Europe, Life, Moving to the UK

The Ultimate Guide to the UK Tier 2 (General) Visa

A little over two years ago I came to London on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa. The process of applying for this visa was made a lot easier as I had help from a number of sources – I had friends living in London who had already gone through the process of getting this visa, and searching on the Internet helped answer any other questions I had (this guide by the Aussie Nomad was particularly helpful).

However, the Tier 5 visa is strictly a two year visa so Australians wishing to extend their UK beyond two years have limited options. I went down the route of obtaining a Tier 2 (General) visa.

Leading up to the time of the application I did a lot of research online to try and find success stories written by people who had obtained a Tier 2 visa. Unlike when I applied for the Tier 5, I wasn’t able to find a lot of information to draw on and I knew very few people personally who had been able to stay in the UK on a Tier 2 visa (most people I know had either gone home once their Tier 5 visa had expired or they were able to stay in the UK on an ancestry or defacto visa).

Which brings me to the purpose of this post – I wanted to document the application process as I experienced it so that maybe someone in my position in the future may get some use out of it. Please note that all information in this post is correct as of June 2014, prices and eligibility criteria may have changed slightly since then. Please refer to the gov.uk website for the most up-to-date information.

Eligibility Requirements

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

  • You’ve been offered a skilled job in the UK and have been assigned a certificate of sponsorship reference number (more on that below)
  • You’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • You meet the English language requirement, either by passing an English test or being a national of an English-speaking country (like Australia)
  • You will be earning a salary of £20,500 or more
  • You have at least £945 in savings in your bank account for 90 days before you apply, or your sponsor has stated on the certificate of sponsorship that they will certify maintenance for you

Cost

When applying outside the UK, the cost for a standard Tier 2 (General) 3 year visa is £514 (the price may vary depending on your country of origin and whether you have dependents or if your job is listed on the shortage occupation list).

There is now an option to apply for a five year visa but this is roughly double the cost of the three year visa.

Documents Required

  • Your current passport
  • A passport-sized colour photograph
  • Bank statements showing you’ve had at least £945 in savings continuously over the last 90 days, unless your sponsor has certified maintenance for you
  • Proof that you meet the English requirement (in my case, my Australian passport is proof enough)
  • Your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test (Australia is exempt from this so it didn’t apply to me)

You’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.

Finding a sponsor

First of all, the hiring company must obtain a sponsorship licence. The application for a sponsorship licence normally takes around three months to be approved. For this reason, when I was looking for work I would only apply directly to companies who I knew already had a sponsorship licence. This gave me my best chance at finding a job as I knew it would be pretty difficult to find a company willing to go through the time and expense of getting a sponsorship licence and then the actual visa.

There is a list of all companies who are licensed sponsors, so as I found job advertisements that matched my skill set I would look for that company on the list of sponsors to see if they already had a licence. If they did, I would submit my application. This was quite a frustrating process. I would always explain in my cover letters that I was a migrant seeking sponsorship, a lot of companies will disregard you at that point even if they do hold a licence. I was actually offered a role with an iconic British brand who did hold a licence, but when I told them that I required sponsorship I was simply informed that they never do that. There were a few companies that showed a genuine interest in me and were willing to sponsor so I kept on trying.

Resident Labour Market Test

The hardest part of getting a Tier 2 visa is, unless you have a job that is listed on the shortage occupation list, the hiring company must be able to demonstrate that the role cannot be filled by someone already permanently living in the UK. To do this they must complete what is known as the ‘resident labour market test’. The company must advertise the role in at least two places to settled workers for 28 calendar days. One of these job advertisements must be through Jobcentre Plus.

Now the problem with my line of work is that no company ever advertises through Jobcentre Plus. So when I did find a company that liked my CV and portfolio, they would then have to post a job advertisement on Jobcentre Plus in order to meet the resident labour market test requirement. Again, this was a deal breaker for some companies as they didn’t want to have to advertise the role for another month.

Certificate of Sponsorship

After a couple of months of searching I did finally receive a job offer! They fulfilled the resident labour market test requirement, so the next step for them was to obtain a certificate of sponsorship. This is an electronic record, not a physical document. Each certificate has its own number which a worker can use to apply for a visa. There are two types of certificates of sponsorship – restricted and unrestricted.

I fell into the restricted category because my job on the Tier 2 visa pays less than £153,500 a year. There’s a limited number of restricted certificates available each month so a company can only apply for one after they have completed the resident labour market test. Restricted certificates are allocated once a month, usually on or around the 11th of the month. Even though the number is limited, they never seem to allocate the full amount. Any that aren’t used are rolled over to the next month. There’s a page on the UKBA website which has figures on recent allocations of certificates. My certificate was in the June 2014 allocation and my employer received the certificate in the afternoon of the 11th June.

The Application Process

Once you have a certificate of sponsorship you are able to apply for the visa. The application must be submitted in your home country (or at least, a country where you hold the right to live and work) so for me this meant a trip back to Australia.

On the recommendation of my employer I engaged the help of a solicitor during the application process. This can be quite expensive though, and in hindsight the application form is not too difficult to do yourself – I just didn’t really know what to expect going in and wanted to play it safe.

You fill in an online form for your application which will include all your personal details (if you’ve done the Youth Mobility visa, this part of the application is very similar to that). The main difference is that you also need to fill out some information about your sponsor and eligibility for the Tier 2 visa. You will need to specify your entry date to the UK – this can be up to two weeks before the start date specified on your certificate of sponsorship. Be sure to check everything is correct on your application before you submit it. My solicitor did not do this and actually made a mistake with my name on the form! This had to be hand amended on the printed version but it did not have any negative impact on the application.

Once you have completed the application form you will then be able to book your biometics appointment. You will need to print off your application form and bring it, along with the required documents outlined above, to the appointment.

The appointment will take around 30 minutes. Plan to arrive a little early, but no more than 15 minutes early. If you arrive late you will need to reschedule the appointment.

When you are called they will check over your paperwork and ask you to decide whether you would like to pay for the priority processing. The priority service takes 6 working days. The regular service, I was told, will take 3-4 weeks. I opted for the priority service which cost AUD $214. This price includes the cost of the courier service to have your passport sent back to you.

The second part of the appointment is to have your finger prints and photograph taken. The visa office will then submit all your documents for processing – you no longer have to mail them yourself.

I attended my biometrics appointment on a Tuesday and with the priority service I had the visa returned to me within a week. For me it was definitely worth the extra cost to not be sitting around for a month waiting.

Do you have any further questions about the visa application? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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Comments

  • Stefan Kojic

    Many thanks for writing this all up! Really given me an idea of what to expect and what to do if I decide to return to the UK after my tier 5 visa runs out 🙂

    • Stacey Fenton

      I’m glad you found it useful 🙂

  • Congrats on getting the tier 2 visa Stacey. I’d aimed to go that route myself but my employer was well a bit slack in being fully registered to sponsor so it all fell through unfortunately.

    A nice write up as well and hope it helps people following in your footsteps much like my guide helped yourself and others.

    • Stacey Fenton

      Thanks Chris! I can empathise with your situation as a similar thing happened with my previous employer. Thankfully I was able to find a new a new job willing to sponsor before my Tier 5 visa expired.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂 I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and it was a big help to me when I was making the move to London.

  • Jesse Caves

    Hi Stacey, congrats on getting your visa!

    I hope you can answer a few questions that I have;
    Were you already on the tier 5 visa, and in England, when you applied for the tier 2 visa?
    Did you have to come back to Australia during the process, or were you allowed to stay in England?

    I’m looking to move there as soon as possible, and the Youth Mobility visa doesn’t count toward the 5 years necessary for the immigration visas.

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Jesse, I was in England on the Tier 5 visa up until my company received the certificate of sponsorship. Once they received that, I had to return to Australia to submit the application for the Tier 2 visa. You are right that the Tier 5 visa doesn’t count towards the time you need for permanent residency, so even though I was on the Tier 5 visa for 2 years I still need to stay another 5 years on the Tier 2 visa before I can apply for indefinite leave to remain. Having the Tier 5 helped though as it allowed me to be in the UK to attend interviews and find a job willing to sponsor – I think that would have been a lot harder if I was trying to do it from Australia.

      • Jesse Caves

        Thanks alot for the quick reply! I might try that route myself, it definitely does sound alot easier than finding a certificate first.

        • Stacey Fenton

          I believe so, and there’s nothing to say you can’t apply for a Tier 2 before your two years is up on the Tier 5. Just be upfront from the beginning to make sure the companies you apply to would be willing to sponsor you further down the line. Once you’ve started in a job and are happy with how things are going, or after you’ve passed a probation period, then you could try and get the ball rolling on the Tier 2.

  • Gorkey

    Hi,

    I’m from india and applying for Tier 2 visa UK, I’ve made few mistakes while filling the details whle booking an appointment. I’ve paid my health surcharge also but did not book an appointment slot yet. Now i’m not able to make any changes to the details submitted.

    What do i do now?
    Can i ignore it and give proper details in the VAF9 form while submitting my docs through VFS ?
    I hope the embassy people only gothrough the documents submitted and the visa appointment details will be with VFS.

    Appreciate your help in answering the above questions.

    • Stacey Fenton

      I guess it depends on what the mistakes are? There was a mistake with my name on my application so I just crossed this out in pen on the printed version and wrote the correct spelling next to it. Hope that helps!

      • Gorkey

        Is it ok, if i fill an other form for the appointment and then pay to book an appointment. Also if i fill an other form, do i need to pay the health surcharge again ?

        • Stacey Fenton

          I’m not sure to be honest, I didn’t have to do a health test as part of my application. It’s probably best to check with your embassy.

          • Gorkey

            sure. thanks for your time ..Stacey

          • Gorkey

            hi Stacey, I’ve cancelled my visa appointment date and wanted to book another after few days. can i do it without any charge and for how many days my health surcharge will be active ?

  • Ben Carroll

    Hi Stacey

    Cheers for the guide – very helpful.

    Just a quick question, did you need to submit your degree / get it certified by NARIC as proof of English or was your passport enough? (I’m also australian)

    Also did you have any problems submitting the tier 2 request straight after your tier 5 had expired?

    Cheers

    Ben

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Ben, if you’ve got an Australian passport then you don’t need to worry about proving you’re fluent in English. I submitted my Tier 2 application a couple of weeks before my Tier 5 expired but I doubt there would be have been an issue if I had submitted it after the Tier 5 expiry date.

  • Jon

    Hi Stacey,

    Congrats on the visa and great write up – serious lack of info about this online.

    Im currently going through the labour market test at the moment to switch from T5 to 2 so hopefully all goes well there. I know i need to fly back to Aus for the biometric testing and application, however because i was looking to fly back to the UK quite quickly because of work so i was interested in the priority service to have my passport returned asap.

    My question was that when i look at the gov.uk site the tier2 priority service section says “you can only use this service if you’re in the UK”. This has just left me a little confused becuase i thought i had to fly back to Aus to do this, or am i missing somehting else that needs to be done in the UK?

    cheers

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Jon, the priority service is not something you have to select at the time you fill in your application form. I didn’t even know about it until I attended the biometric appointment and they asked if I would like to use the priority service. From what you’ve said, I believe the one you read about refers to when you are already in the UK on a Tier 2 and you wish to extend it. There is a priority service available for this and you do have to be in the UK to extend the visa. So that wouldn’t apply to you just yet, you still attend the appointment in Australia to submit your Tier 2 application and you can choose to pay for the priority service on the day. My appointment was in NSW but I assume the priority service would be available in other states as well.

  • Lisa Irizarry

    Hi I made a mistake on my tier 2 visa application and it’s been submitted. I put no under do you have a IHS number because I didn’t have one yet and submitted the app. I then saw further down that you apply for it later in the process so I do have one now. Can I just write it on my application to mail in?
    Also I still need to pay the surcharge for the IHS because when putting in the dates for the CoS I put the 3 months it was good for not the employment date range so it said $0.00. I didn’t realize why it said $0.00 until I completed it and researched further. How can I pay it after the fact??
    Ugh!!! So confusing!

