UK Tier 2 Visa – oh what a mess

Target country: United Kingdom
Passport country: India
Type of Visa: Employer sponsored Tier-2 General work visa

UK Home Office is seriously trying to limit immigration into the country. This means they have tightened up a lot of processes that made it easier to get a Tier 2 or Tier 1 in the past.

I did not have time to apply for my Tier 2 by post, because of essential travel plans. The postal application takes upto 3 months to process.

So I had to go for a ‘premium appointment’. I had a look through the UKBA website, and there were no premium appointments available for the whole year! Crazy! In the past it was possible to call the UKBA and get an appointment over the phone. Now that phone number has been withdrawn. Also, in the past, Lawyers were able to access the appointment system through a separate interface and get premium appointments for an extra fee. That has also been shut down.

So, after much fretting, my lawyer (Fragomen Plc) was able to get me a premium appointment at the Sheffield public enquiry office. I went there on the day with all my paperwork, to find that there was a ‘problem with the computers’. I had to wait all day (6 hours) at the office. Even then, my passport wasn’t returned the same day (as it used to be in the past). The passport and biometric visa card came in the post almost a week later.

All in all, very frustrating and stress inducing.

To top it all off, when I tried to enter the UK at Heathrow for the first time on my new Tier 2 visa, I was ‘detained’ at the border for 15 mins. Apparently they recorded the wrong fingerprints on my biometric card. So now every time I travel to the UK, I will have to wait around for 15 mins while the officers perform additional checks before letting me in.

But here are some photos to inspire you to go live in the UK!
London Central Mosque on a Snowy Afternoon Inverness by Night Cove near Fistral Beach, Newquay


31 thoughts on “UK Tier 2 Visa – oh what a mess

  1. I have applied for TIer 2 intra company transfer Long term visa on 30th March. till now no update, the status shows Visa application under process at BHS.Any thoughts on this please?


  2. I have applied from Mumbai (in person)for Tier 2 General on 26/03/2012 and have not yet received any response from them. Not sure how long they would take to respond.Is there a maximum time limit before which they HAVE to reply?


  3. Hmm – I don't have personal experience of the Mumbai office. I'm not sure there would be any mandated maximum time for them to reply. I doubt they would entertain any questions before 3 months are over!


  4. HiI had applied for a UK tier 2 work permit at the Kolkata center. My application was picked up by my relative who says that besides the documents I had supplied for the application,there is no other document enclosed. However, there is a VISA pasted on my passport that says Tier 2 general migrant with a validity of only a month. I am confused if I have been issued the VISA or not. Can you please help? What docs do you get with a successful and unsuccessful application? Any idea?Thanks a lot!


  5. Bob – I only got my passport and biometric card back from the UKBA. I'm not sure if they issue biometric cards outside of the UK though (I applied inside the UK).But it is weird that your visa is only valid for 1 month! You should call the High Commission to check what's going on.


  6. Brilliant Blog…I could vow for some of the stories here.Good advice too.

    I am an Indian with ILR and have never visited Europe …but i think I will start now…I always wnated but booking flights and everything in advance is a night mare .i want to get visa first and just hop on easy jet when ever i want. How did you get itinerary…I had to pay in full online.


    • Yes – you would have to pay to get the itinerary. You can sometimes get refundable bookings on nationalexpress coaches. You can also talk to a travel agent who might be able to help with a refundable itinerary. Good luck!!


  7. Hello There, I am working with company A in the UK on a Tier 2 ICT Long Term (which is one of the new visa categories). I had a Tier 2 Established Staff visa which was issued to be in 2009 but my visa expiry date clashed with my wedding date and couldn’t renew that and had to give it off. I know it might sound strange but in life you need to prioritize your situations. Anyway I will always have to live with the frustration of having to let go of that visa. Enough of my story 🙂 I am now being interviewed by Company B (although I am still in the UK working with Company A). Company B is willing to provide me with a sponsorship for a Tier 2 General but as per the UKBA rules since I am on a ICT Tier 2 Long Term issued post 2010, I will have to return back to India and get a Tier 2 General (hopefully I have read it correct and again reminds me of the value of the Established staff visa). I would like to process my application of a Tier 2 General with company B but without having to leave company A and only if my application gets through I will leave company A in India, travel to the UK and join Company B. Please can you let me know if you see any problem here. Also would you let me know how long does it take usually to get a Tier 2 General processed from the time all documents and passport is submitted.


