If you are looking to move to the UK from the US for work or to study you will need to apply for a UK visa using the UK Visa Points System, known as the five-tier points-based system.

The Home Office uses a visa tier system for various types of Work or Study Visa options. Tier 1 is for high-value migrants, Tier 2 for skilled workers, Tier 4 students and Tier 5 for temporary skilled workers. Tier 3 is for temporary unskilled workers but is currently suspended.

For more information on each points-based assessment, as well as category-specific information under Tiers 1, 2, 4 and 5. See High-Value Migrant Tier 1 Visas, Skilled Worker Tier 2 Visas, Student and Tier 4 Visas and Temporary Worker Tier 5 Visas. Tier 3 of the UK visa system is currently suspended.

Please see below for more information on the categories that make up the five-tier points-based UK visa system.


What are the requirements for the Tier 1 Visa?

The Tier 1 visa is for Entrepreneurs, Investors, Highly Skilled and Exceptionally Talented workers. These applicants can apply to enter the UK without a job offer but still must pass a points-based assessment. For more on the four Tier 1 categories:

  • Exceptional Talent
  • Entrepreneur
  • Investor
  • Graduate Entrepreneur

What are the requirements for the Tier 2 Visa?

Tier 2 of the UK visa system allows skilled workers to enter the country to work with a job offer from a licensed UK sponsor. The sponsor will have to provide them with a Certificate of Sponsorship and they will also have to pass a points-based assessment. The four categories of skilled worker are:

  • General Skilled Workers
  • Sportspeople
  • Ministers of Religion
  • Intra Company Transfer Staff (ICT)

What are the requirements for the Tier 3 Visa?

Tier 3 is currently suspended. The employment of low-skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) is not permitted.

What are the requirements for the Tier 4 Visa?

The Tier 4 Visa allows child students between four and 17 years old, as well as adult students over 18 as a child or student visitor. There are four categories of Student Visa:

  • Tier 4 (Child)
  • Tier 4 (General)
  • Child Visitors
  • Student Visitors

What are the requirements for the Tier 5 Visa?

Under Tier 5, temporary skilled workers can apply to enter the UK for short periods of time, usually sponsored by a UK employer. There are five categories of temporary worker, as well as the Youth Mobility Scheme (note, this is not an employment route):

  • Creative and Sporting
  • Charity Workers
  • Religious Workers
  • Government Authorized Exchange
  • International Agreement
  • Youth Mobility

If you currently have to leave to stay in the UK, you can switch to or from your category inside the UK. Although, this will require a fresh assessment under the five-tier points-based system.

What services does IAS offer?

The expert lawyers at IAS can advise you on the right visa for you and ensure your application is completed to a professional standard.

We understand that the points-based system can be difficult to navigate. Our services are tailored to your specific situation and take into account all your circumstances.

Our services include:

  • Consulting in person, over the phone or via Skype at a suitable time for you
  • Determining your eligibility for a visa under the UK visa system
  • Ensuring you have correct and organized documents
  • Producing a Letter of Representation. This describes your application, references your documents and cites relevant UK case law to support your case
  • Communicating with the Home Office for the duration of your application
  • Completing all your application forms to a professional standard

Using our services will give you the best chance of getting a successful result on your application. Contact us on +1844 290 6312 today or use our online contact form to get in touch with your personal immigration lawyer.

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Case studies

We are very proud that we have changed so many of our client’s lives for the better. Here are a few of their stories:

Linda: Visitor Visa for Fiance

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She wanted to become a British… Read More

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