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5 Steps to Applying for a Tier 2 Visa

5 Steps to Applying for a Tier 2 Visa

May 20, 2020.

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with the five essential steps of successfully applying for a Tier 2 visa which will allow you to relocate to the UK and start your new NHS job.

If you’ve been offered an NHS post, a very big Congratulations to you! This is a very exciting time and you can finally see the end of the road.

Step 1: Sponsor List

To start with, if you’re applying from outside of the EEA, you’ll need to apply for a Tier 2 visa. This visa will allow you to live and work within the UK – so long as you have been offered a job in the UK and your employer is willing to sponsor you.

You should note that all NHS Hospitals are on the Tier 2 Visa Employer Sponsor List, which can be found here.

Step 2: Receive your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from the hospital

A CoS is an electronic record which must be assigned by your NHS hospital for each migrant worker that they employ.

Your CoS will have a unique reference number which will enable you to apply for your Tier 2 Visa. It will contain your personal details and information about the NHS post you’ve been offered.

Please note, you cannot apply for your Tier 2 visa UNTIL you have been issued a CoS, it will then be valid for three-months from the date it is issued.

Step 3: Documentation, Useful Information and Fees

In June 2018, the UK Government lifted the number of restrictions placed on doctors and nurses who can be employed through the Tier 2 visa route. This has given the UK the ability to recruit more international doctors and nurses to provide outstanding patient care when required.

Documentation Required:
  • Your CoS reference number
  • Proof of your English language skills: English language certificate used for your GMC/NMC Registration
  • A bank statement showing you have enough personal savings (unless your CoS evidenced that your sponsor will provide maintenance*): You must have £945 in your bank account for 90 days before you apply
  • A current passport or travel document to prove you can travel
  • Expired passports or travel documents if you need to show your travel history
  • Your TB test results if you are from a listed country
  • A criminal record certificate: You will be required to submit one for each country you have lived in for other 12 months (non-consecutive) over the last 10 years

* Please note, ID Medical will work hard to ensure that your NHS hospital will tick maintenance on your CoS – which means that you will not need to evidence your bank account funds for you or your family.

Useful Information: Family Applications

Your family can come with you to the UK, if they’re classified as dependants.

A dependant is:

  • Your husband, wife or partner
  • Your child under the age of 18
  • Your child over the age of 18, but they are currently in the UK as a dependant

Similarly to yourself, if your NHS hospital has not ticked maintenance, then your dependents must evidence that they can be supported whilst they are in the UK.

Each dependant must have £630 available to them whether they apply with you or separately at a later date. The evidence must show that it has been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 90 days before the application.


As all doctor and nurse jobs are on the shortage occupation list, the cost of your Tier 2 visa will be £464 for each person each year the CoS is valid for.

If you need a faster decision on your application, you can pay approximately an extra £200 (depending on the country you’re applying from and exchange rates) for the priority service to get a decision within 5 working days.

You can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service to get a decision: by the end of the working day after providing the biometric information

Our IMGS Doctors Network shares daily blog posts, updates and insights into how to successfully relocate to the UK and join the NHS! You can also ask us your relocation questions and get specialist advice and guidance on working in the UK as a GP!

Click here to check out our Doctors Network Facebook group

Immigration Health Surcharge

As part of your Tier 2 visa application process, you must also pay for your Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The HIS is characterised as allowing access to the NHS, which is free at point of use. Effectively, for non-EU migrants it is an additional application fee and without payment, your Tier 2 visa application will not be valid and it will be rejected.

At present, the cost of the IHS is £400, per person, per year. However, at the end of 2020 it is due to increase to £625.

Step 4: Make your application

To apply for your Tier 2 visa, you must do so online. You will need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a local visa and application centre (to receive your Biometric Residence Permit) as part of your application.

The UK Home Office is committed to sticking to their rules concerning UK visa process times, and only in exceptional circumstances will they take longer than the time given to respond to your application.

The Home Office states that you should get your decision within three weeks of attending your appointment at the visa application centre, where 1 week is 5 working days, if you have applied to work in the UK.

Step 5: Receive your Application and Book Your Flights

If your Tier 2 visa application was accepted, you’ll be issued a vignette within your passport that will be returned to you by post.

The vignette acts as your right to enter the UK, with a 30-day window to legally fly into the UK.

It’s at this point when you can now book your flights, Congratulations!

If your Tier 2 visa was denied, it is most likely due to a missing supporting document, a mistake on the application form or a poor immigration history. In any of these instances, the UK Home Office will write to you giving you the reasons why and informing you if you’ve a right to apply for an administrative review or if you’ll need to make a new application.


ID Medical work with 90% of NHS Trusts, helping international doctors and nurses secure their dream NHS post.

After we have helped you secure an NHS post – our dedicated settlement team will provide you with step-by-step guidance on how to successfully complete your Tier 2 visa application for you and your family. We will check your application before submission to ensure minimal chances of your application being rejected.

After you have successfully received your application back, we will then provide you with support in:

  • Securing UK accommodation
  • Finding schools for children
  • Settling into the UK
  • Ongoing pastoral support

If you’re interested in receiving ID Medical’s support in securing an NHS post, please do email your CV to us at

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