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Health and Care visa (Tier 2)

Overview

You can apply for a Tier 2 (Health and Care) visa if:

  • you have a job offer from the NHS, an organisation providing medical services to the NHS or an organisation providing adult social care
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • your sponsor has told you that you are eligible for it

You must be a qualified:

  • doctor
  • nurse
  • health professional
  • adult social care professional

Read ‘Part A’ of the Tier 2 guidance for a full list of eligible employers and professions.

Getting sponsored

You need to be employed by a licensed sponsor to apply to live in the UK.

Your sponsor checks that you can do the job they’re hiring you for and if it qualifies you for a visa. They’ll assign you a certificate of sponsorship to prove this.

They must also give you other information you need when you apply, for example how much you’ll be paid.

How long it will take

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you’re due to start work in the UK. The date you can start work is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

You should get a decision on your visa 3 weeks from the date you provide your biometric information.

You can also pay to get a faster decision.

Fees

A visa for up to 3 years costs £232.

A visa for more than 3 years costs £464.

The fee is the same whether you apply from inside or outside the UK.

Your dependants will also pay the same amount.

If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia a visa for up to 3 years costs £177 and a visa for more than 3 years costs £409.

Healthcare surcharge

You will not have to pay the healthcare surcharge.

If you’re applying to extend or switch in the UK

You’ll need to pay £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.

Get a faster decision on your application

If you’re applying to extend or switch in the UK you can pay an extra £500 for the priority service to get a decision within 5 working days.

You can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service to get a decision:

  • by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after providing your biometric information if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.

How long you can stay

You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (Health and Care) visa for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.

You can start your stay up to 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship.

Example


Your start date is 15 July – the earliest you can start your stay is 1 July.

You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 5 years, as long as your total stay is not more than 6 years.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • do a second job in certain circumstances
  • do voluntary work
  • study as long as it does not interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • 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)
  • get public funds
  • apply for a second job until you’ve started working for your sponsor

 

Eligibility

You need to:

  • be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional
  • have a valid certificate of sponsorship for your job
  • show you’re being paid an appropriate salary for your job
  • prove your knowledge of English
  • have personal savings so you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK
  • show you can travel and your travel history over the last 5 years
  • have tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country
  • provide a criminal record certificate from any country you’ve lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years, if you’ll be working with vulnerable people

You need to have an eligible qualification if you’re switching from a Tier 4 visa.

For full list of eligible professions and rules, read ‘Part A’ of the Tier 2 guidance.

Certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship holds your personal details and information about the job you’ve been offered. It’s an electronic record, not a paper document. Your sponsor will give you a certificate of sponsorship reference number to add to your application.

You can only use your certificate of sponsorship reference number once. You must use it within 3 months of getting it.

Appropriate salary

You’ll usually need to be paid at least £30,000 per year or the ‘appropriate rate’ for the job you’re offered – whichever is higher. Check the appropriate rate for the job you’ve been offered.

Check the guidance for situations when you can be paid less – for example if:

  • you’ll work as a medical radiographer, nurse or paramedic
  • you’ll work as a pre-registration nurse or midwife

Personal savings

If you have a fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor, they must be able to give you at least £945 to cover your costs for a month if you need it.

If your sponsor is not A-rated, you must have £945 in your bank account for 90 days before you apply. This is to prove you can support yourself.

Knowledge of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

You can prove your knowledge of English by either:

  • passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD

You may be able to meet the English language requirement in other ways or need a higher level of English in some circumstances. Check the full visa guidance for detailed information.

Exceptions

You will not need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

You also may not have to prove your knowledge of English in other circumstances – check the visa guidance.

Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • your certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • proof of your knowledge of English
  • a bank or building society statement or letter that shows you have enough personal savings (unless your certificate of sponsorship shows your sponsor can support you)
  • a current passport or travel document to prove you can travel – you need a blank page in your passport for your visa
  • expired passports or travel documents if you need them to show your travel history
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country
  • a criminal record certificate – if you’re working with vulnerable people

If your documents are not in English or Welsh you’ll also need to provide a certified translation.

