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:
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.
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
Expected spend for your initial months in the UK
Previous visa refusals
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.
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:
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.
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:
Current shortage occupation
Resident Labour Market Test or an exception applies
Receiving an appropriate salary for the job
Having a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
Meeting English Language criteria
Having enough maintenance funds
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.
Read more useful articles on finding an NHS trust doctor job, pay scales & doctor’s salary in the UK, relocation and much more!
Get in Touch
Don’t hesitate to get in touch using the buttons above (and below) to discuss doctor job options in the NHS, including discussions regarding a typical doctor salary in the UK and the most suitable hospital locations for you.