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How long can an American stay in the UK without a visa?

Because Americans are known as non-visa nationals in the UK, American citizens are able to visit for up to six months without a visa.

American citizens can visit:

  • As tourists;
  • to see their families;
  • to receive private medical treatment;
  • to study; and
  • for some business or academic activities.

Each of these reasons for visiting has its own regulations which you should be aware of before you book your flights.


Holidays make up 39% of all visits to the UK from the USA. Whether it’s to experience a traditional British pub or to travel through cities full of culture up and down the country, Americans love visiting the UK.

Almost 4 million US citizens visited last year, a 13% increase from the year before. The figures for 2018 will most likely be higher as visitors from the US flocked to Britain this year to take advantage of a weaker pound due to Brexit.

While you will not need a visa before you visit the UK for less than six months, it is highly advised that you bring documentation similar to that which you would provide for a visa application. This can include evidence of your flight home and the amount of savings you have to support yourself.

Americans are very common travellers to the UK, but sometimes UK border staff may doubt your intentions in the country and detain you if they feel you pose a risk of absconding. Find out what to do if you’re refused entry to the UK in our complete guide.

Visiting family

Visiting family is the second most common reason for coming to the UK. Americans visiting family made up almost 10% of all family visits last year.

When visiting your family for six months or less, you will be able to freely enter without a visa. However, as with tourist visits you will need to prove you intend to leave before six months is up. This can be more complicated for those visiting family – the Family Visit Visa for visa nationals has one of the highest refusal rates overall.

The UK authorities will need to be sure that you intend to leave once your visit is over. This may simply be evidenced with proof of financial or family commitments back in the States. Make sure you’re prepared to answer any questions border staff might as you about your visit.

Private operations

While the UK has one of the largest national health services in the world, this is not available to visitors. If you are intending to receive medical treatment in the UK, you will need to have paid for it through a private company.

It is advised to have evidence of your treatment ready to show to the border authority and evidence such as a return flight is always useful.

Should you need to stay in the UK for longer than six months for treatment, you may need to apply for a Visit Visa. You can be granted this type of visa for up to 11 months. You will find more information on the gov website for Visitor Visas for medical treatment.


As long as your study course is less than six months, you will not need to apply for a visa to come to the UK from the US.

Make sure you bring evidence that you have been accepted onto a six-month course to ensure staff at the border know when you intend to leave.

If you’re looking to study for longer than six months but less than 12 months on an English Language course, you may be able to apply for the Short-term Study Visa.

For anything longer than a year, you’ll need a Tier 4 Study Visa.

Business and academic activities

Those from the US can also visit the UK for up to six months to undertake a limited number of activities in business or academia.

Business activities you can be involved in include:

  • Attending conferences, meetings or specified training;
  • taking part at sports-related events;
  • performing as an artist, entertainer or musician; and
  • doing academic research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme.

Academic activities include:

  • Giving guest lectures at higher education institutions;
  • advocating in legal proceedings; and
  • taking part in arts, entertainment or sporting events.

You should have physical proof of these engagements for when you enter the UK so you aren’t held up at the border.

While Americans visiting the UK for less than six months are very rarely detained at the border, it is always best to make sure you are able to prove why you are coming to the country and that you don’t plan to stay any longer than you’re allowed.

If you need to come to the UK for any longer than six months, you will need to identify the relevant visa type for your travels and apply before you can enter the UK.

For more advice, or to find out more about your options, call IAS now on 0333 363 8577 or use our online contact form.

The post How long can an American stay in the UK without a visa? appeared first on Immigration Advice Service.

Tier 2 Visa termination of employment

It can be quite common, for whatever reason, for workers on a Tier 2 Visa to have their employment terminated early. This could be due to resignation, redundancy or dismissal, or the early finish of a project.

If this has happened, you will receive a curtailment of leave on your Tier 2 Visa. This will shorten your leave to be in the UK to 60 days or until the end of your visa – whichever is shortest.

