Types of visas and how to apply for them (2023)

How the system works

The British government has published a new publicationImmigration rulesoutlines the new points-based immigration system (PBS), which came into operation from 1 December 2020 and applies to all new non-EEA and EEA nationals (except Irish nationals) coming to live and work in Britain.

Check out oursNew PBS summary [Word]for a comprehensive summary of the details.

UpdatedEmployees and temporary workers sponsor managementhas been published and we will continue to update our website in light of further instructions and clarifications from the Ministry of the Interior.

If you have any questions regarding the new sponsor immigration rules/guidelines, please contact the staff compliance team atNew PBS inquiryEmail template.We will try to answer your questions as soon as possible. However, we appreciate your patience as we continue to clarify updated policies and the implementation options available to us.

Imperial is the most international British university and welcomes staff from all backgrounds and from all over the world.

New non-EEA and *EEA nationals (except Irish nationals) who will be offered employment at the College and are expected to enter the UK after 1 January 2021 must apply for and obtain an appropriate work visa under the new immigration system based on on points (PBS). ) to be able to live and work in Great Britain.

*New employees in the EEA starting in 2021 are strongly encouraged to arrive in the UK by 31 December 2020 if possible, subject to current travel restrictions, to qualify forEU based/pre-arranged statusand avoid the need to apply for a visa under the new PBS.

Following a job offer, the Staff Compliance Team will contact new non-EEA and EEA nationals with information on the appropriate work visa route(s) and assist them in this process.

Under the Points Based Immigration System (PBS), individuals must meet the entry requirements of a specific visa category before being allowed to enter or stay in Britain.

For those not currently in the UK, the application and assessment will take place in their country of residence/home country. There are also rules on moving from one UK visa category to another within the country, although there is now more flexibility in this area other than changing visitor routes - which is still not allowed.

Dependents of people who have or are seeking permission to work in the UK can apply for a Dependent, Spouse or Relative visa, or apply forEU settlement scheme, and acquire a status that allows them to work where allowed by the rules of that particular category.

Below you will find information on the types of visas that the Faculty uses most often. ImproveInformation about the different immigration categories in the UK is available atUKVI website.

The most commonly used types of visas

Global Talent Visa (GTV)

Global Talent Visa(GTV)

For individuals internationally recognized as world leaders or potential leading talents in their field.

Applicants do not need to be sponsored by the College, but must apply for approval (Stage 1) from an approved approval bodyforsubmitting a visa application (stage 2).

Please note thatyes, given the significant benefits, the College encourages those who qualify to apply for a GTV instead of a Tier 2/Skilled Worker Route (SWR) visa:

  • Enter the UK without an open jobum, work for an employer or be self-employed
  • Apply for a maximum of 5 years of leave
  • Apply for settlement after 3 years (or 5 years if the Exceptional Promise peer review route is approved by Arts Council England or Tech Nation)
  • You pay a reduced application fee, but you still have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
  • No English language/maintenance requirements

There are four GTV routes, three of which have an accelerated approval process:

Three fast routes are nearbystandardni Global Talent Peer Reviewa path for exceptional promise and exceptional talent demands.

In addition to the UKVI guidelines above, see iRoyal Society Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions.

For further guidance on this route, recruitment and staffing managers can be contactedEmployee Compliance Team.

Level 2 / (Skilled Workers Route (SWR).

Level 2/Skilled Worker Route

For qualified workers with a job offer from a recognized sponsor, who meet specific skills and salary requirements and speak English at the required level. The College can sponsor employees and issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) only if specific requirements and credits are met and proven.

For more information on the new Skilled Workers Pathway, which replaces Tier 2 from 1 December 2020, visit ourNew PBS summary [Word]for a comprehensive overview of the data available so far.

Academic Technology Endorsement Program (ATAS)

From May 21, 2021, depending on the type and level of research activity and the nationality of the researcher, an additional condition may be the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS). Where ATAS is required for a researcher/academic, it is essential that the individual's ATAS certificate is notarized and that the College retains a copy.forcan get a certificate of sponsorship to apply for a Skilled Worker Route visa.

See ATAS information on the Immigration & Compliance websiteshere.

UpdatedEmployees and temporary workers sponsor managementhas been published and we will continue to update our website in light of further instructions and clarifications from the Ministry of the Interior.

Level 4 / (students)

Level 4 / (students)

Student visa holders can work up to a total of 20 hours per week during term time if they are studying at a higher education institution (HEI) at university or higher level, or up to 10 hours per week during their studies. deadline if they are studying at a higher level of education below university.

They are allowed to work full-time during the holiday period, including the time between the end of their studies and the expiry of their student visa.

Note: Those studying at a publicly funded Further Education (FE) college or part-time course may not work at all. This will be reflected in their visa/biometric residence permit.