    • Stacey Fenton

      If you’ve already submitted the application I think your only option would be to write the number on the printed form. I’m not sure about the healthcare surcharge payment because I didn’t have to pay this. I would advise checking with your local embassy, depending on your location you might be allowed to pay the surcharge in cash at the embassy.

  • Mr. NURSE

    Hello ms. Stacey, your blog is so helpful. Nice writing btw. Anyway, i do have a question. I am currently waiting for my CoS to arrive from my employer. My dilemma is that today is the 14th of september and the ukba has already alloted for sept. The minimum score was 39. Im sure i have 30, my salary range is from 26,000to33,000. I am not sure if this salary band reaches 9 to reach a 39 score. And I am a bit worried why they are taking so long to send me the email of my cos. I was more worried after I have read that you knew that the same day they deliberated, your agency or employer received it already by the afternoon. Why do you think this is? How long did you wait for your cos to arrive. Thank you and God bless you!

    • Stacey Fenton

      I’m not sure why they might take longer to distribute the CoS but if you still haven’t heard anything maybe your employer can get in touch with the UKBA to ask why there is a delay?

  • Peter Marceta

    Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for the AMAZING blog post. My situation is very similar to yours and this post really articulates the convoluted process of going from 5 to 2! I’m now at the stage to hopefully get my Cert in October 11th’s allocation.

    Cheers,
    Pete

    • Stacey Fenton

      Thanks Peter, good luck with your application! 🙂

  • DrDeepali Choudhary

    how about finding a job by some reputed consulting firms…??? is this a good idea ???

    • Stacey Fenton

      In my experience, recruitment agencies weren’t very helpful. People who require sponsorship visas aren’t really “easy wins” for them so they never really gave me the time of day. There’s no harm in trying though, it may be different depending on your industry or the type of work you’re looking for.

  • Morgan

    This is probably the best blog I have seen with regards to getting a Tier 2 visa! Like you, I’m from a commonwealth country and was on YMS for two years. My employer got their licence in February and started applying for a COS in June. Bad news in June and July, then they had to advertise the job again. Finally good luck in September! I applied for my visa from Canada on the 14th, appointment on the 16th with all the documents you listed 🙂 Now I’m just waiting (impatiently) for my visa although I paid for priority. My one concern is my expected travel date – I was ambitious and put September 24th. I’m assuming this shouldn’t adversely affect my decision? I am meant to start work in October. Thanks!

    • Stacey Fenton

      Thank you so much! I don’t think your travel date will have a negative impact on your application. When I applied the travel date could be up to two weeks before the date specified on the CoS, so as long as you stayed within that limit then there shouldn’t be a problem. I think its better to specify an earlier date, that way you won’t have to wait around once you get your visa.

      • Morgan

        That was my thought as well. I had to be quite vigilant getting information from my HR…I’m a teacher, so when it was “October” to a specified end date on my contract I automatically went with the 1st.

  • Tenielle

    Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for your blog, I’ve just submitted my application and realised I’ve made quite a significant mistake by stating I’m certifying my maintenance when actually my work place have agreed to do this. I remember my boss saying this was on there application so do you think there is a chance that at my appointment they would understand this was purely a mistake on my end?

    Otherwise is there any possible way I can alter my application once submitted? Or do you know of any contact phone numbers to gain advice?

    I have to drive 4 hours to get to my appointment and am worried they will see this error and just turn me away.

    Thanks in advance
    Tenielle

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Tenielle, you can’t alter the application digitally after it has been submitted but you can make changes by hand on the printed version of you application that you take to the appointment (I had to do this when the solicitor made a mistake with my name on the form and submitted it without checking!) Just cross out the part that’s wrong and write the correct information alongside it.

      I don’t see it being a problem but it might be a good idea to bring the supporting bank statements along to the appointment just in case, to show you have the available funds.

      • Tenielle

        Oh amazing! I hope this is the case, because I certainly don’t have the financial requirements for my own maintenance which is why my work have agreed to do it.

  • Janice Snyders

    Hi Stacey, thanks for all the info it’s been very helpful! Just wanted to ask A couple of things!

    I have just applied online for my UK tier 2 visa while I am still currently in the UK. I was misinformed and now realise I should have been in Australia when applying. I will be travelling to Home on Sunday and my appointment is booked for Tuesday.
    When you did yout interview did they ask or check where(what county) you made the application from or how long you had been out of the UK for?

    I am trying to decide whether I cancel this application and pay again or try my luck and still go to the interview.

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Many thanks

    Janice

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Janice, it doesn’t matter if you submitted the online form while still in the UK, just as long as you attend the appointment in Australia. They didn’t ask about this in the interview.

      • Janice Snyders

        Thanks for the quick reply! that makes me feel a lot better about it all! However can I cheekily ask if you applied for you visa in the UK or if you know anyone that did?

        Many thanks,

        Janice

  • Melissa

    Hi Stacey,
    Thank you for all your information. It’s very helpful.

    I just have a question regarding my application. I have attended my visa appointment and submitted all documents but am now just a bit worried that I didn’t submit correctly. My sponsor only gave me a screen shot of my reference number for my certificate of sponsorship but now after reading things I’m worried that I need to supply a hard copy of the certificate of sponsorship with all of the necessary information in that certificate. Do you know anything about this or did we just need to give the reference number?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance
    Melissa

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Melissa, from what I remember you don’t need to submit a hard copy of the CoS. Just the reference number should be enough.

  • Gabrielle Peach

    Hi, as a Kiwi in the UK currently on Tier 5 YMS and looking to move to Tier 2, you are right that there is not enough info and I really appreciate you outlining the process, and being willing to get back to people about it over a year later!

    I am looking to stay in my current role- my employer will need to apply to become a sponsor which they are aware of, although not necessarily the timeframe required so will get them on to that. My question is regarding the process for your employer gaining your CoS and your actual application for the Tier 2. Was the fact that you already had been living/working in the UK taken into account in the application process and something you were asked about in the online application or interview? And are you aware if your (to be) employer was asked if you had already been in the country on another visa (or are they merely proving that you are best suited to the position).

    I just wonder if the fact that I have already been in the role and on a separate visa will assist the process, or if will be somewhat irrelevant; so long as I fulfill the Tier 2 requirements, I am good.

    Cheers

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Gabrielle,

      In terms of you being considered for the job in the market test, then I suppose that your experience with your current employer in the UK would be valuable in demonstrating you are uniquely qualified for the role as you already have experience that other potential candidates wouldn’t. This isn’t something they really look at during the actual application though, I wasn’t asked about it at all and as far as I know my employer wasn’t asked about it either.

      Good luck with your application 🙂

  • Tenielle

    Hi Stacey,

    I just received my passport and discovered my tier 2 visa was successful (yay!). However, it states in my letter I can enter the UK on this visa from the 11th of October but my flight arrives at 7.30am on the 10th of October, do you happen to know if there is anyway I can still enter? would they actually turn me away and send me back to oz? it seems ridiculous to have to pay hundreds of pounds to change my flight for one day!

    Thanks
    Tenielle

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Tenielle,

      Congratulations on getting your visa! If the 11th is the start date of your visa then I’m not sure what would happen if you arrived in the UK before that date. It is possible you’d be able to enter the UK as a tourist but then you would have to exit and re-enter the UK after the 11th in order to activate the visa. Maybe you could do a cheap flight out to somewhere in Europe and back again which might be cheaper than the cost of changing your booked flight. I would advise checking with the UKBA first, though.

  • Tricia

    Hi Stacey
    I really found your writings quite informative.
    My concern is, I learnt October 17, 2015 that the cap for the year for tier 2 general has been reached hence no more visa will be granted. I am wondering if it make sense applying for this year again. I am not sure if the information is credible as it is not published on the UKVI website.

    Kindly advice.

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Tricia,

      I’m not sure where you heard this information, but it is incorrect. Sponsorship certificates are allocated on a monthly basis, so October’s certificates will have been allocated already but you’re able to apply for November, December, etc. Always refer to the UKBA website for the latest information. For November there are 1,808 cetificates of sponsorship available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employer-sponsorship-restricted-certificate-allocations/allocations-of-restricted-certificates-of-sponsorship

      • Tricia

        Hi Stacey
        I truly appreciate your prompt response. Thanks for the link- had no clue it exists. I will keep you posted as I pursue same. How does the employer go about getting the CoS? She already has a licence.

        All the best I will definitely refer you to anyone I know who needs this sort of assisstance.

        Best,
        Tricia

        • Stacey Fenton

          Hi Tricia,

          I’m not sure exactly how it works but I know once a company gets a licence they have access to the sponsorship management system, and they apply for the CoS through that.

  • Tricia

    Thank you Stacey

    Cheers

  • Lauren Jayde

    Hi Stacey,
    Thanks for the information I was really struggling to find anything on the process! Just a quick question for the labour market test, is that something that you had to apply for before your job got the sponsorship certificate or is that something your job had to do in order for them to get a sponsorship certificate? Im a teacher so already have a school that want to sponsor they just need to begin the process now.
    Also when you applied for your online application did the appointment have to be done within a certain amount of time as I am travelling for one month before I arrive back to Australia for the appointment. Also does it have to be in the British high commission in Canberra or can it be in the consulate in Brisbane or Sydney?
    Thanks in advance!!
    Lauren

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Lauren,

      Yes, the labour market test needs to be completed before your employer can apply for a sponsorship certificate. They will need to answer some questions about the labour market test on the certificate application.

      As far as I know you will need to attend the appointment within 3 months of the certificate being issued, as that’s how long the certificate of sponsorship is valid for. If you are only travelling for a month then that should be fine.

      The appointment doesn’t have to be done in Canberra, I had my appointment in Sydney. I believe you can apply from Brisbane also.

      • Lauren Jayde

        Thank you so much! That is really helpful 😊 Once you have your certificate , labor market test and applied online do they decide then if you will get sponsored or do they not decide until the meeting at the consulate. Also do you have to give in any references or other letters to add to your file in hope it will get accepted or just what is stated online?

        Thanks again,
        Lauren

        • Stacey Fenton

          Hi Lauren, when you attend your appointment they will take your application form and submit it for processing. It takes them around 3-4 weeks to process applications, or you can pay an additional fee for priority processing which then takes around 6 working days. You don’t have to give any additional references or letters besides what is stated on the UKBA website.

  • sarah

    Hi Stacey,

    thanks for the info you’re a star!

    Just a minor question that you might not even remember – when using the priority service in sydney, do you remember if it HAS to come back by courier or can you request to pick it up like you can if you dont use the service? I really want to go priority but am not really going to have an address for them to send it back to. I know ill probably stay with a friend, but im not sure where yet so unless im able to specify a different address for the courier than any address on the application form i was really hoping to pick up my passport.

    Thanks for any help
    sarah

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Sarah,

      I’m not sure if they give you the option to pick it up, from what I remember they just told me it would be sent back by express post. They fill out the address on the envelope there and then so if they didn’t let you pick it up then you could probably ask them to put a different address on the return envelope.

      • sarah

        Thanks for that stacey,

        just one more question quickly about supporting docs – the guide says you only need to do the vaf9+appendix 5 forms if you dont do an online application – which we do in australia – but I’ve read elsewhere that even if you do the online application (and bring the print out) you still need appendix 5?

        • Stacey Fenton

          Hi Sarah,

          VAF9 is just the paper version of the online form I think, so you don’t need to worry about that but you do need to include the appendix 5 form.

