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

  • You have been offered a skilled job in the UK
  • You are from outside theEuropean Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

Getting sponsored

You need to be employed by a licensed sponsor to apply to live in the UK.

Your sponsor checks that you can do the job they are hiring you for and if it qualifies you for a visa. They will assign you a certificate of sponsorship to prove this.

They must also give you other information you need when you apply, for example how much you will be paid.

How long it will take

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

Check the guide processing times to find out how long obtaining a visa might take in your country.

You will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application and visa application processing fee.

How long you can stay

You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (General) visa for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.

You can start your stay up to 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • do a second job in certain circumstances
  • do voluntary work
  • study as long as it does not interfere with the job you are sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bringfamily members with you

You cannot:

  • own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £159,600 a year)
  • obtain public funds
  • apply for a second job until you have started working for your sponsor

Reeds Immigration can also assist in your employer’s / institution’s sponsorship licence allowing them to sponsor tier 2 applicants.


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