PLEASE NOTE: Travel is not possible while an application is being processed
While applicants will retain their travel documents, travel outside the UK and the Common Travel Area (Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) is not possible, as it will result in a pending application being automatically withdrawn
Who can apply for a Tier 5 visa from within the UK?
1.Current Tier 5 visa holders
An individual may apply to extend their Tier 5 visa in the UK for up to a maximum of 2 years if they stay with the same sponsor. 2 years is the maximum time that can be spent on a Tier 5 visa in the UK.
This means a Tier 5 visa holder whose visa was initially valid for one year can apply for for another Tier 5 extension valid for another year. However, a Tier 5 visa holder whose visa was valid for 2 years, and who wishes to continue staying in the UK, must leave the UK and submit a Tier 5 visa application from overseas.
2. Student (Tier 4) visa holders
A student, student nurse, postgraduate doctor/dentist or student union sabbatical officer may apply for a Tier 5 visa from within the UK. They must have completed a UK bachelor’s or postgraduate degree during their last grant of leave in order to do this.
When to apply
The application for Tier 5 visa (permission to stay) in the UK must be submitted before the expiry of their current visa. In order to apply for a Tier 5 permission to stay, a Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) must be requested and issued by the Staff Immigration team.
A Tier 5 visa holder who wishes to extend their Tier 5 visa will need to provide their host department or college with an updated research project plan and updated funding confirmation letter. This will be included in a new Tier 5 CoS request and SIT will issue a new Tier 5 CoS once the necessary requirements have been met.
Once it has been issued, a Tier 5 CoS is valid for 3 months, and an applicant must submit their application during this period. If an applicant does not submit their application during this 3 month period, the CoS will no longer be valid and cannot be used.
Dependants in the UK can apply at the same time, and they can be included in the same application form as the main applicant. If the dependants wish to apply at a different time, or they are outside the UK, they must apply using a different application form, and should only apply once the main applicant has submitted their own application or their application has been granted.
How to apply
Tier 5 permission to stay applications must be made from within the UK, and are submitted online on the UK Government website. Applicants should ensure that they check the Tier 5 visa requirements before applying, and inform their Department or College of any travel plans that may impact their visa application.
Step 1: apply online
The applicant will need to complete an online application form.
For extension applications guidance and a link to the online application can be found on the Home Office Tier 5 ‘Extend your visa’ page.
For switching applications (for example, a Tier 4 student switching to Tier 5), guidance and the online application form can be found on the Home Office Tier 5 ‘Switch to this visa’ page.
Dependants already in the UK can be included on the main applicant’s application. Dependants applying at a different time, or applying to join the main applicant in the UK, must apply separately, and submit an individual application. Guidance and a link to the online application can be found on the Home Office Tier 5 'Family members' page.
The online application forms should be intuitive, and only ask for information relevant to the application being made. The Staff Immigration Team is happy to provide guidance on the completion of the application, and encourages applicants to email a downloaded PDF of the drafted application to be checked before submission. An application cannot be amended once the ‘Declaration’ section has been completed, so a draft PDF should be downloaded once the applicant reaches the ‘Document’ section.
Once they have carefully checked the details and submitted their application, the applicant will need to pay the combined visa application and biometric enrolment fee.
When the visa application, biometric enrolment and immigration health surcharge fees have been paid, two PDF documents are generated: the completed application form and a supporting evidence checklist.
These two PDFs should be sent to the Staff Immigration Team for future reference, and to help the team provide assistance if any issue with the application arises after submission.
Step 2: upload documents and book a biometrics appointment
The applicant should also be automatically directed to set up an account with and book a biometrics appointment at a UK Visas and Citizenship Application Services Centre (UKVCAS). They will also be able to upload scans of their documents to their UKVCAS account. At their appointment, the applicant will enrol their biometrics (photographs and fingerprints), and submit their documents.
There are a number of UKVCAS Centres around the UK:
- 7 Core Service Points which offer free appointments (Belfast, Cardiff, Croydon, Glasgow, Liverpool, Sheffield and Solihull);
- 50+ Enhanced Service Points, which charge an additional fee; and
- 1 Premium Lounge Service Point (London). A full table of costs including additional fees can be found on the cost and payment of applications page.
Applicants and their dependants will all need to attend an appointment, and children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by the responsible adult named in the child's application.
Applicants will be told what they need to take to the appointment when making the booking, which should include:
- Appointment confirmation;
- Passport or travel document; and
- Supporting evidence (even if scanned and uploaded in advance, it is advisable to take these documents to the appointment in case they need to be reviewed or re-scanned).
Additional information can be found on the UKVCAS website.
Applicants and each of their dependents will incur a visa application fee, biometric enrolment fee, immigration health surcharge fee, and any additional fees for Priority or Super Priority services. A full table of costs can be found on the cost and payment of applications page.
Turkish and Macedonian nationals pay a reduced application fee.
A Standard in-country Tier 5 visa application should be decided within 8 weeks of the application being submitted online. It may take longer to receive a decision if the applicant has had a prior visa refusal, or if the Home Office needs to request more information.
Applicants and their dependants can select the following Priority services to accelerate the processing time of the application from the standard 8 weeks. When the application is submitted online, the cost is paid in addition to the visa application fee.
UKVCAS priority services and processing times
Additional cost per applicant
5 working days from biometric appointment
Applicants should attend a biometric appointment within 15 days
Super Priority Service
1 working day from biometric appointment, or
2 working days if the appointment is on the weekend
The Home Office generally does not recommend that applicants with previous visa refusals use the Priority service.
What happens next
An applicant should be notified by email of the outcome of their visa application. Their new Tier 5 Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) should be delivered within 10 working days of the decision.
Guidance in relation to BRPs for in-country applicants can be found on the Home Office website.
The department or college can use the Employer Checking Service to secure the visa holder's right to work while the application is pending. Please contact SIT, or use the Employer Checking Service guidance for more information.
Important points to note
Please note that the Staff Immigration Team cannot guarantee the successful outcome of any permission to stay application, since this decision is made by the Home Office and not by the University.
It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that they provide the correct supporting documents when submitting their visa application. Should the applicant submit their visa application late, or fail to supply the correct supporting documents, their application will be refused, and their Certificate of Sponsorship can no longer be used.
Travel with a pending application
Please note that applicants must not travel outside of the UK until they have received a decision on their application. If an applicant travels outside of the UK or the Common Travel Area (Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) before a decision is made on their application, their application will be treated as automatically withdrawn.
Applicants should therefore allow around 10 weeks from submitting the online application to receive their new Biometric Residence Permit, during which time they must not travel outside of the UK or the Common Travel Area.
Applicants who have urgent travel plans may need to consider the Priority services available.