U.K Work Visa Options for U.S Citizens

August 31, 2022 by Piotr Messerszmidt

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For U.S citizens, U.K is especially attractive due to the special relationship the two countries have. United Kingdom is the closest ally of the United States and the other way round. Bilateral cooperation reflects the common language, ideals and democratic practices of the two nations. If your plan is to move to U.K, you should read this article carefully as I will explain how the UK immigration system works and what work visa options you have if you are a U.S citizen who want to move to U.K.

Can an American citizen work in the UK?

Yes, of course. the main route available for U.S citizens seeking to work in the United Kingdom is the U.K Work Permit category. U.S nationals can apply and acquire a work visa through the Tier 2 work visa scheme, just like citizens from outside the European Economic Area.

How to get a work visa for UK from USA?

In order to submit an application for a U.K Work Permit you must first receive an offer of employment from a U.K employer who holds a sponsor licence issued by the U.K Border Agency. You must also meet  strict points from an assessment which takes into account your qualifications, previous earnings and age, along with a requirement to meet the English language requirements and proof of financial ability to support yourself.

What are the types of work visas for Americans and their requirements?

There are several sub-categories that are covered by Tier 2. Most applicants for a U.K work visa use the Tier 2 general route. 

  • Tier 2 General Visa
  • Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa
  • Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Visa: the ICT is intended for employees of multinational businesses with a branch in the U.K

Tier 2 General Visa 

It allows skilled workers to be employedin the U.K. To be considered askilled worker you must:

  • Work for a U.K employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
  • Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the U.K
  • Hold a positio from the list of eligible occupations
  • Bbe paid a minimum salary – the amount is dependent on your type of work 

What is more, you must have a good command of English language. That means that you must be able to speak, read, write and understand English. This is often an easy requirement for U.S citizens.

The easiest way to demonstrate English language abilities is by simply being a national of an English speaking country. If you are not, then don’t worry, you can pass an English language test from an approved English language test provider, or you can hold a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to a United Kingdom bachelor’s degree or above.

This visa allows you to work for an eligible job, study, and even bring your partner and children to the U.K as your dependants. You can also take on additional work with the consent of your employer for no longer than 20hrs per week. There is no problem with doing voluntary work, travelling abroad, and coming back to the U.K.

This visa lasts for up to 5 years, after that  you may be able to apply to settle (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’). This gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like. You will only be eligible to apply for British Nationality 12 months after becoming settled.

Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa 

It is granted to  sponsored international high-level sportspeople and coaches who will work to develop their sport in the U.K as elite level. You will be eligible for a Sportsperson visa if you are endorsed as an elite sportsperson or qualified coach at the highest level internationally by the governing body of your individual sport. The endorsement will confirm that:

  • The player or coach is internationally established at the highest level; and
  • The player or coach will make a significant contribution to the development of his or her sport at the highest level in the U.K
  • The post could not be filled by a suitable settled worker.

The sponsoring club or professional sports team must hold an employer sponsorship licence allowing them to issue a certificate of sponsorship to professional athletes or coaches. Once this certificate is received, the applicant can apply for entry clearance to the U.K from their home country.

There is a ‘Points Assessment’ in which you must achieve a minimum score of 70 points from the following areas:

  • Sponsorship – 50 Points – you must have possession of a valid Tier 2 Sports Person certificate of sponsorship.
  • English Language – 10 Points – you must achieve a score of 10 points for your English language skills.
  • Maintenance – 10 Points – to meet the maintenance requirements and achieve the required score of 10 points you must show evidence that you have available funds of £800 which have been in your bank account for at least three months prior to the application being made.

U.K International Sportsperson visas are typically granted for a period of up to 3 years initially, after which you can further extend your stay as long as you remain eligible. After 5 years as an Sportsperson visa holder, you will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. 

Tier 2 visas can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain and as such the Tier 2 Sports People visa category makes provision for the spouses and civil or unmarried partners of the applicant and any dependent children to immigrate to the UK at the same time as the main Tier 2 visa applicant.

Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa (ICT) 

It enables existing employees of multi-national businesses to work for a branch or subsidiary in the U.K. Being able to move valuable and skilled personnel from any country to a branch or subsidiary in the U.K means that multi-national organisations can concentrate their expertise where they are most needed. This can be extremely valuable, for example, when rolling out new products worldwide, setting up new branch offices, training staff, or carrying out projects of strategic importance. Having the ability to relocate staff internationally is even more important in the context of Brexit, as it is no longer possible for EU personnel to move to a U.K branch office under freedom of movement regulations, hence a business visa is required. 

This route is intended for long-term members of staff who have been working with the sending organisation for at least one year (this requirement is waived if the member of staff receives an annual salary of £73,900 or more).

The ICT graduate visa is for those undertaking a graduate training programme for a management or specialist role. Applicants must have been working with the sending organisation for at least three months.

What are the requirements? To fulfil the eligibility requirements for an ICT visa or ICT Graduate visa, you must:

  • Have a Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer
  • Have worked for your employer outside the U.K for at least one year (or at least three months for the ICT Graduate visa)
  • Have evidence of progression towards a managerial or specialist role (for the ICT Graduate visa only)
  • Have a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
  • Be paid the minimum eligible salary required for your job
  • Have sufficient funds to support yourself for your first month in the U.K

All applicants, whether for an ICT visa or ICT Graduate Trainee visa, require a Certificate of Sponsorship from their employer. This means that the UK branch of the overseas business must be a registered sponsor licence holder. If the employer is not a sponsor licence holder, they can apply for a licence, however, this can take several weeks and requires the employer to fulfil several requirements.

To make an application under any of the ICT subcategories you must satisfy the points assessment by achieving a minimum score of 60 points across the following criteria:

  • Sponsorship – Certificate of Sponsorship – 30 points
  • Appropriate salary -20 points
  • Maintenance – 10 points

To achieve the maintenance requirements you must provide evidence that you have funds available for an amount of at least £800, which has been in your bank account for at least 3 months prior to the application being made. If your potential employer is an A-rated sponsor they can provide you with a letter that will cover you for meeting the maintenance requirements.

Intra Company Transfers visas can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain. The category also makes provision for the spouses and civil or unmarried partners of the applicant and any dependent children to immigrate to the UK at the same time as the main ICT visa applicant.

Conclusion

To sum up, there are different types of visas and that means various requirements for applicants. It might seem like a complicated process, but you can have a seamless and hassle-free application by engaging the service of PassRight. We can assist you with every question you might have, do not hesitate to contact us via Support – PassRight

FAQ

  • Can I change an employer when I am on Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa?

    If you wish to change employers you must get a new Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed employer. You will also need to undergo a reassessment against the current points test and the position will need to satisfy the advertising requirements of the resident labour market test (if applicable).
  • As a U.K work permit holder can I qualify for permanent residence?

    Yes, if you have lived and worked in the UK for a minimum of five years. Once you have satisfied the five year requirement you may qualify for Indefinite Leave to remain in the UK, which can be then be followed by British Naturalisation as a UK citizen.