Complete Guide to IELTS UK for Visa

The UK Home Office’s list of Secure English Language Tests (also known as SELT tests) specifies the English language qualification(s) required for each category of visa application to the UK. 

This list includes IELTS and IELTS Life Skills.

Student Visa Tier 4:

The institution’s English language requirement must be met by applicants for a Tier 4 Student Visa who wish to pursue a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree at a Tier 4 Sponsor university. IELTS scores are accepted by all British colleges and universities. Unless the institution has additional requirements, applicants for Tier 4 Student Visas may apply to the UK universities listed here with an IELTS score from any of the more than 1,600 IELTS test centers worldwide.

UKVI requirements for healthcare professionals have changed:

The requirements for language testing for healthcare professionals who need visas to live and work in the UK have been modified by the UK government. Please get advice from the relevant professional body if you need to take a language test to work as a doctor, dentist, nurse, or midwife in the UK.

Visa descriptionMinimum CEFR
level required
SkillsIELTS test and minimum score
required overall and in each skill1

Tier 1 (General) visaC1Reading, Writing, Speaking and ListeningIELTS for UKVI – 7.0 overall, and in each of the four skills 
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visaB1Reading, Writing Speaking and ListeningIELTS for UKVI – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visaB1 Reading, Writing Speaking and ListeningIELTS for UKVI – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visaB1Reading, Writing Speaking and ListeningIELTS for UKVI – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 2 (General) visa – in most casesB1Reading, Writing Speaking and ListeningIELTS for UKVI – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visaA1Reading, Writing Speaking and ListeningIELTS Life Skills at A1 – Pass
IELTS for UKVI2 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visaB2Reading, Writing Speaking and ListeningIELTS for UKVI – 5.5 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 4 (General) student visa – below degree level and pre-sessional coursesB1Reading, Writing Speaking and ListeningIELTS for UKVI – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 4 (General) student visa – degree level and aboveB2Reading, Writing Speaking and ListeningIELTS/IELTS for UKVI5.5overall, and in each of the four skills
Family route
• Spouse/partner
• Parent of a dependant
A1Speaking and ListeningIELTS Life Skills at A1 – Pass
IELTS for UKVI– 4.0 in Speaking and Listening
Family route (extension)
• Spouse/partner
• Parent of a dependant
A2Speaking and ListeningIELTS Life Skills at A2 – Pass
IELTS for UKVI– 4.0 in Speaking and Listening
Indefinite leave to remain (to settle) or citizenshipB1Speaking and ListeningIELTS Life Skills at B1 – Pass
IELTS for UKVI– 4.0 in Speaking and Listening


  1. Academic and general training versions are both acceptable. Each skill’s CEFR requirement must be met.
  2. Where the IELTS Life Skills Test is required, IELTS for UKVI can be used. Speaking and listening scores of 4.0 or higher are required (scores for reading and writing will be ignored).
  3. When a Secure English Language Test (SELT) is not required, universities on UKVI’s Tier 4 sponsor list decide which exams to accept. Students should ensure that the institution to which they are applying is included on this list and that there are no additional requirements.

How to Get a Spouse Visa in the UK as a Non-EU National

A spouse visa, which is also known as a UK marriage visa, enables married partners of UK citizens to immigrate to the United Kingdom because they are married to someone who is ‘settled in the UK.’ This refers to a person who is ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom and does not have any immigration restrictions on how long they can stay in the United Kingdom.

After the visa has been approved, you will be able to pursue either employment or education in the United Kingdom.

To be eligible for a spouse or marriage visa for the United Kingdom, you will need to satisfy all of the following requirements:

• Both you and your partner must be at least 18 years old to proceed.
• Because of the prevalence of arranged marriages, the two of you are required to have already met and to be legally married.
• You need to have the intention of staying together forever.
• You are not allowed to receive financial assistance from the government unless you have sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependents.
• To be able to sponsor you, your sponsoring partner’s annual income needs to be greater than £18,600, or they need to have sufficient savings.
• If they are also sponsoring children who are financially dependent on them, there is a higher minimum financial requirement.
• You must have suitable accommodation for you, your spouse and any dependents.
• You are required to demonstrate sufficient proficiency in the English language.

How long does a spouse visa last?

When a petition for a spouse visa is submitted from outside the country, the visa will initially be valid for 33 months.

When an application for a spouse visa is made from within the United Kingdom, the visa is valid for a period of thirty months.

Can I extend my spouse visa?

You have the option to apply for an extension that will allow you to stay in the UK for an additional 30 months, bringing the total amount of time you can spend there on this visa to a maximum of five years.

You are now eligible to submit an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), provided that you are still married, continue to reside in the United Kingdom with your spouse, and continue to fulfill the requirements for maintenance.

