Tier 2


The Tier 2 (General) visa is for skilled workers with a job offer. This visa requires applicants to have received an offer of employment and the employer must provide you with a 'Certificate of Sponsorship' (CoS).

To obtain a Tier 2 (General) visa for you, your employer must

  • hold a Tier 2 sponsor licence
  • offer you a 'graduate level' job
  • allocate a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to you and
  • offer the minimum applicable salary (the minimum annual salaray is £ 20,800 per year. Please note that for some occupations the minimum entry level salary will be a higher amount)


Tier 4 Concessions

You can switch into a Tier 2 (General) visa from within the UK if you continue to hold a valid Tier 4 visa and meet all other eligibility requirements under the Tier 2 route.

The good news for your employer is that if you switch from a Tier 4 (General) visa to Tier 2 (General) visa within the UK two concessions will apply that makes it easier for your employer to employ you.

The concessions are:

  1. Your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) will be an unrestricted CoS which does not fall under the annual cap of 27 000. This annual cap only applies to applications made outside of the UK.
  2. Your employer does not need to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)

We advise that when making job applications you check to make sure that the propsective employer is registered as a Tier 2 sponsor. When you complete the online application form or submit a covering letter you should make the employer aware of the following:

  • that as they are registered as a Tier 2 sponsor they can sponsor you for a Tier 2 visa,
  • mention the two concessions above that apply for applicants moving from a Tier 4 to a Tier 2 visa in the UK,
  • that you have a right to work in the UK, restricted to 20 hours per week during term-time, and
  • that under the Tier 4 rules you can work full time hours on the final 4 months of your visa as this is considered 'vacation time' by the Home Office (refer to the 'Can I work whilst in the UK?' section of the Tier 4 Policy Guidance)

When can I apply?

  • UG and Masters students who have sat all exams and completed all academic work and the formal course end date has passed. You do not have to wait until your degree has been awarded before applying. Please note: If you apply before your degree award date you cannot start the Tier 2 job until your new visa is issued. If you apply after your degree award date you can start working in the Tier 2 job whilst the application is pending. 
  • PhD students may apply once having completed at least 12 months of the course

Visa application

Application form

Tier 2 applications made within the UK are submitted online


You are required to show you have held a minimum balance of £ 945 in your bank account for 90 consecutive days. This bank account must be in your name or a joint account with another person. If you have any dependants then the amount of maintenance you will need to show for each dependant is £ 630 per dependant.

Documents required
  • Passport
  • Biometric Resident Permit (if your visa was issued in this format)
  • Police Registration Certificate (only if you are from a country required to register and it must be up-to-date)
  • 2 Brand new passport size photos on a grey or light cream background
  • Bank statements
  • Degree certificate or Tier 2 Reference Letter*
  • Certificate of Sponsorship (Cos)

Please note that if you have been fully financially sponsored (all tuition fees and living expenses) by a government or international scholarship agency, and this funding ended less than 12 months before your intend to apply for this visa, you will need written permission from that sponsor to say they do not object to you applying for the visa. If you were fully funded by Imperial College then you do not need a letter of consent.

* A Tier 2 Reference Letter can be requested once the formal course end date has passed but prior to the final degree award date (1 August for undergraduate students or 1 November for postgraduate students).  This letter is available from the Student Hub, Level 3, Sherfield Building.

Important links