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Senior or Specialist Worker visa

If you work for an overseas business which has a UK branch, you may come to the UK to work in an eligible job for up to 5 years. You must already be employed by the business in a specific capacity and the business must have the necessary licence to sponsor you.

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What you can do

  • Work for your employer's UK branch for up to 5 years.

  • Study

  • Bring your dependants

  • Extend your visa

  • Switch to different visa

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What you can't do

  • Receive public funds

  • Work in any role other than that which your sponsor has assigned to you

  • Settle in the UK



Valid Passport

You must have a valid passport to apply.

Existing Employment

You must already be employed by the overseas business as a senior manager or specialist employee.

Current Immigration Status

You cannot switch to the senior or specialist worker visa if you currently hold any of the following visas:

  • Visitor

  • Short-term student

  • Parent of a child student

  • Seasonal worker

  • Domestic worker in a private household

  • Leave outside the Immigration Rules

Senior or Specialist Worker Licence

Your sponsor will need a valid 'Worker' licence with an A-rating in order to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

Certificate of Sponsorship

You must have a valid CoS confirming key details including your job, occupation code, salary, and start date.

Genuine Job

The job you are coming to the UK to undertake must not have been created mainly for you to be able to apply for this visa.

English Language

There is no English language requirement for this route.


Unless you have already been in the UK for 12 months or longer, you will need to show you have at least £1,270 held in your account for the 28 days prior to making the application.


You may require a tuberculosis test depending on which country you are applying from. You could also be required to provide a criminal record certificate. 

The application fee for a senior or specialist worker visa depends on the length of your employment as stated in your Certificate of Sponsorship:

Up to 3 years: £719

Over 3 years:  £1,420

If you are applying from within the UK to extend or switch to this visa, the fee will be:

Up to 3 years: £827

Over 3 years: £1,500

Term & Fees

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You will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £1,035 per year.


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The current processing time for the senior or specialist worker visa is approximately 3 weeks for applications made from outside the UK or 8 weeks for applications from inside the UK. You may be able to get a faster decision by paying for an enhanced service.



If your application for a senior or specialist worker visa is successful, you will receive a new biometric residence permit confirming the length and conditions of your permission to remain in the United Kingdom.

If your application for a senior or specialist worker visa is refused, you will receive a refusal letter outlining the reasons. You may consider applying for an administrative review if you believe an incorrect decision has been made based on a casework error. Alternatively, a fresh application may be more appropriate.

Next Step

Next Steps

If you want to remain in the UK beyond your senior or specialist worker visa, you can apply to extend it with the same employer - you will need a new Certificate of Sponsorship to apply. 

The maximum length of time you can stay on a senior or specialist worker visa depends on your salary. You can stay a maximum of:

  • 5 years in any 6 year period (if you are paid less than £73,900 per year)

  • 9 years in any 10 year period (if you are paid more than £73,900 per year)

Are you interested in making an application?

Use this form to fill in your information and one of our partners will get in touch to discuss your needs.

Thanks for your message.

We will aim to reply to you within 1 working day.

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