If you have been granted ILR, you may be able to submit an application to become a naturalized citizen of the United Kingdom.

Spouse visa entry clearance

Before you travel to the United Kingdom, you are required to apply for entry clearance if you intend to enter the country on the basis of your relationship with a citizen of the United Kingdom.

If you are applying from within the United Kingdom, you are required to have permission to remain in the country in the form of a visa that is valid for at least six months at the time you submit your application.

If you are already in the United Kingdom and your initial admission was for a period of less than six months — for instance, if you were initially admitted entry as a visitor or prospective student — you will not be able to switch to a visa that allows you to marry in the United Kingdom.

The Quick Guide to UK Skilled Worker Visa | How To Get One

Introduction: What is a UK Skilled Worker Visa and Who Can Apply?

The UK Skilled Worker Visa is a visa that allows people to come to the UK and work in skilled occupations. It is also known as Tier 2 visas. They are available to both skilled workers who are already living in the UK, and skilled workers who are outside of the country.

How to Apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa

The UK skilled worker visa is a two-step process. The first step involves the applicant applying for a points based system which will determine their eligibility for the visa.

The second step involves the applicant applying for an actual visa to enter and reside in the UK.

The Application Process

1) Apply for Points-Based System Visa

2) Apply for Entry Visa

3) Enter and Reside in the UK

4) Extend Your Stay in the UK

Different Types of UK Skilled Worker

Visas and their Requirements

The UK is a popular destination for skilled workers. It has a variety of visa options for different types of skilled workers.

Tier 1 visas are available to those who want to come and live in the UK permanently. Tier 2 visas are available to those who want to work in the UK temporarily, usually for up to 5 years. There are two types of Tier 2 visas: Tier 2 General and Tier 2 Intra-company Graduate Trainee Visa.

Tier 2 General: This visa is open to all skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland that meet the criteria set out by the Home Office.

Tier 2 Intra-company Graduate Trainee Visa: This visa is open only to graduates from outside the EEA or Switzerland who have been offered a graduate trainee programme with a licensed sponsor company in the UK, and has been endorsed by their university as an eligible course of study

How Long Does it Take To Get A UK Skilled Worker Visa?

A skilled worker visa is a type of work visa that allows people to live and work in the UK. In order to get a skilled worker visa, you will need to meet certain requirements and prove that you have the skills and experience needed for a particular job.

There are many different types of skilled worker visas, including Tier 2 visas for highly-skilled workers and Tier 5 visas for temporary workers.

The time it takes to process your application depends on the type of visa you apply for.

Tier 1 visas can take up to 12 months, while Tier 2 visas can take up about three months.

How Is Indefinite Leave to Remain Different from Permanent Residence?

Indefinite leave to remain is a form of immigration status, which allows the person to stay in the UK indefinitely. It is also known as ILR, and it is different from permanent residence.

The main difference between ILR and permanent residence is that ILR gives permission to stay in the UK while permanent residence provides more rights. Permanent residents are entitled to live, work or study in any country within the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA). They can also apply for British citizenship after five years of living in the UK with permanent residency.

However, people with indefinite leave to remain can only live and work in the UK. Moreover, they must renew their ILR every five years.

The Indefinite Leave to Remain is a document that grants a person the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely.

The ILR is granted by the Home Office, which will issue it if you have been living in the UK for five years and you have not broken any of the conditions of your visa or immigration status. The ILR can be issued at any time after your five years are up, but it must be issued before you reach ten years of living in the UK.

What are the Benefits of Indefinite Leave to Remain?

The benefits of indefinite leave to remain are that the person is able to live and work in the UK without any restrictions. They can also be eligible for public funds and services, such as housing or education.

Indefinite Leave to Remain is a status that gives an individual permission to stay in the UK indefinitely. It is usually granted after five years of continuous residence in the country.

Conclusion: The Lowdown on ILR Vs Permanent Residence

Indefinite Leave To Remain ( also called ILTR) is a UK immigration status that allows non-EEA nationals to live and work in the UK. ILTR can be granted if the applicant has been living in the UK for 5 years on ILTR, has been granted a ‘Certificate of Eligibility’, and has not spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in any one year.

Permanent Residence (PR) is a UK immigration status that allows non-EEA nationals to live and work in the UK indefinitely. PR can be granted if the applicant has been living in the UK for 5 years on PR, has been granted a ‘Certificate of Eligibility’, and has not spent more than 180 days outside of the UK in any one year.

The main difference between ILTR and PR is that ILTR only grants permission to stay for five years whereas PR grants indefinite permission to stay.

Global Talent Visa Consultant

Global Talent Visa UK Consultant

Global Talent Visa Consultant

The UK Global Talent Visa remains one of the most complicated and difficult visa routes across the
UK’s infamously arduous immigration rules. Although an exciting option in its bid to attract the best and brightest from diverse fields like research, academia, fashion, architecture, film and TV, arts and culture, digital technology, science, medicine and engineering, applicants must showcase their talents in order to be awarded the visa.