  • Jessica

    Hi Stacey,
    So great to finally find some more info on the Tier 5 to Tier 2 process. I’ve only been in the UK so far for 4 months on YMS but can see myself here for a long time which is why I’ve started researching my options. I was just wondering about how long you can stay for on T2 visa, looking at gov.uk it has a few different options that you pay for – Up to 3 years, more than 3 years and whether or not it’s occupation shortage. It mentions you can stay for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days or time given on your CoS plus 1 month whatever option is shorter. Ideally my plan is to eventually apply for residency which I know requires you living in the UK for at least 5 years, I read that YMS doesn’t count towards this unfortunately. Did you have any issue with the length your visa was issued for? Do you think most employers would give you a long period of time on your CoS and did you pay for the more than 3 years option? Thanks again 🙂

    • Stacey Fenton

      I got the 3 year visa because that’s what my employer specified when they applied for the CoS. At that time the 5 year visa was only new so I’m not sure if knew it was an option! If you get the 3 year one you have the option of renewing it again once the 3 years is up, then after you reach the 5 year mark you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. If you really want the 5 year visa just talk about it with your employer first before they apply for the CoS. Obviously this costs more money up front but probably less hassle later down the line.

  • Ryan

    Hi Stacey,
    Im in the same situation as you were (currently living in UK on YMS, but have been offered sponsorship so returning to New Zealand soon to apply for tier 2 general). Can I ask what address did you put on your online form, your UK address or your Oz address? And also, what address did you give your sponsor to put on their form when generating the certificate, UK or Oz? And one more, did you say you were a UK resident or a Australian resident when applying? Thank you and great blog, so helpful!

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Ryan,

      I used my Australian address on the form and on the sponsorship certificate, and said I was an Australian resident.

      Hope that helps!

  • Beth

    Hi Stacey! Thanks for the information 😀 I have just been offered a job in UK (I am from South Africa). The company are already a sponsor and applied for the sponsorship certificate a few weeks ago but were unaware of advertising on the Gov job portal so the process is now delayed for another 28 days. The 28 days is up on 10th January 2016 and as far as I’m aware the closing date is the 10th for Jan visa’s. Do you think if they apply a day or two before it will be a problem? Also, do I need a flight booked before I can apply for the visa?

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Beth,

      Unfortunately I think you will miss the January allocation. According to the gov.uk website, the cut off is the 5th and any applications submitted after the 5th are held until the next month’s allocation. More info here: https://www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers/sponsorship-certificates

      • Beth

        Thanks Stacey! Ye will have to wait till the 10th Feb decision. One more thing, do you know if the resident labour marketing test requires them to show all CV’s of unsuccessful candidates too? or letters from them, recruiters, UK Gov Job portal etc is enough to show they advertised.

        • Stacey Fenton

          No, I think the company just needs to provide a brief explanation of the job advertising process and why the other applicants were unsuccessful.

  • Aliki Jean Doreen

    Thanks so much for this, Stacey. I’ve had a really stressful time getting my visa, as my school has had issues getting the CoS. I’m basically just waiting in Australia til they have it, and then I’ll be able to apply for my visa. Do the panels only sit once per month?
    Cheers,
    Aliki

    • Stacey Fenton

      Yes I am afraid they only meet once a month. Sorry to hear that you are having to wait around, I hope it all gets sorted soon!

  • CatherineD

    Hi Stacey, this post is amazing – exactly what I was looking for. My certificate is being produced this week, and my employer has put my start date as the end of my tier 5. My question is can I come back into the uk on my tier 5 as it won’t be within 2 weeks of my start date and then leave again and come back on my start date to activate the tier 2? Sorry if that’s a bit convoluted!

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Catherine, I think that would be fine but make sure you:
      a) Depart the UK again before the Tier 5 expires
      b) Don’t start working in your sponsored job until after you re-enter on your Tier 2

      • CatherineD

        Thank you! Again, this blog post has been sorely needed 🙂 one more question, does it make any difference if your savings are in an Aus bank account? x

        • Stacey Fenton

          An Australian bank account is fine just as long as it has enough funds when you convert that amount into pounds

  • Lauren Jayde

    Hi Stacey,

    Just a quick question is it mandatory to give in your previous passports? I am having trouble finding them and didn’t realise we needed to have them, from previous travels I have photo copies for the number but that is it!

    Thanks Lauren

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Lauren, definitely submit the previous passports if you have them, but if not I believe you can mark them as lost on the application form

  • Claudine

    Hi Stacey,
    I am not sure if you could help me out I have been offered a job in the UK in a school (I am South African) they are willing to sponsor a work visa under skilled migrant however they have come back to me saying that it might not be possible to go the sponsorship route because of my qualifications being a level 4 and not level 6.
    I am not sure what the details but the post was advertised for several months and I meet all requirements other than this. Did you have any issues with your qualifications? Do
    You have any suggestions or any advice that I could perhaps try? The school is very
    Keen on getting me there and are willing to help where they can.

    Thank you for your time.

    Claudine

  • Lana Ross

    Hi Stacey
    I am so glad to see this!! I have just received my CoS and am heading back to NZ on Tuesday to do the switch. I have been filling in the form but just getting stuck on a few of the questions and was wondering if you could help? What did you put for ‘how long have you lived at this address’? Being your Australian address.. Can really only put ‘1 day’ haha – is that sufficient? Then ‘Have you ever travelled to the UK in the last 10 years?’ – did you put all the trips to/from Europe that you would’ve done? This form is totally not tailored for us kiwis/aussies!! Also did you put anything into the ‘additional information’ section?
    Thanks!
    Lana

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Lana,

      I was confused about the address question too! Since I put my family home address down I just wrote the number of years I had lived there in total (before I had moved to the UK on the Tier 5 visa). And yes for the trips I wrote down ALL of the tips I’d done in Europe, that list took a long time to write! I had too many trips than what the form would allow as well, so the remainder I wrote out on a separate page and just submitted that along with the application form. The only thing I wrote in the additional information section was a note to say I had attached a separate page with the full list of countries I had visited in the last 10 years, since they wouldn’t all fit on the form.

  • Lauren

    Hi Stacey,
    I am currently awaiting on my decision for my Tier 2 Visa..I also applied for the Priority Service from the Sydney office.
    Just wondering if you received an e-mail when a decision had been made from the embassy in Manila a few days before you received your passport back – it has been 3 working days for me and I am going a little crazy waiting on the outcome!
    Thanks 🙂
    Lauren

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Lauren,

      I’m pretty sure I didn’t receive an email, I just got my passport back in the mail 6 days later. It’s a nervous wait but since you got the priority service it should only be for a few more days. Good luck!

  • SH

    Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for the comprehensive breakdown! I’m currently going through the process and have two questions I hope you could answer – firstly, was there any visa interview conducted or did you just submit your documents when you were at your appointment? Secondly, did your company fulfill the resident labour market test requirement before you interviewed or did they do it after interviewing you?

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Stacey Fenton

      There was no interview, just the appointment where you submit your documents. The job I applied for had been advertised before I interviewed – that’s how I found out about it. But initially it wasn’t advertised through Universal Jobmatch (Jobcentre Plus) which is a requirement of the resident labour market test. This was done after I had been interviewed.

  • Dennis Foo

    Hi Stacey Thanks for the fantastic article, I (australian) might have a chance of working in UK however our UK office says its hard for them to get visa’s approved at the moment. I believe they are talking about the tier 2 visa. However as I am 25 I would be eligible for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa I am pretty sure. Do you know anything about the success rate of tier 5 youth mobility applications? Or any document similar to this for tier 5 visas that you linked below? https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employer-sponsorship-restricted-certificate-allocations/allocations-of-restricted-certificates-of-sponsorship

    • Stacey Fenton

      The Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa is very easy to get, it’s the one I had before I got the Tier 2. As long as you have the required funds in your bank account and are under 31 there aren’t really any other eligibility requirements. Check out the guide to the Youth Mobility visa by The Aussie Nomad that I linked at the beginning of this blog post. It’s very comprehensive and should tell you everything you need to know. It was a big help to me when I filled in my application.

      • Dennis Foo

        Thanks Stacey, hopefully my company wins the tender!

  • Josh

    Hi Stacey, good points in the article. I’m form filling for the Tier 2 General visa now and – as I’m living in London on the Youth mobility – find it confusing when asked to give my permanent residence and address. Should I be filling in UK address or my New Zealand address? It sounds silly, but when asked “Your permanent Country of residence” I don’t want to say the UK, as I’m only here on the 2 year visa and don’t think they see that as very permanent?

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Josh, put your NZ address on the form as that’s the country where you hold permanent residency

  • Meg Barling

    Hi Stacey,

    Amazing article – thanks for posting!

    I am pretty much all sorted with my visa but I do have one question. Are you able to submit the online application and book your bio-metrics appointment while you are still in the UK? Or do I need to wait until I am back in Australia to submit/book everything? My boyfriend met with an immigration lawyer (he is applying for a de-factor visa) who told him to wait until he is back in Australia to do this but I can’t understand why this would be the case.

    Thanks in advance!
    Meg

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Meg,

      My lawyer told me it was okay to submit the online application while still in the UK, you just need to be in Australia to attend the appointment.

  • Adedayo Ajenifuja

    Thank you for the post.Its been quite helpful. I CAME ACROSS AN APPENDIX 5 FORM. what’s it for and does everyone applying for a tier 2 general visa need to fill this form

    • Stacey Fenton

      Yes, you do need to fill in and submit the Appendix 5 form.

  • Emma Wasley

    Hi h

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Emma,

      I haven’t changed jobs since getting the Tier 2 visa so I’m afraid I can’t really offer any advice on this.

  • Emily

    Hey Stacy, this is the most helpful blog / information I have read! I have a question, are some areas of professions more easier to be sponsored (not referring to special kill shortage list), I am wanting to do a job in Marketing / Business and advertising – I have been told that it is a competitive market. I have done 6 months of exchange within the UK and I have some relevant experience here in Australia… I was just wondering if you know of anyone in my field of profession whom has been successful of sponsorship in this area! That is my main worry, that so many people do business degrees in the uk and its an easily applicable job (but i genuinely enjoy it and have a passion). Also since they have added the 30,000 pound rule it definitely makes it a lot harder. What area of profession did you get sponsorhip for?

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Emily,

      I work in IT so I don’t really know much about the job market for advertising and marketing or how easy/difficult it would be to get a sponsored job in that area. I hope it works out for you, though 🙂

  • Jack Henson

    Hey Stacy, I’m looking for job opportunities for my gf, and her visa expires in November. I have noticed the 90 days/£900 bank account requirement, but I was wondering whether it is okay if she provides the bank statement for her account back home (Singapore). Still need a job offer yet though 🙂

    Thanks

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Jack,

      It’s fine to provide a bank statement from Singapore, as long as the amount in that account converts to at least £900.

  • Dino Pasic

    Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for great article. I have accepted job offer from UK and my employer submit my sponsorship application 19 days ago. Sponsorship application is still on pending status.
    Should I be worried? How long did you wait for UK government to issue your sponsorship certificate?

    Thanks

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Dino,

      Applications for sponsorship certificates are only processed once a month. You probably missed the March allocation by a few days which means your certificate should be issued on or after the 11th April.

      • Dino Pasic

        My employer have submitted application on February 29th. Is it really possible to be allocated in April for application submitted on February?
        Waiting is killing me…

        • Stacey Fenton

          If it was submitted on the 29th then it should have made it into the March allocation as the cut-off date is usually the 5th. Maybe you’re employer could get in touch with the UBKA to find out what’s happening?

  • BRoberts

    Hi Stacey,

    Thank you for your post. I am currently on the Tier 5 Visa, my work have received the certificate of sponsorship for me to change over to the Tier 2. I have two queries;

    1. Can my employer give me the Certificate of Sponsorship number (they received it the 11th of this month) so I am able to make the appointment online in order for me to book flights home to Australia after making the interview in order to cut time in being away from my job etc.

    2. Could you please explain, “You will need to specify your entry date to the UK – this can be up to two weeks before the start date specified on your certificate of sponsorship..”

    What effect does this have?

    Thank you for your wonderful guide!

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi,

      Yes your employer should give you the Certificate of Sponsorship number as you need to include this in your application.

