Switch Visitor Visa UK: can I switch a tourist visa to work visa?

One Can't Switch from a Visitor Visa to a Job Visa in the UKThis pertains to switch visitor visa UK to a job or work visa from inside the UK. Accordingly, the post explains the limitations of switching from and to a visitor visa from any other category in the UK. Moreover, provides guidance to switch from eligible routes to PBS Tier 2 work visa from inside the UK.

One can’t switch from a visitor visa to a job visa in the UK

Only a visitor, who has been engaged in permitted activities i.e. a prospective entrepreneur; can switch UK visitor visa to a Tier 1 Entrepreneur. However, otherwise, there is no permission to switch visitor visa UK to a Job, work or any other route from inside the UK. Here it is important to under that Job Visa usually means PBS Tier 2 Work Visa.

Can I switch to visitor visa UK in the UK?

No. In term of paragraph V 8.1 of Appendix V for visitors, it is not possible to switch to the UK visitor visa while a person has an entry clearance or leave to enter or remain for another purpose. Moreover, a person cannot switch to visitor visa UK if he/she is in the UK in breach of the immigration laws.

The meaning of switching

Since the Question pertains to SWITCHING, so it is relevant to mention that switching means to change the visa category in the UK. Moreover, there are a number of routes, which allows switching from inside the UK. For instance, one can switch from a fiance visa to a spouse visa. However, a person on a marriage visa cannot switch to the family route.

Permitted activities in the UK on a visitor visa

Visitors are not allowed to do work and business on a visitor visa apart from the permitted activities allowed under the Immigration Rules and Appendix V for Visitors as Family, Tourist and business visitor. If a visitor breaches these conditions then suitability of visitor is questioned and leave to remain in the UK is quite likely to be cancelled and curtailed. And accordingly, the Home Office either deports or removes a visitor from the UK.

Re-entry ban

If a visitor is caught doing activities not permitted in the Immigration Rules and Appendix V for Visitors then such an individual is subject to re-entry ban ranging from 12 months to 10 years. Certainly, the length of the re-entry ban depends on whether he/she had left the UK voluntarily, removed, deported or used deception.

Extension of a visitor visa

Moreover, only in limited circumstances, an applicant can apply for an extension of UK visitor visa from inside the UK.

Switching to work visa mainly pertains to PBS applications

Furthermore, switching to a work-related route is usually used for the Points Based System (PBS) application. For instance, a Tier 2 worker switching to Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, a student switching from Tier 4 to Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. However, an applicant can do so if he/she is able to meet the corresponding conditions of switching.

Who can switch to a Tier 2 General visa in the UK?

An applicant can apply to ‘switch’ from another visa category to a Tier 2 General visa, which is the major type of job/work visa in the UK. An applicant can stay in the United Kingdom for a maximum of five (5) years after switching to a Tier 2 General. For switching an applicant must already be in the United Kingdom under any one of the following visas categories:

Moreover, an applicant can also switch to a Tier 2 (General) visa if he/she is:

  • a dependent partner/spouse of someone with a Tier 4 Student Visa
  • a representative of an overseas business

Tier 4 students can switch to a work visa

Apparently, for switching to Tier 2 from Tier 4 student, an applicant needs a licensed Tier 4 student sponsor for completing one of the following qualifications as a Tier 4 student in the UK:

  • UK Bachelors/Masters Degree
  • postgraduate certificate
  • professional graduate diploma

PhD students can switch to a work visa

If an applicant completes at least 12 months of study during his/her most recent stay in the UK either through a licensed Tier 4 Student Sponsor or another visa that allows the applicant to study in the UK.

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