The good news with the Global Talent Visa is that it comes with many advantages. Benefits include a
fast-track ticket to permanent settlement in the UK, the ability to easily bring dependents and scope
to work in numerous jobs – or none at all – as part and parcel of the route being ‘unsponsored’.
However, the difficulty lies with the fact that applicants need either an endorsement from a
registered body in the UK, or an award from a very specific list.

In this blog post, (Global Talent Visa Consultant) we’ll be exploring your options for a Global Talent Visa – and how you might need a consultant to maximise your chances of success.

What is the Global Talent Visa?

The Global Talent Visa replaced the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa in early 2020 as the Government
wanted to attract the world’s ‘best and brightest’ and felt the Exceptional Talent route was
incredibly restrictive in achieving this aim. Indeed, unlike the Exceptional Talent route, the Global Talent Visa is uncapped and encourages as many people as possible to come to the UK to boost the country’s economy and talent pool.

Yet many of the key elements of the Exceptional Talent route remain in the Global Talent Visa.
Namely that applicants must prove that they are either a ‘recognised leader’ (exceptional talent) in
their chosen field, or an ‘emerging leader’ (exceptional promise).

To prove their status as a leader or emerging leader, the applicant needs to be endorsed by a leading
body in the UK and/or have won an internationally recognised award.

How to receive endorsement

The application process is divided into two stages: the endorsement stage and the visa application

Your immigration consultant will advise you to seek endorsement first. You may wish to apply for
the visa at the same time, but any complications that arise with your endorsement – or delays –
could jeopardise the outcome of your visa application.

To seek an endorsement, you have to apply to one of the following endorsing bodies:
 The Royal Society (science and medicine)
 The Royal Academy of Engineering
 The British Academy (humanities)
 Tech Nation (digital technology)
 Arts Council England (arts and culture as well as fashion, architecture, film and television)

 UK Research and Innovation (for research)

Each endorsing body will have its own application rules that is catered to your chosen field.
However, you will need to prove to the body that you have either exceptional talent or exceptional
promise by submitting a portfolio of evidence. Essentially, you must show that you can meet the talent threshold in order to be endorsed.

What other options are there aside from endorsement?

You can benefit from bypassing the endorsement rules if you are fortunate enough to have won an
award. Some prestigious prize-winning individuals only need to prove their award status to satisfy the
endorsement aspect. However, you must have won a relatively high award, like a Brit award, to do so.
Have a look at our blog on Global Talent Visa benefits which details more specifically the kind of
awards you would be expected to hold to be eligible to bypass the endorsement stage.

Global Talent Visa UK consultant

Because this route is complex and lengthy to participate in, it’s highly recommended that aspiring
applicants seek a consultant to assist with the paperwork.

A consultant can guide you every step of the way, giving expert advice and even helping you to meet
the high standards and expectations of the application process.

Our immigration consultants can also help you to check your eligibility and compile a portfolio of
supporting evidence in your endorsement application. We can vouch on your behalf and help you to
maximise your chances of success and mitigate against a visa refusal.

Don’t forget, after receiving an endorsement you will also then need to apply for the visa itself – and
it is no guarantee that just because you have been endorsed that your visa will be approved, too.

That’s why our corporate lawyers here at 1 Absolute Advisor are OISC-certified and trained to help
with complex visa and application routes such as the Global Talent Visa. We can help you with both
the endorsement stage and the visa application, offering advice, guidance and an expert pair of eyes
to ensure you don’t miss anything crucial in the application process.

If you need expert immigration advice with your Global Talent Visa UK application, contact our
professional team of immigration lawyers today on 0207 993 6762. We can offer advice no matter
where you are in the world, whether in person, over the phone or via video call.

Global Talent Visa Benefit

Global Talent Visa Benefit

The Global Talent Visa is a specific migration route for exceptionally talented individuals in specific
fields. This includes academia or research, arts and culture or digital technology.

The route was designed to replace the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa in February 2020 in a bid to
continue attracting the ‘best and brightest’ candidates from across the world and liberate some
aspects of the application process.

Still, applicants are required to have won an eligible reward OR have received endorsement from
one of six registered bodies by the UK Government and the application process can be considered
one of the most difficult processes to endure.

However, recipients of the Global Talent Visa can reap multiple benefits that many other visa
applicants are unable to gain.

In this blog on Global Talent Visa Benefit we’ll explore each benefit of the visa – and give advice as to how you can apply.

Unsponsored freedom
A major pulling factor for the Global Talent Visa is that it is an unsponsored immigration route. By
contrast, most other visas require a sponsor, whether that is your married partner for a Spouse Visa
or your employer for a Work Visa.