      When your employer applied for the CoS they would have put a start date for your job on the application. So when you fill in your visa application the UK entry date you specify can be up to 2 weeks before the date specified on the CoS, so you can enter the UK on your Tier 2 visa a little bit earlier than you are due to start work if you like.

  • Sandra

    Hi Stacey, This blog is fantastic! I’ve been having so many issues finding information out on what to do and this has been so helpful!
    I have a couple of questions.
    My visa is due to expire on May 3rd and I won’t know the result of my CoS before May 11th (my HR department was slow in putting the job ad up for 30 day which means i would’ve missed the April submission). Which means I will have to be somewhere in Europe anxiously waiting for the result. Since my visa finishes up on 3rd May and I won’t be in the UK if the CoS comes through, will this be an issue?
    Also, if it does come through, is it ok to just book my flights back to Aus straight away and start the application form when I get there or should i do that while I am here?

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Sandra,

      You don’t need to be in the UK when the CoS is issued, just make sure you leave the UK before your current visa expires on May 3rd.

      It’s up to you whether you start the online application from here or when you get back to Australia – but obviously you need to attend the biometrics appointment in Australia.

      • Sandra

        Thanks Stacey for the prompt reply and for this blog. Life saver!

  • Joy

    Hi Stacey,
    Thank you for your wonderful post. I got a COS and I will be applying for a visa tomorrow. In the COS it is mentioned that my start date is 18th of April, 2016 but unfortunately I can’t join the company at he given date. My intended date of arrival would be 14th of May, 2016.
    Would it be a problem if the date is changed.
    Your help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Joy,

      I don’t have any experience with this but I wouldn’t think that having a later UK entry date would be an issue.

      • Joy

        thank you Stacey!

  • Fumi

    Hi Stacy,

    Thanks for writing a clear and informative guide on how you got a tier 2 visa! I’m from Canada and I am currently in the UK on a tier 4 visa still in the process of finding a job for a tier 2 visa however finding it quite difficult.

    How was your experience with securing a job? How long did you spend applying for positions? Would it help to mention to employers that I am willing to reimburse costs associated with sponsoring me? Also if I don’t manage to get a job before my current visa expires do you recommend I get a Tier 5 visa and try to find a graduate job again or should I do a masters and reapply again in September? I’m a little concerned that the RMT will make securing a job even harder through the Tier 5 visa route.

    Thank you 🙂

    Regards,
    Fumi

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Fumi,

      Finding a job was difficult, I think I spent around 2-3 months applying for positions before I got a job offer. I’m not sure if offering to pay the associated costs will help much, for most companies I think the burden is more to do with the time it takes and the process involved rather than the cost.

      I can’t really say what the best option for you would be. I think you have to decide for yourself whether you want to continue studying or go down the Tier 5 route. I can tell you that the Tier 5 process is very simple and it does give you 2 years in the UK so that’s a decent amount of time in which to try and find a sponsored job.

      • Fumi

        Hi Stacey,

        Thanks for your reply! I don’t really have any friends who are in the same situation as me so it is nice to hear about others experiences with getting a tier 2 visa 🙂 I’m going to have to really consider my options but nice to hear that the tier 5 route is fairly straightforward!

  • Vineet Pardasani

    Hi Stacy,

    This is a great post and i am sure it gives a valuable information to folks seeking a work visa.
    Just to let you know that I am presently based out of India and I am looking for a job in UK in ITSoftware field. When I look for job portals there are a lot of jobs that shows up but i am not sure if the companies entertain someone who is not based out in UK. I have lived in UK on a tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa for an year from 2014 to 2105. Is it worth to come on a tourist visa and look for jobs (though it can be expensive). Can you guide me if you have any information regarding this?

    Regards,
    Vineet

    • Stacey Fenton

      I would probably try contacting companies while still in your home country first, maybe try and set up some Skype interviews and see how that goes first.

  • Manasa Malipeddi

    Hi Stacy, this is such valuable information. Thanks for sharing for the benefit of the rest of us. Really appreciate it. I have a question — Will I able to apply for a Tier 2 General visa while working in a non-home country like Germany where I have a work permit? Or will I need to come back to home country to apply for the visa?

    • Stacey Fenton

      It might be possible to apply for Germany if you already have a work visa there but I’m not 100% sure.

  • Sarah Pellen

    This is amazing information!! Thank you so much for going to the trouble of writing all this up? Such valuable information!! Just researching tier 2 visa options currently! Considered partner visa and paid £1.30/minute for visa info from uk, to find out it’s almost impossible to attempt!!! I

    • Stacey Fenton

      Thanks Sarah, I’m glad you found it useful. Good luck!

  • Kristyn Rae

    Hi Stacey thanks for all this info, it’s brilliant. I’m from NZ and have a sponsor. I’m currently on a tier 5 visa, it runs out in Nov so I have six months to sort this, however my question is whether I can apply for the tier 2 visa here in London because I am fully employed here with an offer of sponsorship. OR do I definitely need to fly back to NZ to sort this and send my passport away to get the visa….? First thing to do is to ask for a COS from employer, correct? Many thanks for your help. Kris

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Kristyn,

      Unfortunately you will still have to go back to NZ to apply for the Tier 2 visa even if your Tier 5 is still current. And yes you will need the CoS from your employer to complete the application form.

  • Pankaaj Padmanabhan

    Hi Stacey

    Thanks very much for this elaborate overview. It did help me cross check on quite a few things for my application. I’m glad to let you know that I’ve made it and I’m a month through my job in Newcastle. Just another tick on your book of deeds I’m sure, though I’d let you know!

    Cheers, Pankaaj

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Pankaaj,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Congratulations on your job and sponsorship, I’m glad everything has worked out well for you 🙂

      • Pankaaj Padmanabhan

        You’re most welcome. Hope you’re doing well yourself. Cheers!

  • Nikhilanantha Srikrishna

    Hi Stacey,
    Thankyou & Appreciate the initiative to consolidate all the relevant information for UK VISA at one place.
    I have received an offer from UK & I would be initiating my visa processing in a day or two. My Sponsor mentioned that they would neither be providing any relocation allowance nor provision any accommodation for initial one month, but would be giving a part of my salary as advance.
    Should that be sufficient for acquiring the points under accommodation/accessing public funds category or Do I need to still show 945 pounds for 90 consecutive days in my Bank account?

    Regards,
    Krishna.

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Krishna,

      You will need to show the £945 in your bank account for 90 days unless your employer specifies on the form that they will certify maintenance for you. You will need to confirm with your employer whether they will specify this on the certificate of sponsorship.

  • CPeiqing

    Hi Stacey

    Thank you for your helpful blog post and replies.

    Hope you could help with some of my queries.

    I have a job offer and a CoS from my employer for tier2.
    I am staying in Singapore, outside of UK right now. I have started application via visa4uk.fco.gov.uk and they have given a postal office in UK to collect my biometric residential permit (BRP), based on my prospective place of stay when I ultimately arrive in UK. Do you know if we have to enter into UK to process the BRP before I can get my tier 2 visa finalised from my home country? I just came back from UK and in the midst of finalising my work commitments in my home country right now – if I could save a trip flying to and fro while making the visa application, it will save a lot of time.

    Regards

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi, I’m not sure what it’s like in Singapore but I had my biometric appointment in Australia. I didn’t have to do any of the visa application in the UK.

  • Ka Ying Phoebe

    Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s really helpful. I have one question. Currently I’m on Tier 5 visa expiring in Feb 2017. I understand that I cannot apply for a Tier 2 visa until my current tier 5 expire and I have to apply in my home country. My question is can my current employer start applying for the certificate of sponsorship before my Tier 5 expire while as I’m still within uk or my company can only apply after my Tier 5 expires?

    Thanks,
    Phoebe

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Phoebe,

      You don’t have to wait for the Tier 5 to expire before you start the Tier 2 application process. I got my certificate of sponsorship before my Tier 5 had expired.

  • HL

    Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for detailing the T2 process on your blog! I’m from NZ and I’ve been working for the same employer (on the Tier 5 YMS) for the past year and a half. Since I’ve been with them for a while, they’re keen for me to stay and have recently advertised for a job which I’m hoping to be sponsored on. It’s currently being advertised for the duration required to fulfil the requirements of a resident labour test. My question is, once the job advertisement closes, how long did it take before you were assigned a COS? There’ll be interviews, so how do they proved no one else is eligible (do they need to show who was interviewed etc). How long did it take after you interviewed and was it a long process? I’m trying to get a sense of timelines because I’m nearing the end of my T5 visa. Many thanks in advance!

    • Stacey Fenton

      The UKBA only assigns CoS once a month (usually on the 11th of the month) so the time it takes depends on how close the CoS application is submitted to the cut off date. For example, if your employer submitted the application on the 11th then you’d have to wait a whole month to get the CoS, but if you submitted it on the 1st then you’d only be waiting a few days. In my case, I was offered the job in April and the CoS was allocated in June, so there was about 2 months in between getting the job offer and getting the visa.

  • Yas

    Hi Stacey,
    Thanks for sharing this. Could you please help me, I have something to clarify. I have received my certificate of sponsorship few days ago and the start date of my work indicated is on August 25, 2016. I will be applying for a visa on the first week of August because my english exam result will be out by last week of July and no need for me to show bank statement since they have indicated that they will certify my maintenance on my CoS. My question is: can I write on my intended travel date(on visa application)a week beyond my start date? Given the possibility that my visa will be granted, there are some other things I need to complete here in the Philippines like the exit pass I need secure from Philippine overseas Employment Administration that is why I need extra time. Is it okay to put an intended travel date beyond my start date? I took the statement below from Tier 2 Policy Guidance of UK Visas and Immigration:

    Periods of grant
    202. If your application is successful, you will be granted leave for a period of time set out in the table below:
    Entry Clearance
    >i.Entry clearance will be granted with effect from 14 days before the start date of the job you are being sponsored to do in the UK as stated on your Sponsorship.
    >If entry clearance is being granted less than 14 days before the Certificate of start date of your CoS it will be granted with immediate effect.
    > Alternatively, if you state the date you intend to travel to the UK application on your visa , entry clearance can be granted with effect from 7 days before this date. However, your intended travel date can be no later than 14 days after the start date of your CoS.
    ii. Entry clearance will be granted for whichever is the shorter period as stated for that category

    Tier 2 (General)
    You may be granted leave for whichever is the shorter of:
    i. a period equal to the length of the engagement shown on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 1 month, or
    ii. up to 5 years plus 1 month based on the start date shown on your Certificate of sponsorship

    I am confused also in the bullet i. Of the Tier 2 General. What about the “plus 1 month”. Hope to hear from you. Thank you!

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Yas,

      As it states above “your intended travel date can be no later than 14 days after the start date of your CoS”. So having a travel date one week after your start date is completely fine.

  • Elle Kay

    Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for your post – I’m currently on a Tier 5 expiring soon and have been trying to find a Tier 2 sponsored role but I’ve been finding it quite difficult. Recruiters are not willing to help at all so I’ve been going to individual company websites and applying for roles (all large organisations who hold licenses) but even if they show interest in my CV, they aren’t willing to proceed further than that once I tell them I require sponsorship. Just wondering what processes and routes you went through to find your Tier 2 sponsored role? Did you go through recruiters, job boards, specific company websites and which did you find most useful? Many thanks for your response.

    Elle Kay

    • Stacey Fenton

      Most of the jobs I applied for were advertised on LinkedIn and I only applied for positions if that company had a sponsorship licence. I didn’t apply to jobs that were advertised by recruitment agencies as I had no way of verifying whether the company who was actually hiring would be licensed and I found agency recruiters to be a big waste of time. A lot of my applications went unanswered or were rejected because the company didn’t want to sponsor. It’s really tough unfortunately, a lot of companies just don’t want to go through the hassle of sponsoring. It took around 2 months of applying for jobs before I finally received a job offer. I lost count of how many applications I submitted but I was searching for jobs and sending off my CV on pretty much a daily basis.

