How to Apply for a UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa?

How to Apply for a UK Senior or Specialist Worker Visa – Are you considering working in the UK for a position as a senior manager or specialist? The process might seem daunting, but applying for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa is more straightforward than you think. This visa is your ticket to working in the UK temporarily, and here’s how you can apply.

The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa falls under the UK’s point-based immigration system, a replacement for the older Intra-company Transfer (ICT) visa. To be eligible, you need to meet certain criteria: be above 18, work for a Home Office-approved sponsor, have a connection to a UK-linked business, and possess a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your employer. This CoS is crucial, as it contains job details and the reference number necessary for your application.

In this article, you’ll find a complete guide on how to apply for the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa. From eligibility criteria to required documents and the application process, we’ve got you covered. So, if you’re ready to take the next step towards working in the UK, make sure to read the entire blog article to ensure you have all the information you need.

Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Eligibility Criteria

To apply for the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, you must meet specific requirements:

  • You should be above 18 years old.
  • Your employer needs approval from the Home Office as a sponsor.
  • You must have a direct association with a UK-based business linked to your sponsor.
  • Unless you earn more than £73,900, you should have worked for the connected business outside the UK for a year.
  • You must possess a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your employer.
  • Your job should be listed as an eligible occupation.
  • You need to earn at least the minimum income for your role.
  • Your UK sponsor must cover the Immigration Skills Charge.
  • You must demonstrate financial self-sufficiency and not rely on public funds.

To Get Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

These criteria ensure that individuals who qualify for the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa are well-integrated into their employer’s organization, have the required skills, and won’t be a burden on public resources. Meeting these prerequisites lays the foundation for a successful application process.

Getting a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a crucial part of getting the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa. Your employer will give you this special electronic document that talks about your job in the UK. Remember, you need the reference number from this CoS when you apply.

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Think of the CoS as your proof that your employer supports your visa application. It shows your link to the UK company and your job details. That reference number is super important because you have to use it to finish your application correctly.

There’s a cool exception: If you earn more than £42,400 per year and your CoS was given between February 11, 2022, and April 11, 2022, there’s a shortcut. You can use an Intra-company Transfer CoS to apply for a Specialist Worker visa without getting a new one. This makes things easier if your earnings match during that time.

Required Documents

As you plan to apply for the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, you’ll need to gather some important documents to support your application:

1. CoS Reference Number: This is a unique number from your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) that your employer provides.
2. Valid Passport or ID: A current and valid travel document or identification.
3. Job Details: Your job title and how much you earn each year.
4. Occupation Code: A code that represents your job type.
5. Employer Details: The name and license number of your UK sponsor.
6. Financial Proof: Evidence showing that there is enough money to support yourself (and your family, if applicable).
7. Dependent Proof: If you’re bringing family, documents to show your relationship.
8. Tuberculosis (TB) Certificate: If you’re from a country on the TB testing list.
9. Extra Documents: In some cases, you might need more papers. For example, proof of working outside the UK or an ATAS certificate for specific jobs.

When you put together these documents, your application is complete and ready for review. Remember, having accurate and organized documents helps make your visa process smoother.

Application Process

The application process for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa involves a few clear steps:

  1. Fill Out the Form: Start by completing the online application form. You’ll need the reference number from your CoS.
  2. Upload Documents: Scan or take clear photos of the documents needed, like your passport, job details, and others. Upload them in PDF, PNG, JPG, or JPEG format.
  3. Pay Online: Pay the application fee and healthcare surcharge online. The fee is £625 if staying up to three years or £1,235 if staying more than three years. The healthcare surcharge is £624 per year.
  4. Book Appointment: Schedule a visit to a visa application center. Here, they’ll take your photo and fingerprints (called biometrics).
  5. Attend Appointment: Show up at the center for your appointment. They’ll confirm your identity and take your biometrics.
  6. Extra Documents (If Needed): Depending on your situation, you might need more documents. If so, submit them either online or during your appointment.
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By following these steps, you’re on track to apply for your visa successfully. Remember, keeping things organized and accurate is key to a smooth process.

