How to Immigrate to the United Kingdom

 

With its rich history and thriving economy the UK offers a wealth of opportunities for those looking to immigrate to the United Kingdom start a new life. However, the process of immigrating to the United Kingdom can be daunting and full of complex visa options and eligibility requirements to navigate. That’s why we’ve created this article on how to successfully immigrate to the United Kingdom. In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step process for navigating the United Kingdom immigration system including details on visa options, eligibility requirements, processing times and costs.

 

Understanding the United Kingdom Points Based System (PBS) and Calculating Points

 

The United Kingdom Points Based System (PBS) was introduced in 2008 as a way of regulating immigration to the UK. The system was designed to make it easier for the UK government to control those looking to immigrate to the United Kingdom by setting clear criteria for entry and making it easier to assess whether individuals meet those criteria. The PBS assigns points to prospective migrants based on various criteria such as qualifications, work experience, age, language proficiency and maintenance funds.

 

The UK Points Based System is divided into tiers, each with its own requirements and criteria. The system is mainly used to regulate the entry of skilled workers, students and investors into the UK, although it also covers other categories of migrants such as family members and refugees.

 

Breakdown of the points in the UK Points Based System (PBS) to Immigrate to the United Kingdom

 

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa

 

This visa category is for individuals who want to come to the United Kingdom to start a new business or take over an existing business. The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa is designed for individuals who want to invest in the UK by starting or taking over a business. To be eligible, you must have access to at least £200,000 of investment funds and score 95 points in the UK Points Based System (PBS). You can also apply if you have received funding from a UK government department or a venture capital firm. The processing time for this visa is up to three months, and the cost is £1,238 if you apply from outside the UK. After five years of continuous residence you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British citizenship.

 

The following points are required for this visa:

 

  • Access to £50,000 or £200,000 in investment funds (25 or 75 points)
  • English language proficiency (10 points)
  • Maintenance funds (10 points)

 

For example, if a person has access to £200,000 in investment funds, has a score of 7.0 on the IELTS exam (which is equivalent to C1 proficiency), and has £3,310 in maintenance funds, they would score a total of 95 points and be eligible for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa.

 

Total: 50 or 90 points

 

Immigrate to the United Kingdom with the Tier 1 (Investor) Visa

 

The Tier 1 (Investor) Visa is designed for individuals who want to invest at least £2 million in the UK. To be eligible, you must score 75 points in the UK PBS. You don’t need to meet the English language requirement or have a job offer to apply for this visa. The processing time for this visa is up to three weeks, and the cost is £1,623 if you apply from outside the UK. After five years of continuous residence, you can apply for ILR and British citizenship.

 

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa

 

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa is designed for individuals who are recognized as leaders in their field of expertise, including science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology and arts and culture. To be eligible you must be endorsed by a UK recognized body and score 70 points in the UK PBS. The processing time for this visa is up to three weeks, and the cost is £1,277 if you apply from outside the UK. After three years of continuous residence you can apply for ILR and British citizenship. This means that the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa is a good option if your aim is to eventually immigrate to the United Kingdom.

 

The following points are required for this visa:

 

  • Endorsement by a recognized body (75 points)
  • English language proficiency (10 points)
  • Maintenance funds (10 points)

 

For example, if a person has been endorsed as a leading researcher in their field by a recognized body, has a score of 7.5 on the IELTS exam (which is equivalent to C1 proficiency) and has £3,310 in maintenance funds then they would score a total of 95 points and be eligible for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa.

 

Total: 95 points

 

Tier 2 (General) Visa

 

This visa category is for skilled workers who have been offered a job in the UK by a UK employer. The processing time for this visa is up to three weeks, and the cost is £1,277 if you apply from outside the UK. After five years of continuous residence, you can apply for ILR and British citizenship. This means that the Tier 2 (General) Visa is a good option if your aim is to eventually immigrate to the United Kingdom.

 

The following points are required for this visa:

 

  • Certificate of Sponsorship (20 points)
  • Appropriate salary (20 points)
  • English language proficiency (10 points)
  • Maintenance funds (10 points)
  • Job at an appropriate skill level (20 points)
  • Shortage occupation (20 points)

 

For example, if a person has been offered a job in the UK by a UK employer, has a salary of £35,000 per year (which is above the minimum threshold for this visa), has a score of 7.0 on the IELTS exam (which is equivalent to C1 proficiency), has £945 in maintenance funds, and the job is at an appropriate skill level, they would score a total of 90 points (20 points for the certificate of sponsorship, 20 points for the appropriate salary, 10 points for English language proficiency, 10 points for maintenance funds, and 20 points for the job at an appropriate skill level) and be eligible for a Tier 2 (General) Visa.