  • Stefan

    Hi Stacey,

    Great post thanks for the insight! I have just returned home to Melbourne after being in London on the YMS. My company couldn’t sponsor me and I left it too late to find a job before my visa expired. My question to you is, is your job NQF Level 6 or higher? Dealing with all these SOC codes has killed me and just need clarifciation. I’m a graphic designer who unfortunately is on the list at Level 4 so according to the Home Office, I can’t get sponsored at all. But I’ve heard stories where as long as companies prove the RLMT that anyone can get sponsored. Please let me know, as I’m hanging to come back to London! Thanks.

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Stefan,

      My job is categorised as “Occupations skilled to NQF level 6”. I find it all to be a bit confusing as well!

  • Pedro Garcia

    Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for all this info, like the other comments say this has been very helpful.
    i have a question about the RLMT. My employers application for a sponsorship licence has been approved so is will the next step be for them to carry out the RLMT before they get a Certificate of sponsorship? or is the COS the same thing as the sponsorship licence? Any help would be appreciated 🙂

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Pedro,

      Yes now that they have the sponsor licence they will need to do the RLMT. Once the RLMT is complete they can then apply for the CoS.

  • Luca

    Hi Stacey,have you encountered anyone whose employer may have missed out on entering a small detail, like salary range, on an advert, but CoS and visa were both still issued?

    • Stacey Fenton

      Sorry, I have not. I only know a couple of people who have this type of visa.

  • Larissa

    Hi, Great blog thanks for the insight. I am trying to get a COS at the moment my company have the license abut we have been rejected twice so far. We have meet all the criteria the second time but due to applying twice they have no claimed the role is not a real job but a false one. Do you have any contacts who I could get to help with this, lawyers etc? I didn’t relies it was so hard to get a COS??? any help appreciated. ThanksLarissa

    • Stacey Fenton

      If you are looking for an immigration lawyer you could try http://www.plsimon.co.uk/. They are the company I used to handle my visa application.

  • Sarah R

    Hi,

    I have got a potentially serious issue. When my employer’s CoS was issued they only gave me the two numbers they thought I needed. But to pay the health surcharge I also need to know what the ‘end date’ was. Well technically on the IHS page it says ‘end work date’ but I think they mean the same end date as the CoS. Do you think I will be okay if I just give the end of the school year 2019 (I will work in a school and I was given a permanent position there). As this is my first TIER 2 I believe they can’t give me more than 3 years anyway so it shouldn’t matter but I’m scared that they will reject my application if it doesn’t match the end date on the CoS.

    (The school is closed for the summer holiday so I can’t ask them!)

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Sarah,

      I got my visa before the health surcharge was introduced so I don’t know what end date you need to use for this. Sorry I can’t be more help. I don’t think you can assume it’s 3 years because it is possible to apply for a 5 year visa now and I don’t know which one your employer would have chosen.

      • Sarah R

        Thanks a lot Stacey! Because I am a first time applicant for the tier 2, I think they would have had to pick 3 years…but without talking to them, you are right that I can’t know that date ! 🙁

  • Dan

    Hello,

    I’m in a bit of a similar situation, but I managed to get into a job on the Teir 5 YMV, and the employer was pretty keen to keep me, so they’ve gone through all the work of getting license and have issued me a CoS now.

    My country of residence is NZ, I was thinking it’d be good if I could start the application process before I landed to speed everything up, did you do this?

    Also, for my teir 5 I had to do a biometric permit already, did you have to go through it twice or was your original YMV without the biometrics?

    Thanks,
    Dan

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Dan,

      You can definitely fill in the online application before you go back to NZ, but obviously you can only do the biometric appointment once you’re back home. And yes, I had to do the biometrics again for the Tier 2 even though I had done it before for the Tier 5.

  • Luca

    Hi, we’re you in the same job when you were sponsored or did you apply through an RLMT? If the latter, were you interviewed before or after the test was over? Thanks for your time 🙂

    • Stacey Fenton

      No, I was sponsored in a new job to the one I had previously and the company I applied to had to complete the RLMT. They started the process after I was interviewed.

  • Meagan Ashley Nicole

    Hi Stacey,
    Just a quick question. Im applying for my Tier 2 Visa and actually have been working on the application over the span of a week. The first questions asks if I was currently in the UK (which was yes). Now Im in my hometown of Ontario (back in Canada). Will this affect my application? I can’t seem to contact anyone from the government and Im about to pay and submit the application.
    Any advice/ will this change things?
    Thanks,
    Meg

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Meg,

      Sorry for the late reply but I’m not sure if this would impact your application at all. Hope you got it sorted out in the end.

  • Ravi

    Hi Stacey, thank you very much for the useful blog. I have a couple of questions:

    1) I am currently employed in the UK and on a tier 5 visa which is due to expire in April 2017. My current employer is in the process of applying for a sponsorship certificate for me so I can use that to jump onto a Tier 2 Visa. I am planning to go back to my home country (Australia) in November. If I get the sponsorship certificate from my employer by then, can I apply for the Tier2 visa when I’m in Australia in November (i.e. well before my Tier 5 expiry date)?
    2) If this is possible, what would I (or my employer) say my employment start date will be given that I am already working for the company, will it be a date immediately upon my return from Australia in November or will it have to be after my tier 5 visa expires in April 2017? If it is the later, is it allowed to have a start date that far in advance?

    Thank you.

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Ravi,

      You can apply for the Tier 2 before your Tier 5 expires, that’s not a problem. Your start date can be immediately on your return to the UK.

  • Ariana

    Hello, for allocation meeting July 2016 are not results published in https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employer-sponsorship-restricted-certificate-allocations/allocations-of-restricted-certificates-of-sponsorship , Do you know if August 11th, 2016 allocation meeting will happen?? I have an application for CoS waiting August. Thank you.

    • Stacey Fenton

      I assume the August allocation would still take place on the 11th, perhaps they just have neglected to update the website with July’s results. Hopefully you here something soon 🙂

      • Yadira Lugo

        Thank you Stacey.
        ..Do you know how long time take to know to my employer if the certificate was granted after August 11th?

        • Stacey Fenton

          In my case, my employer received the certificate in the afternoon of the 11th.

  • TTT

    Hi Stacey, do you know when they usually have the cut-off each month for CoS applications? I’ve applied for the August 11 allocation last month as soon as my company got their Sponsor License (July 7, 2016), but our application has not been accepted nor rejected and is still ‘Under Revew’. I’ve noticed on various forum boards some have received their CoS and others are still waiting. In your educated opinion, how long have you seen the wait after the monthly allocation to being notified. To be honest, at this stage, I’ve had a pretty exhausting process (due to problems with my company not having a license) and just want an answer either way as I have job offers in other offices around the globe where I can get a visa with ease.

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi, the cut off for the CoS applications is usually around the 5th of the month, so you should have been included in the August allocation from what you have said. My certificate was issued on the 11th of the month but I don’t know if this is always the case. I’m not sure how it works but perhaps it takes a bit longer if they have a lot of applications to go through?

  • Emma

    Hi Stacey thank you for this it is very helpful. I have got my restricted CoS and now need to apply for the visa. I am going back to Wellington, NZ to do this in September but I have only allowed 2 weeks to go to my appointment. I am nervous about being able to get the appointment in the short time frame but I see you can’t book the appointment until you have done the online application. You have mentioned that you can do the online application while still in the UK which is great but there are a few things that have tripped me up.
    Should my current permanent address be my UK one or the address I will stay at when in NZ?
    Also when it asks about the recent trips in the UK I obviously need to put this current one, except the leaving date wont be until September, and you can’t enter a date that is in the future. Is there a way around this?
    Thanks very much for your help!

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Emma,

      For your current permanent address you should use your NZ address. With the UK departure date I just selected the date I did the application because I couldn’t choose a future date. There was a part at the end of the application where you are able to enter additional information so I just added a note in there with my actual departure date.

  • mosteff

    Hi Stacey, I have my CoS with a very important firm in the UK – they’ve also paid for a legal team to prepare my Tier-2. I’ve just had the biometric appointment yesterday and I feel I have a straightforward case (of course, doesn’t everyone?) but I am somehow still anxious about not getting approved. I know there is always a chance it could happen – but that would be highly unlikely, wouldn’t it? I have priority processing so it is just a matter of days but I have so much invested in this!!

    • Stacey Fenton

      It’s natural to be nervous but I’m sure with the legal team helping you that you have nothing to worry about 🙂 Hopefully your visa comes through soon!

  • Kristyn Rae

    Hi Stacey

    A quick question – I have flown back to NZ and am waiting – there has been a delay with the COS which was meant to have come through Aug 12th. I can’t go to a biometrics appointment or submit anything without the COS can I? I have to return to the Uk August 30th for work. My question is (I fear I know the answer) Will I then have to fly back to NZ for a second time once the COS has been approved in order to attend the appointment? Is this correct?? Thanks very much

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Kristyn,

      Unfortunately you can’t submit the application or attend the biometrics until after the CoS has been issued, and you do have to be in NZ to attend the appointment.

  • venkatesan

    My Tier 2 visa rejected due missing UK NARIC certificate , now I have applied for UK NARIC , it is under process, what is remedy available now, I can ask my employer to issue new certificate of sponsorship because labour market is valid for 6 months. or I have go through entire process again. Please advice

    • Stacey Fenton

      I’m not sure as I haven’t been through this situation myself. You should contact the UKBA, they should be able to give you some advice.

  • Christine Sandilands

    Hi Stacey,
    Great post! I am currently back home in NZ waiting for my passport to get back to me. I stupidly didn’t pay for the priority service. Have you had any feedback on the average time it has taken to get the passports back? The waiting is killing me and I am pretty sure I am going to have to delay my flight back to London. Thanks!

    • Stacey Fenton

      Thanks Christine. I was told it normally takes 3-4 weeks for the standard processing time. Hope you don’t have to wait much longer!

  • Heysan

    Hello Stacey,

    I have already submitted my intended travel date to UK in tier 2 application. However I may have to change my plan to arrive a few days later than I thought. Would it be still OK?
    I would greatly appreciate for your advice.

    • Stacey Fenton

      I think that is fine as long as your new travel date is still within 14 days of your job start date that was specified on your CoS

  • Andrew Liu

    So if you’re switching from tier 5 to tier 2 what do you tell the uk border force officer upon return?

    • Ricky Una

      Show them your newly stamped Tier 2 Visa on your passport.

      • Andrew Liu

        So what if we have the registered traveller service, will that still be
        valid?

        • Stacey Fenton

          I would assume so, but I haven’t registered for that service myself so I’m not sure. You should be able to ask someone at border control.

          • Andrew Liu

            Well i guess we do get interrogated at border control i think.

          • Andrew Liu

            Well i guess we should also provide a copy of the cos, letter from sponsor and bank statement to show officers that we are genuine skilled workers

          • Stacey Fenton

            I’ve never been asked to show any of those documents at the border. They were only needed for the visa application.

          • Andrew Liu

            Hey Stacey, you know how the Cos has the start and end of your work dates, what happens at the end of the work date? What do you do?

          • Stacey Fenton

            You would need to get a new CoS issued and apply for a visa renewal. You can only stay on Tier 2 visa for up to 6 years though.

          • Andrew Liu

            So what was your experience with border force officers stacey?

    • Stacey Fenton

      You can just tell them you’re arriving on a tier 2 visa. They might ask you a couple of questions about what you do and who you work for

  • Ricky Una

    Hi Stacey,
    I’m in the process of my market test to obtain my CoS. I have had 3 people apply for my position which has all been rejected from my Manager. How lenient is the home office (UK Gov) and how strict are they when they look into the reasons why we reject these applicants. Just stressing to see we will pass this test. Looking to apply for the Oct 11th slot so hope all goes well.

    • Stacey Fenton

      I don’t really know how closely they look at the applications but I had other people apply for my job as well and didn’t have any issues getting the visa. Your employer should be able to justify why those other applicants didn’t get the job if questioned (eg, they were under-qualified, etc.)