Redundancy or dismissal

If you’re on a Tier 2 Visa and you have lost your job, it is the responsibility of your employer to inform the Home Office.

They will need to inform the Home Office within 10 days of your final work date. The Home Office will then send a letter to you detailing the curtailment of leave to you. For this, it is very important that the Home Office has up-to-date information on where you live so that the letter is sent to the correct address.

Once you receive this letter, you will have 60 days or until the end of your visa to either make a new job application or leave the country.

Making a new application

If you decide to apply for a new job in the UK, you will also need to apply for a new Tier 2 Visa. This means that your new employer will have to hold a Sponsor Licence in order to sponsor your visa application.

If you are offered a job from a company without a Sponsor Licence, they may be able to apply for one before your leave to remain ends, meaning you will not have to leave the country.

This may be difficult, however, as the company will need to make the Sponsor Licence application and then offer you a job which passes the Resident Labour Market Test all within 60 days or less.

The Resident Labour Market Test requires an employer to advertise the position for at least 28 days to British workers before offering it to non-EEA nationals.

Should you find a company that can offer you the right Certificate of Sponsorship within 60 days, you will be able to stay in the UK until a decision on your new Tier 2 Visa is made.

Finding a new job

Because your leave has been curtailed, you will not be entitled to work until you have received your new visa. You will need to be prepared to support yourself without working during this time.

Additionally, the minimum salary requirement will still apply to your new job, so taking a lower salary is not advised.

The Resident Labour Market Test

While the Resident Labour Market Test may be one of the more difficult parts of securing a new job in the 60-day period you’ll have in the country, there are a couple of things which can make it easier.

If the vacancy you are applying for has been advertised for 28 days already, it will be available to you immediately. If your employer already has a Sponsor Licence, all they’ll need to do is apply for the correct Certificate of Sponsorship.

If they can’t already sponsor foreign workers, this previous 28-day period will mean that they can offer you the job as soon as their Sponsor Licence application is granted.

Switching visas

If applying for a new Tier 2 Visa is not realistic for you, you may be able to stay in the UK on a different visa type depending on your circumstances.

Family Visas

The most common non-work visa is a Partner Visa. If you have a partner or spouse who is a British citizen or has Settled Status in the UK, this could be a great opportunity to remain in the UK.

Those working on a Spouse Visa will not need their job sponsored by a licenced sponsor and will not need to meet the minimum salary requirement.

Alternatively, a Family Visa could be an opportunity to stay in the UK for those with British children who might be unable to stay as a spouse or partner.

Tier 1 Visas

Tier 2 workers are able to switch from Tier 2 to Tier 1 Visas, such as the Entrepreneur Visa. If you have a genuine business idea and are able to develop a successful business plan, this visa would allow you to remain in the UK to set up a business without the need for sponsorship.

Tier 4 Student Visa

You can also switch from a Tier 2 Visa to a Tier 4 Visa to study at a higher level than any qualifications that you currently hold. This application will also require you to be sponsored by a licenced higher education organisation, so it may also come with some difficulties in such a short time frame.

Tier 2 cooling-off period

Should your 60-day leave expire, you will have to leave the UK and reapply from your country of origin. Applying for a Tier 2 Visa comes with a 1-year cooling-off period.

This means that if you’re intending to re-enter the country to work, you’ll either have to wait a year or enter on a different visa type.

Leaving the country early

Your Tier 2 Visa could be coming to an end because you’ve been offered a job somewhere else in the world. Leaving your current job will mean that your leave to remain is no longer sponsored by your employer. You will need to be careful that you are still within the Home Office’s limitations.

If you’ve submitted your resignation to your Tier 2 sponsor, some responsibilities will fall on you to make sure that everything is done correctly.

What you need to report

When you submit your notice of resignation, it is advised that you also send a copy to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). You should also include your proposed leaving date with this notice to UKVI.

