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:

Fred and Robin: Relocating to the UK

Fred and Robin wanted to relocate from the USA to the UK. They were unsure of their options so they contacted IAS to seek guidance. Fred is a UK National… Read More

Joe: Student Visa

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Asis: EEA Free Movement

Asis, a Spanish national, was offered employment in the UK but was unsure whether or not he would be able to bring his wife and children with him when he… Read More

Ben finds employment whilst visiting the UK

Ben is a Brazilian national. While he was visiting the UK for business, he was offered a placement with a UK company.
He needed help as soon as possible and… Read More

Hector: Tier 2 Work Visa with Dependant

Hector, a Mexican National, was offered employment in the UK. He contacted IAS and spoke with one of our lawyers via Skype. Hector was told that he could not stay… Read More

Frederick: Fiance Visa

Frederick was a Nigerian National who was in the UK on a Visitor’s Visa staying with his Fiancée.
He wanted to apply for a Fiancée Visa but did not understand how… Read More

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