how to change student visa to work visa uk 2024

How to Change Student Visa to Work Visa UK 2024

Have you graduated and found your dream job in the UK? Transitioning from a fulfilling student experience to a rewarding career is an exciting step. If you currently hold a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you might be wondering how to change your student visa to a work visa in the UK seamlessly. This comprehensive guide will equip you with the crucial information and expert insights you need to navigate this process smoothly.

Requirements for Switching From a Tier 4 Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa

The primary route for graduating students to obtain work authorization in the UK is through the Skilled Worker visa. This visa caters to skilled professionals with job offers that meet specific criteria. To qualify for a switch from a Tier 4 student visa UK to a Skilled Worker visa, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Completed your course of study: You must have completed the academic program outlined in your Tier 4 visa application.
  • Job offer from a licensed sponsor: You need a confirmed job offer from a UK employer who holds a valid sponsor license issued by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). This sponsor license authorizes the employer to hire migrant workers.
  • Eligible occupation: The job offer must be for an occupation listed on the government’s “Shortage Occupation List” or the “Skilled Worker Visa Occupations List.” These lists categorize occupations in high demand within the UK workforce.
  • Salary threshold: The offered salary must meet the minimum salary threshold for your specific occupation. As of February 2024, the general minimum salary is £26,200 per year or £10.75 per hour, whichever is higher. However, some occupations may have a higher minimum salary requirement.
  • English language proficiency: You must demonstrate English language proficiency by meeting the minimum score on a UKVI-approved English language test, such as IELTS or PTE.

Also Read: How to Study in UK Without IELTS in 2024

Skilled Worker Visa Required Documents

To successfully apply for a switch from a Tier 4 student visa to a Skilled Worker visa, you will need to gather a comprehensive set of supporting documents. These typically include:

  • Valid passport and travel documents: Ensure your passport has sufficient validity (usually six months beyond your intended stay in the UK) and contains any necessary travel documents, such as visas.
  • Current Tier 4 student visa: Provide a copy of your existing UK student visa and any previous visas held in the UK.
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from your sponsor: This document confirms your enrollment in your academic program and is crucial for demonstrating your student visa status.
  • Academic transcripts and certificates: Submit certified copies of your academic transcripts and graduation certificates to verify your qualifications.
  • Job offer letter: An original or certified copy of your official job offer letter from your sponsoring employer, detailing the position, salary, and start date.
  • Sponsor license of your employer: A copy of your employer’s valid Sponsor Licence issued by the UKVI.
  • Proof of English language proficiency: Submit test results from an approved English language test, demonstrating your language competency.
  • Financial evidence: This may include bank statements, payslips, or other financial documents that demonstrate sufficient funds to support yourself during your initial stay in the UK.

Other Requirements

Besides the aforementioned core requirements, some additional important factors should be considered:

  • Visa validity: You must apply for the switch from your student visa to a Skilled Worker visa before your current visa expires. Ideally, aim to initiate the application process at least 3 months before your student visa is due to expire.
  • Biometric information: As part of the application process, you will need to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) at a designated UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point or via the “UK Immigration: ID Check” mobile app.
  • Healthcare surcharge: You will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of your application, which contributes towards the cost of accessing the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.

Step-by-Step Process of How to Change Student Visa to Work Visa UK

The application process for switching your Tier 4 student visa to a Skilled Worker visa involves the following steps:

  1. Gather all the required documents as outlined above.
  2. Create a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account online and access the visa application form.
  3. Carefully complete the online application form with accurate information and ensure all sections are filled out diligently.
  4. Pay the application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
  5. Schedule an appointment for biometric information collection at a UKVCAS service point or use the “UK Immigration: ID Check”
  6. Submit your completed application form and all supporting documents online or via mail, as instructed.
  7. Wait for a decision from the UKVI. Processing times can vary, but typically take a few weeks to several months. You can track your application status online using your UKVI account.

To streamline the application process and reduce the risk of errors, consider seeking professional guidance from an expert immigration consultant or lawyer familiar with how to change your student visa to a work visa in the UK. They can help you navigate the intricacies of the application process, ensure all documents are in order, and address any potential concerns you may have.

Tier 4 Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa Fees

As of February 2024, the application fee for switching from a Tier 4 student visa to a Skilled Worker visa is £625. Additionally, you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which varies depending on the length of your visa and your circumstances.

How Long Can It Take to Switch to a Skilled Worker Visa?

Processing times for how to change your student visa to a work visa in the UK can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of your application, the current workload of the UKVI, and any additional checks required. Generally, the processing timeframe can range from a few weeks to several months. You can check the UKVI website for the latest estimated processing times.

Ensure all your documents are complete and accurate to avoid delays in processing. Submit your application as early as possible, especially if your student visa is nearing expiry.

How Expert Opinion Can Help?

Navigating the intricate process of how to change your student visa to a work visa in the UK can be overwhelming. Seeking guidance from an experienced immigration advisor or lawyer can provide invaluable support throughout the journey. They can:

  • Assess your eligibility for the Skilled Worker visa.
  • Review your application documents and identify any potential issues.
  • Provide advice on gathering supporting evidence.
  • Assist with completing the application form accurately.
  • Liaise with the UKVI on your behalf if necessary.

Having a qualified professional by your side can significantly improve your chances of a successful application, allowing you to focus on your new job and career prospects in the UK with greater peace of mind.


Transitioning from a student to a skilled professional in the UK is an exciting and rewarding experience. By understanding the requirements and following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can gain a clear understanding of how to change your student visa to a work visa in the UK. Remember, careful preparation, adherence to deadlines, and seeking expert advice can significantly improve your chances of a successful application and pave the way for a fulfilling career in the UK.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Combine Your Time on a Tier 4 Student Visa and a Skilled Worker Visa Route for Ilr (Indefinite Leave to Remain)?

Yes, you can combine the time spent on both Tier 4 student visa and Skilled Worker visa routes to meet the residency requirements for applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. However, specific requirements and eligibility criteria must be met, so consulting with an immigration professional is recommended to confirm your eligibility.

Why Do So Many Overseas Students in the UK Look to Switch to a Skilled Worker Visa?

Many overseas students choose to transition to a Skilled Worker visa after their studies because it allows them to gain valuable work experience in their chosen field, continue living and working in the UK legally, and potentially build a foundation for long-term residency in the country.

Can I Switch From a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa?

Yes, transitioning from a Tier 4 student visa to a Skilled Worker visa is a possible pathway for international students who have completed their studies and secured a job offer that meets the necessary criteria outlined in this guide.

How Old Must I Be to Switch From Tier 4 / Student to Skilled Worker?

There is no minimum age requirement for switching from a Tier 4 student visa to a Skilled Worker visa. However, you must be able to demonstrate that you have a genuine job offer and meet the other eligibility criteria set forth by the UKVI.

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