How to Switch from One UK Visa Type to Another

Our priorities and plans change throughout our lives, and it’s quite the same for individuals who migrate to a country like the UK. Some individuals move to the United Kingdom for a single purpose, but they revise their plans over time.

For example, switching from student to a worker, an investor to a start-up business person, a worker to a spouse or parent or any other visa changes. Earlier, there were many restrictions related to visa switches. However, at present, rules are much relaxed, allowing the transition of visa type easier.

Can I switch my visa type to another in the UK?

Please note, not all visas can be switched to another. The most suitable way to confirm is through the Home Office website and looking for the visa you are interested in. For the majority of the visas, there is a page entitled, ‘switch to this visa’ which will display the types of visas it is not possible to switch from.

Generally, you can switch to a visa as long as you’re not a visa holder for the following types of leave to remain:

Domestic worker in a private household visa
Leave outside the immigration rules
On immigration bail
Parent of a Child Student visa
Seasonal worker visas
Short-term student visas
Visit visas

If the visa you currently hold permits the switch to another, you will be allowed to switch, considering you satisfy the eligibility criteria to do so. These are a few examples of the eligibility criteria for switching visas:

When Switching to a Student Visa

The present student visa switching rules permit the switch to a student visa if you are in the United Kingdom and hold an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed sponsor (a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is required to confirm this). You’ll be required to provide financial proof as well if you have been in the UK for less than a year. This is to confirm that you have enough funds to support yourself.

You’ll be required to show funds that equates to –
£1,334 per month (for up to nine months) for courses in London
£1,023 per month (for up to nine months) for courses outside London

When Switching to a Skilled Worker visa

The Skilled Worker visa is the most sought-after UK work visa type. It allows migrants with a job offer in a skilled occupation list (at least skill level RQF level three) that fulfils the minimum income requirements to attain employment in the UK. You must also satisfy the English language requirements, which suggests you must have the ability to read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

When Switching to a Family Visa

The immigration rules state that individuals living in the United Kingdom on a different visa might be allowed to switch to a family visa.

The family visa scheme permits foreign citizens to live with their spouse or partner, child, or parent in the UK. It is feasible to switch to this visa, given that your current visa expiry date has not been reached.

So How Can You Apply to Switch Your Visa?

The initial step is to confirm that you can switch to your preferred visa type. If you are unsure, consult with an immigration lawyer to ensure whether this is achievable and if you have any other options available. Applications to switch to a different visa are submitted to the Home Office website online within the UK. The process for switching to a new visa type is identical to applying for any other visa. The only difference is that you will be physically present in the UK.

For instance, to switch to a Skilled Worker visa, you will require to:

fill in the online application form
pay for the visa fee online – the fee is different from the standard application fee (£704 to switch for up to three years compared to £610).
book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre in the UK
pay the health surcharge (£624 per year)
have your biometrics taken (fingerprints and photo) for a biometric residence permit

The main benefit of switching to a different visa type is that you can remain in the United Kingdom while waiting for your application to be approved. This benefit withdraws the inconvenience, cost, and uncertainty of leaving the UK and then making arrangements to return.

If you require any assistance to switch from one visa type to another, consult an immigration Solicitor who will be able to clarify your options and, if you need, can complete the entire process for you, including completing the application form, collating the evidence required, and responding to any questions raised by the Home Office.

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