Visa Hub

Everything you need to understand
the Visa process.

Confused about visas? We’re here to help!

Here in the visa hub you’ll find resources designed to inform and support throughout the entire visa process. Make use of our Vita Visa Tool. Quickly and easily navigate your way around the different visa tiers and learn how they affect you during and after your studies. Simply select the type of visa you want to know more about. We recommend looking through all tiers, even if they aren’t applicable to you now, they may be in future!

What is a Tier 1 visa?

Tier 1 visas are aimed at individuals such as investors, entrepreneurs and experts in their field.

What are the stipulations for switching to a Tier 1 visa?

You must have a UK-recognised bachelor’s/master’s degree or PhD.

You must have had at least £945 in savings in your bank account for a minimum of 90 days before you apply.

You must be able to prove your knowledge of English.

Tier 1 visas have a high threshold for approval. You must have access to £50,000 which must come from government-backed investment funds, rather than private funds.

Students can make a business case to their university to seek endorsement for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. This allows graduates with a viable business idea to be supported to develop a business in the UK in conjunction with the University.

How much does it cost to apply?

£493 to switch from a Tier 4 visa from inside the UK.

 

How long can I stay?

You can stay in the UK for 1 year and apply to extend the visa for 1 year after.

 

What are the stipulations for switching to a Tier 2 visa?

The employer must hold a sponsor license as you will need to be employed by a licensed sponsor to apply to live and work in the UK.

The job must be deemed gradaute level or above by the government. It must be part of a structured graduate training programme with clearly defined progressions towards a managerial or specialist role within the organisation.

The role must be paid at or above £20,800.

Businesses do not have to pay the immigration skills charge to employ international students switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2.

You must be able to prove your knowledge of English.

It is important to understand the Tier 2 system early on in your course so you can search for employment and discuss sponsorship with employers well in advance of the end of your course.

When can I apply to switch?

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you’re due to start work in the UK.

How much does it cost to switch?

1) To apply to stay on a Tier 2 visa for up to 3 years, applying from within the UK costs £1,314.

2) To apply to stay on a Tier 2 visa for more than 3 years, applying from within the UK costs £2,018.

How long can I stay in the UK with a Tier 2 visa?

You can stay in the UK for the time given on your certificate of sponsorship, plus 1 month, up to a maximum of 5 years.

What can I do once I have my Tier 2 visa?

You can work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship.

You can do voluntary work.

You can study, as long as it does not interfere with the job you’re sponsored for.

You can travel abroad and return to the UK.

You can bring family members with you.

You cannot own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares, unless you earn more than £159,600 a year.

You cannot apply for a second job until you’ve started working for your sponsor.

How long can I stay in the UK?

Full-time course at degree level (more than 6 but less than 12 months)

You can stay the duration of your course plus 4 months after the end of your course (6 months if you are participating in the Tier 4 Pilot).

You cannot spend more than 5 years studying in the UK at degree level or above unless…

1) you are studying one of the following courses: Architecture; Medicine; Dentistry; Veterinary Medicine & Science; Law where you have completed a degree in the UK and are moving onto a law conversion course, Legal Pracrice Course or the Bar Professional Training Course.

2) You are studying or applying for leave to study for a master’s degree at an Higher Education Institution.

3) You are on the Doctorate Extension Scheme.

Full-time course at degree level (12 months or more – e.g. 1 January – 31 December)

You can stay the duration of your course plus 2 months after the end of your course.

Full-time course at degree level (less than 6 months)

You can stay the duration of your course plus 1 month after the end of your course.

Pre-sessional courses (12 months or more – e.g. 1 January – 31 December)

You can stay the duration of your course plus 4 months after the end of your course.

Pre-sessional courses (more than 6 months but less than 12)

You can stay the duration of your course plus 2 months after the end of your course.

Pre-sessional courses (less than 6 months)

You can stay the duration of your course plus 1 month after the end of your course.

Postgraduate doctors and dentists on a recognised Foundation programme

You can stay the duration of your course (to a maximum of 3 years) plus 1 month after the end of your course.

PhD

If you are appraoching a PhD you can make a further application for leave as a Tier 4 Student on the Doctorate Extension Scheme. This will enable you to remain in the UK for 12 months beyond your expected course end date, during which time you will be able to work.

Can I apply to extend my stay?

You may apply to extend your stay if:

1) you have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course;

2) you are in the UK;

3) you have a sponsor. The sponsor must be a Higher Education Institute (HEI), an embedded college offering pathway courses, or an independent school.

 

You must apply within 6 months of getting your CAS, before your current visa expires but no more than 3 months before the course start date on your CAS.

How many hours paid work can I do during my course?

Paid work must be to supplement your income whilst studying (e.g. a part time role for an established retailer). This can be in addition to any time spent on a permitted work placement.

Full-time course at degree level

20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during vacations.

If you stop studying before you complete your course, you will no longer be entitled to work.

Full-time course at degree level with a sponsor which is a UK recognised body or a UK Higher Education Institution

Full-time as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation Programme. Sponsorship by a Higher Education Institution is mandatory.

Short-term study abroad prgoramme in the UK at an overseas Higher Education Instituion

20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during vacations

PhD

20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during vacations. Total vacation time must not exceed 8 weeks per academic year.