What your sponsor needs to report

Your sponsor will also have to inform the Home Office of your resignation within 10 days of it being issued.

Once they have received this, they will send a letter to you to say that your leave has been curtailed to 60 days or until your visa ends.

If both you and your employer report your decision to stop working in the UK it will ensure you are still complying to your visa restrictions and will not affect on any future applications you make.

When you need to leave

Although you are not required to leave until the end of this 60-day period, it is advised that you should leave as soon as is viable to ensure that further applications to enter the UK are not put at risk.

There is no longer a 28-day grace period of overstaying after these 60 days. Once your time is up, you will be in the UK illegally.

Re-entry to the country

Following these steps will mean that any future intentions you have to enter the UK will not be at risk due to non-compliance with the Home Office.

If you intend to visit using a Travel Visa, your previous record will show that you are not at risk of absconding and may give you a better chance of having your visa granted.

Experiencing a Tier 2 Visa termination of employment will most likely be a stressful time of significant upheaval in your life. Make sure you follow the rules of the Home Office by receiving expert advice from our experienced immigration lawyers.

Call us on 0333 363 8577 or use our online contact form today.


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EU Net Migration To UK Falls To Lowest Level In Almost Six Years

New statistics from the Office for National Statistics suggest that migration from the EU to the UK has significantly dropped to a six-year low. The number of EU nationals coming to the UK in June 2018 was 74,000, the lowest since September 2012 when it was 65,000.


The study analyses the countries from which the UK is currently experiencing a migration lull, according to their EU membership. Net migration from the EU A8 countries (those who joined in 2004) such as Poland and Hungary was minus 14,000 in June. On the other hand, migration from EU A2 countries Romania and Bulgaria has halved to 34,000 since the referendum.


Similarly, net migration from the older members of the EU such as France and Sweden has fallen from 84,000 to 47,000 in June. Many believe this is a sign of the hostility that EU citizens feel from Britain after Brexit. Previously, many Italians and Spanish citizens made an effort to visit and work in the UK because of the opportunities that were seemingly better than in their home country.


The Effect On The UK


This is potentially damaging to the UK. Conservative MP Phillip Lee explains, “EU nationals are the pillar which support fundamental public services in this country”. It’s expected that the NHS will be damaged if EU nationals are feeling unwelcome in the UK. This contrasts the promise mady by leave campaigners of the NHS being reinvigorated if the UK voted for Brexit.


It’s cited that the lower value of the pound has made the UK a less attractive place to live and work, and the economic uncertainties are putting off potential migrants. On the other hand, economic conditions in other top countries in the EU have improved, making them more appealing to those wishing to move.


Though EU migration has fallen, non-EU migration was 248,000 in June. Increasing numbers of non-EU citizens are still travelling to the UK to work and study. It’s possible they’re fuelled by space being made for them after the departing EU citizens.


Theresa May wishes to remain clear on the fact they absolutely welcome members of the EU into the country, though they won’t be given priority status when they enter. Instead, EU nationals are likely to be treated in the same way as international citizens, required to apply for a Visa before they visit the UK.

The post EU Net Migration To UK Falls To Lowest Level In Almost Six Years appeared first on Immigration Advice Service.

Senior UK Academics Call For People’s Vote To Save Universities

More respected education figureheads have added to calls for a new Brexit referendum. Three Russell Group heads and a Nobel prize winner have all weighed into the debate for another vote.


The professor of higher education at Oxford University has joined forces with vice-chancellors of University College London, Warwick University, Cardiff University to call for a people’s vote. They want a second referendum to end what they describe as a ‘dangerous political stalemate’ on Brexit.


Theresa May will take part in a Brexit debate on Sunday 9th December, two days before MPs vote on her deal. In the eventuality that they reject her deal, a no deal will become more likely.


