If you are already lawfully in the UK, you may be able to switch from your current visa category to a difference visa category from inside the UK.
Switching immigration categories from inside the UK is not always straightforward. Certain routes allow you to stay in the UK under the Immigration Rules by switching visa categories, while others do not.
In this blog post, we will explore the rules and applications in which you can and cannot switch visas in the UK, and into which categories. If you would like to speak to an expert about your specific circumstances, call the specialist immigration lawyers at Deluxe Law Chambers at 01614644140.
Which visa types cannot be switched?
You can not switch to another visa within the UK if you currently hold one of the following visa types:
- visit visa
- short-term student visa
- parent of a child student visa
- seasonal worker visa
- domestic worker visa
Visa Switching: What Is It?
Switching is the process by which you can switch from one visa to another within the UK. Your application for a variation of permission to remain may not be granted if the Immigration Rules do not permit you to change your visa status from one visa category to another. To switch from one visa category to another from within the UK, it is crucial to understand the changeover requirements.
Our expert team of immigration lawyers can provide legal help and assistance with switching from one visa category to the other from inside the UK. For certain applications, we can also provide Super Priority Service for switching visas from inside the UK.
How to switch a visa within the UK? Step-by-Step Guide to Switching Visas
This is the step by step guide to switch visas within the UK.
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility
Before initiating the visa switching process, it is important to assess whether you meet the eligibility criteria for your desired visa category. If you have any doubts, consulting with an immigration lawyer is an important step.
Step 2: Collect Required Documents
Gathering the necessary documents is a pivotal step. Commonly required documents include:
- Passport and visa-related documentation
- Proof of financial stability
- Academic or employment records
- English language proficiency certificates
- Tuberculosis test results (if applicable)
Step 3: Complete the Application Form
Each visa category has a specific application form that must be completed accurately. Ensuring error-free submissions is crucial to prevent delays or rejections.
Step 4: Biometric Enrollment
Certain visa categories necessitate biometric enrollment, which includes fingerprinting and photographing. This step is crucial, and appointments must be scheduled in advance.
Step 5: Waiting Period
After submitting your application, there is a waiting period during which the authorities assess your case. This duration can vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for.
Step 6: Visa Approval
Upon approval, you will receive a decision letter from the Home Office for your visa switching within the UK.
Switching to a student visa within UK
You can switch to a student visa within the UK from following visas:
- Skilled Worker visa to a student visa
- Family visa to a student visa
- Dependant family member visa to a student visa
To make a successful application to switch to a student visa, you must have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with an educational establishment with a valid sponsor licence (e.g. school, college, or university).
You must meet all other requirements under Appendix student of immigration rules.
Switching to a skilled worker visa within UK
On 17 July 2023, the Home Office published new changes in UK immigration rules known as statement of changes regarding student visa and skilled worker visa and their dependants.
To switch from a student visa to a skilled worker visa, you must meet one of the following conditions A, B or C on the date of application:
Condition A: the applicant must have completed the course of student for which the CAS letter was assigned; OR
Condition B: the applicant must be studying a full-time course of study at degree level with a higher education provider which has a track record of compliance and the certificate of sponsorship start date must not be earlier than the course completion date; OR
Condition C: the applicant must be studying a full-time course of study study leading to the award of PhD with a higher education provider which has a track record of compliance and the certificate of sponsorship start date must not be earlier than 24 months after the start date of the course.
You maybe able to switch into different work visas within the UK.
Switching into family visa of a British citizen/settled person
It is also extremely common for foreign nationals to switch to a family visa if their partner is a British citizen or a person who has settled in the UK, including those switching from work, student, or business visa. To switch to a spouse/partner visa under the family visa scheme, you will need to prove that:
- You are married, or in a civil partnership with a British or Irish citizen, or a person who has settled here (e.g. indefinite leave to remain), or if not married, you have been in a relationship for 2 or more years
- Meet the English language requirement (CEFR level A1)
- You and your partner have an annual income of £18,600 or more (plus an additional £3,800 a year if you have one child and a further £2,400 a year for each child after your first child)
Switching to a dependant visa in the UK
You may decide to switch to a dependant family member visa if your partner is a foreign national and they have a substantive visa to remain in the UK (e.g. work, business, or student visa). Examples of this type of visa switch include switching from a:
- Student visa to a dependant visa
- Skilled Worker visa to a dependant visa
How long can it take to switch a visa within UK?
The application processing time to switch your visa within the UK will depend on the type of visa you are switching to. In most cases, you can expect to receive a decision within 8 to 12 weeks of your biometrics.
Why choose Deluxe Law Chambers?
Choosing the right and best immigration lawyer for your immigration needs can be stressful. While it could seem like a difficult choice, let us simplify things for you. Here are a few good reasons why you should choose Deluxe Law Chambers to assist you with your UK visas and immigration matters.
Our commitment to affordability means that you can receive expert advice without straining your finances. Our success hinges on transparency. We believe in keeping you informed about every step of the process, ensuring that you understand your options and the potential outcomes.
- REGULATED – We are regulated and approved immigration lawyers by The Office Of The Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).
- EXPERIENCE – Our firm rests on specialist immigration lawyers and solicitors with years of experience. Our well-earned experience distinguishes us from others.
- EXPERTISE – As your immigration lawyer, we offer unparalleled expertise. We don’t just understand and interpret the law, we keep an eye on the slightest changes.
- AUTHORITY – Our authority isn’t just about legal powers but is gained through genuine care and successful outcomes for our clientele. So, why choose just a lawyer when you can choose a trusted authority?
- TRUST – Our commitment to uphold your trust is unwavering. Our transparency and ethical conduct are treatments for the trust placed in us by our clients.
- DIRECT ACCESS – At Deluxe Law Chambers as your immigration lawyers, you will have direct access to your qualified lawyer 24/7.
- AFFORDABLE – We are a law firm with an affordable and fixed fee plan. We offer two installments to ensure you can pay easily.
A combination of our rich experience, deep-rooted expertise, trust authority, and unwavering commitment to our clients makes us your best choice.
So, why wait? Take your first step towards a successful immigration application with us.