Switching Rules

Switching Rules

Home Office has always been very clear and unequivocal about their new immigration rules and policies but some times people get confused regarding what effects these new rules / policies will have on their current / future circumstances while residing in the UK. This confusion may cause the people selecting unsuitable options and taking wrong decisions which ultimately affect their rights to stay in the UK.

1. Switching into TIER 1

a) Tier 1 (General)

Nationals of non – EEA countries may apply to switch into Tier 1 (General) without leaving the UK provided they satisfy the specified criteria and have existing leave to remain as:

  • A highly skilled migrant
  • A Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant
  • A Tier 1 (Post – Study) migrant
  • A Tier 1 (Investor) migrant
  • A Tier 2 Migrant
  • A participant in the FT: WISS
  • A participant in the IGS
  • A Business Person
  • An Innovator
  • A student
  • A student nurse
  • A student re-sitting an examination
  • A student writing up a thesis
  • A post graduate doctor or dentist
  • A work permit holder
  • A self employed Lawyer
  • A writer, composer or Artist

Please note that no one else is permitted to switch to Tier 1 (General) while remaining in the UK and has to seek entry clearance from the country of his / her origin.

b) Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

Nationals of non – EEA countries may apply to switch into Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) without leaving the UK provided they satisfy the specified criteria and have existing leave to remain as:

  • A highly skilled migrant
  • A Tier 1 (General) migrant
  • A Tier 1 (Investor) migrant
  • A Tier 1 (Post – Study) migrant
  • A Tier 2 Migrant
  • A Business Person
  • An Innovator
  • A student
  • A student nurse
  • A student re-sitting an examination
  • A student writing up a thesis
  • A work permit holder
  • A post graduate doctor or dentist
  • A self employed Lawyer
  • A writer, composer or Artist
  • An Investor
  • A participant of IGS
  • A participant of FT:WISS

Please note that no one else is permitted to switch to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) while remaining in the UK and has to seek entry clearance from the country of his / her origin.

c) Tier 1 (Investor)

Nationals of non – EEA countries may apply to switch into Tier 1 (Investor) without leaving the UK provided they satisfy the specified criteria and have existing leave to remain as:

  • A highly skilled migrant
  • A Tier 1 (General) migrant
  • A Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant
  • A Tier 1 (Post – Study) migrant
  • A Tier 2 migrant
  • A Business Person
  • An Innovator
  • A student
  • A student nurse
  • A student re-sitting an examination
  • A student writing up a thesis
  • A work permit holder
  • A writer, composer or Artist
  • An Investor

Please note that no one else is permitted to switch to Tier 1 (Investor) while remaining in the UK and has to seek entry clearance from the country of his / her origin.

d) Tier 1 (Post Study Work)

Nationals of non – EEA countries may apply to switch into Tier 1 (Post Study Work) without leaving the UK provided they satisfy the specified criteria and have existing leave to remain as:

  • A student
  • A student nurse
  • A student re-sitting an examination
  • A student writing up a thesis
  • A participant in the IGS / FT:WISS

Please note that no one else is permitted to switch to Tier 1 (PSW) while remaining in the UK and has to seek entry clearance from the country of his / her origin.

2. Switching into Tier 2

a) Tier 2 (General)

Nationals of non – EEA countries may apply to switch into Tier 2 (General) without leaving the UK provided they satisfy the specified criteria and have existing leave to remain as:

  • Tier 1 Migrant (ALL)
  • Tier 2 Migrant (Sportsperson)
  • Tier 2 Migrant (Minister of Religion)
  • Highly Skilled Migrant
  • Innovator
  • Member of Operational Ground Staff of an overseas owned Airline
  • Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order
  • Overseas Qualified Nurse or Midwife
  • Participant in Fresh Talent: WISS
  • Participant in the IGS
  • Person writing up a Thesis
  • Post graduate doctor or dentist
  • Qualifying work permit holder
  • Representative of an overseas newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting organization
  • Student
  • Student nurse
  • Student Re-sitting an examination
  • Student Union Sabbatical Officer

Please note that no one else is permitted to switch to Tier 2 (General) while remaining in the UK and has to seek entry clearance from the country of his / her origin.

b) Tier 2 (Sportsperson)

Nationals of non – EEA countries may apply to switch into Tier 2 (Sportsperson) without leaving the UK provided they satisfy the specified criteria and have existing leave to remain as:

