Overseas Domestic Worker Visa | Explained 2024

Domestic Worker


The Overseas Domestic Worker Visa is a crucial gateway for individuals aiming to enter the UK to work in domestic roles such as cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, personal care for the employer and their family, and nannies. This visa is tailored specifically for domestic workers who are accompanying their employer to the UK.

The benefits of this visa include the opportunity for domestic workers to travel and work in the UK, supporting their employers in a private setting. However, limitations are significant; the visa does not allow for an extension beyond 6 months for those who applied after April 2012, nor does it offer a path to settlement for them. This creates a finite window of employment in the UK, underscoring the importance of planning and adherence to visa conditions.


Key Points Table

Eligibility Applicants must meet all the specific requirements for this visa type, including being over 18 and having worked for their employer for at least a year before application.
Application Process A step-by-step approach involving an online application, submission of supporting documents, and a biometrics appointment is required.
Costs The application fee is £531, with additional charges for priority services in the application processing.
Restrictions The visa allows a stay of up to 6 months, with no option for extension or settlement for those who applied after April 2012.
Extension and Settlement Only available to those who applied on or before 5 April 2012, with stringent criteria to be met.


Eligibility Criteria

For employees aiming to apply for the Overseas Domestic Worker Visa, the criteria are stringent to ensure that only those with a legitimate and longstanding employment relationship with their employer are eligible. These criteria include:

  • Age Requirement: Applicants must be over 18.
  • Employment History: A minimum of one year’s employment with the current employer is necessary.
  • Work Location: The employment must take place in the household of the employer or a household they frequently use.
  • Travel Plans: Applicants must plan to enter the UK with their employer, their partner, or children.
  • Employment Nature: The intention to work as a full-time domestic worker in a UK household where the employer will reside is mandatory.
  • Genuine Intent to Depart: The applicant must show they ‘genuinely intend to depart’ and leave the UK at the end of the visa period.
  • Financial Independence: Applicants need to demonstrate the ability to support themselves in the UK without access to public funds.

Employers also face specific requirements, particularly around their residency status and intentions in the UK. 

  • A British citizen who usually lives outside the UK and does not intend to remain in the UK for more than 6 months.
  • A foreign citizen who is coming to the UK on a visit and does not intend to remain for more than 6 months.

Additionally, the salary offered to the domestic worker must comply with the UK’s national minimum wage regulations.

Permitted Activities on the Domestic Worker Visa

The Overseas Domestic Worker Visa delineates clear boundaries regarding the activities that visa holders are permitted to engage in while in the UK. It is designed to ensure that individuals are entering the UK strictly to continue their employment in domestic roles within private households. Understanding these permitted activities and restrictions is crucial for both employers and employees to ensure compliance with visa conditions.

Visa holders are only allowed to partake in the following domestic tasks:

  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Driving (as chauffeurs)
  • Providing personal care for the employer and their family
  • Nannying

These activities must be carried out in the private household of the employer or in a household that the employer uses regularly.


Below are the restrictions set, aimed at maintaining the integrity of the visa:

  • Employment Limitation: Visa holders cannot undertake any form of employment outside the scope of domestic work in a private household. This means they cannot engage in business activities, employment in public or commercial spaces, or any work unrelated to their designated domestic duties.
  • No Extension Beyond 6 Months: For those who applied after April 2012, the visa does not permit an extension beyond the initial 6-month period. This restriction emphasises the temporary nature of the employment and stay in the UK.
  • Access to Public Funds: Visa holders are not entitled to access public funds. This condition underscores the requirement for the visa holder to be financially independent or supported by their employer during their stay.

Understanding these restrictions is essential for ensuring that visa holders and their employers remain compliant with UK immigration laws. Failure to adhere to these conditions can result in penalties and affect the ability to apply for visas in the future.

Application Process

Applying for an Overseas Domestic Worker Visa involves a systematic process. This step-by-step break down is designed to assist applicants in navigating through the application procedure, ensuring they meet all requirements and submit the necessary documentation for a successful application.

Online Application

The initial step in the visa application process is to complete an online application form 

  • Personal information about the applicant.
  • Details of the employment and the employer.
  • Information regarding the intended stay in the UK.

