A UK Work Visa Application Guide 2023/24 | Apply Today

uk work visa

Key Takeaway

  • Start the UK work visa application process 3 months before your intended work start date.
  • Understand the UK’s points-based immigration system to know the eligibility criteria for different visa types.
  • Choose the right type of work visa based on your profession and circumstances.

The prospect of working in the UK comes with the necessity of navigating through the country’s work visa application process. This procedure is pivotal for individuals across the globe seeking to contribute their skills and expertise within the UK’s professional landscape. One of the defining features of this process is the UK’s points-based immigration system, which aims to prioritise skills and talents over nationality.

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UK Work Visa Application Process

Embarking on the UK work visa application journey involves a confluence of steps, each pivotal in inching closer to acquiring the legal permit to work in the UK.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to this process:

1. Early Application 

You can initiate your UK work visa application up to 3 months prior to your scheduled work start date in the UK. As per the Home Office service standards, individuals applying for a work visa from abroad in any of the highlighted categories should typically expect a decision on their application within a 3-week timeframe.

2. Visa Type Identification 

The UK offers a variety of work visa types, each tailored to different professional categories and circumstances. It’s imperative to determine the visa type that resonates with your situation. Whether you are a skilled worker, a healthcare professional, or possess global talent, there’s a visa type aligned with your profession. Explore our dedicated Skilled Worker VisaHealth and Care Worker Visa, and Global Talent Visa in-depth pages to help select which specific visa resonates with your professional stance.

3. Eligibility Verification 

This step entails a meticulous review of the eligibility criteria for your chosen visa type. The UK’s points-based system necessitates scoring a specific number of points to qualify for a visa. The points are accrued based on your skills, qualifications, salary, proficiency in English, and other criteria.



Applying for a Visa to Work in the UK

The underpinning of a successful visa application lies in a profound understanding of the UK’s points-based immigration system. This system is designed to filter through the pool of applicants, prioritising those whose skills and talents are deemed invaluable to the UK’s economy and labour market.

Here’s an outline of the mechanics of this system and the eligibility criteria for different visa types:

  • Points-based System: The core of the UK’s work visa application process revolves around the points-based system. Applicants are required to score the necessary points to meet the eligibility threshold for their chosen visa type. This scoring is hinged on various factors, including your level of skills, the demand for your profession in the UK, and your earning potential, among others.
  • Eligibility Criteria: The eligibility criteria for a UK work visa encapsulate various facets, some of which include your profession, the level of your skills, and your financial capacity. It’s pivotal to meticulously review the criteria associated with your chosen visa type to ascertain your eligibility. You can learn about the specifics of the Innovator Visa and Minister of Religion Visa to grasp the insights into the eligibility prerequisites for different visa categories.
  • Document Preparation: Preparing the necessary documents is a fundamental step in the UK work visa application process. This includes collating documents substantiating your eligibility, financial stability, and identity, among others.
  • Application Submission: Once your documents are in order, the next step entails submitting your application. This can be done through instructing a legal professional, especially as It’s advisable to meticulously review your application and ensure all the provided information is accurate and complete before submission, which with the assistance of one of our immigration solicitors becomes much simpler.

work visas infographics
  • Right to Work Check: The Right to Work check is a procedure employers undertake to verify an individual’s legal status to work in the UK. It encompasses reviewing original documents, such as a passport or biometric residence permit, that prove the individual’s right to work in the UK.
  • Maintaining Your Right to Work: Ensuring the continuous legality of your employment status in the UK requires adherence to the visa guidelines and conditions. Explore the specifics of the Religious Worker Visa and Turkish Worker Visa Extension to understand how different visa types cater to maintaining the Right to Work in the UK.
Key Point Details
Eligibility and Document Requirements Understand the eligibility criteria and document requirements for your chosen visa type.
Employer’s Right to Work Check Ensure your employer completes the Right to Work check before you commence employment.
Adherence to Visa Guidelines Adhere to the visa guidelines to maintain your Right to Work status in the UK.

UK Work Visa Fees and Costs

  1. Visa Fees: The fees for UK work visas vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for. For instance, a Health and Care Worker Visa comes with its set fee, differing from that of a Global Talent Visa or a Skilled Worker Visa. It’s essential to review the fee structure for your chosen visa type to plan your finances accordingly.
  2. Healthcare Surcharge: Apart from the visa fees, applicants must also pay a healthcare surcharge, which grants them access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The surcharge amount is contingent on the duration of your visa.
  3. Additional Costs: There may be additional costs associated with your visa application, such as legal fees if you seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer and costs related to gathering necessary documents or translations. Explore the Hong Kong National Overseas (HBO) Visa specifics in order to further understand some of the costs that might be entailed, in relation to the necessary visa type you require.
Visa Category Fee (GBP)
Innovator Founder (Main applicant and dependants) £1,191
Start-up (Main applicant and dependants) £435
Global Talent (Main applicant – where Approval Letter is required) £192
Global Talent (Main applicant – where Approval Letter is not required) £716
Skilled Worker (where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for three years or less – main applicant and dependants) £719
Skilled Worker (where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over three years – main applicant and dependants) £1,420

For a full list of all the UK work visa types, their fees, and the recent percentage increase to them, please visit the Official Government website.

Work Visa Processing Times in the UK

1. Standard Processing Times:

The standard processing time for UK work visas can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the visa type and the volume of applications. It’s advisable to apply well in advance to accommodate any unforeseen delays.

2. Expedited Processing:

For applicants in a hurry, there’s an option for expedited processing at an additional fee. This service ensures that your application is processed faster than the standard timeframe.

3. Factors Affecting Processing Times:

Various factors can affect the processing times, such as the accuracy and completeness of your application, the workload of the visa processing centre, and any additional checks or verifications that may be required.

Key Point Details
Varying Fees and Processing Times UK work visas come with varying fees and processing times.
Additional Costs Additional costs like the healthcare surcharge and legal fees may apply.
Expedited Processing Expedited processing is available for quicker processing at an additional fee.


Securing a work visa is the gateway to a fulfilling professional journey in the UK. It’s a process that demands meticulous preparation, a profound understanding of the eligibility criteria, and adherence to the visa guidelines. While the journey may seem daunting, with the right information and guidance, it’s a feasible prospect. Whether you’re a skilled professional, an innovator, or a religious worker, the UK has a spectrum of visa options to accommodate your professional aspirations. For personalised assistance with your UK work visa application, feel free to reach out to our team.

In this article we aim to have provided a comprehensive guide to navigating the UK work visa application process, shedding light on the pivotal steps, costs, and processing times. With the right preparation and adherence to the guidelines, your journey towards securing a UK work visa can be a seamless and successful venture.

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