  • Amy Johnston

    Hi Stacey,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to offer your advice! I have been struggling to find any information people’s experiences, so it’s much appreciated.
    I’m not sure you will know, but do you have to go to Wellington to sit the biometrics test?
    Also does anyone have advice on dependent sponsorship? My partner is applying for the Tier 2 and I will apply as a dependant. He is Australian and I am kiwi and we want to go to our home countries to see family – we can do the application online, therefore can we go to the biometrics test separately? And it wouldn’t hinder our application chances?
    Thanks!

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Amy,

      I’m not sure where in New Zealand you can go to do the biometrics. When you book the appointment during the online application you can check which location is closest to you. I don’t know anyone who has applied for the Tier 2 with dependants so unfortunately I can’t offer any advice on that.

  • Camira

    I was refused tier 2 visa in June because my sponsor did not put information on the duration of the advert….Now my sponsor has applied for another COS, how does one show the RLMT was followed and also what should my sponsor include in the cover letter for my visa submission. Any samples will help. I had no other person apply for the job, it was only me that applied! How can one also prove this?
    Three questions.
    Thank you

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Camira, I wasn’t involved in the CoS application (this was handled by the employer) so I am not sure what information needs to be filled out and I don’t have any examples of cover letters. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  • Sahar

    Hey! I submitted my Tier 2 visa application but I forgot to add my IHS reference number to the application. What do I do now? Any help would be appreciated!

    • Stacey Fenton

      I assume you have not had your biometrics appointment yet? If not, perhaps you can just write the reference number on the printed form?

  • mat

    Hi Stacey and readers,
    Now that you are sponsored on a Tier 2 (General) visa as I understand, do you know if it’s possible to transfer between different companies on this visa or know of anyone who has done this? I would assume the new company would have to produce a new CoS for you? Many thanks!

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Mat,

      I haven’t done this myself but I think you would have to go through the resident labour market test again with the new company and they would then have to apply for a CoS. If you already have a Tier 2 visa I think you can apply for the new visa within the UK, you don’t have to go back to your home country.

  • DM

    Hi Stacey
    I am on a dependant visa currenlty in the UK and trying to make the online application for tier 2 general after which I was thinking of going to India for appointment. However,the visa website says you
    You can apply online for a:
    You must be outside the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
    Does that mean I can only submit the online application after going to India ?

    Also if visa processing time crosses the start date on the COS,is that OK ?Will they issue a visa for a later date ?

    • Stacey Fenton

      You can submit the online application outside India if you wish, however you will need to put an address in India as your home address and also attend the appointment in India

  • Hollie Delandre

    Hi Stacey,
    Were you able to book the visa appointment in Australia from the UK?
    Thanks

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Hollie, you book the appointment when you fill in the online application so yes you can book it while still in the UK. Just make sure you use an Australian address as your home address on the application form.

      • Jed Michel

        Hi Stacey, helpful blog. So for the permanent residential address we should put our home country address (Australia), what do we put for how long we have been at this address? I have been in London for almost 2 years, so would I say that all that time has been at my Australian address and then explain in the notes at the end that I have actually been living in London but its not classified as my permanent residential address? Thanks for your help.

        • Stacey Fenton

          Sorry I missed this comment before so it might be too late to answer now. I put my parents address down as my home address and I just wrote the number of years I had lived there before moving to London.

  • Emily M

    HI Stacey, Nice blog. A question on your job applications? At what point did you tell them you require sponsorship? In the cover letter? With the HR pre interview? In the interview? Did you only tell them if they asked? Also to the question, “Do you have the legal right to work in the UK?” what did you respond? With sponsorship, you would have the legal right? So would you answer yes?

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Emily, I mentioned it in the cover letter so it was clear from the beginning – no point wasting my time and their’s if the company won’t sponsor. The question “Do you have the legal right to work in the UK?” is tricky. On one application I answered yes to this, which was true at the time as I still had a few months left on my old visa. I had mentioned in the cover letter I was looking for sponsorship but they mustn’t have read it because when I asked about sponsorship after the interviews they told me they wouldn’t sponsor migrants. I concluded from my own experience that if a company asks that question then it probably means they don’t want to sponsor and its a way for them to dismiss applications from migrants at the start.

  • Dominique

    Hi Stacey, great overview and well done getting sponsored! I was wondering, I heard that when you apply for the Tier 2 visa if you are on the Tier 5 visa, you have to give up your Tier 5 when you apply. I was wondering if you knew whether this was correct? Trying to work out when would be best to apply as I don’t want to cut my Tier 5 short if I am unsuccessful, but at the same time I am anxious to get this all sorted out.

    • Stacey Fenton

      I don’t think that’s correct, I think you would still keep your Tier 5 until it expired or you got a new visa

  • Jessica Tanner

    Hi Stacey.

    Thanks for all of this information. It’s really helpful. Just wondering if you have a link to the online application form? I am currently back in Australia with my reference number from my employer but need to do the next step in order to get the appointment for biometrics. I’m a little stuck right now. If you could help it would be much appreciated!

    Thanks!

  • Charlotte Marr

    Hi Stacey

    I’m going through the process now of switching from Tier 5 to 2. I have a questions about the £945 in savings you need to have. I notice it says you have to show 945 for 90 consecutive days. Does that mean you have to show 945 has been sitting there untouched for 90 days or that over the past 90 days you’ve had 945 in your account? I earn more than that a month but i’ve never had that much in my account for 90 days straight!

    Thanks

    • Stacey Fenton

      My understanding is that you need to have at least £945 in your account for 90 consecutive days. If you haven’t had this much money in your account over that period of time you can ask your employer to certify maintenance for you on the Certificate of Sponsorship.

      • Charlotte Marr

        Ok thanks 🙂 I have a savings account in NZ (a retirement fund that you only can access when you retire, want to buy a house, during financial hardship ) that has well over the amount needed, that’s been sitting there for longer than 90 days, do you know if this counts?

        • Stacey Fenton

          I’m not sure, the criteria on the website is a bit vague. It just says “bank statements showing you’ve had at least £945 in savings continuously over the last 90 days”. If the account you have is with a bank and you can provide a statement showing your balance for the 90 day period then it might count.

          • Charlotte Marr

            Yeah it’s in a bank account therefore am able to show a statement. Hopefully that will count. Think I’ll email them directly and enquire. Thanks anyway!

  • Evan Bardgett

    Hi Stacey,

    Great post. Thanks very much.

    I am currently working for a company in the UK on a Tier 5 YMS, and they want to sponsor me to continue here on a Tier 2. Considering I’ve worked here for nearly two years, does my company still need to do the whole labour market test process? If so, can this process be done while I’m working in the role?

    Thanks!

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Evan,

      Yes, your company still needs to do the resident labour market test but they can start this process while you’re still working there on the Tier 5 visa.

  • Scott

    HiStacey

    I have a 3 year tier 2 sponsored visa and worked (maths teaching is on shortage list) in England for the 2015-16 school year. I came home in August this year and now want to go back, do you know if I can use this visa still to enter the uk and find work?

    Thanks
    Scott

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Scott,

      The Tier 2 visa is only valid while you’re still working in that job. If you’ve left that job then you’d only be able to re-enter the UK as a tourist.

  • Pedro Garcia

    Hi Stacy,

    Thanks for this post it has been very helpful!
    I have a few questions regarding the application and hope you can help me out.

    1)I have a COS number and am applying for a tier 2 general visa.
    What documents will I need to bring to the biometrics appointment? From my research I have found the following is recommended:

    – COS
    – copy of passport
    – letter of employment
    – confirmation of salary
    – Personal bank statement
    – Letter from financial institution

    Is there anything else I am missing ?

    2)There is a field in the application asking the applicant to state any travel they have done in the past 10 years but there are only 10 entries. Is it best to put the 10 most recent trips?

    3) There is a field in the application asking for the issuing authority of my passport. My passport just reads AUS. Is it fine to just write Australia?

    I just want to be careful and not make any mistakes as my employer had applied twice to get this cos already! any tips would be appreciated

    Thanks !

    • Stacey Fenton

      Hi Pedro,

      I had more than 10 trips as well, I just wrote all my trips in a separate document and printed that off to submit with the application.

      Yes I think just writing Australia is fine.

      • Pedro Garcia

        thanks for your quick reply!

        one more question… With the bank statement you provided , was it a specific letter you requested from your bank or is an online or postal statement enough?

        thanks again

        • Stacey Fenton

          They won’t accept online statements so I got my bank to print out a statement for me. If you get postal statements those should be fine.

  • Kemi

    Hi stacy,
    Thanks for this very helpful post.
    I have a question. I Completed the TIER 2 application form but i did not state the points on the points claim section, will that affect my application? I have my Biometric appointment on monday.

    • Stacey Fenton

      If you haven’t had the appointment yet then I think you could just write the missing information on your printed application form.

  • Charlotte Marr

    Hi Stacey

    I have a few more questions I’d like clarified:

    – For the 10 years travel history part, did you list every trip you’d ever done? and in the format of “London to Paris, Paris to London” etc? Also, did you have to put EXACT dates? I’m struggling to recall trips I took 10 – 8 years ago! Also, do they only want trips in and out of the UK or all trips you’ve ever done?

    – I’ve lost my old passport, did you have to send this in?

    – Is your departure date from the UK meant to be the day you go back home to apply? or the end of your current visa?

    – i’m wondering how hard they look into everything you write on the application, did you have to provide evidence of things like addresses / travel / medical treatment etc? Or are the only supporting docs needed the ones listed above for the visa?

    Sorry if you’ve been asked this all a million times! 🙂

    Charlotte

    • Stacey Fenton

      For the travel history I structured it as a table, with columns for start date, end date, country visited and reason for travel (leisure or business). It took quite a long time to put together as I had to go over my booking confirmation emails and stamps in my passport to verify the dates. I put all trips, not just the ones departing from the UK. For example, I had had some holidays departing from Australia before I moved to the UK that I included in the list.

      If you have lost your previous passport you can mark it as lost on the application form.

      I put my departure date as the date I left the UK.

      I didn’t provide any additional documents like the ones you mentioned, just the ones that they asked for.

      • Charlotte Marr

        Hi stacey

        Thanks for all of your help so far!

        I have another question: I noticed in the required documents section you have to provide a passport sized colour photograph – what’s this for? Is this in addition to the photo inside your passport or does it simply refer to your passport photo?

        • Hi Charlotte,

          This is a new photo that will be used on your visa. You need to make sure the photo you provide is the right size for a UK passport (passport photos vary in size depending on the country so make sure your photo is UK compatible)

          • Charlotte Marr

            Thanks!

            I just didn’t see that requirement on the UK Gov website. I assumed the photo taken at your biometrics appointment would be the photo for your visa.

          • It’s possible they have changed the requirements since I applied for my visa 3 years ago. On my application form there was a space to attach a photo so if yours doesn’t have that then I assume you no longer need to provide a photo.

          • Charlotte Marr

            Hi Stacey

            One more question, if my start date on my CoS is 1 April, does that mean I can enter the UK up to 14 days before then?

            Thanks

          • That was the rule when I got my visa, I assume it is still the same.

  • Anna

    Thank you Stacey for such detailed info. It was very helpful.
    I have few questions: is it possible to fill out the application form in the UK ( I have an attorney in the U.K., but I reside in the USA) and then submit the paperwork in your home country?
    how long did it take you to get your passport back with the visa after you submitted the application?
    Much appreciated.

    • Hi Anna,

      You can fill in the application form online while in the UK. If you have an attorney they should be able to help you with this. It took just under a week for me to get my passport back because I paid extra for priority processing. This was in Australia though, processing times in the USA might be different.

  • Camilo Cintra

    Hi Stacey,

    First of all thank you for posting the step-by-step.
    I am Brazilian, but I have been in the US working since 2011.
    You made that post in 2014, do you know if it is still the same process?
    I have already go a sponsor and the sponsorship certificate, but I am confused about my next steps.
    Also, when do I have to:
    1- Select the Priority service? during the application form or at the appointment ?
    2- When do I send my documents ? Should I bring all of them to the appointment so they can send it or send them right after the appointment myself?
    3- What documents should I send other than passport (containing my work visa for the US)?