 

 

Total: 95 points

 

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Visa

 

The Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Visa is designed for employees of multinational companies who are transferring to a UK branch of the same company. To be eligible you must score 60 points in the UK PBS, including a job offer from a UK employer with a valid sponsorship license. The processing time for this visa is up to three weeks, and the cost is £1,277 if you apply from outside the UK. This visa is not eligible for ILR or British citizenship. This means that the Tier 2 (intra-company transfer) Visa is not good option if your aim is to eventually immigrate to the United Kingdom.

Any Uk company brining in Employees will be expected to provide suitable professional worker accommodation for their employees.

 

Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa

 

The Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa is designed for elite athletes and coaches who want to work in the UK. To be eligible you must score 70 points in the UK PBS, including a job offer from a UK employer with a valid sponsorship license. The processing time for this visa is up to three weeks and the cost is £1,277 if you apply from outside the UK. After five years of continuous residence, you can apply for ILR and British citizenship.

 

Tier 4 (Student) Visa

 

This visa category is for students who want to come to the UK to study at a UK educational institution. The processing time for this visa is up to three weeks, and the cost is £348 if you apply from outside the UK. This visa is not eligible for ILR or British citizenship. There are student visa pathways that allow an applicant to immigrate to the United Kingdom although this involves converting from a student visa to a Post Graduate work visa.

 

The following points are required for this visa:

 

  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a UK educational institution (30 points)
  • English language proficiency (10 points)
  • Maintenance funds (10 points)

 

For example, if a person has been accepted to study at a UK educational institution and has a score of 6.0 on the IELTS exam (which is equivalent to B2 proficiency), and has £9,135 in maintenance funds, they would score a total of 50 points and be eligible for a Tier 4 (Student) Visa.

 

Total: 50 points

 

Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Visa

 

This visa category is for young people from certain countries who want to come to the UK to work and travel. The processing time for this visa depends on the category, and the cost ranges from £244 to £430 if you apply from outside the UK. This visa is not eligible for ILR or British citizenship.

 

The following points are required for this visa:

 

  • Age between 18 and 30 (10 points)
  • Nationality from a participating country (10 points)
  • Maintenance funds (10 points)

 

For example, if a person is a citizen of Australia (which is a participating country in the Youth Mobility Scheme), is 25 years old, and has £1,890 in maintenance funds, they would score a total of 50 points and be eligible for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Visa.

 

Total: 30 points

 

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the points available for each element of the PBS

 

Attributes points to immigrate to the United Kingdom

 

This element includes points for specific attributes such as qualifications, work experience, age, and language proficiency. The number of points available varies depending on the visa category.

 

  • Qualifications: Up to 35 points can be awarded for qualifications. For example, a bachelor’s degree is worth 30 points, a master’s degree is worth 35 points and a PhD is worth 35 points.

 

  • Work experience: Up to 20 points can be awarded for work experience. For example, 5 points are awarded for 1 year of relevant work experience and 20 points are awarded for 5 or more years of relevant work experience.

 

  • Age: Up to 20 points can be awarded for age. For example, 10 points are awarded for being between 18 and 30 years old, and 5 points are awarded for being between 31 and 35 years old.

 

  • English language proficiency: Up to 10 points can be awarded for English language proficiency. For example a score of 6.0 on the IELTS exam (which is equivalent to B2 proficiency) is worth 10 points, while a score of 5.5 is worth 6 points.

 

  • Maintenance funds: Up to 10 points can be awarded for maintenance funds. The amount required varies depending on the visa category and the applicant’s circumstances. For example, a Tier 4 (Student) Visa requires £9,135 in maintenance funds, while a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa requires £3,310 in maintenance funds.

 

Sponsorship points to immigrate to the United Kingdom

 

This element includes points for having a sponsor who is willing to support the applicant’s application.

 

  • Certificate of Sponsorship: Up to 30 points can be awarded for a certificate of sponsorship. This applies to Tier 2 (General) Visa and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Visa categories.

 

  • Endorsement: Up to 75 points can be awarded for endorsement. This applies to Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa category.

 

Shortage occupations PBS points to Immigrate to the United Kingdom

 

This element includes points for working in a job that is on the UK shortage occupation list.

 

  • Up to 20 points can be awarded for this element (Tier 2 only)

 

Salary

 

This element includes points for earning a certain salary.

 

  • Up to 20 points can be awarded for this element.

 

Case study of someone calculating their points for a Tier 2 (General) Visa

 

Jane is a 28-year-old software developer from the United States who has been offered a job in the UK by a UK employer. She has a bachelor’s degree in computer science, 3 years of relevant work experience, and a score of 7.0 on the IELTS exam. She also has £2,500 in maintenance funds. Jane would like to immigrate to the United Kingdom eventually.

 

  • Qualifications: Jane is awarded 30 points for her bachelor’s degree.

 

  • Work experience: Jane is awarded 10 points for her 3 years of relevant work experience.