  • Tier 1 Migrant (ALL)
  • Tier 2 Migrant (General)
  • Tier 2 Migrant (Minister of Religion)
  • Highly Skilled Migrant
  • Innovator
  • Member of Operational Ground Staff of an overseas owned Airline
  • Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order
  • Overseas Qualified Nurse or Midwife
  • Participant in Fresh Talent: WISS
  • Participant in the IGS
  • Person writing up a Thesis
  • Post graduate doctor or dentist
  • Qualifying work permit holder
  • Representative of an overseas newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting organization
  • Student
  • Student nurse
  • Student Re-sitting an examination
  • Student Union Sabbatical Officer

Please note that no one else is permitted to switch to Tier 2 (Sportsperson) while remaining in the UK and has to seek entry clearance from the country of his / her origin.

c) Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)

Nationals of non – EEA countries may apply to switch into Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) without leaving the UK provided they satisfy the specified criteria and have existing leave to remain as:

  • Tier 1 Migrant (ALL)
  • Tier 2 Migrant (Sportsperson)
  • Tier 2 Migrant (General)
  • Highly Skilled Migrant
  • Innovator
  • Member of Operational Ground Staff of an overseas owned Airline
  • Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order
  • Overseas Qualified Nurse or Midwife
  • Participant in Fresh Talent: WISS
  • Participant in the IGS
  • Person writing up a Thesis
  • Post graduate doctor or dentist
  • Qualifying work permit holder
  • Representative of an overseas newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting organization
  • Student
  • Student nurse
  • Student Re-sitting an examination
  • Student Union Sabbatical Officer

Please note that no one else is permitted to switch to Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) while remaining in the UK and has to seek entry clearance from the country of his / her origin.

d) Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer)

Nationals of non – EEA countries may apply to switch into Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) without leaving the UK provided they satisfy the specified criteria and have existing leave to remain as:

Only those work permit holders who got entry clearance as an Intra company transferee

Please note that no one else is permitted to switch to Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) while remaining in the UK and has to seek entry clearance from the country of his / her origin.

3. Switching Into Tier 5

a) Tier 5 (Youth Mobility)

No one is permitted to switch to Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) while remaining in the UK. All the prospective applicants can only make such application at the British Diplomatic post in the country of their origin or where they have been legally residing for more than 6 months and the British Diplomatic post is allowed to accept such applications.

b) Tier 5 (Creative & Sporting) Temporary Workers

Only a sports or entertainer visitor is entitled to apply to switch into the Tier 5 (Temporary worker) Creative and Sporting subcategory, provided they have a valid certificate of sponsorship issued to them before entering the UK. No one else is permitted to switch to this category while remaining in the UK.

c) Tier 5 (Religious Workers) Temporary Workers

No one is permitted to switch to Tier 5 (Religious Workers) while remaining in the UK. All the prospective applicants can only make such application at the British Diplomatic post in the country of their origin.

d) Tier 5 (Charity Workers) Temporary Workers

No one is permitted to switch to Tier 5 (Charity workers) while remaining in the UK. All the prospective applicants can only make such application at the British Diplomatic post in the country of their origin

e) Tier 5 (Govt. Authorized Exchange) Temporary Workers

No one is permitted to switch to Tier 5 (Govt. Authorized Exchange) while remaining in the UK. All the prospective applicants can only make such application at the British Diplomatic post in the country of their origin

f) Tier 5 (International Agreements) Temporary Workers

No one is permitted to switch to Tier 5 (International Agreements) while remaining in the UK. All the prospective applicants can only make such application at the British Diplomatic post in the country of their origin

Please note that switching into or out of Tier 5 (Temporary worker) or between subcategories of Tier 5 (Temporary worker) is not permitted.

4. Switching Into Student

Nationals of non – EEA countries may apply to switch into a student visa without leaving the UK provided they satisfy the specified criteria and have existing leave to remain as:

  • Prospective Student
  • Student Re-sitting an examination
  • Work permit holder
  • Tier 1 (Post Study Worker)
  • Participant in the IGS
  • Participant in the FT:WISS

Please note that NO one else is permitted to switch to a student category while remaining in the UK, that includes the dependants of the above mentioned.

