Senior or Specialist Person

Can I Apply for a UK Senior or Specialist Person Visa?

A Senior or Specialist Worker visa allows you to work at the UK branch of your eligible employer. Your employer must be a Licensed Sponsor in the UK. You must also meet several other requirements to be eligible for this visa category.

The Senior or Specialist Person visa was launched to replace the Tier 2 Long-Term Staff, and Intra-Company Transfer visa types. This particular type of visa is typically meant for professionals working in highly paid positions.

You can stay in the UK for several years on a Senior or Specialist Person visa. However, you can’t seek immigration or permanent residency based on this visa as it is a nonimmigrant visa.

Here at the London-based Adam Bernard’s law office, our immigration lawyers can help you apply for this visa and seek a speedy outcome. We have some of the best immigration solicitors in London who offer detailed, tailored, and experienced guidance on all aspects of your visa application.

Senior or Specialist Person Visa for European Nationals

Applicants from the EU or EEA countries don’t need to apply for this category of visa if they have already been living and working in the UK. This applies only if you or your eligible EEA family members were in the UK before the deadline of December 31, 2020.

Even if you were eligible and living in the UK before this deadline, you must have applied under the EU Settlement Scheme by June 30, 2021.

If you failed to apply and don’t qualify as an exception, you will need to seek a relevant visa. If you are working at the branch of an overseas employer in the UK, you must apply for a Senior or Specialist Person visa.

If you are not sure about the visa application process, our immigration lawyers can help. You can consult an immigration solicitor UK at our law office to understand the process and ensure that your application is free from any errors.

Eligibility Requirements

You must meet several requirements to be eligible for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa. These include the following:

  • Employment with an Approved Sponsor. You must be employed with a sponsor that has been approved by the Home Office.
  • Eligible Occupation. The profession or occupation for which you are seeking the visa must be included in the list of eligible occupations.
  • Certificate of Sponsorship. You must have received a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) from your employer detailing the nature of your job in the UK.
  • Minimum Annual Earnings. You must meet a minimum threshold of employment pay per year. This threshold can be the ‘going’ rate of your position, or £42,400, whichever is higher. If you have been working in the UK on a Tier 2 visa since before April 6, 2011, the £42,400 threshold doesn’t apply. In this case, you must simply be earning pay that is at par with the ‘going rate’ for your position.
  • Minimum Duration of Employment. You must have worked for at least 12 months with your overseas employer if your per-year pay is below £73,900. If your pay is above this figure, there is no minimum requirement for employment duration.

The Home Office concedes exceptions to many of these requirements. You can consult some of the best immigration solicitors in London at our law office to see whether or not you qualify as an exception.

Eligible Occupations for Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

The Home Office has a comprehensive list of occupations that are eligible for a Senior or Specialist Person visa. You can apply for the visa only if your occupation is on the list. If the occupation code of your job is on the list, you are eligible to apply.

The Senior or Specialist Person visa effectively replaces the previously available Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa. The new visa rules cover most of the eligible occupations for the ICT visa but some occupations are no longer eligible.

Specifically, you can no longer apply for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa if your job code is 3411, 3412, 3413, 3414, or 3422. Your job code must be noted on the Certificate of Sponsorship you receive from your employer.

If you choose to change your occupation once you are in the UK, you may need to update your visa or apply for a different one. This depends on your new job. If your new job is eligible as per the list linked above, you can simply apply to have your visa updated. If the job is not on the list, you will have to seek other visa routes.

Our immigration lawyers can help you explore other visa routes. With the help of an immigration solicitor UK at our office, you can also ascertain whether or not your new job is eligible for the same visa.

What is the Certificate of Sponsorship (COS)?

A Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) is provided by your UK employer who must have a valid Sponsor License. Such an employer is legally allowed to act as the sponsor for non-UK individuals to come and work in the country.

You must provide the COS at the time of your visa application. As noted above, the COS must note your job code. It will also have a reference number which you are required to provide on your Global Business Mobility visa application.

The COS itself contains details about the nature of the job you will undertake once you arrived in the UK to work for your sponsor.

If you already have a COS that you received for the ICT visa between February 11, 2022, and April 11, 2022, you may be able to use it to apply for the Senior or Specialist Person visa. However, this is subject to the condition that your stated salary must be £42,400 per year or higher.

If you are not sure whether or not your COS is right for your visa application, you can consult one of the best immigration solicitors in London at our law office.

Financial Requirements

You must meet several requirements to be eligible for this visa category. These requirements include:

  • Meeting the minimum per-year earnings threshold. This is £42,400, or the going rate of your job, whichever is higher.
  • Proving financial means to fund your stay in the UK. You must have a minimum amount of funds to support yourself during your first month in the UK. The minimum fund requirement is £1,270. You must have this amount in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days, all of which must be within the 31 days preceding your visa application.
  • Proving financial means from a sponsor. If you don’t have the financial means to fund your first month in the UK, you must prove that your employer can provide £1,270 for your first month.
  • Meeting financial requirements on another valid visa. If you don’t meet the financial requirements listed above, you may still qualify for the Senior or Specialist Person visa if you have been in the UK on a valid visa for the past 12 months.

Once you meet the occupational, employment, and financial requirements, you are ready to fill out your visa application. However, it is best to consult an experienced immigration solicitor UK to ensure that your application is complete and accurate before you submit it.

Applying for the UK Senior or Specialist Person Visa

You must apply for this category of visa at the official Gov.uk website. The Home Office requires you to submit your application within three months of the issuance of your COS. You will also need to provide relevant documentation along with the application. This may include the following:

  • A valid proof of identity such as a passport or some other travel document
  • Your COS’s copy clearly stating the Sponsor License number and name of your employer
  • Evidence such as bank statements to prove that you meet the financial requirements
  • Evidence that you’ve worked for at least 12 months with your sponsor in case your per-year earnings are below £73,900
  • Documentation proving the title, job code, and per-year pay of your occupation

You may be required to provide other documents such as a TB test result certificate, or an ATAS certificate depending on other factors. Our immigration lawyers can help you complete your documentation before you submit it along with your visa application.

Visa Application Fees and Processing Time

Your Senior or Specialist Person Visa is either valid for up to 3 years, or more than 3 years. If you are seeking a 3-year visa, the application fee is £625 per person. Applicants seeking a visa for more than 3 years must pay a fee of £1,235 per person.

In addition to the application fee, you must also pay an annual healthcare surcharge. This is payable at the time of your visa application. The surcharge is charged annually and is £624 per year.

The Home Office takes around three weeks to decide on your application. You may be able to speed up the process by paying extra fees at certain visa application centres.

If you are already in the UK and want to switch to a Senior or Specialist Person visa, you can do so from within the UK. The application fee in this case is £719 per person for a three-year visa and £1,423 per person for a visa duration of more than three years.

In some cases, an outcome may be delayed due to incomplete documents or a visa interview. We have some of the best immigration solicitors in London who can help you speed up the process by optimizing your application and ensuring that it is complete at the time of submission.

Why Choose Adam Bernard’s Solicitors?

Here at the London-based Adam Bernard’s law office, you can consult an immigration solicitor UK for tailored help, guidance, and advice. Whether you are yet to apply for your visa, have already applied, or have been refused the visa, we can help. Our immigration lawyers will work with you through every stage of your application.

Call us today at 0207-100-0505 to schedule a free consultation with an immigration solicitor UK.

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      0207 100 2525