    4- Could I fly to the UK and get in as a tourist (which I am allowed to do so without any type of visa) and do the applications process from inside the UK?

    I am very sorry if some of my questions are related to things that you have mentioned on your post, but I just can not understand the process on the UK.gov website.

    Thank very much in advance.

    • Hi Camilo,

      The process is mostly the same as it was in 2014 although some of the requirements for the visa have changed. There is now a higher minimum salary requirement and you have to pay a healthcare surcharge before you do the visa application.

      When I applied for my visa, the priority service was offered at the appointment. I had to take all my documents to the appointment and they sent them off for me, I didn’t need to send anything myself.

      The documents you need to provide are listed here: https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/documents-you-must-provide

      You must attend the appointment in your home country, you can’t do it within the UK.

      • Camilo Cintra

        Thank you,

        As mentioned before, I am from Brazil. But I did graduated in business from the South Dakota State University, which is in the US. Do you know if sending my diploma would be enough to prove that I meet the English requirements?

        • I think it depends on what level of university degree you have. Sorry but I don’t know much about the English requirements, I didn’t have to do it myself because I’m from Australia.

  • Sally

    Hi Stacey,

    I am an Australian as well, currently waiting to hear back if my employers application has been successful. Once that has happened I will have to fill out my part of the form.
    You mention that ‘You will need to specify your entry date to the UK – this can be up to two weeks before the start date specified on your certificate of sponsorship’. However I think my start date listed by my employer is the 20th of March, whereas my flight home actually only arrives on the 21st (flights were infinitely cheaper that day). Do you think this would be an issue?

    • Hi Sally,

      I think delaying the start date by one day wouldn’t be a problem. I think the start date can be delayed by up to 4 weeks under the visa rules.

  • Sarah Louise Bevin

    Hi Stacey,

    Does it matter that if my work start date states the 6th of March 2017, but because of delay in getting the CoS I was unable to apply for my visa until now (23rd February). This means even with priority service I probably won’t make it back by the 6th of March. It looks to be more like the 17th of March. Do you think this matters in the application process? I have stated that my intended date of arrival is the 17th of March even though on the CoS it states 6th March. Thanks!

    • I think your start date can be delayed by up to 4 weeks so you should be fine 🙂

  • Miki Rossanis

    Hi Stacey,
    A couple of questions:
    1. How long was it from when your employer applied for the CoS did you actually get the certificate in order to start the application process?
    2. How long do you have from this point to when you have to apply for the Visa and leave the country etc.

    Also I am currently in the UK on a Tier 5 Visa (I applied as an Australian) and I am now applying for a sponsorship/ Tier 2 Visa. I understand I have to return to a country that I have the right to live in to apply for the visa – do you know if it would be a problem for me to apply from a different country to the tier 5 visa that I am on? – As you know it is quite far/expensive to travel back to Australia and I have an Israeli passport so looking into applying there for the Tier 2 Visa.

    Thank you for your help,
    Miki

    • Hi Miki,

      The CoS is issued once a month (usually on or around the 11th) so the amount of time it takes depends on when you submit the application. Generally you will have to wait until the 11th of the following month to get it. You can leave the country whenever you want, either before or after you get the CoS. You just want to make sure you have enough time to complete the application before your work start date which you have to specify on the CoS.

      I’m not sure how it works with duel citizens but if you have an Israeli passport then it should be fine to apply from there. You would need to put an address in Israel on your visa application form though, as this is where they will send your visa once it has been processed.

  • Michael

    Hi Stacey,
    Thanks for the info, was very helpful.

    A quick question: Does the sponsoring company apply for the CoS independently of the individual and then allocate it to the individual accordingly? How long does this secondary allocation step take?

    Thanks so much

    • Hi Michael,
      The CoS is not independent, it is linked directly to an individual.

  • Erin

    Hi Stacey, thanks so much for this information, yours is the only one I’ve found! I’m wondering if you are able to submit your application from the uk and book the appointment, so that I can attend the appointment as soon as I return to Aus? I’ve heard you cant submit the online application til you are in Australia?

    • BA

      Hi Erin, I’m currently in the UK, land in Melbourne on Sunday, and have my appointment booked first thing Monday. You just need the CoS before you can book the appointment!

    • Yep, the application is done online so you can submit it from anywhere. You don’t have to wait until you’re back in Australia.

  • Sam Khan

    Hi Stacey I am on tier 2 visa my extention is coming soon. I want to know If my employer issue me the cos before April and I submit my application after April when the new rules take place. Are they gonna consider the rules based on my cos issue date or the Application submission date. Please answer my question.

    • Hi Sam,

      I’m not sure how this works but I think that the rules would be based on the time when the CoS application was submitted.

      • Sam Khan

        Thanks a lot Stacey. Please let me know if you here from anyone about this matter.

  • Krystal Dykes

    Hi Stacey,

    I am also currently on a Tier 5 and my company is looking to sponsor me for Tier 2. I am not on a shortage list, so was wondering about the labor market test. I’ve read things that state if someone else applies, and can meet most of the criteria for the job, even if I am the best person, they have to offer to the job to the person from the uk that applies. Do you know if this is correct? This is the part I am most worried about. I’ve had a hard time also finding peoples stories about swapping visas online, so great to come across yours!

    Thanks,
    Krystal

    • Hi Krystal,

      If your employer believes you are the most qualified for the job then they are able to offer you the position. There were other candidates who applied for my job but they either didn’t meet the job criteria or didn’t have enough experience for the role.

      • Krystal Dykes

        Hi Stacey,

        Thank you for your reply, I really appreciate it. A bit scared for the whole process, but here’s hoping it all goes to plan!

        Cheers

  • Kanza Sarwar

    Very useful guide. Can you kindly tell what is the requirement for dependent tier 2 general visa . Also , will there be interview ???

  • Hande

    Hi, I have a valid BRP till Jul-18. I am on Tier2 ICT Visa.

    I however had to return to India in Feb-6 I am employed with the same company and with the same client as of now.

    I would now like to visit UK for a week. Will it be possible to visit the country with the same tier2 visa? Or do I need a visitor visa ?

    • Did you return to India permanently or just for a visit? If you no longer have a job in the UK you would need to enter on a visitor visa as your Tier 2 would no longer be valid.

      • Hande

        My company called me back, now I work in India but with the same company same project. i want to know if my visa is still valid, it’s been two months since i left uk, I wanted visit uk for a week, made arrangements but just realised it could cause an issue at the border, should i risk it or not? Actually i have return tickets as I have only one week leave from work. I have talked to a lawyer, he first said the officer at the border can grant your visit for a short time, he also said your visa doesn’t get cancelled automatically. But later he said you should apply for a visitor visa to avoid any issues. What should i do? Could you give me advice please?

        • You probably need to check with your company whether the visa is still valid. You should listen to your lawyer as they can advise you better, I am not a professional and I don’t have personal experience with your type of situation.

  • Hande

    I have already made arrangements, but now i am concerned if my entry to uk would cause an issue at the border

  • Hande

    Can you please give me advise urgently many thanks

  • Hande

    Actually the lawyer wasn’t quite clear, i just arranged a consultation to discuss. My company didn’t give me any notification about soc withdrawal, or I didn’t receive any curtailment letter. But many thanks for your help

  • Tracey

    Hi Stacey,

    Thanks so much for the guide – super helpful!

    Sorry if this is a daft question but did you get any indication that your visa application was approved before they sent your visa to you, like an email confirmation? Or is it just a wait and see kind of thing?

    Thanks,
    Tracey

    • Hi Tracey,

      I didn’t get any email or other type of notification, I just had to wait until it showed up in the post.

      • Tracey

        Good to know thanks Stacey!

  • Vanessa Ming Chiu

    Hi, thank you for your sharing! I am from hong kong and I am eager to work in the uk. Would you please share more with me. I have some more questions to ask. I hope you would help me, please. Thank you so much!! My facebook is Vanessa Ming Chiu, please add me, thanks!

    Vanessa

  • Sally-Anne Malone

    Hi Stacey,
    Do you know whether the £945 can come from business bank accounts as opposed to a personal account?

    Thanks,
    Sally-Anne

    • Hi Sally-Anne, I think it would have to be a personal account but I’m not 100% sure.

  • Miki Rossanis

    Hi Stacey,
    Just wondering at what point did you book your flights home? Was it only after receiving the certificate and then once getting your passport back?
    Thanks,
    Miki

    • Hi Miki,

      I booked my flights before I had received the certificate, but I booked a flexible fare so that I’d be able to change my flight date for a small fee if there were any delays.

  • Stacey Tierney

    Hi Stacey,
    I am currently on a tier 5 visa that expires 31st may 2017. My work has decided to sponsor me. They haven’t got the licence yet but I’ve been in contact with a solicitor who tells me it only takes 3/4 weeks. Then I can start my process. When you got advice from your solicitor was that in Australia? And do you think it’s worth the extra cost to pay for one. Ideally I’m someone who just wants it done right in the first place so if this is recommended I will have to pay. I have a flight booked back to nz at the end of may roughly how long from start to finish did the visa process take. Thanks for your help your post has been ever so helpful.
    Regards
    Stacey

    • Hi Stacey,

      My solicitor was with a UK firm based in London. At the time I thought it was worth paying for just for peace of mind and it was recommended by my employer, but now that I have been through the process I know I could have done it myself and I wouldn’t have found it difficult. For me it took about a month from getting the Certificate of Sponsorship, flying back to Australia to apply for the visa and then flying back to the UK.

  • mat

    Hi Stacey,
    When you booked your appointment for your Tier 2 application, how long did you have to wait for your appointment? Did you book in the earlier time possible and how long was this? Thanks!

    • Hi Mat,

      There were plenty of time slots available for appointments when I booked so I didn’t really have to wait. From memory the appointment date I selected was only a few days later.

  • Ola Gebril

    I had applied for tier 2 visa from Egypt on 18th May , 2 days after got email that it reached embassy , and 6 days after an email was sent from UK visa section in sheffield that my application arrived and for consideration. Till now have not got a reply , any one have an idea about the total duration of the process.

  • Chris Wood

    hiya Stacey …. great site and advice…. doing some research for a canadian guy who only today received news his job offer was accepted and the company received their Sponsorship Acceptance. He is currently in UK on visitor visa, in order to complete his application can he do the biometrics at a Post Office prior to completeing application so he has that part covered…. it would appear from reading your advice he will have to go back to Canada and file the application form there ?? any advice would be greatly appreciated Chris

    • Hi Chris, if he is in the UK as a visitor/tourist he would need to go back to Canada to do the visa application and biometics. You can only do it in the UK if you’re switching from or extending an existing visa.

      • Chris Wood

        much as i thought , much appreciated Stacey , keep up the good work sure many appreciate it x

  • Natalie Tinkler

    Hi,
    Thanks for the information. I’ve been going through the process myself and the recruitment team where I work thought I could get an unrestricted cos, which I have found out I can’t. Now I can’t apply for my cos until the 5th of July. I have flights back to the UK on the 24th July so will need to expedite my visa. I can’t find anywhere on the gov.uk website saying you can pay extra to have the priority service once in aus. Do you know if it is still an option, or was it just something that they offered once there. I’m finding it hard to get any answers! Thanks, Natalie

    • Hi Natalie,

      There wasn’t any information about the priority service online when I applied either. I only found out about it when I attended the appointment. I assume they will still offer the same service, I don’t see why they would get rid of it as they probably make a lot of money from it!

  • Laurie Hawkins

    Hi,
    I am in the process of filling out the Tier 2 visa application and find that they are asking for an address in the UK. As we are not there yet we have not rented any place and thus do not have an address. How is this handled? We have been told that we cannot rent until we arrive and can view lodgings in person. Any advice would be helpful!
    Thanks,
    Laurie

    • Hi Laurie, if you do not have a place to live yet then maybe you could put down the address of a hotel where you will be staying when you arrive.

