Tier 5 Immigration

1. How do I apply for a Tier 5 visa?

Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) visas are for people who wish to come to the UK for a short time for work experience, training, overseas Government language programmes, research or for  a fellowship. In the past, this has commonly involved visits to the UK made by au pairs, Gap Year students, voluntary workers and sports people, amongst others. There are six sub-categories: creative, sporting, charity, religious workers, youth mobility schemes and Government-authorised exchange.

You can apply online at www.gov.uk unless you are applying from North Korea, where a downloaded form must be completed. To apply, you must have a licensed sponsor and a certificate of sponsorship, and you must be applying from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland. The work, study or training that you are carrying out must be related to the activities of your sponsor. This sponsor can be an organisation running an approved exchange scheme, a higher education institution or a Government department or agency.

Applications for a Tier 5 visa must be submitted no more than three months before your arrival and start date, and a decision is usually received within three weeks. The cost to apply for a Tier 5 visa is £230 (£175 for citizens of Turkey or Macedonia) and £230 for each dependent, there is also a healthcare surcharge which varies depending on your circumstances. The cost is the same when applying for an extension to this visa, although if you use a priority service for a speedier application process, the cost is considerably more.

A Tier 5 visa will enable you to:

  • Stay in the UK between 12 and 24 months, or for the specific time outlined in  your certificate of sponsorship.  
  • Can enter the UK 14 days before you start your job, training or study.  
  • Can study, work in your main job (ie. that for which your visa is allowing you entry into the UK), and work in a second job for up to 20 hours per week in a profession listed on the Tier 2 shortage occupation list.  
  • Can apply to change/switch to a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if you are in a Government authorised exchange scheme for sponsored researchers.

You cannot, however, get access to public funds or take a permanent job in the UK while on a Tier 5 visa.

2. How do I switch from a Tier 5 to a Tier 2 visa?

To apply to switch from a Tier 5 visa, you must apply before the current visa has expired and you must already be in the UK on a valid Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – creative and sporting) visa. You can only apply to switch from a Tier 5 visa to a Tier 2 visa if you are seeking a job as a professional footballer and you meet the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) requirements. If not, then you must leave the UK and make a Tier 2 application from overseas.

To make a switch from Tier 5 to Tier 2 you must apply online via www.gov.uk, whether this is  an individual or family group application. You must provide the same biometric information  as for your previous visa application and it will take approximately eight weeks to receive an answer. However, you can pay for a premium service to receive a faster processing time.

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