UK Tier 2-5 Visas


This is the UK Point based System. If you are a foreign national wishing to work or study in the United Kingdom but you are subject to immigration control, you must first apply for a UK visa The UK immigration authorities use a tier points-based system with each tier divided into various categories for different types of work or study visa applications.

There are five different tiers:

A Skilled Worker visa allows you to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer.
This visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa.


To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must:

  • Work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office.
  • Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK.
  • Do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations.
  • Be paid a minimum salary – how much depends on the type of work you do.
  • In order to qualify as a Skilled Worker, applicants must obtain a total of 70 points.


Can Tier 2 visa holders apply to settle in the UK?
After 5 years, you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’). This gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you’re eligible.


How long is a Tier 2 Valid for?
Your visa can last for up to 5 years before you need to extend it. You’ll need to apply to extend or update your visa when it expires or if you change jobs or employer.

An Intra-company visa allows you to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job at your employer’s UK branch.
There are 2 types of Intra-company visa:

  • Intra-company Transfer visa
    Apply for this visa if you’re being transferred by your employer to a role in the UK.
  • Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
    This visa is for transfers to the UK as part of a graduate training programme for a managerial or specialist role.


To qualify for an Intra-company visa, you must:

  • Be an existing employee of an organisation that’s been approved by the Home Office as a sponsor.
  • Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK.
  • Do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations.
  • Be paid at least £41,500 for an Intra-company Transfer visa or at least £23,000 for an Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa.


Can Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa visa holders apply to settle in the UK?
Unfortunately, the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa does not lead to indefinite leave to remain  in the UK.


How long is the Intra-company Transfer visa for?
How long you can stay in the UK with an Intra-company visa depends on which visa you’re applying for and how long your employer is sponsoring you for.

A Tier 4 visa is issued to study in the UK.
The visa is issued for a particular course at the institution. You must apply for a Tier 4 visa prior to travelling to the UK.



You must have:

  • an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor.
  • Enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances.


Confirmation of acceptance for studies
Your education provider will send you a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) once they’ve offered you a place on a course.


How long you can stay?
You can arrive in the UK before your course starts:

  • Up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less.
  • Up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months

How long you can stay depends on the kind of course you’re doing and what study you’ve already completed.


Can I bring any dependants over?
Bringing dependants to join you will depend on the type of course you are studying and the duration of your stay in the UK. Not all Tier 4 students are allowed to bring dependants and restrictions apply. You can ONLY bring dependants if:

  • You are studying a course that is 9 months or more and sponsored by the University on a course at RQF Level 7 (Master’s Degree) or above; or
  • You are a government-sponsored student undertaking a course that is 6 months or more; or
  • You are applying for the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES).

You’ve been offered work in the UK as a sports person or creative worker.
A creative worker is someone who works in the creative industry, for example an actor, dancer, musician or film crew member. This visa has replaced the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) visa.


Your eligibility for a Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting visa (T5) depends on whether you’re a sports person or a creative worker. You’ll also need all of the following:

  • A certificate of sponsorship reference number.
  • Enough money to support yourself in the UK – you’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless you’re exempt).


How long is the Tier 5 valid for?
You can come to the UK for a maximum of up to 12 months, or the time given in your certificate of sponsorship plus up to 28 days, whichever is short.

New requirement for visa customers wishing to stay in the UK for more than 6 months, to get a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) on arrival. you will receive a 30 day travel visa in your passport.

You should be aware that:

  • you must travel within this 30 day period or your visa will expire
  • if your 30 day travel visa expires before you travel, you will need to apply for a replacement and pay another fee in order to travel to the UK
  • once you arrive in the UK you must collect your BRP from the Post Office you chose when you applied for your visa within 10 days
  • you will receive a letter with your visa decision providing instructions on what you need to do once in the UK

Your BRP is an important document. It provides proof of your permission to be in the UK, for how long and the conditions attached to your stay, and can also be used as identification. View example of BRP.

You must be tested for tuberculosis (TB) if you are going to the UK for more than 6 months. Children under 11 years don’t need an x-ray but will also get a certificate. This is a mandatory requirement when applying for your UK visa. You’ll be given a certificate which is valid for 6 months from the date of your x-ray.

SA Travelbug will secure your TB appointment on your behalf with a clinic approved by the UK visa offices. They won’t accept a TB test certificate from a clinic they haven’t approved. Example of TB Certificate here. TB Screening for the UK Factsheet here.

There is no Immigration Health Surcharge payable. This concession is a huge saving for migrants on the Health & Care Worker Visa route.

SA Travelbug will assist you with the processing of South African Police Clearance Certificates (PCC) which is a mandatory requirement for your visa application. Request PCC here.

Travel Insurance including medical cover is required when travelling. It must cover the duration of the requested visa. Request Travel Insurance here.

With each Visa there is a different cost based in the foreign currency of the Country you are visiting, which together with our volatile South Africa Rand, results in the costs of Visas fluctuating.  In order for us to provide you with a quote, reflecting the current cost for the Visa you require, please click here for a detailed quote.

  1. A thorough and detailed information gathering process ensuring you are provided with the latest current information.
  2. Guidance as to the best submission process and submission centre regarding such applications.
  3. Counselling throughout the preparation process, providing you with checklists and templates for the supporting documents required for your application.
  4. Completing and submitting your online application.
  5. Arranging the couriering of your documents.
  6. Assisting in liaising and obtaining where possible supporting documentation and accreditation from the required 3rd parties. Noting that in some instances the time frame of such documentation is beyond the control of SA Travelbug.
  7.  Arranging for the translation of required supporting documents.
  8. Preparation of a complete application dossier for presentation to Immigration Authorities, as required.
  9. If required we will also arrange your Consular appointment.
  10. To maintain the confidentiality of the client’s information and documents and to only release these details to the noted Government officials and those required by law or in order to expedite the application, unless the Applicant provides the authority to release information or documents to any other party.

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK.

Note: We cannot guarantee visa processing times in advance. All processing periods quoted are estimates only and subject to change.

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