Tier 2 (General) visa

What is a Tier 2 (General) visa?

You can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa if you are 16 years of age or older, have been offered a skilled job in the UK, and you are from outside of the European Union. You will need to be sponsored i.e. have a certificate of sponsorship from a licenced sponsor before you can apply to come to the UK to work. The work you do must relate to the work of the sponsor.

For a Tier 2 (General) visa, you can only be successful in this application if your employer can demonstrate that you will not be displacing a suitable settled worker. Our immigration lawyers will be able to advise you about the effect the current Government’s proposals will have on your application.

Brexit is going to change Tier 2 visas. EU nationals may have to gain a Tier 2 (General) visa in order to work in the UK after Brexit. We have much more information about Brexit here and you can read about the current so-called Chequers plan and how it affects the right to work in the UK here.


You cannot own more than 10% of the shares in the sponsor company.

After April 2015, All Tier 2 (General) migrants had to earn £20,800 as a Graduate Recruit, otherwise £30,000. This may also be higher in some cases. You must also have £945 in your bank account for 90 days before you apply for the visa unless you have an A-rated sponsor.

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How long can I stay?

Under Tier 2, you can apply for Entry Clearance or for Leave to Remain.

For Entry Clearance applications, you can arrive in the UK up to 14 days before your start date. With a Tier 2 (General) visa, you can come to the UK for the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus one month or a maximum of 5 years and 1 month, whichever is shorter.

For Leave to Remain applications for a Tier 2 (General) visa, you can be granted leave to remain in the UK for whichever is shorter between the employment contract plus 14 days and 5 years. However, the leave you are granted will not put your total leave under the Tier 2 (General), including previous leave, over 6 years.

How long will does a Tier 2 application take?

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you start working in the UK. The decision should take about 3 weeks.