The university heads claim that leaving the EU will be detrimental to Britain’s universities, but leaving without a deal would be even worse. As they see it, leaving with a no deal would make it harder to entice talented students from abroad, disrupt current international student exchange programs in place, and threaten research networks across the EU.


What A No-Deal Brexit Would Mean For International Students


One of the biggest concerns is that a no deal will deter thousands of potential European students from studying in the UK; that’s if Brexit hasn’t done that already. In fact, Cambridge University have reported that applications across the European Union have already dropped by a staggering 14% since the referendum.


Professor Stuart Croft, the vice-chancellor of Warwick University explains that a no-deal Brexit would have a profound negative effect in regards to researchers. This is because they have established relationships with universities overseas which makes it easier for them to find work abroad.


A no-deal Brexit would mean European researchers will feel pressurised to carry on research outside the UK. A survey undertaken last month has shown that 78% of EU researchers said they were less likely to stay after Brexit.


Many In Support Of New Vote


Furthermore, Croft referenced the huge support for a new referendum. In fact, of 77,000 students from up and down the UK, three quarters voted in favour of a new vote. It seems as though the younger demographic of Britain feel that the first referendum didn’t properly reflect all potential outcomes – including the finer details of what may happen if there’s a no-deal.


The chances of there being a new referendum, however, are unknown. The upcoming debate on Sunday 9th December will give the public a clearer view of what the prime minister’s proposed deal entails. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, will also be present to answer questions at the debate. The party insist that they will not support May’s deal if they don’t feel it gives the UK the best opportunity after they leave the EU.


This opens up the opportunity for a second Brexit referendum, or indeed a referendum for a new prime minister entirely if May receives a vote of no confidence.


Please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0333 305 4846 for friendly, expert advice on your right to remain in the UK.

The post Senior UK Academics Call For People’s Vote To Save Universities appeared first on Immigration Advice Service.

British Citizenship Form MN1 (8 Step Guide)

Knowing how to register your child as a British citizen can be very stressful and complex. If you and your partner are non-British citizens in the UK, or if you are a British citizen living outside the UK, this 8-part guide will provide detailed Form MN1 guidance, helping to de-stress your mind and get you ready to apply for British Citizenship for your child.

Application to register child under 18 as a British citizen: overview

A child under 18 can register as a British citizen if they were born in the UK and one of their biological parents has been granted British Citizenship or Settled Status since their birth. This includes if one of the child’s parents has been granted Settled Refugee Status.

The registration process for a child is usually less complex than the process for naturalisation. However, the application form is still long and complex.

Each of the MN1 Form’s eight steps has been broken down to help you understand how to register your child as a British citizen.

  1. Personal information

The first section of the form requires you to first give details about yourself and then of the child who is registering for citizenship.

Be sure to fill this section out in block capitals, in black ink. This information will appear on their registration certificate, so it is important to make sure it can be copied over easily.

For this section, you will need to provide the child’s marital status and national insurance number (if applicable), place of birth, immigration history, nationality and address.

Once you have completed this section, you must fill out the ‘parent’ section. If you are the child’s biological parent(s), fill out this section with your own information. If you are not the child’s biological parents, you must fill out the details of their biological parents in the final section of the form (Further Information).

The parent section requires information about both parents’ residence history and asks for full addresses and dates of living in each address. Make sure you fill this out accurately; the Home Office could check up on the accuracy of your statements by contacting previous landlords.

  1. Residence

The next stage of the form requires you to give information about the child’s UK residence history. This also includes if the child has been resident in any of Britain’s overseas territories.

You will be required to say when the child first arrived in the UK and you will be given a detailed table to fill out. In this section, you must include details of when and where the child lived in the UK, from the date of their arrival in the UK to present.

  1. Parent’s Residence

In this section, you only need to include information for one biological parent who is British by descent. This part of the application requires you to include the details of residence for the relevant parent. Make sure that these details are as accurate as possible.

The parent also needs to provide details here of any absences the child may have had during their time in the UK.