 

  • Age: Jane is awarded 10 points for being between 18 and 30 years old.

 

  • English language proficiency: Jane is awarded 10 points for her score of 7.0 on the IELTS exam.

 

  • Maintenance funds: Jane is awarded 0 points for not having enough maintenance funds.

 

  • Certificate of Sponsorship: Jane is awarded 20 points for having a certificate of sponsorship from her UK employer.

 

  • Job at an appropriate skill level: Jane is awarded 20 points for her job being at an appropriate skill level.

 

  • Shortage occupation: Jane is awarded 0 points as her job is not on the UK shortage occupation list.

 

  • Salary: Jane is awarded 0 points as her salary is not high enough to meet the requirements for this element.

 

In total Jane has been awarded 90 points (30 for qualifications, 10 for work experience, 10 for age, 10 for English language proficiency, 20 for the certificate of sponsorship, and 20 for the job at an appropriate skill level). While Jane has met the points requirements for several elements, she did not meet the maintenance funds or salary requirements. As a result, she would not be eligible for a Tier 2 (General) Visa at this time.

 

Free Visa Assessment to Immigrate to the United Kingdom

 

The UK Points Based System is a complex system that assigns points to various elements such as qualifications, work experience, and language proficiency, among others. Depending on the visa category, applicants need to meet specific points requirements for each element in order to Immigrate to the United Kingdom. It is important for applicants to carefully assess their circumstances and calculate their points to determine their eligibility for a UK visa.

UK Family Visa

 

Family visas in the UK allow foreigners to join their family members who are either British citizens or settled in the UK. There are different types of family visas available depending on the relationship between the applicant and their family member in the UK. The main family visa categories are

 

Spouse or Partner Visa

 

This visa is for spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners and same-sex partners of British citizens or those who are settled in the UK. To be eligible the applicant and their partner must intend to live together permanently in the UK. The requirements for this visa include:

 

  • The applicant and their partner must be over the age of 18.

 

  • The relationship between the applicant and their partner must be genuine and subsisting.

 

  • The applicant and their partner must meet the financial requirement, which is currently set at £18,600 per year. This requirement can be met through income from employment, self-employment, savings, or other sources of income.

 

  • The applicant must also meet the English language requirement, which involves passing an approved English language test or having an academic qualification taught in English.

 

The cost of a Spouse or Partner Visa is £1,523, and the processing time is typically 2 to 3 months.

 

Parent of a British Citizen or Settled Person Visa

 

This visa is for parents of British citizens or those who are settled in the UK. To be eligible, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are the biological, adoptive or step-parent of a British citizen or settled person. The requirements for this visa include:

 

  • The applicant must be over the age of 18.

 

  • The applicant and their child must have a genuine and subsisting relationship.

 

  • The applicant must meet the financial requirement, which is currently set at £18,600 per year. This requirement can be met through income from employment, self-employment, savings, or other sources of income.

 

  • The applicant must also meet the English language requirement, which involves passing an approved English language test or having an academic qualification taught in English.

 

The cost of a Parent of a British Citizen or Settled Person Visa is £1,523, and the processing time is typically 2 to 3 months.

 

Child Visa to Immigrate to the United Kingdom

 

This visa is for children of British citizens or those who are settled in the UK. To be eligible, the child must be under the age of 18 and not be leading an independent life. The requirements for this visa include:

 

  • The child must have a parent who is a British citizen or settled in the UK.

 

  • The child must not be leading an independent life and must be financially dependent on their parent.

 

  • The child must meet the English language requirement, which involves passing an approved English language test or having an academic qualification taught in English.

 

The cost of a Child Visa is £1,523, and the processing time is typically 2 to 3 months.

 

Pros and Cons of UK Family Visas

 

Pros

 

  • The visa allows non-EEA nationals to join their family members in the UK, which can be a significant advantage for those who have close family ties in the UK.

 

  • The visa can provide a pathway to settlement in the UK, which can be beneficial for those who wish to live in the UK long-term.

 

  • The visa allows applicants to work and study in the UK, which can provide new opportunities and experiences.

 

Cons

 

  • The financial requirement for family-based visas can be high, and it may be challenging for some applicants to meet this requirement.

 

  • The English language requirement

 

  • The application process can be complex and time-consuming, requiring a significant amount of documentation and evidence to be provided.

 

  • The cost of the visas and associated fees can be expensive.

 

 

UK Fiance Visa – Immigrate to the United Kingdom

 

The UK fiance prospective marriage visa allows foreigners who are engaged or planning to marry a British citizen or settled person in the UK to enter the country in order to marry and settle in the UK. This visa falls under the family-based visa category.

 

UK Fiance Visa Requirements

 

  • They must be engaged to be married to a British citizen or settled person in the UK and intend to marry within six months of arriving in the UK.