It’s crucial to ensure that all information provided is accurate, up-to-date, and meet the domestic worker visa requirements to avoid any delays or complications in the processing of the application. If you are in need of Legal assistance with your Overseas domestic Worker visa, Don’t hesitate to Reach out to our Specialist Immigration Solicitors Today! 


Applicants must gather and submit a range of supporting documents alongside their application, which include but are not limited to:

  • Passport or Travel Document: A valid passport or another travel document that confirms the applicant’s identity and nationality.
  • Proof of Employment: Evidence of the employment relationship with the employer, such as a contract or a letter from the employer detailing the job title, duration of employment, and confirmation of the ongoing employment for the UK stay.
  • Financial Evidence: Documents proving the applicant’s ability to support themselves during their stay in the UK without recourse to public funds, like bank statements or payslips.
  • Accommodation Details: Information on where the applicant will stay during their time in the UK.
  • Travel Itinerary: Details of travel plans, including dates of arrival and departure from the UK.

Biometrics Appointment

After submitting the online application and supporting documents, applicants are required to book and attend a biometrics appointment at a local visa application centre. During this appointment, fingerprint scans and a photograph will be taken to be used on the visa. This step is critical for the identity verification process.

Costs &  Processing Times

The financial and temporal aspects of the Overseas Domestic Worker Visa application is crucial for applicants to plan effectively. Understanding the costs involved and the expected processing times can help applicants prepare both financially and logistically for their journey to the UK.

Application Fee

The cost of applying for an Overseas Domestic Worker Visa is currently set at £531. This fee is mandatory for all applicants and covers the administrative costs of processing the visa application. It’s important to note that this fee is non-refundable, regardless of the outcome of the application.

Processing Times

The standard processing time for the Overseas Domestic Worker Visa is approximately 3 weeks from the date of application. However, processing times can vary based on several factors, including the volume of applications being processed at any given time and the completeness and accuracy of the application submitted.

Expedited Processing Options

For applicants requiring a faster decision on their visa application, the UK Visa and Immigration service offers priority and super priority services:

  • Priority Service: This option reduces the processing time to 5 working days. It is suitable for applicants who need a quicker decision but are not in immediate need of the visa.
  • Super Priority Service: The fastest available option, providing a decision by the end of the next working day after the applicant’s biometrics appointment. This service is ideal for applicants who need to travel urgently.

It’s important to note that these priority services are only available with an additional cost on top of the standard application fee. Furthermore, availability may vary depending on the applicant’s country, so it’s advisable to check the local visa application centre’s offerings.

Extending or Settling in the UK

For holders of the Overseas Domestic Worker Visa, the possibility of extending their stay or settling in the UK is usually banned, primarily due to the date of their initial application.  In this section outlines the key considerations and processes for those eligible to extend their visa or apply for settlement.

Extending the Visa

The option to extend the Overseas Domestic Worker Visa is exclusively available to individuals who applied for their visa on or before 5 April 2012

  • Eligibility: Must continue to be employed as a domestic worker in a private household.
  • Application Process: Extensions must be applied for online, through the official UK government website, while the applicant is still within the UK.
  • Documentation: A letter from the employer confirming ongoing employment and a completed ‘Appendix Domestic Worker Statement’ signed by both the employer and the employee are required.
  • Fee: The cost for applying for an extension is £1,048.

Applicants are allowed to apply for an extension every 12 months, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

Settling in the UK

The criteria for applying for settlement or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK, under the Overseas Domestic Worker Visa, again, applies only to those who entered the UK on this visa on or before 5 April 2012. Requirements for settlement include:

  • Duration of Stay: Applicants must have lived in the UK legally for at least 5 years as a domestic worker.
  • Continuous Employment: Must have been employed full-time as a domestic worker throughout the 5-year period.
  • Financial Independence: Should have supported themselves and any dependants without access to public funds.
  • Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK: Applicants must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of English and pass the Life in the UK Test.
  • Fee: The application fee for indefinite leave to remain is £2,404.


Individuals extending their visa or applying for settlement can include their partner and children aged under 18 as dependents on their application. Dependent children over 18 must apply separately.


The Overseas Domestic Worker Visa provides a unique opportunity for domestic workers to accompany their employers to the UK, albeit with strict conditions and limitations. Throughout this guide, we have explored the essential aspects of this visa, from eligibility criteria and application process to the costs involved and the possibilities for extending or settling in the UK.

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