Extend your visa

You may be able to apply to extend your stay in the UK under a Tier 2 (General) visa.

You should include any dependants who are on your current visa on your application to extend. This includes children who have turned 18 during your stay. They’ll also need to submit a separate application.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Visa extensions for health workers

Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), some health workers and their families will get a 1-year visa extension for free. To get the extension, you must:

  • work for the NHS or an independent healthcare provider in an eligible profession
  • have any visa that expires between 31 March and 1 October 2020

Read more about eligible professions and how the visa extension for health workers and their families works.

Eligibility

You must have current permission to enter or stay on a Tier 2 (General) visa.

You must also meet the following conditions:

  • you have the same job as when you were issued your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK
  • you’re still working for the employer who assigned your certificate of sponsorship
  • you’re still earning an ‘appropriate salary’ - read the guidance if you’re not sure

You must be in the UK to extend your visa.

How long you can stay

You can apply to extend your visa for up to another 5 years, as long as your total stay is not more than 6 years.

If you’ve switched from a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) or Tier 2 (Minister of religion) visa, any time you’ve already spent in the UK counts towards the 6 years.

Fees

Check the fees for your type of visa.

How to extend your visa

Read the Tier 2 guidance notes before you apply.

You must apply online as an individual or family group.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).

You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

How long it takes

Decisions are made:

  • within 8 weeks of your application date if you use the standard service
  • within 5 working days of your UKVCAS appointment if you use the priority service

If you use the super priority service a decision will be made:

  • by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.

You’ll be contacted if your circumstances or application are more complicated, for example if:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • you have a criminal conviction

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

If you change your job

You may need to make a new Tier 2 (General) visa application if:

  • you want to change your job and your new job is with a different employer
  • your job changes to a different standard occupation classification (SOC) code, and you’re not in a graduate training programme
  • you leave a job that’s on the shortage occupation list for a job that is not on the list

You do not need to apply again if you stay in the same job, but your job is taken off the shortage occupation list.

You will not need to make a new application if you’ll be staying with your current employer but your job will change in other ways, for example you want to change to a job in the same SOC code, or your pay will increase.

You must have a new certificate of sponsorship and you must meet all other application conditions, but you will not need to provide evidence to support your application if you’ve provided it for a previous Tier 2 application.

You can continue working for your previous sponsor until the start date on your new certificate of sponsorship if your current permission to stay is still valid.

You should not start your new job until you’ve received your biometric residence permit with your new permission.