 

  • They must meet the financial requirement, which is currently £18,600 per year (with additional requirements if there are dependent children).

 

  • They must meet the English language requirement.

 

  • They must meet the suitability requirements, which includes not having a criminal record or posing a threat to national security or public safety.

 

UK Fiance Visa Application process

 

The application process for a UK prospective marriage visa involves submitting an online application form and providing supporting documentation, including evidence of the relationship, financial means and English language proficiency. The applicant must also attend an interview at a UK visa application centre.

 

Cost and timeframe

 

The cost of a UK prospective marriage visa is currently £1,523, with additional fees for services such as priority processing or biometric enrolment. The processing time for a standard application is 2-3 months.

 

 

  • The UK fiance/prospective marriage visa allows the applicant to enter the UK and get married to their British citizen or settled partner, with the option to apply for settlement afterwards.

 

  • The visa allows for flexibility in terms of the length of stay, with the option to extend the visa or apply for settlement after getting married.

 

  • The financial requirement can be challenging for some applicants to meet, particularly if they have dependents or are self-employed.

 

  • The application process can be complex and time-consuming, requiring a significant amount of documentation and evidence to be provided.

 

  • There is no guarantee that the applicant will be granted settlement after getting married, and the rules and requirements for settlement may change in the future.

Adult Dependent Relative Visa to Immigrate to the United Kingdom

 

The Adult Dependent Relative visa is for adult dependents of British citizens or settled persons in the UK. To be eligible for this visa, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

 

  • They must be 18 years or older

 

  • They must be a parent, grandparent, sibling, son or daughter of a British citizen or settled person in the UK

 

  • They must require long-term personal care and assistance to perform everyday tasks due to a medical condition

 

  • The care they require is not available or affordable in their home country.

 

Application process for Adult Dependent Relative visa

 

The application process for an Adult Dependent Relative visa involves submitting an online application form and providing supporting documentation, including medical reports and evidence of the relationship. The applicant may also be required to attend an interview at a UK visa application center.

 

Cost and time frame

 

The cost of an Adult Dependent Relative visa is currently £3,250, with additional fees for services such as priority processing or bio-metric enrollment. The processing time for a standard application is 6 months.

 

Extended Family Member Visa

 

The Extended Family Member visa is for individuals who are members of the household of a British citizen or settled person in the UK but do not qualify as a partner or dependent child. To be eligible for this visa the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • They must be a non-EEA national and not eligible for another type of visa

 

  • They must be a relative of a British citizen or settled person in the UK, such as an aunt, uncle, or cousin

 

  • They must have lived with the British citizen or settled person for at least two years prior to the application

 

  • They must be able to demonstrate that they are dependent on the British citizen or settled person in the UK

 

Application process for Extended Family Member visa

 

The application process for an Extended Family Member visa involves submitting an online application form and providing supporting documentation, including evidence of the relationship and dependency. The applicant may also be required to attend an interview at a UK visa application center.

 

Cost and time frame for Extended Family Member visa

 

The cost of an Extended Family Member visa is currently £1,523, with additional fees for services such as priority processing or biometric enrollment. The processing time for a standard application is 3 months.

 

Family Member of a Refugee or Person with Humanitarian Protection Visa

 

The Family Member of a Refugee or Person with Humanitarian Protection visa is for individuals who are family members of a person who has been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK. To be eligible for this visa, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

 

  • They must be a non-EEA national and not eligible for another type of visa

 

  • They must be a family member of a person who has been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK, such as a spouse, civil partner, or child

 

  • They must have been part of the family unit of the person who has been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection before they fled their country of origin.

 

Application process for Family Member of a Refugee or Person with Humanitarian Protection Visa to Immigrate to the United Kingdom

 

The application process for a Family Member of a Refugee or Person with Humanitarian Protection visa involves submitting an online application form and providing supporting documentation, including evidence of the relationship and the family member’s status as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection.

Free Visa Assessment to Immigrate to the United Kingdom

 

The UK Points Based System allocates points to different factors such as qualifications, work experience, and language skills, among others. Meeting specific point requirements for each element is essential for applicants to be eligible for a visa, depending on the visa category. Hence, it is crucial for applicants to evaluate their situation thoroughly and calculate their points accurately to determine their eligibility for a UK visa. Take a Free Visa Assessment to evaluate your eligibility.

Subject Matter Expert at Migration Made Simple | Website | + posts

Jacqueline Chow is an international immigration and visa expert with over 15 years of experience in the field. With a background in law and a passion for helping people, Jacqueline has built a reputation as a trusted and reliable source of information and advice on all aspects of immigration and visas. She has worked with clients from all over the world, including high-net-worth individuals, professionals, skilled workers and families. As a sought-after speaker and commentator Jacqueline has been featured in various media outlets and has given talks on immigration and visas at conferences and events around the world.