5. Switching into Spouse Visa

a) Spouse of a person present & Settled in the UK

Any person (above 21 years of age) who has initially been given entry clearance or leave to remain in any capacity, for more than 6 months is able to switch to a spouse of a person present and settled in the UK (provided he is already married). If the marriage has not taken place yet, the immigrant must have got valid leave to remain for more than 3 months (having already been given leave to remain / entry clearance for more than 6 months) to seek permission to get married and then make an application to become a dependant of his / her settled spouse. The only exception to this rule is a person having a fiance visa, who can switch to a spouse visa after getting married in the UK.

Please note that the visitors (although they might have visa valid for more than 6 months) are given leave to enter / remain in the UK for only 6 months and they cannot therefore switch into spouse visa while remaining in the UK.

b) Spouse of a person having limited leave to remain in the UK (Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 5 or some other leave allowing dependants to join the migrant)

Spouses of persons having limited leave to remain in some other category are not allowed switching to become a dependant on their spouses having limited leaves to remain in the UK. They are required to seek entry clearance to enter and join their spouses.

However they can get married in the UK and for that both the parties to the marriage require permission from the Home office and have to apply for certificates of approval. They must have been given entry clearance / leave to remain for more than 6 months and should still have more than 3 months` valid leave. Although the marriage can take place in the UK, but if the applicant is not able to switch, he / she has to seek entry clearance from the British Diplomatic post in the country of his / her origin.

c) Spouse (Family member) of an EEA national exercising his / her treaty rights in the UK

The switching rules regarding family members of EEA nationals exercising their treaty rights in the UK are more flexible as compared to family members of British citizens or of persons present and settled in the UK. In the light of the recent rulings of the appellate courts, there is no restriction on the non-EEA national of having any sort of leave to remain or entry clearance, to make such an application. People having visitors visas or even having no visa at all, can make an application to the Home office to obtain family member residence stamp or residence card in line with the fact that they are married to an EEA national who is exercising his / her treaty rights in the UK.

However, great care is required to make such applications and it is strongly advised to seek professional assistance to do that.

6. Switching into Unmarried Partner Visa

a) Unmarried Partner of a person present & Settled in the UK

Any person (above 21 years of age) who has resided for at least 2 years with a person present and settled in the UK in a relationship akin to marriage may apply for leave to remain in the UK as an unmarried partner. It is however necessary for that person to have a valid leave to remain in the UK throughout that time, if the relationship developed in the UK. There are some other requisites of this application that must be fulfilled before one can make a successful application.

In this case, the applicants on a visitor visa, are also allowed to switch to unmarried partner visa provided they have lived together with a person present and settled in the UK for at least 2 years before coming to the UK.

b) Unmarried Partners of a person having limited leave to remain in the UK (Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 5 or some other leave allowing Unmarried Partners to join the migrant)

Unmarried partners of persons having limited leave to remain in some other category are not allowed switching to become a dependant on their partners having limited leaves to remain in the UK. They are required to seek entry clearance to enter and join their partners.

c) Unmarried Partners of an EEA national exercising his / her treaty rights in the UK

Any person who has resided together (for minimum 2 years) with an EEA national exercising his / her treaty rights in the UK, in a relationship akin to marriage may apply for Family member residence stamp or residence card as an unmarried partner. The applicant should also have a valid leave to remain but an application can still be made even if the applicant does not have a valid visa, depending on the circumstances of individuals. It is however, strongly advised to seek professional help in making such application.

What Services we can offer?

Switching (Moving) to another immigration category may be very straight forward and may also become very complex depending on the individual`s circumsntances and the sponsor`s immigration status. It is strongly advised to seek professional advice and services, if you are not sure of any thing.

  • We can advise on the procedure of making applications on behalf of our clients to switch to the desired immigration category.
  • We can assess the applicant `s circumstances, the sponsor`s details and advise on the likelihood of getting the application approved.
  • We can advise the applicants on the evidences required for the switching and permanent settlement applications.
  • We can lodge an appeal in cases of refusal of application and represent our clients at the AIT.

Whatever the case, we are here to help, assist, advise and represent our clients in relation to any aspect of the immigration matters.

Last news

Inflation in the UK is almost two times higher than the government forecasts
Jun 03, 2020
British cruise company P & O Cruises ships crew salaries tied to the quality of customer service
Jun 03, 2020
Burst of activity in the UK property market was a temporary phenomenon
Jun 03, 2020
School holidays in the UK may be delayed
Jun 03, 2020
The Falkland Islands remain British
Jun 03, 2020