You will also be required to add information about one of the child’s grandparents (the father or mother of the parent who is filling out this section). For this, you will need to know the grandparent’s birthplace, nationality and date of birth.

  1. Good character

This section applies to the child applying for registration as a British citizen if they are aged 10 or older. If this is the case, you will need to give information about the child to show that they are of ‘good character’. This is important, as the Home Office are less likely to grant citizenship to individuals who have committed crimes or offences.

The form requires you to provide information about their school and employment (if relevant) history. You will also need to enter information about their criminal history (if any). You must answer this section truthfully or the application may be refused outright.

If the child has committed or been involved in any crimes or received any penalties from the authorities, you must give details of this, including the nature of the offence, the country it was committed in and the date they were sentenced or issued.

If the child has no criminal history, you will only need to state ‘No’ when asked if the applicant has “been convicted of any criminal offence in the UK or any other country”.

  1. Reference

You will need to include a passport-sized photograph of the child making the British Citizenship application which goes alongside the Form MN1. Write the child’s name and date of birth on the back of the photograph, and then glue the photograph to the space provided in the right hand corner of the page.

Once you have added the photograph along with their full name, you will need to add reference details. There must be two references. Both must know the child personally, and at least one must be a professional who has engaged with the child professionally. This could be their teacher, doctor, social worker or minister of religion, for example.

The referees will be asked to provide their own details and sign their signature to state that the photograph you have provided is ‘of true likeness’ to the child they know personally and have worked with, who is named on the form.

A referee cannot:

  • Be related to the child;
  • be the solicitor, adviser, lawyer or any other agent representing the child’s application;
  • be employed by the Home Office;
  • be a previous convict (in the last 10 years);
  • give false information; or
  • keep relevant information from the Home Office.
  1. Biometric information

To become a citizen of a country, a person must also register for their biometric information. To do this, they will need to provide their fingerprints – unless they are a child under the age of six. However, if the child is under six, you must submit a clear, digitised picture of their face.

Once the child’s details have been put into this section of the form, and it has been submitted, you will recieve a letter from the Home Office. This letter will tell you the date of an appointment which has been set up by the Home Office. You must attend this appointment, which will be at your local post office, to record your child’s biometric information.

You (the parent) must accompany the child to the appointment if they are under the age of 16. If neither of the child’s parents is available to accompany the child, another adult can take them. The reason for this must be explained in the form.

  1. Consent

This section of the form is relatively straightforward. It requires both parents of the child to sign their consent on the form. This is just to ensure that the parents are aware and happy with the application.

If the child is making an application of their own behalf, they must also sign and consent their name on the form.

  1. Final declaration

In this final section of the form, you will be asked to make a declaration which states that, to the best of the knowledge, you are aware that all information on the form is correct and honest.

This section should be signed and the boxes filled out so that the Home Office know who has completed the form and made the declaration.

What are the child registration for British Citizenship fees?

The child registration for British Citizenship fees are as follows:

Registration (Form MN1) fee: £936

Biometric enrolment fee: £19.20

Can you apply for British Citizenship online?

Yes, you can apply for British Citizenship online. This process allows you to use an online form, which asks questions which are relevent to you based on your answers to the questions you are asked. Using this form is simpler in some ways, at it will automatically skip irrelevent questions.

You can edit and save your application before it is submitted.

The British Citizenship form is applicable to children who qualify for British Citizenship through either birth or adoption.


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Introducing ID Cards to Control Immigration Instead of Leaving the EU

A new report has suggested that instead of leaving the EU, ID cards should be issued in the UK as part of a new effort to control immigration.


The premise of this idea is to tighten the rules on immigration and force everyone living in the UK to have an electronic identity card. This wouls address a lot of voters concerns about immigration without the need for Britain leaving the European Union.


This report was supported by Labour peer and former cabinet minister Andrew Adonis. He said that Remain supporters needed to show they were responding to the issues that led people to vote for Brexit.