What this means is that successful applicants of the Global Talent route can exercise complete
freedom over where they work. Like British citizens, applicants can change roles, employers, seek
self-employment, set up a company and/or earn money through property or other assets without
needing to inform the Home Office.

Five years allowance and fast track to settlement

Many UK visas are capped for three years. After which, applicants are required to either extend,
renew or seek an alternative visa in order to remain in the country.
However, Global Talent Visa holders are offered a generous five years to live and work in the

After accumulating five years of residency, visa applicants can then switch onto the permanent
immigration status, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). After 12 months of ILR, you can then seek full
British Citizenship.

Yet for Global Talent Visa holders, you can switch onto ILR status after just three years.

Flexible visa length

If you don’t want to remain in the UK for five years, you can instead alter the visa length to suit you.
This works both ways: you can renew the Global Talent Visa multiple times, or reduce the amount of
time you want to remain in the UK.

Absences from the UK waived

Most other visa applicants are required to meet ‘continuous residency’ criteria when they come to
apply for ILR status. This means that they cannot spend huge chunks of time outside of the UK, and
must abide by absence rules in order to be eligible. For instance, some visa applicants are limited to spend no more than 180 days outside of the UK in a 12-month period.

However, Global Talent Visa applicants do not need to worry about their absences from the UK.
Since it is assumed Global Talent holders will be conducting field work and that travel may be a
necessary part of the job, the Home Office waives this requirement.

In fact, any time spent outside of the UK while doing research can actually be counted towards your

Bring dependents with you. This is one of the main Global Talent Visa Benefit

In addition, Global Talent Visa holders are able to bring their loved ones with them to the UK.
However, this is restricted to immediate family members, such as your partner and children, and you
will still need to pay the visa fee of £608 per each dependent.

Lower visa fees

The admin fees for a Global Talent Visa are also much cheaper than the average UK visa.
For instance, while some Work Visa applicants can expend to spend within the region of £1,220 to
£1,408, the Global Talent Visa costs only £608. However, you will still need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge which costs £624 per year, per person.

Demonstrate leadership on a global scale

If you’re already an established academic or researcher, the Global Talent Visa is one way to stamp
your mark on the world while in the UK. It allows you to travel in and out of the country as needed for research and work purposes.

How to apply for a Global Talent Visa

The first thing you need to do when seeking a Global Talent Visa is to weigh up if you’re legitimately

As mentioned, this route comes with numerous benefits, but has a notorious reputation of being
difficult to achieve.

That’s because you need to have either:

  • Won an eligible award
  • Successfully received an endorsement that proves you are a leader/potential leader in your
    Only once you have an award or endorsement are you able to apply for the visa itself.

How to seek an endorsement

In order to prove that you are a leader or up-and-coming leader in your field of work, you need to
receive an endorsement from an eligible body to support your claim.
For academia and research, you must have a background in either science, medicine, engineering or
humanities and have either:

  • An eligible job offer as an academic or researcher
  • An individual fellowship
  • A research grant approved by UK Research and Innovation
  • An eligible award
  • Your application peer reviewed
    It can take anywhere between 2 to 5 weeks to receive a decision on your endorsement, depending
    on whether your application needs to be peer reviewed.
    For arts and culture, you must be a leader or potential leader in either combined arts, dance,
    literature, music, theatre or visual arts. The endorsement falls on the shoulders of Arts Council
    England to decide, but you must have worked regularly in your field for at least five years and be
    producing or performing work that Arts Council England deems ‘outstanding’.
    Likewise for architecture, you must receive endorsement from the Royal Institute of British
    Architects (RIBA) which acts on behalf of Arts Council England. In addition to being deemed
    ‘outstanding’, you will also need to prove that your work is well known in at least two countries.
    For fashion design, the same as the above criteria applies, but your endorsement will come from
    The British Fashion Council. Your work must have been sold or exhibited internationally and your
    portfolio must be recognised by leading figures within the fashion sector.
    And finally, for film and television, you must have demonstrable work experience in film,
    television, animation, post production or visual effects. Your endorsement will come from The
    Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) and you must provide 3 letters of
    recommendations, up to 10 pieces of evidence that showcase your talent and skills and evidence of industry recognition such as an award.

What is an eligible award for the Global Talent Visa?

There is a long list of eligible awards available under each category, which can be viewed on the
Government’s guidance page.

