Tier 2 Visa – how do I apply and what’s the process?

  • April 13, 2020
 

Arranging your own UK visa and immigration as an overseas doctor can be challenging. In this series of articles we offer a helping hand with tier 2 visas, navigating UK visa requirements, guidance on certificates of sponsorship and point scoring systems.

In this article we focus on the Tier 2 visa application process and the documents you will need, looking specifically at the following:

What is a Tier 2 Visa?

First of all, congratulations!

If you’re looking to apply for a Tier 2 visa, then the chances are you have interviewed successfully and accepted a job offer from an NHS Trust.

A Tier 2 visa is the document given to a skilled worker by the UK Home Office following a job offer from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship License. 

The list of valid Tier 2 Sponsors can be found here

It is safe to assume that the NHS trust you are applying to has a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship licence and that your IMG Consultant will have already checked this for you.


A Tier 2 visa will allow an overseas doctor to enter and work in the UK for an initial period of 5 years and 14 days. Alternatively, you can stay for the time given on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 1 month.


What is the application process?

Once you have accepted a job offer the hospital will immediately apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from the UK Home Office. 

Once the trust assigns the CoS to your name, you will then need to carry out the visa application process with two stages to consider:

  • the online application form
  • attending an appointment at your local visa application centre

It is worth noting that if you have applied for a visitor visa prior to this (possibly for the PLAB 2 exam) the process is very similar.

The online application form – the process:

Before beginning your application, we always advise compiling your details and scanning your documents (as outlined below). This will help avoid delays once you have started the application.

Applications are complete online and the process is as follows:

As above, compile your details and documents. Scan all documents from the list below before starting.

  • Start and complete the application.

Once you have entered all of your details, the application service will offer an appointment at a local visa appointment centre near you.

  • Pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee

This will cost you £400.

  • Pay the visa fee

Fees vary depending on whether your position is on the shortage occupation list.

  • Further actions will be prompted:
  • Download document check list

A helpful checklist to ensure you submit everything that is needed. We strongly recommend you use this to ensure nothing is missed.

  • Provide documents and biometric details

At this stage, you can upload electronic copies of your documents.

  • Making an appointment with your local visa application centre

Once you have made an appointment you will receive an email with your appointment confirmation letter. Make note of the details and print this confirmation to take with you to the appointment.

  • Selecting location for Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) pick up in UK

Think carefully about where you will be able to pick this up in the UK. You will have 30 days from your date of arrival in the UK to retrieve this from the post office you have selected. Once you have chosen, you will be sent a BRP collection letter. Print this and bring it with you to the post office to retrieve your biometric residence permit.

A good idea is to choose a Post Office close to the hospital so you can easily collect it once relocated to the UK.

  • Submit your complete application

Once all of the steps above have been completed your online visa application will be processed for review.

Please remember, if you are inactive for 25 minutes you will be automatically logged out.

The online application form - documents & information needed:

The application process will require you to provide both a large amount of information and submit a number of documents:

Information that you will be expected to provide includes:

  • Personal details and family information
  • Travel and national identity details
  • Employment details
  • Expected spend for your initial months in the UK
  • Accommodation details
  • Previous visa refusals
  • Criminal convictions

Documents that you need to upload electronically:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

As of June 2018, all doctors and nurses can be automatically allocated an Unrestricted CoS.

You can find more information regarding the CoS here.

  • Cover letter for your application

As part of your application you will need to write a cover letter. 

Request our helpful template to get your started on your Tier 2 Visa Application cover letter here.

  • Evidence of your knowledge of English 

IELTS for UKVI or UK NARIC are valid. OET is not valid.

See our blog series on English Language Testing (including OET and IELTS) here.

  • Criminal Records Certificate

See our article on the process of applying for your Criminal Records Certificate here.

  • Tuberculosis Test Clearance Certificate (if from any of the listed countries)

See our article on how to obtain your Tuberculosis Test Clearance Certificate here.

  • Confirmation of maintenance (if available)

Usually this is provided by the Trust as your sponsor, however in some circumstances this is not provided. See here for more information on a confirmation of maintenance.

  • Other documents
    • Certificate of full registration with the GMC
    • Certificate of full registration as a medical practitioner in your home country
    • Primary Medical Qualification Diploma
    • Tenancy agreement or accommodation details of any previous stays in the UK (if applicable) 
    • IHS payment confirmation 
    • Any previous/expired passports from the last 10 years
    • Current passport details
    • Evidence you can travel and travel history over the last five years 

Appointment at your local visa application centre:

As part of your online application you will have made an appointment with a local visa application centre. 

You can make sure there is an appointment centre accessible to you by using this link.

Please note, there is also an ‘On Demand Mobile Visa’ service available that can come directly to you and avoid the necessity of attending an appointment at an application centre. Check using the link above. 

At this appointment you will need to: 

  • bring your passport
  • confirm your ID 
  • have your fingertips and photograph taken for a biometric residence permit

It is important to check if the Visa Application Centre requires you to provide photocopies or originals of all your documents. 

Make sure you bring all documents outlined in your confirmation email to your appointment with the visa application centre. If you do not bring all of the requested documents your application will not be finalised and you will need to re-book.

How much will this cost me?

There are two costs to consider throughout this process:

  • your visa application with the home office
  • immigration health surcharge 

Visa application costs:

Up to 3 years – non-shortage occupation

Who’s applying

Fee (outside UK)

Fee for extending or switching (in the UK)

Yourself

£610

£704

All dependents

£610 per person

£704 per person

Citizens of Turkey or Macedonia

£555

£649

 

Up to 3 years – shortage occupation

Who’s applying

Fee (outside UK)

Fee for extending or switching (in the UK)

Yourself

£464

£464

All dependents

£464 per person

£409 per person

Citizens of Turkey or Macedonia

£409

£464 

The UK shortage occupation list is found here.

Healthcare surcharge:

From the moment you pay the IHS surcharge you will be granted access to NHS healthcare services, free of charge. 

The IHS will cost you £400. 

Please note, the IHS increased from £200 to £400 per year as of January 2019 in order to better reflect the rising cost of healthcare in the UK.

Visa acceptance:

Eligibility for a visa is dependent on your application scoring a minimum of 70 points, though please note 70 points does not guarantee acceptance.

The full document published by the Home Office on Tier 2 of the points-based system can be found here and we have summarised the points scoring criteria below:

Criteria

Points

Current shortage occupation 

130

Resident Labour Market Test or an exception applies

30

Receiving an appropriate salary for the job

20

Having a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

30

Meeting English Language criteria

20

Having enough maintenance funds

10

As you might notice, you will have satisfied most of the criteria above ensuring you surpass the 70 points required to be eligible for Tier 2 Visa. 

If you’re still not successful, the Home Office will provide you with reasons - IMG Connect will be able to support you with these for your next application.

Tracking your visa application:

Once your visa application is being processed you can track its progress online.

Once my visa application is successful, what happens next?

First things first, congratulations! You are just a few steps away from completing your journey to the UK and can now firm up your relocation plans, putting into action your relocation checklist. 

Once your application is underway you should beging discussing with your IMG Consultant UK relocation plans including accommodation and travel, bank accounts, schooling and any other questions you might have.


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