The report suggested that the EU rules to tighten controls on immigration should be looked into and enforced, pointing out that the UK is the only country in the bloc not to have a national ID system.


Coupled with a tougher approach to integration, forcing immigrants to learn English, the report said that the system of electronic ID cards can control people’s right to live, work and claim benefits in the UK.


In interviews with European politicians, it was revealed that there is widespread surprise that the UK had not made use of its current powers to manage free movement, as other EU countries have done.


It’s suggested that British voters are not opposed to immigration in principle but want tougher action against criminals and those seen to be taking advantage of the rules.


It’s likely that civil rights campaigners will lock the proposals to introduce ID cards in the UK. The Blair government attempted to introduce a similar system, which was dropped due to heavy opposition.


It’s been said that anybody planning on remaining in the UK for more than 90 days, should be required to carry an ID card. This card would be needed to access public services, benefits, housing, employment and much more.

The post Introducing ID Cards to Control Immigration Instead of Leaving the EU appeared first on Immigration Advice Service.

Form AN Guide – Naturalisation

The most common route for applying for British Citizenship is naturalisation. To be naturalised as a British citizen, you’ll need to apply to the Home Office using Form AN.

The AN Form covers most adults who are citizens of another country applying to become a British citizen.

How do I apply?

Previously, the only way to apply for British Citizenship was by sending off the application form with all your original documents through the post. Now, using the Nationality Document Return Service, you can submit a British Citizenship application form online and keep hold of your documents while the application is processed.

This service can only be used in-country but means you can apply for a British passport at the same time as your citizenship application, greatly simplifying the steps you need to take to get your official citizenship documents.

If you meet the requirements for British Citizenship but are residing out of the country at the time of your application, you will need to print off the application forms and submit them by post, which could mean a much longer wait time for a decision.

What is the naturalisation application process?

Before you can apply for British Citizenship, you will need to meet all the requirements under the Immigration Rules.

These include:

  • Being resident in the UK for a continuous period of at least five years (three if you’re the spouse of a British citizen).
  • Having no breaches of over 90 days in a 12-month period or 450 days in the overall five-year period.
  • Holding Indefinite Leave to Remain or EEA PR for at least a year.
  • Passing the Life in the UK test.
  • Meeting the ‘good character’ requirement.
  • Being able to speak English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic to the required standard.

You may also need to renounce your previous citizenship if your country does not allow you to hold both. Find out more on the government website for Dual Nationality.

Once you have met these requirements, you will need to gather your evidence before applying online or via post.

When using the Nationality Document Return Service, you will need to submit your application online, then take your documents to your nearest local authority which runs the service. You will need to do this within 10 days of your application.

Here you will photocopy your original documents to be sent to the Home Office for review. This service is really useful as it means you are not without your original documents during the application process.

If you are applying through the post, you will need to send all of your documentation away with the AN Form, meaning you will not have access to your passport until a decision is made.

What information do I need to include?

The subsections of the application include:

Personal information

  • Contact details
  • Knowledge of language/life in the UK
  • Parents’ details
  • Partner’s details
  • Details of employment – since date of entry

Residence requirements

  • Details of all absences from the UK in the last 5 years
  • Permanent Residence details (for EEA or Swiss nationals)

Good character requirement

  • Details of any criminal convictions/cautions

Crown service (for those in or with partners in Crown service)

Referees and identity

  • Further information

Biometric registration/information


  • Supporting documents

Each section must be completed as accurately as possible to ensure the best chances of success.

What documents will I need to include?

The application form for British Citizenship can be extremely complex and can reach up to 100 pages in length. The fee is also non-refundable, so when making your application, you will need to make sure that everything is completed perfectly and to the highest possible standard.

