Different Categories of Tier 1 Visa UK and Basic Requirements


Let’s assume you’re not in the EEA (European Economic Area). If you come to the UK on any form of business for a short visit, you can enter the country as a visitor. UK laws prevent you from staying for more than 6 months as a visitor. If you’re coming for work that extends for a period longer than that, then a separate procedure must be followed.

If an employer based in the UK is willing to sponsor you or if you have a job offer from the country, then you can apply and remain in UK for as long as you have a job. There’s a point based test for anyone who doesn’t have a job offer and wishes to come as an investor, entrepreneur or a highly skilled person.

People exempt from the point based system include

  • Domestic Workers.
  • Sole representatives of an overseas firm.
  • Anyone representing a media (newspaper, news agency or broadcasting agency) company.

Doctors from a foreign country who wish to take the Performance and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test have to apply as a business visitor. But, UK laws demand that they provide significant proof. Such as providing evidence that they are from a genuine medical school, providing documentary evidence of a PLAB test date and that they’re qualified to take the PLAB test. However, postgraduates and dentists will apply on Tier 4 (General) visa of the points based system as students.

What are the different categories of UK work visa?

You can apply for a ‘skilled worker’ visa if you’ve been offered a skilled or a position in an overseas branch of a company.

 A ‘Temporary worker visa’ is for people who would like to stay in the UK for a short period of time for reasons such as working for a religious organization, sports, arts or entertainment or any other short-time work activity.

An ‘International agreement visa’ is for people who will be doing work covered by international law such as working for any foreign government or a government servant sent overseas.

A ‘high value worker visa’ is granted to people who are entrepreneurs, graduate entrepreneurs investors or hold a significant position in the arts or sciences.

Exempt Vignette

An exempt vignette is a kind of residence permit for people who don’t usually require a visa for work in the UK because they are exempt from immigration control. This usually applies for diplomats, workers on a diplomatic mission in the UK, overseas government minister on official business, member of Commonwealth or might be exempt from immigration control for any other reason.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

For Tier 1 entrepreneur policy guidance, we first move to the costs required to be applicable for this type of visa. A Tier 1 visa is for people who wish to start a business in the UK. While only applicable to people in the non-EEA (European Economic Area), a minimum of £50,000 of investment funds is required to apply. An application (Postal or online) costs £1228 plus a healthcare fee of £200 also has to be paid.

You can stay in the UK at a max of only 3 years and exact four months on this visa. But, if the switching is done from a category different from this category, the visa can be extended to 3 years otherwise 2 years extension can be granted if applicant belongs to the same category. And once you have been in the UK for a period of 5 years, you can apply for permanent settlement in the United Kingdom.

Further Tier 1 entrepreneur policy guidance includes setting up businesses as required by UK law to be applicable in this category. For example, applicants need to set up or take over one business or more. This also includes being self employed, or working for your own business. Note that you cannot work outside of your business under Tier 1 visa requirements.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa

According to Tier 1 visa requirements, non-EEA (European Economic Area) persons who have been endorsed as an internationally known figure or emerging figure in their field (science, humanities, engineering, arts, medicine etc) can apply for an exceptional talent visa. 2000 visas are available in this category.

You can stay in the UK for 5 years and 4 months if you apply outside of the UK or 5 years if applied from within the UK.

Tier 1 Investor visa

A Tier 1 investor visa UK requires £2 million to be eligible for this category. You can stay in the UK for a period of 3 years and 4 months under this category. But, this can be extended for a further 2 years. This £2 million can be invested in government bonds (UK), share capital or loan capital in active and trading registered companies (UK). You can also invest £10 million to settle after 2 years or apply to settle after 3 years if you invest £5 million under Tier 1 investor visa UK policy.

The cost to apply for a Tier 1 investor visa is £1561 per applicant plus a £200 healthcare surcharge.

Note that the applicant must be a minimum of age 18 to apply; be capable of proving that the money belongs to you, your husband or wife, unmarried or same-sex partner; and you have an open bank account. Also, your funds must be in at least one regulated financial institution and be able to spend freely in the United Kingdom. It’s allowed for these funds to be held overseas when you apply.

Any documents that you submit must be in English or Welsh or be certified translated if they are originally in any other language.

Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer Visa

If an employer, who is based overseas, offers you a role in the UK branch of his company, you can apply for a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa. The employer must be a licensed sponsor and must provide the applicant with a certificate of sponsorship that serves as proof, that he is offering you a position in his organization. Your work must be related to the work of your sponsor to be eligible for this visa.

A ‘Long-Term visa’ is one of the three types of a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Visa that holds for a period of more than 1 year that cannot be occupied by any other UK based recruit. Prior to applying for a Long-Term visa, you must have an experience of atleast 1 year in the company that is sponsoring you unless they are paying you atleast £73,900 or more per year to work in the United Kingdom. You can stay in the UK for 9 years if you earn more than £120,000 per year and 5 years and 1 month if you earn less than £120,000.

‘Short-Term Staff’ is only valid if the certificate of sponsorship was made prior to April 5,2017. This visa type has currently been discontinued. You can stay for a 1 year period on this visa.

‘Graduate Trainee’ is the third type of Intra-Company transfer visa that applies to recent graduates who have at least 3 months experience in their company. You can stay for a period of 1 year on this visa.

Tier 2 General Visa

You can apply for a Tier 2 (General) Visa if you have been offered an employment opportunity in the United Kingdom. A certified sponsorship from a sponsor who has been licensed by the UK government is need before you enter the UK for work. Also, your work must relate to the organization that has sponsored you. The cost to apply for a Tier 2 (General) Visa is £587 per applicant outside of the United Kingdom. This visa type holds for a period of 5 years and 14 days, or the time the organization that has sponsored you has set plus 1 month.

To be eligible for a Tier 2 (General) visa, you will need a certificate of sponsorship reference number, a salary of around £30,000 per year and be able to speak and write English properly. You must also have savings in your account that proves to the UK government that you are capable of supporting yourself (or any family members that you bring along) which would be around at least £945. Remember that this amount must be in your bank account 90 days prior to you applying for this visa.

This visa can be extended for a further 5 years as long your total stay is not longer than 6 years.

You can work for the organization or person that has sponsored you in the job described; do a second job in the same sector for up to 20 hours per week, any job in the UK with a shortage of workers for a maximum of 20 hours per week, any form of voluntary work. You can also study along with your job as long as you can prove that your study will not interfere with your job or have any effect on the quality of your job. You can also travel abroad and bring your family members with you but you cannot own shares of your sponsor of more than 10%, get public funds, start your work before you get the visa, apply for any other work until you have started work for your sponsor.

What is the United Kingdom Shortage Occupation List?

Other than business migration to UK, you can check the United Kingdom’s shortage occupation list that includes jobs that the UK has a shortage of. This includes positions such as Civil Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Electronics Engineers, Medical Practitioners, Paramedics, Graphic designers, Teaching Professionals (Secondary Education), Arts officers, producers, directors, Orthotists, Prosthetist, Economists, Statiscians, Actuaries, Paramedics, Chefs, Line repairers and cable jointers and a few others.

Are there any other ways I can work in the UK legally?

If you are the only representative of your company that is based overseas, and you’re planning to expand your business in the United Kingdom, or if you own a subsidiary that has an overseas parent company, you can work in the United Kingdom legally. You can also work in the UK if you are a representative of any news organization posted on behalf of the company for long term work. But, you must be outside of the EEA (European Economic Area) and have enough funds to support yourself (and your family) and meet the English requirement set by the United Kingdom.

How to prove your knowledge of the English language to work in the UK?

By passing a test from any approved English language test where you score at least CEFR level 1 in speaking, listening, writing and reading. You can also give any past academic qualification that is recognized by UK NARIC (United Kingdom National Agency for the Recognition and Comparison of international qualification skills) to be the equal of any bachelor degree. Countries that include Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Australia, Barbados, Canada, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, New Zealand, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and USA are exempt from the English language requirement.

Is there any special kind of visa which young people can apply in to study, work or live in the United Kingdom?

The youth mobility scheme visa is a 2 year visa for people between the ages of 18-30. It is only valid for countries that include Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Monaco and New Zealand. You cannot apply if you have children or have children that you have to financially support. Family members cannot apply with you, as they must apply separately. You must show at least £1890 in savings. Sportspersons, doctors or dentists who are currently in training cannot apply, but generally one is allowed to study and work under this visa. The cost of each applicant is £235 to apply.