However, to name just a few, you could have won an award in:

  • Architecture (such as the Pritzker Price or Royal Gold Medal)
  • Arts and culture (such as the Brit Awards, Hugo Boss Prize, International Booker Prize,
    International Dublin Literary Award, any Olivier Award, Queen Elisabeth Competition first
    prizes and Tony Award, among many others)
  • Digital technology (such as the ACM Prize in Computing or the Turing Award)
  • Fashion design (such as the Fashion Award – Accessories Designer, or Designer of the Year)
  • Film and television (such as the Academy Awards, BAFTA, Golden Globes or Grammy Award)
  • Science, engineering, humanities and medicine (such as the Albert Lasker Basic Medical
    Research Award, Balzan Prize, Blue Planet Prize, Centenary Prize, Davis Medal, Faraday
    Medal, Fields Medal, International Award/Medial, Isaac Newton Medal and Award, L’Oreal-
    UNESCO Award for Women in Science, Nine Dots Prize, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Economic
    Science, Literature, Physics or Medicine, and many more)
    If you possess a prize or medal from the Government’s list, you can also bypass the endorsement
    aspect and go directly to apply for the visa.

How can your immigration lawyers help?

Since the Global Talent Visa is such a laborious, lengthy and difficult visa to apply for, it is highly
recommended that you seek immigration advice from a licensed professional.

You don’t want to run the risk of making any errors or mistakes in your application as this could
jeopardise your chances of success. And there is lots of room for error in this process as you will
need endorsement. You will also need to provide specific documentation that is unique to you and
your circumstances.

Fortunately, our corporate immigration lawyers are on hand to help you with every step of the
application. All of our solicitors are OISC-certified and trained, meaning you can rest assured that
your application is in the best qualified hands possible.

If you found this post on Global Talent Visa Benefit helpful and you need assistance with the Global Talent Visa application, call our immigration lawyers today on 0207 993 6762.

UK Expansion Worker Route

UK Expansion Worker Route

UK Expansion Worker Route

On 15 March 2022, the UK Home Office issued a new statement of changes to the immigration rules.
This has significantly altered the way in which overseas companies are able to set up a new branch in
the UK – and how skilled workers are able to migrate to the country for work purposes. Part and parcel of the Government’s “Plan for Growth” package includes new Global Business Mobility routes, in which the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa has been subsequently changed to the UK Expansion Worker Visa, amongst others. What this means is that the Sole Rep Visa will close to new entrants as of 11 April 2022 and prospective workers have a wide range of options to undertake employment in the UK under the shiny new Global Business Mobility Appendix.

However, the route does share some similarities to that of the Sole Representative route – and the
criteria can be difficult to satisfy as applicants need to score 60 points to be eligible.

Do you need immigration advice? Our immigration lawyers here in London are on hand to help you
with any Work Visa or business mobility route you require. Call us today on 0207 993 6762 to find
out more.

What is the UK Expansion Worker Route?

The UK Expansion Worker Route is part of a larger package in the new immigration rules belonging
to the Global Business Mobility category.

The Global Business Mobility package includes the following routes:

 Senior or Specialist Worker
 Graduate Trainee
 Service Supplier
 Secondment Worker
 High Potential
 UK Expansion Worker

What are the requirements of Expansion Worker UK Visas?

Although the UK Expansion Worker route is a brand new option introduced into the immigration
rules, it does share some similarities with the now-expired Representative of the Overseas Business

One of these similarities is that applicants must be migrating to the UK for business purposes –
which includes sending a senior manager to set up and trade in a new UK branch with a view to
expand the businesses’ presence overseas.

The rules stipulate that the overseas company must not already have a trading presence in the UK.

As a general rule of thumb, applicants must:

  • Have worked for the company for at least 12 months (or earn a high salary)
  • Be a senior manager or specialist employee
  • Earn a minimum salary of £42,000
  • Receive a Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed employer
  • Demonstrate they have the relevant skills, qualifications and experience for the job
    The applicant will need to accumulate 60 points based on their sponsorship, skill level and salary.
    However, there are also some major alterations in the rules – notably the loss of settlement rights
    for staff who set up shop in the UK and the requirement for Sponsorship.

How to score 60 points for the UK Expansion Worker Visa

Most work visa routes to the UK hinge on the applicants’ ability to score eligibility points.
For the Expansion Worker Visa, prospective employees must accumulate 60 points based on the

  1. Sponsorship (20 points): Gained with a Certificate of Sponsorship from a recognised sponsor.
    The employee must already be working for the sponsored party and have worked outside of
    the UK already for at least 12 months. The only exception to this rule is if the employee is
    classed as a ‘high earner’, or is a Japanese national seeking to set up a UK branch under the
    UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
  2. Skill level (20 points): Can be gained by demonstrating the skills, qualifications and
    experience necessary to succeed in the job.
  3. Salary (20 points): The applicant must be offered a salary that matches the accepted
    occupation code. At a minimum, this must be £42,400.

The salary requirement

The individual tasked with setting up a presence in the UK must have already worked for the
company for a period of at least 12 months OR be earning a high salary in the region of £73,900.
To be eligible for this visa, applicants must be paid an appropriate salary in accordance with the
relevant job code in the UK, which can be higher if you plan on establishing the branch in London.
However, the minimum salary to be eligible for the route is £42,000.