Read the guide for a list of documents you can provide.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

Criminal record certificate

You’ll need to provide a criminal record certificate if you work in:

  • education, for example teachers, education advisers and school inspectors
  • healthcare, for example nurses, doctors, managers, pharmacists, dentists, ophthalmic opticians
  • therapy, for example psychologists, speech and language therapists
  • social services, for example social workers, managers, probation officers

Check the full list of professions that need to get a certificate.

You’ll need a certificate from any country you’ve stayed in for a total of 12 months or more over the last 10 years.

Apply

You should read the full policy guidance before you apply.

Apply outside the UK

Apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa. You’ll be asked if you’re eligible for the Health and Care option later in your application.

You must apply online for this visa.

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.

You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK.

Find out how to get your visa decision faster – this depends on what country you’re in. Check if your visa application centre offers faster decisions and other services.

North Korea

You cannot apply online if you’re living in North Korea.

To apply from North Korea you must:

Apply in the UK

Check if you can apply from inside the UK to:

  • extend your existing Tier 2 (General) visa
  • switch to this visa from another visa

Extend your visa

You may be able to apply to extend your stay in the UK under a Tier 2 (Health and Care) visa.

You should include any dependants who are on your current visa on your application to extend. This includes children who have turned 18 during your stay. They’ll also need to submit a separate application.

Apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You must have current permission to enter or stay on a Tier 2 (Health and Care) visa.

You must also meet the following conditions:

  • you have the same job as when you were given your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK
  • you’re still working for the employer who assigned your certificate of sponsorship
  • you’re still earning an ‘appropriate salary’ – read the Tier 2 guidance if you’re not sure

You must be in the UK to extend your visa.

How long you can stay

You can apply to extend your visa for up to another 5 years, as long as your total stay is not more than 6 years.

Fees

It costs £232 to extend for up to 3 years.

It costs £464 to extend for more than 3 years.

Your dependants will also pay the same amount.

If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia extending for up to 3 years costs £177 and extending for more than 3 years costs £409.

How to extend your visa

Read the Tier 2 guidance notes before you apply.

You must apply online as an individual or family group.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).

You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

How long it takes

Decisions are made:

  • within 3 weeks of giving your biometric information if you use the standard service
  • within 5 working days of your UKVCAS appointment if you use the priority service

If you use the super priority service a decision will be made:

  • by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.

You’ll be contacted if your circumstances or application are more complicated, for example if:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • you have a criminal conviction

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

If you change your job

You may need to make a new Tier 2 visa application if:

You do not need to apply again if you stay in the same job, but your job is taken off the shortage occupation list.

You will not need to make a new application if you’ll be staying with your current employer but your job will change in other ways, for example you want to change to a job in the same SOC code, or your pay will increase.

You must have a new certificate of sponsorship and you must meet all other application conditions, but you will not need to provide evidence to support your application if you’ve provided it for a previous Tier 2 application.

You can continue working for your previous sponsor until the start date on your new certificate of sponsorship if your current permission to stay is still valid.

You should not start your new job until you’ve received your biometric residence permit with your new permission.

Switch to this visa

You can apply to change (‘switch’) from another visa to a Tier 2 (Health and Care) visa.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You must already be in the UK under any of the following visas or schemes:

  • Tier 1 visa
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion) visa
  • Tier 2 (Intra company Transfer) visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and you’re applying to change sponsor
  • Tier 4 visa – if you have an eligible qualification, will complete your course in 3 months, or you’ve done at least 12 months of a PhD
  • Start-up visa
  • Innovator visa

You can also switch to a Tier 2 (Health and Care) visa if you’re:

  • a dependent partner of someone with a Tier 4 visa
  • a representative of an overseas business

You must leave the UK and make your Tier 2 (Health and Care) application from abroad if you’re not in any of these categories.

