1. Overview

You can apply to switch from your current visa to a Tier 1 (General) visa if you have permission to stay (‘leave to remain’) in the UK in one of the following categories:

You can also extend your existing Tier 1 (General) visa.

You must also meet all the other eligibility requirements.

You can’t apply for a Tier 1 (General) category visa if you’re outside the UK, and you usually can’t switch to it from other immigration categories. From 6 April 2015 it will be closed to applicants who want to extend their visa.


How much you pay for a Tier 1 (General) visa depends on your circumstances.

Who’s applying Applying by post in the UK Applying in person in the UK Applying outside the UK
You £1,607 £2,007 Not available
You, if you’re a citizen of Croatia, Turkey or Macedonia £1,552 £1,952 Not available
All dependants £1,607 £2,007 £874

How long you can stay

You can extend or switch to a Tier 1 (General) visa for 3 years. However in all cases you’ll be given enough leave to take the total leave granted in Tier 1 (General) to 5 years.

You may be able to apply for settlement once you’ve been in the UK for 5 years.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • work in most jobs in the UK without a sponsor
  • be self-employed
  • bring family members with you

You can’t:

  • get public funds
  • work as a professional sportsperson (eg a sports coach)
  • work as a doctor in training (unless you have a primary degree at a bachelor’s level or above in medicine or dentistry from a UK recognised body or a licensed sponsor under the Tier 4 visa category)