Two-year leave only

Unlike the Sole Rep Visa, applicants are only permitted to work in the UK for two years.
What this means is that UK Expansion Worker applicants are not eligible for settlement in the UK
such as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

This is certainly something to consider as businesses may need to transfer and make staff
arrangements every two years.

However, it is still a great opportunity for managers with an entrepreneurial spirit and who wish to
relocate to Britain for a short yet reasonable amount of time. And, should they like their position in
the UK, managers can always seek to extend their leave for up to five years.

But even so, it still will not result in the option to settle in the UK permanently.

Requirement for sponsorship

The immigration rules for the Expansion Worker Visa stipulate that applicants require proof of
sponsorship. What this means is that UK employers are required to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship – and in order to do so, obtain a Sponsorship Licence from the UK Government.

This normally applies to UK-based companies, so it remains unclear as to how an overseas business
which has no presence in the UK would be able to apply for a Sponsor Licence. However, the Home
Office will issue guidance on this shortly, and it may be that overseas businesses are able to apply for
a Sponsor Licence if there are plans in place to expand in the UK.

Flexibility on shareholding

While the Representative of an Overseas Business Visa dictated that employees who have more than
50% shareholding in the business were ineligible to apply, this requirement has been scrapped in the
new Expansion Worker Route.

This is of huge benefit to your business as your senior manager can have shareholding and other
financial interests in your business without jeopardising their visa application to come to the UK.

Flexibility on staff numbers

Another key benefit of the Expansion Worker route is that businesses can send more than one
eligible applicant to the country. The previous Sole Representative Visa only permitted one employee entry into the UK to establish a UK branch. Now, however, a whole senior team can apply together and migrate to the UK to propel the business in Britain. It is important to note that each staff member still needs to meet the immigration requirements of this visa category and will still need to score the relevant 60 points each.

How can 1 Absolute Advisor help?

Considering the many key changes to the Sole Rep Visa route, it is highly advised that businesses
seek immigration advice to assist with them with their application. Your business overseas will need assistance in obtaining a UK Sponsor Licence. Meanwhile, the applicant – or team – will need advice on how to satisfy the immigration rules for this specific route. At 1 Absolute Advisor, all of our immigration lawyers are OISC-trained and certified in all aspects of corporate and business immigration law. We can help both your business and your team to migrate to the UK, whether you need full visa assistance or general guidance.

Contact our team today on 0207 993 6762 to find out about our global business immigration advice

How long can I extend the Expansion Worker visa for?

The Expansion Worker Visa route typically only lasts for two years, after which you must seek to
extend or renew the visa. In total, you can remain in the UK with this permission of leave for up to five years. However, it is worth noting that it still will not lead to settlement such as ILR or British Citizenship.

How can I seek settlement with an Expansion Worker Visa?

Settlement, such as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), is usually only gained after a period of five
years of continuous residency in the UK. Yet overseas nationals operating under an Expansion Worker Visa are prohibited to switch or seek any form of settlement. Nevertheless, it is possible for managers to switch onto a completely different route entirely, such as a Skilled Worker Visa or similar, which then begins the count towards continuous residency and thus settlement.

I already have a Sole Rep Visa. Do I need to switch onto the UK Expansion Worker Route?

If you already have a Sole Representative Visa, you don’t need to worry as your visa won’t expire
overnight. You don’t need to change anything. In fact, since you have already been awarded the visa and are in the UK already, you are able to extend your leave and apply for settlement without any disruption.
In other words: your Sole Rep visa is still permitted up until it naturally expires. The change in the
immigration rules if only of concern to brand new entrants.

Can my manager be the referee for my British Citizenship Application?

Can my manager be the referee for my British Citizenship Application?

Can my manager be the referee for my British Citizenship Application?

Applicants who wish to apply for British Citizenship must be mindful that they need two referees to
support their application as outlined by the UK immigration rules.

The purpose of referees is to verify your identity and ultimately your validity for British Citizenship.

The referee requirements state:

  • At least one referee should be a person with ‘professional standing’ in the UK
  • And your other referee should be a British citizen passport holder and EITHER a ‘professional
    person’ or over the age of 25 years old
  • You must have known your referee(s) for at least 3 years

What does ‘professional standing’ mean for the Citizenship application?

For the purpose of gaining British citizenship, a person in a professional standing must be working in
a certain career and/or at a certain level in the eyes of immigration enforcement. There is a long list
of eligible people who can fit this criterion which you can read about in our blog, who can be a British
citizen referee?
However, you might be wondering if your manager or colleague at work can endorse your citizenship application – and the answer is: it depends.