Level 4 (PhD extension program)

Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme visa holders are allowed to work full-time as their PhD has been completed as the main eligibility criteria for this extension.

For general questions about Tier 4/student visas, please contactInternational Student Support Team.

Level 5 / (temporary workers)

Level 5 / (temporary workers)

There are different categories of temporary workers, but these two are the most important for the Faculty

  • Exchange office authorized by the governmentenabling the Board to receive and sponsor researchers
  • Mobility program for young people, which enabled the College to employ persons aged 18 to 30 from the prescribed countries and British overseas territories.

Visa for graduate studies

The new graduate visa route will be launched on 1 July 2021.

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate students who successfully apply for this visa can stay in Britain for two years and work – or look for work – at any skill level.
  • Doctoral students can stay there for three years.

Imperial College students can apply as follows:

  • Students who started a one-year MSc program via distance learning in 2020 and have not previously traveled to the UK to study that subject must make a successful application for a student visa and arrive in the UK on or before 21 June 2021 to complete their cycles of study. class. Then they can apply for a graduate worker visa.
  • Students who started a one-year Master's program on a student visa in 2020 and have already traveled to the UK on this visa can apply for a graduate worker visa if they are in the UK before the end date of their studies.
  • Final year or PhD students on a Tier 4/college-sponsored student visa can apply for a graduate worker visa once they have obtained their degree, regardless of distance learning completed in the UK or abroad between 24 January 2020 and 27 .September 2021 Please note: Applicants must be in the UK on a Tier 4/Student Route visa to apply.

You can find more information atWebsites to support international students, and the British government has oneFactsheet Graduate Workers Route.

Salary Advance - Fees for UK immigration applications

Download the salary advance for visa costs and the IHS tax form

UK visa application fee

To support our staff and future staff, the College can help pay for the following items:

  • UK visa fees
  • Immigration Health Insurance (IHS) fee costs*
  • Unspecified fee for application for stay (available forcurrent staff only)
  • Citizenship fees (available only as salary advance and for current staff)

*IHS fees are payable by non-EEA nationals and EEA nationals and their dependents applying for leave to enter or remain in the UK. The IHS gives them free access to the NHS. With a few limited exceptions, anyone coming to Britain on a visa of six months or more must register with the IHS and most must pay a fee.

This assistance can be offered in the following ways:

Department fee

Departments may, at their discretion, consider reimbursement of the above expenses for staff and their dependents. Applicants may not appeal the department's discretionary decision. Additional information for departments seeking reimbursement is available atFinancial website.

Salary advance

The Faculty can offer you and your family members an interest-free loan to pay for the mentioned expenses.

The College's preferred method of payment is bank transfer once you are employed. However, if a salary advance is required at the time of payment of the visa fee and/or IHS, this can be arranged.


  1. You must be a non-EEA or EEA national applying for a UK visa and/or liable to pay IHS or be a current non-EEA or EEA national of staff and have UK Idefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) , or Citizenship
  2. You must have received an offer of employment, a conditional offer of employment or an extension of employment from the College or, in the case of applying for ILR or UK citizenship, be a current member of staff at the College
  3. There are no costs associated with a salary advance other than UK visa costs and/or IHS costs.
  4. Please note the following:IHS is collected in advance and corresponds to the number of years of leave requested. If the leave requested is not a full number of years, the IHS rate will be increased to reflect the number of additional months. There is no additional fee for the first additional month, and for more than six additional months, an additional fee for the entire year applies. Please useonline IHS calculatorto calculate your IHS costs.
  5. If you are applying for British citizenship, you can apply for initial fees and then apply for a second application for ceremony fees if your application is successful
  6. The salary advance is refundable throughout the duration of your contract (or if your contract is for an indefinite period during the duration of your visa), or contract renewals if you are already on duty. For ILR and UK citizenship applications, the advance will be claimed over a maximum period of 24 months unless otherwise agreed by the Staff Compliance team, unless your contract is less than 24 months when the refund will be made over the duration of your contract.
  7. If you leave college before paying off the loan, the remaining debt will be deducted from your final salary;
  8. The department, department, school or institute must guarantee the loan.
  9. Please note that if the total amount of student loans (including season ticket loans) exceeds £10,000, there will be tax consequences for you as an individual.

Advance payment procedure

  1. You should email the completed form along with all other relevant information to your immediate supervisor or Head of Department, who will forward it to the Head of Department/Department/School/Institution.
  2. Once approved, the Head of Department/Department/School/Institute must email the form to the Staff Compliance Team to confirm that the request is eligible for the UK visa fee and/or IHS salary advance.
  3. Once the StaffCompliance team has confirmed that the request meets these conditions, they should email the request to the Payroll Office, who will forward a copy to Accounts Payable if applicable so payment can be allocated to your bank account. As soon as the payment is in your bank account, you will be notified by email.


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