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Common questions about Tier 2 visas and fees

What are the Tier 2 visa fees?

The fees for applications for Tier 2 visas made on or after 29 March 2019 are:

  • Fee for Tier 2 (General) applications is usually £704 for in country leave to remain but depends on how long your visa is for, whether you are in the UK when you apply, and whether your job is on the shortage occupation list. See GOV.UK for more information

  • There is a reduced fee for Tier 2 applications related to shortage occupations, so if your job has been classified as a shortage specialty (known as a job on the shortage occupation list), your fee will go down.
  • Fees for dependants of Tier 2 migrants who are applying to extend their stay in the UK are now the same as those for the main applicant.

View the Home Office immigration and nationality fees: 29 March 2019

 

How long can I stay in UK on Tier 2?

If your Tier 2 (General) visa was issued on or after 6 April 2011, the maximum you can stay in the UK is six years in total.

A Tier 2 (General) visa will be given for the same length of time as your certificate of sponsorship. The maximum length of  stay for this type of visa is 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus one month - whichever is shorter.

Certificates of sponsorship can be given for up to five years. This may apply to doctors on run-through training contracts.

Once your initial visa is coming to an end, you can apply for an extension of your visa for up to five more years provided you fulfil all the criteria below:

  • Your total stay in the UK is not more than six years
  • You have the same job as when you were issued your previous visa
  • You are still working for the employer who assigned your certificate of sponsorship
  • You are still earning an appropriate salary – this differs depending on your grade. You must be earning at least £36,100 if you are a speciality registrar (StR), £37,547 if you are a speciality doctor, £55,965 if you are a salaried general practitioner and £76,001 if you are a consultant. If you go part time, you must ensure that you are earning at least £30,000 if your certificate of sponsorship was issued after 6 April 2017. If you earn less than this, you will lose your visa. 
  • You must be in the UK to extend your visa
  • You must still meet the points criteria

Check the points criteria

After five years, unless you apply for indefinite leave to remain (settled status), you will have to leave the UK.

If you are considering this option and you are a BMA member, contact us by email or freephone 0300 123 1233 to talk to an adviser.

 

Can I stay in the UK on a visa for more than six years?

No. The rules prevent visa extensions beyond six years.

If you wish to continue working in the UK at the end of your Tier 2 (General) visa, you will have to apply for settlement and will have to meet the minimum pay threshold (currently £35,500 before tax per year), and other criteria for settlement.

If you do not wish to apply for settlement, or do not meet the settlement criteria then you will have to leave the UK at the end of your visa. You will have to wait 12 months before applying to return to the UK under Tier 2 (General) again.

This is known as a cooling off period and applies in order to prevent repeat periods of leave under Tier 2.

Check the criteria for settlement

If you need more specialised information and you are a BMA member, contact us by email or freephone 0300 123 1233 to talk to an adviser.

 

If I leave the UK while on a Tier 2 visa, can I come back in?

Not straight away. The government has introduced a 'cooling off' period which applies to any Tier 2 migrant who leaves the UK and applies for a new Tier 2 visa, regardless of when your previous leave was granted.

It also applies if you switch out of Tier 2 to get a different visa - for example, study purposes - and then wish to re-apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa while you are still in the UK.

This is particularly important to note if you wish to leave the UK to take an Out of Programme (OOP) experience, or if you wish to move back into Tier 4 to undertake further study.

You will need to wait for 12 months from either the date you left the UK, or the expiry of your previous Tier 2 visa, before you may apply for a new Tier 2 visa.

 

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