6. 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.
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.
Check the fee for your type of visa.
How to extend your visa
Read the Tier 2 guidance notes before you apply.
If you’re in the UK you can:
- apply online as an individual or family group, using the standard or priority service
- get a same-day decision at a premium service centre, by booking a premium service appointment when you apply online
You must also provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo).
You can give your biometric information at:
- certain Post Office branches if you applied online (this costs £19.20)
- a premium service centre if you applied in person
You’ll get a biometric residence permit if your application to extend your visa is successful.
How long it takes
Decisions are made:
- within 8 weeks for online applications
- within 10 days if you’re able to use the Tier 2 priority application service
- usually on the same day if you use the premium service
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 isn’t on the list
You don’t need to apply again if you stay in the same job, but your job is taken off the shortage occupation list
You won’t 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 won’t need to send evidence in support of your application if you’ve sent 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.