    • Hi – I am not sure about your particular situation about the ICT visa conversion. When I applied for my Tier 2 General in March 2012 (via their expedited route) at their Sheffield Office – it took 1 week to process (even though they had promised 1-2 working days!!). Other friends of mine who applied in the UK via the normal route, had to wait upto 6 months. It might be quicker if you apply in India – but not sure.


  8. Good Morning,

    Thanks for sharing your experience, much appreciated. I had the exact same experience last November and it was the same
    airport when I was entering the UK on my BRP(Also, this was the first time I was using my BRP).
    Previously, I’ve lived in the States for more than 6 and in the UK on Tier 1, Work permits, Tier 2 General and NEVER
    had an issues with immigration.

    I was very surprised when the Immigration officer couldn’t pull my details using my BRP and he handed over a form mentioning
    he is detaining me and asked me to take a seat, He didn’t ask me no questions. He came back in 8/10 minutes and told me
    everything is fine and it was something to do with their system but he couldn’t assure me that it won’t happen again.

    I wanted to know how did you find out that the reason for the delay in your case was wrong fingerprints?. I suspect the same
    is the case with me because I used by BRP to get my Driver’s licence and had absolutely no issue(s).

    Any information on this would be highly appreciated.



    • Abhinav – thanks for writing in. Sorry to hear that you went through this too. My experience took place nearly 2 years back now – I don’t remember too much, but I think the immigration officer said something about fingerprints which lead me to believe that the problem was with the fingerprints recorded incorrectly.


  9. Thanks for writing back, appreciate it. Did it happen to you every time you entered the UK? I know I shouldn’t be worrying too much about it since the officer told me, it’s NOTHING to do with my profile, it’s the system but the fact that I was ‘detained’ for the first time in my life, makes me feel, I should get it clarified.


  10. Hi All, i am Arun and i am planing for a Tier 2 intra company transfer for long term. My HR in UK asked me to fill Tier 2 Questionnaire for me and my dependents(wife, kid). They are trying for a certificate of sponsorship. Now its more than 2 weeks and till now did not get any reply. Our company is taking help from a third party agency in UK to get it done. Did any one knows how much time will it take to get me the COS? also what could be the remaining steps? Please help me…


  11. Thanks a lot insertindian! I can get in touch with HR but i do not have access to the agency. if i remember correctly, the agency name is newlandchase. Do you know them? also what are all the remaning steps once i recieved COS? could you please help me?


    • Hmm memory is foggy – but after that the application packet was prepared for me by the law firm (that was handling my application). I filled the application and got an appointment to submit it in person through fast track. They took bio metrics and then it took one week for the visa to arrive by post. I don’t know of the specific agency you have mentioned.


    • Hello Arun
      Could you please share about the documents that you have prepared? Was it required to get your educational certificate attested from your state HRD?
      Thank you


  12. Hello
    I am in process of getting offer from a company in UK. In this regard, I am wondering what all documents I should have handy to submit my VISA application? Also do I need to get my educational certificates attested by the HRD of state and then apostille it?
    Thank you


    • Hello – Is the company getting you a sponsored Tier-2 visa? If so, then their HR or their immigration lawyers will be able to guide you best. I actually can’t remember what documents I submitted – but I basically followed the lawyers’ guidance. Thanks!


      • Hello Insertindian, Yes, they are. Thank you for the information. I just want to understand if we need our educational certificates to be attested by State Human Resource Department or not?
        Thank you


  13. Hello All,
    My name is Anil, presently i am working in uk on Teir 2 iCT short term basis and my visa valid till Nov 14, could any one please guide me, if any another company sponsored to me, can i apply for Teir 2 general visa and where can i apply?.

    your guidance will be appreciated, thanks in advance.


  14. Hi , I have received Tier-2 visa but my husband was deported in 2008 under student visa .Can you please let me know , if he can accompany me as a dependent for Tier 2 , in case if he is still serving the ban ?


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