When can my manager be the referee for my British citizenship application?
It largely depends on what industry you are working in. For example, if you work in hospitality or retail, it’s unlikely your boss will be able to act as a referee for your UK Nationality application.
However, if your manager has a senior position within a company, he/she could be one of your
referees. For instance, if your manager also owned the restaurant you were working in, then they
would be a suitable referee.

In the list of ‘professional persons’, the Home Office will accept the following:

  • Managers or Directors of a VAT registered charity
  • Managers, Directors, or Personnel Officers of a VAT registered company
  • Managers or Personnel Officers of a Limited Company
    This means that while your colleague and possibly boss will not suffice as referees, the director of the company you work for might be able to act as referee.

Can I ask any manager or director of a company to be my British Citizenship

You don’t necessarily need to work in a specific place in order for the manager/director to act as a
referee. However, your referee must have known you and have had some degree of personal but professional relationship with you for at least three years. In other words, you can’t just ask a stranger who happens to manage a company to act as your referee. You still have to know them personally.

What must my manager do to support my Citizenship application?

As per any British Citizenship referee, you will need to approach your manager and ask them if they
would be willing to provide a reference. It would also be wise to inform them of what is involved in the referee process as your manager will need to convey some personal details to UKVI in order to credibly vouch for your application.

This includes:

  • Their full name
  • Addresses over the past 3 years
  • Their date of birth
  • Their profession (I.e. Manager of a VAT registered company)
  • Their contact details including phone number and email address
  • Their British Passport number
  • A short declaration outlining how they know you personally and for how long
  • Their signature to confirm the declaration

What is the ’referee declaration’?

The referee declaration is important for UKVI to take your application seriously.
This declaration is a kind of formal written agreement between the referee and the Government
that he/she:

  • Knows you personally
  • Is not a relative, solicitor, or agent representing you
  • Is not a relative of your other referee
  • Is not employed by the Home Office
  • Has not been convicted of an imprisonable offense in the last 10 years
  • Is willing to give further details on their knowledge and relationship with the applicant

In addition, the referee’s signature is to ‘declare and confirm’ the following:

  • That they are qualified to act as referee
  • That the photograph of the applicant is ‘a true likeness’ (I.e. a genuine photo)
  • That they understand each point in the requirements (written above)
  • That the information provided by the applicant in the British Citizenship application is
  • That the information provided by the referee in the British Citizenship application is correct
  • That they understand that they could be fined up to £5,000 or face prison for up to 3 months
    if knowingly given false information in the application as a referee

The last point is very serious to note and emphasizes the importance of seeking a reputable and
genuine referee and, likewise, for referees to be mindful of who exactly they are vouching for as
they could be held to account if the applicant submits a deceptive or fraudulent application.

What if my manager refuses to supply information?

It is a possibility that your referee declines the opportunity to support your application. Although
there is no cost involved on their behalf, it is still a personal request and he/she might feel
uncomfortable for whatever reason.

If your manager refuses, you can’t take them to a court or challenge their decision. You simply have to
find another referee from elsewhere and respect their decision.

How can 1 Absolute Advisor help?
Our immigration lawyers here in London are more than happy to help you with your British
citizenship application. We can even help you to find suitable referees to support your application if
you’re unsure who to ask. Call 0207 993 6762 to find out more about our bespoke British Citizenship application advice services.

How many referees do I need for British Citizenship?

How many referees do I need for British Citizenship?
How many referees do I need for British Citizenship?

So how many referees do I need for British Citizenship?

If you’re thinking of applying for British Citizenship, there are a number of requirements you must be
aware of ahead of submitting your application.

Indeed, there is a long list of British Citizenship eligibility requirements which range from concrete
requirements, like passing the Life in the UK test and English Language tests, to ambiguous
requirements like proving you are of ‘good character’.

In addition, you need to prove that you have continuously remained in the UK for a certain number
of years and prove you are who you say you are.

The Home Office has established measures within the application process to stamp out cases of
identity fraud and deception. As a result, British Citizenship applicants are also required to obtain
people to prove their identity – these are your ‘referees’.

But how many do you need and what do they need to do? Let’s find out.

How many referees do I need for the citizenship application?

You only need two referees to apply for British Citizenship.

However, you must have known your referees personally for at least three years, but they cannot be
a relative or friends. It’s important you choose your two referees wisely as the success of your application hinges on your identity and character – the two elements which your referees are endorsing.

What are the referee requirements?

Not everyone is eligible to be a referee for citizenship. In fact, your referee must meet the Home
Office’s expectations – failure to do so could seriously jeopardize your application, if not delay the

Fortunately, you only need to obtain two referees who:

  • Have known you for at least 3 years
  • Are not a relative, agent, solicitor, or employee of the Home Office
  • Do not have any criminal convictions in the past 10 years

Do both of my referees need to be of ‘professional standing’ for citizenship?