Processing Time

Most visa applications require patience; the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa application is no different. Here is what you can expect when you apply:

  1. Applications Outside the UK: If you’re applying from outside the UK, it typically takes about three weeks for you to get an answer. During this time, the authorities review your application thoroughly.
  2. Applications Inside the UK: If you’re already inside the UK and applying, the processing time is a bit longer. You should be prepared to wait for about eight weeks for your application decision.

Keep in mind that these time frames are approximate and might vary based on factors like the volume of applications or any specific circumstances. While waiting might be a bit nerve-wracking, staying patient is crucial. Once you get that approval, you’ll be one step closer to your UK work adventure!

Conditions and Restrictions

When you hold a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, there are certain things you’re allowed to do and others you’re not. Let’s break it down:

Permitted Activities: With this visa, you’re free to work in the job mentioned in your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Studying is also an option, and you can even volunteer your time. Plus, you’re welcome to bring your dependents along and travel between the UK and other countries.

Prohibited Activities: While there’s a lot you can do, there are a few no-gos. You can’t apply for public funds or the state pension. Changing your job might be possible, but there are conditions to meet. Also, you can’t apply for indefinite leave to remain until your visa conditions are met. And finally, having a second job, unless it’s in the same occupation code as your main job or on the Skilled Worker shortage occupation list, isn’t allowed.

It’s important to stick to these rules to ensure your visa remains valid. Abiding by the conditions and avoiding the prohibited activities will help you make the most of your time in the UK under the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa.

Extending the Visa

Extending your stay under the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa involves meeting specific conditions:

  1. Job and Occupation Code: You need to maintain the same job and occupation code you had when you initially received the visa.
  2. Same Employer: Your employer should remain unchanged – the one who issued your current Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
  3. Maximum Total Stay: Ensure that your total stay duration hasn’t exceeded the allowed limit.
  4. Intra-company Transfer or Tier 2 (ICT) Visa: To extend, you should already hold either an Intra-company Transfer or a Tier 2 (ICT) visa within the UK.
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When it comes to extending, the application process follows these steps:

  1. Apply Online: Use the Home Office website to submit your extension application. Keep your CoS reference number handy.
  2. Biometrics Appointment: Set up an appointment at a UKVCAS service point to provide your fingerprints and photo. Remember to carry your passport and essential documents.
  3. Additional Documents: If requested, submit any additional documents either during your appointment or through the online platform.

Meeting these conditions and following the application process ensures a smooth extension for your Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, allowing you to continue your journey in the UK.

Duration of the Visa

Once you secure a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa, you’re set to work and explore the UK. The visa’s validity aligns with the period stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) with a bonus addition of either 14 days or five years – whichever is shorter.

Now, let’s dive into the maximum stay duration based on income levels:

  1. If your yearly earnings are less than £73,900, you can stay in the UK for up to five years within any six-year period.
  2. If your annual income exceeds £73,900, your stay allowance extends to a commendable nine years within any ten-year timeframe.

Keep in mind that any time spent under specific visas, such as Intra-company Graduate Trainee, Intra-company Transfer, or any of the five Global Business Mobility visas, factors into your maximum total stay calculation.

Family Members’ Visa

Bringing your family along when you work in the UK under the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa can be a wonderful experience. Here’s who can join you:

  1. Spouse: If you’re married or have a civil partnership, your spouse can accompany you to the UK.
  2. Children Under 18: Your children under 18 can also come with you. This includes children who were born during your stay in the UK.
  3. Dependent Child Over 18: Even if your child is over 18, they can join you in the UK as long as they are currently in the country as your dependent.

Keep in mind that each family member will require their own visa and must meet the relevant criteria.


In conclusion, applying for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa offers an exciting opportunity to work and contribute in the UK. Remember, meeting eligibility criteria, gathering required documents, and following the application steps are vital for a successful application. Whether you’re pursuing a new job, furthering your skills, or experiencing life in the UK with family, this visa pathway can open doors to a fulfilling experience.

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