Some of the documentation you will need to provide will include:

  • Life in the UK and IELTS test certificates;
  • Evidence you hold Indefinite Leave to Remain or EEA PR;
  • Original passport;
  • Evidence of previous visas/residency documents;
  • All travel documents from the five-year period to show continuous residence.

It is highly advised that you seek the help of an experienced immigration solicitor for this application. The Home Office scrutinise British Citizenship applications thoroughly and the most common refusal reasons include insufficient documentation, incorrectly filled out forms and failure to respond to further queries in time.

What are the citizenship naturalisation fees?

The current fee for naturalisation is £1,330. As previously mentioned, this is non-refundable, so making your application right first time will save you a great deal of money, time and effort.

Using a licenced immigration adviser to complete your naturalisation application form will give you the greatest chance of receiving citizenship first-time.

What is the typical time frame for this application?

Once you have passed the tests and gathered all your evidence, you can submit your application. You should receive confirmation that the Home Office has received this application within four weeks.

Following this, the British Citizenship application processing time is usually up to six months.

What happens after the decision?

Once a decision has been made and you have been granted British Citizenship through naturalisation, you will be invited to a naturalisation ceremony.

There will be an additional fee for this ceremony and you must attend to complete your application. You and the other new citizens will accept your new citizenship and will officially be naturalised.

If you did not use the Nationality Document Return Service, you will be able to apply for a British passport after the ceremony. If you applied for a passport at the same time, you will be able to use this as identification and to travel with as soon as you receive it.

The British Citizenship application is one of the most important processes you will undergo. Make sure you are properly prepared and in the best position possible to start your life as a British national by calling 0333 363 8577 or using our online contact form.

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Job Opportunities: Immigration Caseworkers and Paralegals


Immigration Advice Service are currently seeking to recruit Immigration Caseworkers accredited to IAAS Level 1 and 2.

To be considered for this role, you must be at least Level 1 IAAS accredited and have experience of working within publicly funded immigration advice, assistance and representation.

We are also seeking to recruit paralegals who are OISC Level 1 registered or who have the prospect of being so accredited within a very short period of time i.e. who have some immigration background.

This is an excellent opportunity to join a company offering interesting and excellent levels of work, alongside committed and experienced colleagues.

We have vacancies in Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. IAS is committed to equal opportunity and diversity.

For an application form please email Rheba Glazier, Corporate Services: –

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Switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 (5 Tips)

If you are about to or have recently completed your degree in the UK, you are probably looking to dive right into the world of work. Although the UK immigration system provides a relatively straightforward switch from a Tier 4 to a Tier 2 Visa, the process can get stressful if you are not organised and familiar with the visa requirements.

These five steps provide detailed information about switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2, the requirements and how to tackle the process with a steady frame of mind. Complying with the following eligibility conditions and evidence requirements for Tier 2 will ensure that you do not put your application to remain in the UK at risk.

  1. Act quickly (before your visa expires)

Acting with haste is fundamental in ensuring that you can successfully apply for a Tier 2 Visa. An application to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 must be submitted from within the UK before the Tier 4 visa expires.

The UK Immigration Rules state that applications must be made within a 28-day period after you have graduated. If you fail to apply for a Tier 2 Visa within this period, you are required to leave the UK and continue with your application from your country of residence. Furthermore, if you do not inform the Home Office that you have graduated, but your Tier 4 sponsor does, you could run the risk of not being permitted to re-enter once outside the UK.

Following changes to immigration rules in January 2018, students wishing to take up employment in the UK are able to apply for a Tier 2 Visa once they have completed their course but not found out their final results. This modification allows you to begin your Tier 2 application earlier than previous applicants and so it is advisable that you use this extension to your advantage and apply for a work visa as soon as you have sat your final exams.

