Tier 2 (General) visa

7. Switch to this visa

You can apply to change (‘switch’) from another visa to a Tier 2 (General) visa.

You should apply before your current visa expires.


You must already be in the UK under any of the following visas or schemes:

  • Tier 1 visa
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion) visa
  • Tier 2 (Intra company Transfer) visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and you’re applying to change sponsor
  • Tier 4 visa

You can also switch to a Tier 2 (General) visa if you’re:

  • a dependent partner of someone with a Tier 4 visa
  • a representative of an overseas business

You must leave the UK and make your Tier 2 (General) application from abroad if you’re not in any of these categories.

Switch from a Tier 4 visa

You can switch to this visa from a Tier 4 visa if you have an eligible qualification from a licensed tier 4 sponsor. They must have sponsored your visa to study for that qualification.

The eligible qualifications are:

  • a UK bachelors degree
  • a UK masters degree
  • a postgraduate certificate in education
  • a professional graduate diploma of education

PhD students

You must have completed at least 12 months’ study for your PhD during your most recent stay in the UK and had permission to take the qualification.

How long you can stay

You can stay in the UK for up to 5 years after switching to a Tier 2 (General) visa.


Check the fee for your type of visa.

How to switch your visa

Read the Tier 2 guidance notes before you apply.

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

If you’re in the UK you can:

Biometric information

Each person applying must also provide biometric information (fingerprints and a photo).

You can give your biometric information at:

You’ll get a biometric residence permit if your application to switch your visa is successful.

How long it takes

Decisions are usually made:

You’ll be contacted if your application is complicated and will take longer, for example because:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • of your personal circumstances, for example if 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.