Eligible qualifications for Tier 4 visa

You must have been sponsored by a licensed tier 4 sponsor to get one of the following qualifications:

  • a UK bachelor’s degree
  • a UK master’s degree
  • a postgraduate certificate in education
  • a professional graduate diploma of education

PhD students

You must have completed at least 12 months’ study during your most recent stay in the UK.

You must also have been sponsored by:

  • a higher education provider listed on the Tier 4 register of sponsors as ‘Tier 4 sponsor – track record’
  • an overseas higher education institution if you did a short-term study abroad programme in the UK

How long you can stay

You can stay in the UK for up to 5 years after switching to a Tier 2 (Health and Care) visa.

Fees

Check the fees for your type of visa.

How to switch your visa

Read the Tier 2 guidance notes before you apply.

You must apply online as an individual or family group.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).

You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

How long it takes

Decisions are usually made:

  • within 3 weeks of giving your biometric information if you use the standard service
  • within 5 working days of your UKVCAS appointment if you use the priority service

If you use the super priority service a decision will be made:

  • by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.

You’ll be contacted if your circumstances or application are more complicated, for example if:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • you have a criminal conviction

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

Family members

Your family members (‘dependants’) can come with you when you come to the UK on this visa. Your family members must have a visa if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

  • your husband, wife or partner
  • your child under 18
  • your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant

Read the guidance on dependant applications before you apply.

Personal savings

You must show that your dependants can be supported while they’re in the UK.

Each dependant must have £630 available to them whether they apply with you or separately. This is in addition to the £945 you must have to support yourself.

You must have proof you have the money, and that it’s been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 90 days before you or they apply.

Example

You must have £2,205 if you want to bring your partner and one child with you to the UK (£945 to support yourself plus £630 for your partner and £630 for your child).

You will not need evidence of your savings if you have a:

  • fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor
  • certificate of sponsorship stating that your sponsor will give each of your dependants at least £630 to cover their costs for a month if they need it

Fees

Check the fees for your type of visa.

Dependants applying from outside the UK

Your family members must apply online.

They’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre to get a biometric residence permit as part of their application.

They’ll have to collect their biometric residence permit within 30 days of when they said they’d arrive in the UK.

They may be able to get their visa faster or other services depending on what country they’re in – check with the visa application centre.

If your child is over 18 they cannot apply if they are outside the UK. They can apply from inside the UK if they are already here as your dependant.

North Korea

Your family members cannot apply online if they’re applying from North Korea.

Each family member will need to make their own application. They must:

Dependants applying in the UK on their own

Your dependants can apply to extend or switch their visas to stay with you if they’re already in the UK.

Your family members can apply online if they’re your:

It’s best for your dependants to apply at the same time as you but they can apply at a later date.

Your family members cannot apply in the UK as your dependant if they hold a visitor visa.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When they apply, they’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide their biometric information (their fingerprints and a photo).

They’ll also need to submit their supporting documents. They can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at their UKVCAS appointment

They must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until they get a decision. Their application will be withdrawn if they do.

Children born while you’re in the UK

If you have children while you’re in the UK, you can apply online to add them to your visa as your dependant.

You must do this if you want to travel in and out of the UK with your child.

You’ll need to provide a full UK birth certificate for each child, showing the names of both parents.

Taking a second job

You can take a second job on this visa if you’re working up to 20 hours a week in either:

You can also do unpaid voluntary work.

Otherwise, you’ll need to apply for a new visa. You’ll need to be sponsored by your second employer and get a new certificate of sponsorship.

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), there’s currently no limit on the number of hours you can work or volunteer if you have a second job as an NHS doctor, nurse or paramedic.

When to apply for a new visa

You cannot apply for a new visa until you’ve started work with your first sponsor.

You cannot start work with your second sponsor until your visa application has been approved.

How to apply

Read the guidance before you apply online.

You must be in the UK to apply.

Documents you must provide

You’ll need to provide some documents with your application.

You must also include a letter with your application explaining that you want to change your current permission to stay.

Your letter must state:

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • your current certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • the date when your current permission to stay runs out

Data Source: https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-health-care-visa