  1. Check your work visa eligibility

Before making your application to work in the UK, you need to ensure that you meet the following requirements for switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2:

  • You must have completed a UK bachelor’s or master’s degree, a postgraduate certificate in education or professional graduate diploma of education. PhD students must have completed at least 12 month’s study before making an application.
  • You must have a confirmed offer of employment from a UK employer who holds a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence.
  • The job you have been offered must meet the minimum skill and salary thresholds of one of the Standard Occupation Codes. As someone switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2, the minimum salary level is £20,800 per annum. For PhD students, the threshold is slightly higher at £21,600 per annum.
  • You must prove that you have sufficient funds to maintain your living for the first month. If you have an A-rated sponsor, the employer can accommodate you with a minimum of £945 for the first month of employment. If this is not the case, you must provide a bank statement showing you to have at least £945 saved to support yourself.
  1. Check eligibility of your visa sponsor

If you meet the Tier 2 criteria and are able to make an application, it is important that you check the eligibility of your employer. In order to hire a Tier 2 skilled worker, employers must hold a valid Sponsorship Licence, granted through an application to the Home Office.

Your Tier 2 sponsor will then issue you a Certificate of Sponsorship, submitted as part of your visa application. This has to be sent within three months of the certificate being issued and no more than three months before the start of employment.

  1. Provide evidence for your application

Once you have checked the eligibility for yourself and your employer, your application must provide all the requested forms of evidence to prove that you meet the visa’s conditions. If you are switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2, you must supply:

  • An original certificate of award which shows your full name, the title of the qualification/award and the name of the awarding body.


  • An original academic reference from your academic institution. This should include the same information as required by the certificate but must also provide the reason why an original certificate of award could not be provided and a date of when the certificate will be issued.

If you are a student visa holder who currently receives or has received sponsorship for your studies in the UK from the British Government, any other Government or an international scholarship agency in the last 12 months, you must provide written confirmation from this body of their unconditional consent for you to remain in the UK with no time limit. Failing to provide this evidence with the unconditional consent or unlimited time limit requirements means that your application could be rejected.

As the switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2, can seem daunting and demanding, it is important that you seek professional help before submitting your application. Advice from one of our highly-qualified immigration lawyers will fully prepare you for the visa process and will allow you to access any help you need for your application.

If successful, switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2 will allow you to work in the UK for three or five years with a permanent employment contract, or for the duration of the fixed-term contract if this is shorter.

For those who have built their lives in the UK during their studies, staying to work can be an important next step. Make sure you are in the best position possible with IAS.

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Employers to Have Transition Period Before EU Right to Work Checks

Before being forced to make immigration checks, employers will be allowed a grace period after Britain takes their leave from the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.


Sajid Javid has stated that there will be a “sensible transition period” for EU citizens if an agreement cannot be made. He believes that we “have to be practical” in this situation.


This new transition period is the likely solution to help employers to adapt to the new immigration enforcement. Despite this, employers will be obliged to continue taking out regular checks.


These checks include ensuring that EU citizens present a passport or ID card when seeking work. However, employers would not have to work on when the citizen arrived in the UK.


The Home Office has stated that “employers will not have to differentiate between resident EU citizens and those who arrive after Brexit”.


In a recent interview, the Labour MP Yvette Cooper at the select committee meeting disclosed fresh information. She indicated that after March next year, employers will have to make sure they go through the adequately rigorous checks to evidence somebody’s right to work.”


Unions such as the British Chambers of Commerce, trade unions and the Confederation of British Industry have yet to be given any clear guidance on the issue moving forward.


This statement has caused controversy and the shadow immigration minister, Afzal Khan wrote to Nokes demanding that she should return to parliament and set the record straight. Khan stated that Nokes lacked a basic understanding of the immigration policy and “raised the prospect of widespread discrimination against 3 million Europeans”.


One of the biggest issues that surfaced from the statement was that EU citizens in the UK do not have any means of proving that they have the right to work in the UK. This being due to Britain having no registration requirement upon arrival.


The Home Office has set the record straight, indicating that they will protect the rights of EU citizens in a deal or no deal scenario.


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