This guidance relates to change/convert or switch visitor visa UK to a job or work permit. And also provides the details of switching to a work permit route from inside the UK.

Can a Visitor Convert a UK Tourist Visa to Work Permit?

No. It is not possible to switch visitor visa UK to job, work permit or any other route. However, only a prospective entrepreneur can switch visitor visa UK to an innovator visa after securing fundings. And only in limited circumstances, a tourist or visitor can apply for UK visit visa extension. Nevertheless, a domestic worker such as cleaner, chauffeur, cook, personal carer or nanny can work in the UK on a Domestic Worker Visa whilst accompanying a visiting employer.

Perhaps, it is relevant to mention that switching means changing the visa category in the UK. In fact, there are a number of routes, which allows switching. For instance, a migrant can covert fiance visa to UK spouse visa. However, a person on a UK marriage visa cannot switch to another migration route.

Moreover, in term of paragraph V 8.1 of Appendix V, switching to UK tourist visa from any other migration route is not possible. For instance, a student or worker cannot switch to become a tourist.

It is not possible to switch to become a visitor while in the UK 

Appendix V

Can a Tourist Change or Switch Visitor Visa UK to Student Visa?

No. One cannot change, convert or switch visitor visa UK to student visa. In fact, a visitor can only study a short course- not longer than 30 days. Therefore, a tourist can not switch visitor visa UK to a 6 or 11-months short-term study or PBS Tier-4 student. However, migrants on Tier 2 General, ICT, Minister of Religion and Tier 4 Child can switch to Tier-4 student.

Breaching a Condition of Stay

A visitor cannot do work and business in the UK. Therefore, if a visitor breaches the conditions of stay then Home Office cancels or curtails the leave. And accordingly deports or removes a visitor with a re-entry ban. Therefore, if a visitor is doing a prohibited activity then gets a deportation order. And also gets a 12 months to 10 years re-entry ban. Perhaps, the length of the re-entry ban depends on the severity of breach.

When it is possible to switch to a work permit route?

Perhaps, since 2008, Tier 2 General has gradually replaced the other UK work permit routes. And at present is the major route for doing work/job in the UK. However, after the introduction of Non-PBS Work routes under Appendix W in March 29, 2019, migrants can switch to startup, innovator and global talent routes..

Nevertheless, following types of applicants can switch to Tier 2 General (aka UK work permit visa):

  • PBS Tier 1
  • Tier 2 Sportsperson and Ministers of Religion
  • Migrants on Intra Company Transfer visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010, and the applicant is applying to change the sponsor
  • Tier 4 Student – if the applicant has an eligible qualification or has done at least 12 months of a PhD
  • Startup Visa
  • Innovator Visa

Moreover, an applicant can also switch to work permit route if he/she is:

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

You must leave the UK and make your Tier 2 (General) application from abroad if you’re not in any of these categories.

Home Office