  • mollylouise

    Hi Stacey,

    Super helpful post! The company I was working for when on the Tier 5 last year have offered to sponsor me and I have accepted a position with them. The only problem is that this position (assistant buyer) isn’t considered ‘skilled’. Do you have any advice around this? The idea is that I could grow to be a buyer (considered eligible for Tier 2) within the 5 years of the visa. Thanks in advance.

    • Unfortunately if your job isn’t at a high enough skill level and doesn’t meet the minimum salary requirements, I’m not sure what other options you have. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

      • mollylouise

        Thanks Stacey. My salary does meet minimum requirements and a ‘buyer’ is consider skilled though? The plan is to become a full buyer by the end of my visa.. could this change things?

        • I’m not really sure but I think you would have to be in a job that is considered skilled from the beginning.

          • mollylouise

            Thanks Stacey. One more question. Do you know the skill level minimum. One area says RQF 4 but I’ve seen elsewhere it is listed as RQF 6?
            Thank you thank you

          • On this page it says that jobs are usually RQF 6 or higher – https://www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers/job-suitability

            However, it doesn’t say that RQF 6 is the minimum. So perhaps some RQF 4 jobs are eligible as well if they meet the salary requirement. I don’t know much about this, though.

  • B.Tan

    Hi Stacey,

    Do you know how early in advance it’s possible to book a biometrics appointment? I’ve just tried making an appointment and it seems the appointment slots have only opened up for the next month…

    • I’m not sure, I was looking to book my appointment as quickly as possible so I don’t remember how far ahead they let you book.

      • Amyb

        Hi Stacey, thank you so much for sharing your experience it has really helped me! Do you remember how booked up the appointment times were in aus? Did you have to wait weeks or just days to get an appointment? I can’t for the life of me remember my waiting time when I did tier 5. Thank you!

        • I think it was only a few days for me, definitely no longer than a week.

          • Amyb

            Perfect, thanks!

  • Ruth C.

    Hi Stacey,

    This is such a great post – thanks so much for writing it! 🙂

    I am on a Tier 5 myself and it expires in February 2018, but I wanted to start looking into the Tier 2 now since my company will have to start the process of obtaining a certificate of sponsorship for me. My manager is willing to keep me on and try to make this work, so I want to be able to inform him as much as possible to make this very complicated process as easy as possible for him. As such, I have two questions I was hoping you could help me with:

    1) So basically, the company I am working for is happy to sponsor me on a Tier 2, but being a small company they will have to get the CoS. I will most likely be continuing my current position with them (I am a website/content manager and account executive) so does this mean that my manager has to start the resident labour test and advertise the current position I have on two different sites?

    2) I would also fall under the “restricted” certificate category but I see in the requirements that it is for “new” entrants/hires. Technically I am not a “new” hire – would my manager still be able to apply for this for me?

    Thanks so much!
    Ruth

    • Hi Ruth,

      Yes, your employer will still need to do the resident labour market test even though you are already working there. You can continue with your job while they are advertising the role as long as your current visa is still valid. Essentially, you will need to formally apply for the role when they advertise it and when they choose you for the role you’d probably have to sign a new contract to make it a new hire officially. It seems like a bit of a strange process when you are already working there but your employer has to be able to show that they have made the role available for UK residents to apply for before they can offer the role to you.

      • Ruth C.

        Thanks so much!

  • Sneha D

    Hi Stacy,

    Really helpful post! I’m here in London on the Youth Mobility Visa and my job has said that they want to sponsor me but they’re a small business and haven’t sponsored anyone before so It’s good to know that they will have to apply for a sponsorship license. I have 11 months left on my visa so there is still sufficient time to get the ball rolling and I saw on your last comment that they can commence the resident labour market test whilst I am an employee which is very useful, but I’m still a bit confused about the process and have some further questions.

    1. With the RLMT, How can my company prove that no UK native is qualified for the role without showing bias? On paper I’m sure that there are residents that are qualified, but the interview is really where a company can determine who is the best fit for their business and surely they’re offering sponsorship because they’ve already decided that i’m the best candidate. Does the department of immigration make the decision based on CV’s alone or is there an interview process that gets taken into account and if so, would I have to interview again even though it’s for a job i’m already doing?

    2. I’m assuming to get a CoS that the company would have passed the RLMT, and going back to Australia to apply for the visa is just a formality?

    3. Do I have to wait for my Tier 5 visa to expire before applying for the Tier 2?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Sneha,

      I think your company just needs to provide a reason as to why other candidates from the UK aren’t suitable (eg, not having the right experience required for the job). Your company would need to decide if they want you to go through the interview process. I’m not sure what type of job you have, but for example if part of the interview process was to complete a test then they could get you to do the same test.

      You are right that the company has to do the RLMT before getting the CoS. You have to apply for the Tier 2 from Australia as you are not able to switch from Tier 5 to another visa category in the UK, so you have to do a new visa application in your home country.

      You don’t have to wait for your Tier 5 visa to expire before applying for the Tier 2. I applied for mine while my Tier 5 is still valid.

  • Amyb

    Hi Stacey, one more quick question: did you have to have three years validity on your passport to apply? Mine expires in one year and I can’t find definitive information about that. Thanks again, Amy

    • No, your passport expiry date doesn’t matter. Mine expired before my visa ran out and you can renew your passport in London (I’ve written a blog post on that process as well)

  • Dynasty Ballard

    Hi, Stacey, I have a question- If I’m already living in the U.K. as a visitor with my partner am I still able to apply for the Tier 2 visa from London as a U.S. citizen?

    • Hi, unfortunately you can’t apply for a Tier 2 visa in the UK if you are there as a visitor. You’ll need to return to the US to submit your application.

      • Dynasty Ballard

        I thought so but I was hoping that wasn’t the case :-/ thanks so much for your help.

  • Wen3

    Hi Stacey, Thank you for your post, it is definitely good and useful insights!
    1. if it is possible, could you please share with me on some details required when you were filling up the online application form? This could help me in advance to better prepare some details to fill the form on the spot.
    2. Also, was it possible to fill the form half way then ‘save’ and then return to continue filling it up? (In case I need to confirm some details with sponsor).
    3. For the flight for entry back to UK, must it be a confirmed flight date when you filled in the online application form? Seeing that I can’t foresee the exact date for my visa approval, what if the keyed in flight date on the form is before the actual flight date when the time comes? (I understand that the flight date I key in will still be maximum 14 days prior to CoS work start date)

    Hope to hear from you, many thanks in advance

    • Yes, you pay the immigration healthcare surcharge and book the appointment when you fill in the application online. You can save the application part way through and come back to it later if you need to. For your entry date and CoS start date, you should choose a date far enough ahead to allow time for your application to be processed. I believe you can check the average processing your times for your country on the gov.uk website but you’d probably want to allow at least 3-4 weeks.

  • har asl

    Hi stacey, I am switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 my employer assigned me the COS for shortage occupation list, instead of the standard occupation as my job was in standard and shortage (SOC code: 2126) and they mentioned the pay as new entrant pay. But they mentioned in the sponsor note that the job is for standard occupation not for shortage and the new entrant salary is applicabile. Is it fine or they need to issue me a new COS.

    I made the application with same COS number as a shortage occupation list, Is it possible to change it to Tier 2 general and the fee I paid was 455, is it possible to pay the fee difference as the fee for STANDARD OCCUPATION LIST IS 665.

    • This is situation is not something I am familiar with but my guess is that you will need to make a brand new application for the CoS and Tier 2 visa. If you job is not on the shortage occupation list then your employer needs to do the resident labour market test as well if they have not done that already.

      • har asl

        Thanks for your reply, you mean I need to make new appication and new COS number from the employer.
        But residence Labour market test is not applicable for me as I am switching from tier 2 to tier 4.
        But my employee they already mentioned in the sponsor notes, that as if the job is not in shortage occupation list hence minimum new entrant pay is applicable. But the issues is that my designation is their in both shortage occupation list and standard occupation list.

        • Sorry, I misunderstood. I don’t think I can help you as I don’t have any experience switching from Tier 2 to another visa.

          • har asl

            sorry I am switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 so, RLMT is not required for me.

    • har asl

      OH SORRY i AM SWITCHING FROM TIER 4 TO TIER 2

  • Palačinky

    Hi Stacey! Quick quick question, when one gets a company to sponsor a Tier 2 visa, provided that all the requirements mentioned on the gov.uk site are fulfilled and that one has no criminal records (or even a speeding ticket), is it pretty much guaranteed that the visa will be approved?

    Thanks for this amazing post that seems to continue to be useful after all these years! 🙂

    • I would expect so. I don’t think they would reject an application without a valid reason 🙂

  • Amy Nibbs

    Hi there
    Great post thanks for your help!
    Im on a tier 2 youth mobility visa expiring start of November 2017 and just been offered sponsorship for a job under the tier 2 visa.
    Im just wondering can i start my application in the uk and then submit it in Australia to save time and if so where would i access this? And in terms of scheduling my barometric appointment (say by calling them in Australia) can you do that in advance or have to wait until your application is submitted in Australia?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Amy,

      You fill in the application form online so you can start this part in the UK if you want to. When you get to the end of the online application form you get to choose your appointment time.

  • Domino

    Hello and thank you for the great post!
    I was wondering, for the part where you need to declare your travel history for 5 years, what if your passport was renewed 3 years ago and you can’t find your expired passport? (No travels to or rejections form UK ever)

    Also do you need to mention your speeding tickets or traffic accidents if your license was not taken away and you just had a ticket?

    Thank you!

    P.s. applying from Canada

    • Stacey Fenton

      I think you should try and fill in as much of your travel history as possible. Perhaps you have flight confirmations you can refer to to check the dates? And maybe just add a note in the application about losing your previous passport so the information might not be complete. And yes, I think you need to mention all speeding tickets even if it was only a small one.

  • Kat Greg

    Hi, thanks for the great post!
    I am currently on a tier 5 Youth Mobility visa (expires at the end of the month) and the company I work for has just had a CoS approved, now they need to assign it to me so I can apply for my tier 2 visa which I am flying back to NZ in 2 weeks to do. To assign the CoS to me in the SMS online system, the company needs to enter all my details (passport number etc.) – it also asks for my country of residence and current home address. I currently reside in the UK but because I will be applying from NZ, should I put my NZ address?

    I am planning to start the application in the UK then complete it in NZ with the biometrics appointment.

    Another question, when assigning the CoS to me, there is a question under the heading ‘Work Dates’ that says ‘Does the migrant need to leave and re-enter the UK during the period of approval?’. What is the period of approval? I’m guessing I need to click yes for that given that I’ll be leaving and re-entering between now and my new ‘start date’ for work.

    • Hi Kat,

      Yes, you should use your NZ address as your home address.

      I’m not entirely sure what the “period of approval” means, but I had a look on my original CoS and my employer answered no to this.

  • gillian

    Thank you SO much for posting this. I’ve really struggled to find any info about the Tier 2 General Visa process and it’s not the most straight forward! I so appreciate you sharing this!!

  • Sony Lee

    Hello, I have been working in a company as tier 5 ym visa for almost a year and my visa is about to expire. The company is willing to sponsor me for a tier 2. I did apply for my job online and I was the best candidate. Can the company be considered to have satisfied the RLMT?

    Also, what is the usual processing time for a company to obtain the sponsorship licence? Thanks!

    • It normally takes around 3 months to get a sponsorship licence. The application for your current job wouldn’t count as a RLMT if they did not have a licence at the time. They would need to get the licence first and then do the RLMT.

  • Alice Ultee

    Hello, I am just wondering at what stage do you need to prove the skill level of the job and how this is judged? I have a very mixed role and my company is looking to sponsor me but we are not sure if the job is eligible. Thanks