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Tier 2 workers - guidance for individuals

What is the Certificate of Sponsorship process?

Once you have secured a formal offer of employment from the University the HR Services Team will contact you to guide you through the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) process.

A Certificate of Sponsorship is not a paper document, but a number allocated to the University by the UK Home Office where certain criteria are met. In turn, HR Services will allocate the CoS number to you, and you will need the number before you apply for a visa to come to or stay in the UK.

The fact that a CoS has been assigned does not guarantee that you will succeed in getting permission to enter or stay. You must meet certain requirements for the relevant tier and category, and apply for permission to enter or stay.

How long is my CoS valid?

A CoS for a Tier 2 visa is valid for three months from the date of issue. After three months the certificate will lapse and you can no longer use this to support your visa application.

What am I allowed to do as a Tier 2 worker?

Information on what you can and can’t do as a Tier 2 worker is available on the UKVI website.

How do I apply for a Tier 2 visa?

You will need to apply after we have given you a CoS number. We would strongly advise you to read the full UKVI policy guidance carefully and check the application requirements in your country of residence before applying.

Applications are submitted online in all countries except North Korea. Application guidance is found here

How long will it take to obtain a Tier 2 visa?

You must not apply for a visa any sooner than three months before the start date given on your Certificate of Sponsorship. In addition, you will not be permitted to enter the UK any sooner than 14 days before the start date on your Certificate of Sponsorship.

The length of time taken to process visa applications can vary considerably from country to country. You should get a decision on your visa application within 3 weeks.

How long can I stay in the UK on my Tier 2 visa?

You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (General) visa for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.

You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 5 years, as long as your total stay is not more than 6 years.

Who will pay the costs of sponsoring me as a Tier 2 worker?

  • The University will pay for your Certificate of Sponsorship. We will certify maintenance for you and your dependents.
  • You must pay for your Visa but will be reimbursed by the University for the standard visa cost after you have commenced employment. 
  • You must pay all NHS Health surcharges required during the visa application process, and for any of your dependents’ visas and health surcharges. However the University will offer you an interest-free loan to repay these costs. Details can be found here.

What if my visa application is refused?

If you submit your visa application late, or fail to supply the correct documentation, your application will be refused and the Certificate of Sponsorship will be rendered invalid.

The University will need to review the circumstances and decide whether to request another Certificate of Sponsorship from the UKVI’s next available monthly limit.

Should the UKVI approve the request, HR Services will issue a new Certificate of Sponsorship to you, and you will then need to submit a fresh visa application. Further details on visa refusals and the right to appeal can be found on the UKVI website.

I have been sponsored before and left the UK; can I be sponsored again?

If you are currently out of the UK and you were previously sponsored within the UK that ended on or after 6th April 2012, you will be subject to the 12 month ‘cooling off’ period i.e. you must wait for a period of 12 months from the date you left the UK. The cooling off period does not apply if you were only in the UK as a Tier 2 worker during the last 12 months for a short period(s) with a CoS which was assigned for 3 months or fewer.

I have my Tier 2 visa and am about to commence employment for the University, what do I need to do?

  • You must attend HR Services in person prior to, or on, your first day with either a Biometric Resident Permit or your passport and 30 day passport vignette.
  • Read the Tier 2 New Starter information leaflet.