test and does not need to advertise the post if:
- The applicant’s gross annual salary is £159,600 or more
- The applicant has been working in the UK as a doctor or dentist in special training and either need to apply for a Tier 2 Visa extension or to return to their practice after an out of programme experience
- The job offer is in a supernumerary research position
- The CoS is linked to inward investment rules
- The job offer is to continue working as a member of an existing research team, and the sponsor is a Higher Education Provider or a Research Council
Applicants for a Tier 2 (General) renewal who are continuing in the same job for the same sponsor can award 30 points for sponsorship if:
- They have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship
- Are continuing to work in the same position for the same sponsor under the same Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) code
- Are applying for leave to remain and las had entry clearance as a Tier 2 migrant, work permit holder or representative of an overseas newspaper
- They meet all the other visa requirements
Applicants must meet the English language requirement if they are applying under the following categories:
- Tier 2 (General), unless they are applying as a doctor, dentist, nurse or midwife who has already passed an accredited English Language Test
- Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
- Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
You will score 10 points for the English language if you:
- Are a national of a majority English speaking country
- Hold a degree that was taught or researched in English, and which is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or above
- Have passed a Secure English Language Test (SELT)
- Are applying for leave to remain and have previously granted a granted leave or a work permit holder
- Have already been granted leave under Tier 1
- Have previously met the English language requirement as a part of a different application
- Have previously been granted leave under Tier 4 (General) student