Part-time course at post-degree level or above sponsored by a UK recognised body or a body in receipt of public funding as a Higher Education Institution

No work allowed

What work experience can I do?

If you have a CAS for a course which involves a work placement, you can complete a work placement which forms an integral and assessed part of your course. During your work placement you are able to work full-time and be paid as such.

If you have a CAS for a course which involves a work placement, your Tier 4 sponsor (the University) will remain responsible for you throughout the placement so it is important that you stay in contact with your School.

If you add a work placement to your original course, you will be exempt from meeting the academic progression requirements and able to apply for additional leave to remain from within the UK

Full-time course at degree level

If you wish to undertake a work placement or internship which is not an integral and assessed part of your course, you may work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacation periods.

Full-time course at degree level

If you are permitted to undertake a work placement, time spent on it must not exceed 33% of the total length of your course undertaken in the UK unless there is a UK statuory requirement for the course to contain a longer period of work placement.

RQF 6 or SQF 9 or above at a UK recognised body or Higher Education Institution

If you are permitted to undertake a work placement, time spent on it must not exceed 50% of the total length of your course undertaken in the UK

RQF 6 or SQF 9 which forms part of a study abroad programme

If you are permitted to undertake a work placement, time spent on it must not exceed 50% of the total length of your course undertaken in the UK

Any

Be employed as a doctor in training
Be employed as a professional sportsperson or coach
Be employed as an entertainer

Can I be self-employed or engage in business activity?

You cannot be self-employed or engage in business activity unless you have made an application to remain as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant

Without a Tier 1 Visa you must not set up a business as a sole trader or under a partnership arrangement, be employed by a company in which you hold shares of 10% or more, or work for a company where you hold a statutory role (e.g. director)

Can I get a full time job after my studies?

Full-time course at degree level

You must not fill a full-time permanent vacancy unless you have completed a Doctorate Extension Scheme or your Sponsor is a UK recognised body or HEI

PhD

PhD students on Tier 4 visas who are about to complete their course can apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme. This visa lasts for 1 year and allows you to find work without needing a job offer when you apply.

If you wish to work full-time in the UK after your studies, you can apply for a Tier 2 General visa, a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, or a Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa. Look through the other visa tiers using the Visa Tool for further information.

Can I volunteer whilst studying?

It is important to note the difference between volunteering and voluntary work, as volntary work counts towards the total hours you are permitted to work per week. Voluntary work often has a contract with the employer, specific times to attend and tasks to carry out. It is usually paid in some way. Volunteering has no contract, does not receive payment (other than maintenance/travel expenses) and is usually for a charity.

Volunteering can be a great way to gain experience and boost your chances of succesfully switching to a Tier 2 visa whilst doing something you are interested in.

Voluntary work + paid work must not exceed the total number of hours you are allowed to work per week. E.g. if you are permitted to work 20 hours and work 15 hours’ paid work, voluntary work cannot exceed 5 hours.

What do I do if I am adding a study abroad programme?

You will be exempt from demonstrating academic progression as long as the course is an additional period of study which is connected to the course you are already studying.

You may apply for additional leave to remain either before your study abroad prgoramme starts or after you have finished it. You must apply no more than 3 months before the start date of your course resuming.

You must not start your study abroad programme while you have an application for leave to remain pending. Leave sufficient time to apply for additional leave to remain before your study abroad programme starts.

What is a Tier 5 visa?

Tier 5 visas are a temporary working category. There are multiple types, but the Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa is of particular interest to international students.

How do I apply?

You can only apply for a Tier 5 visa from outside of the UK, so you must return to your home country before applying.

What are the stipulations for a Tier 5 visa?

You must have a licensed sponsor who can issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). You cannot submit an application without your CoS.

You must have had at least £945 in savings in your bank account for 90 days or more.

You cannot take up a permanent or advertised vacancy.

When can I return to the UK?

You can return the the UK up to 14 days before the start date of your job.

How long can I stay with a Tier 5 visa?

You can stay for 12-14 months depending on the scheme you are applying for, or the time stipulated on your CoS plus 28 days.

Is a Tier 5 visa right for me?

Tier 5 visas can be limited in length, however they can allow students to build up a relationship with an employer to improve their chances of a Tier 2 sponsorship in future.

If you have a Tier 4 visa and wish to undertake work experience or an internship you will be permitted to switch to a Tier 5 visa and do so from within the UK. You must first approach an overarching body who will be your sponsor and obtain a CoS which you can then use to apply for your Tier 5 visa. You must have a letter from the institution who will be hosting your internship/work experience to support your visa application.

What is the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme?

The Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa is available to students from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea or Taiwan. It allows you to live and work in the UK without restriction for up to 24 months. You can enter and leave the UK at any time during your stay.

You cannot apply to switch to this visa from inside the UK.

UVIC is the largest visa organisation in the UK, and now they are offering exclusive visa advice services for Vita Students. Bringing you up-to-date news, advice and information on visa policies as well as one-on-one consultations with their advisers to take the hard work out of your application.

 

Changes to the UK Immigration Funding Requirement and the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa – Read Now.

Major changes to UK Immigration rules and the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa – Read Now.

Have more questions? Contact one of UVIC’s visa consultants!

+44 203 757 7206

+86 400 182 6090