You might already know that at least one of your referees has to be of ‘professional standing’ in the
UK – I.e., that they work in a specific industry or have a specific job title as outlined in the UK
Government’s Citizenship criteria. For example, your manager or director of the company you work
for could act as your referee, but there are plenty of other professions which fit the bill, too.
However, you don’t need two ‘professional standing’ referees, though if you have two to hand, that
might be a preferable route to take.

Your second referee, if he/she is not a person of professional standing, instead must be a British
Citizen with a UK passport and be over the age of 25 years old. Both referees are required to sign a declaration to endorse your application and verify your identity.

Can I submit multiple referee declarations in the UK Nationality application?

UK Government immigration guidance clearly stipulates that you need two referees, so it is probably
best that you stick to this figure and submit no more (or no less) than the two required.
It is also important to note that is it not uncommon for UKVI to reject Visa and Status applications if
the caseworker assigned to your application judges that there is too much information in your
portfolio, and likewise if it is too little. In the event that your portfolio has too much information,
the decision-maker might ask you to amend the application as it might extend beyond reasonable
expectations and what you have paid in admin fees to process it. You have to establish the right balance and ensure you are meeting the criteria coherently and

At 1 Absolute Advisor, our immigration lawyers know exactly what UKVI is looking for in each
Citizenship application it receives. We can advise you on your next steps and ensure you have a
watertight portfolio of evidence that doesn’t overwhelm the caseworker nor miss any important

Get in touch with our client care team today by calling 0207 993 6762.

How To Find A Referee For British Citizenship

So how to find a referee for British Citizenship? A question we get asked many times.

When seeking to naturalize as a British citizen, you need to ensure that you meet the British
citizenship requirements.

This includes to name a few:

  • Proof of ‘continuous residency in the UK’ (usually for a period of 10 years or more)
  • Proof of Indefinite Leave to Remain status for 12 months
  • Evidence of having passed the Life in the UK test
  • Proving English Language capabilities to a certain standard
  • Passing the ‘Good Character’ test
  • Supplying two referees to verify identity
    As you can see, providing 2 referees is just as important as meeting all the other British citizenship
    eligibility criteria. Yet applicants continually leave their referees to the last minute, falsely assuming
    that it is the least concerning or time-consuming aspect of the application.
    At 1 Absolute Advisor, we have discussed at length the importance of requesting suitable referees
    for British citizenship. For instance, whether your partner can be a citizenship referee (they cannot), your teacher, your doctor or even your friend. Either way, it’s likely you know someone within your reach that can be a suitable referee. But how do you find them? In this blog, we’ll explore your options.

Finding a suitable referee – the requirements

First of all, you need to familiarise yourself with the British Citizenship referee requirements. This

  • Asking two separate people to act as referees who are not related to the applicant or even
    one another AND who have known the applicant in some personal or professional capacity
    for 3 years
  • Asking at least one ‘professional person’;
  • And asking someone else who is over the age of 25 and has a British passport, unless there is
    scope to provide 2 referees of persons with professional standing Both referees need to sign a declaration and essentially endorse your British citizenship application. As such, it is prohibited for convicted criminals and employees of the Home Office to act as referees. This is because no such crimes are ‘spent’ in the eyes of UK immigration law and to mitigate against any potential conflicts of interest or possibly deceptive applications.

How to find a suitable British Citizenship referee who is a professional person

However, just because the requirements are very specific – and asking someone to act as a referee
can be a huge commitment – doesn’t mean finding a referee has to be hard.

In fact, there are dozens of suitable professional persons accepted by the Home Office. This includes
people who work as an accountant, pilot, barrister, journalist, doctor, manager of a VAT registered
company or charity, and many more.

The good news with asking a professional person is that you may have only interacted with them
over the course of three years within a professional capacity. Plus, he/she does not need to be a
British Citizen in order to provide you with a reference.

You’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to find a suitable professional person. Throughout the
the course of your five to ten years of residency in the UK, you most certainly know someone of
professional standing in their community who can vouch for your application.

Who should I ask to be my second British citizenship referee?

Complications may begin to arise with your references if you are unsure who to ask for your second

However, you have options.

You can either choose to ask another professional person or someone who you have known
personally for three years who is over the age of 25 with a British passport.

How can London immigration lawyers help?

Our immigration lawyers in London can help you to find a referee for British citizenship – and more.
Our experts are fully versed in all the UK immigration rules, including nationality and status
applications like Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship.

If you need general advice or a professional to look over your application, we can help. We can even
help you to create an airtight portfolio of supporting evidence and guide you through each step of
the Citizenship application, whether you are seeking to naturalize or through some other route.
Contact our team today on 0207 993 6762 to find out more about our leading immigration services
in London.

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