Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Immigration Corner | Can I switch my visa?

Published:Tuesday | September 12, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I have been informed that while I am in England, I will be able to switch to another type of visa within 10 days, if approved. Is this true?

- H.T.

Dear H.T.,

It is not as simple as you have stated. Persons can get a decision on their visa applications within 10 working days if they are applying to extend or switch to a Tier 2 visa using the Tier 2 Priority Service. It is important to note that persons making these applications can only use this service if they are in the United Kingdom.

Persons are able to use the service for the following visas: Tier 2 (general); Tier 2 (minister of religion); Tier 2 (sportsperson); or Tier 2 (inter-company transfer).

It should be noted that before making the application, persons will first need to send a request to use this service. They will need to fill in the 'Request for Inclusion' form and send it to the email address on the form. Please note that only the first 60 requests received each day after 8:30 a.m. (Monday to Friday) are accepted and the applicant will get an email stating whether he/she has been successful.

The email received will have a link to the priority service. The application should be made online for yourself and any dependents within 24 hours of receipt of the email. In addition, persons should send their supporting documents by registered post or courier to the address that the service provides the applicant with. Applicants should send their dependents' documents in the same envelope if they would like them to be considered at the same time. Please note that a decision on the application will be made within 10 working days of the application being received. The authorities have stated that the applicant will be contacted if it will take longer.

The applicants will need to have their fingerprints and photograph, known as 'biometric information', taken at a post office as part of the application and this will cost £19.20. The applicant, and any dependents, must do this within two working days of receiving the biometric notification letter. Applicants will receive the letter after their applications are accepted on to the priority application scheme and they have paid the fee and sent their applications.

The costs for applying personally for inter-company transfer - short term, skills transfer and graduate trainee is £922 and the same amount for each application for a dependent; general, sportsperson, minister of religion, ICT - long term (up to three years) is £1,136 and the same amount for each application for a dependent; general and ICT (over three years) is £1,813 and the same amount for each application for a dependent.

Persons can also apply for a Tier 2 general visa if there is a shortage of workers within a particular occupation. A shortage occupation is a skilled job where there is a shortage of workers in the United Kingdom. The costs for applying personally for this: Tier 2 general visa (up to three years) and Tier 2 general Visa (over three years) are £905 and £1,351, respectively, and the same for each application for a dependent.

Persons will also have to pay the health-care surcharge as part of their application. It is advisable for applicants to check how much they will have to pay before applying.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com