Switching from a Tier 5 visa – what are your options?

The Tier 5 visa is one of the most popular routes for people aged between 18 and 30, from qualifying countries, to get to live and work in the UK. However, as this visa is only valid for two years, and is not renewable, those wishing to stay longer will need to switch visas. We look at some of the options available.

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A Tier 5 visa holder could apply for either an Ancestry visa or Tier 2 visa, depending on their work situation and family ties, if they wish to stay in the UK. These options both require that the applicant return to their home country to apply.

Ancestry visa

If you have a UK-born grandparent, you will be able to apply for an Ancestry visa. Once this is granted, you will be able to return to the UK, to live and work.

Tier 2 visa

If you have received a job offer or sponsorship opportunity during your two years in the UK, you can apply for a Tier 2 visa.

If you would prefer to stay in the UK without returning home, there are three visa options which allow you to do this:

  • Ancestry dependant
  • EEA family permit
  • Spouse visa

Ancestry dependent

If you are in a relationship or married to an Ancestry visa holder, you may become a dependent on their visa. This application may be made from within the UK.

When the Ancestry visa holder qualifies for Indefinite Leave to Remain, you will be eligible to apply at the same time.

EEA family permit

For people who are in a relationship or married to an EU citizen, there is the option of becoming a dependent on their visa.

Spouse visa

If you are in a relationship or married to someone who is British or has settled status in the UK, you may apply for a spouse visa. However, this route has certain income threshold requirements: Your spouse must earn at least £18,600 per year in order for you to be eligible to receive this visa.

Have an obligation free discussion about your visa options with a UK immigration expert by giving us a call on UK + 44 (0) 20 7759 7527 or sending an email to immigration@1stcontact.com.

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