Switching From a Tier 2 to a Tier 1 UK Visa

Switching from a Tier 2 to Tier 1 visa in the UK

You can enter the UK for different purposes and – for each different purpose – you need to apply for a different visa. But what if you want to switch from one category of visa to another?

One purpose of getting a visa is to get a job in UK if you are a skilled worker; this is where you would need a Tier 2 visa. In this case, you would need to acquire a certificate of sponsorship from the employer and the employer must be a licensed sponsor. After requiring a certificate of sponsorship, you provide all the necessary documents required for Tier 2 visa while applying for it. Within 3 weeks from the time of application, you will get the decision on your visa and if successful you can come and work in UK. Tier 2 visas allow you to stay in UK for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days or the time that is given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is the shorter.

Switching from Tier 2 to Tier 1 visas

Under the current immigration rules, one can switch from Tier 2 to Tier 1 visa provided you meet all the relevant criteria.

What is Tier 1 visa for and why would you switch?

A Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa allows you to set up or run a business in UK if you are from outside the EEA and Switzerland.

There can be numerous reasons why you might want to switch from a Tier 2 to Tier 1 visa. For example, if you are on a Tier 2 visa and cannot rely on your sponsored job any longer or you want to set up your own business in the UK.

If this is the case, you should apply to switch to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa before your existing visa expires. You can stay a maximum of 3 years after switching to a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, during which time you can set up and run your business in UK.

When you make the application to switch to Tier 1 visa you must demonstrate that:

  1. You have minimum £200,000 investment funds to apply in UK.
  2. You have the skills, qualification and experience which is required for establishing a business in the UK.
  3. You have sufficient knowledge of the English language under current English language requirements.

You will have to submit extensive supporting documents as part of your application. You will have to pay a fee and also the healthcare surcharge.

You will get a decision on your application within 8 weeks – although if your application is complex, then it may take longer. From the time you applied until the time you get decision on your application, you can stay in the UK as long as you applied before your last visa (Tier 2 in this case) expired.

You should know that the application processes and requirements for switching from Tier 2 visa to Tier 1 visa category is stringent and complex, and so you can take our advice to avoid any issues which may result in delay or even possible rejection of your application. Get in touch to find out more.

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