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Switching from a Spouse Visa to Tier 2 Visa

Individuals in the UK on a Spouse Visa have an unrestricted right to work, but there are circumstances that may necessitate switching to a Tier 2 General work Visa. It is more common for Tier 2 Visa holders to switch to a Spouse Visa, especially given the reduced working restrictions imposed (i.e. your Visa will not be tied to a specific sponsoring employer).


Under what circumstances might someone switch from a Spouse Visa to Tier 2?

In order for a Spouse Visa to be valid, holders must be in a 'genuine and subsisting' relationship with their UK partner (as set out in Appendix FM paragraphs E-EC.2.6. and ELTRP.1.7). As such, if you separate from your partner while in the UK, and wish to remain, you will need to seek an alternative immigration status.


According to the immigration rules, a ‘genuine and subsisting relationship’ is determined by a range of factors, including that:
• You and your partner are in a current, long-term relationship
• You are co-habiting with your partner
• You have children together (biological, adopted or step-children) and shared responsibility for them
• You have shared financial responsibilities

Can I switch from a Spouse Visa to a Tier 2 Visa?

You may be able to switch from a Spouse Visa to a Tier 2 partner Visa, but this cannot be automatically assumed. You will need to fulfil (and provide evidence you meet) a number of criteria before successfully making this change of immigration status. The Home Office only allows switching to a Tier 2 Visa while in the UK if you have, or were last granted, leave under the following categories:

Tier 1 Visa
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa
Tier 2 (Minister of religion) Visa
Tier 2 (Intracompany Transfer) Visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and you’re applying to change sponsor
Tier 4 Visa - if you have an eligible qualification, will complete your course in 3 months, or you’ve done at least 12 months of a PhD
Start-up Visa
Innovator Visa
• a dependent partner of someone with a Tier 4 Visa
• a representative of an overseas business
This means that to switch to a Tier 2 Visa from a Spouse Visa, you will need to do so from outside of the UK.
Tier 2 is a points-based system (PBS) whereby you will need to fulfil the eligibility requirements; these include proving that you:
• have a valid certificate of sponsorship for your job
• are being paid an appropriate salary for your job (typically £30,000 – but this can vary depending on your job)
• have sufficient knowledge of English
• have personal savings of £945 (which must be in your account for 90 days before you apply) so you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK
• show you can travel and your travel history over the last 5 years
• have tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country
• provide a criminal record certificate from any country you’ve lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years if you’ll be working with vulnerable people

Securing a certificate of sponsorship

Under the Tier 2 PBS system, the Home Office issues sponsor licenses to eligible employers, who can in turn and subject to specific conditions, provide certificates of sponsorship (CoS) to employees from outside of the EU/EEA. If you are currently employed, it is recommended that you speak to your employer as soon as possible to explain your circumstances and determine if they will be able to sponsor you under the Tier 2 system. They may need to apply for a sponsor license (which itself is not a fast process) if they don’t have one already and then complete a resident labour market test (RLMT) to ensure that no settled worker can fulfil your role. It should be noted that the requirement to undertake an RLMT will be removed from 1st January 2021.
If granted, your CoS must be used within three months and you will be restricted to only working for your sponsoring employee. This, however, will not prevent you from seeking sponsorship from another employer when you are in the UK.

A note on domestic violence in UK immigration law


The Home Office provides specific guidance to assist victims of domestic violence and abuse, including those on Spouse Visas. According to the guidance, the domestic violence (DV) provisions of Appendix FM section DVILR apply to applicants who have previously been granted leave to enter or remain as the:
• Spouse,
Civil partner, or;
unmarried or same-sex partner of any of the following:
British citizen
settled person
• member of HM forces who have served for at least 4 years
If you have been a victim of domestic abuse while in the UK on a Spouse Visa, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Domestic violence and abuse is defined as:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can include, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional”.

In order to be eligible for ILR as a result of domestic violence in your relationship, it will be necessary “to produce evidence to establish that the relationship was caused to permanently break down before the end of that period [the last period of leave] as a result of domestic violence”.

Final words

Switching from a Spouse Visa to a Type 2 Visa is no mere formality, but it is possible. Given the range of complexities involved, it is recommended that you seek the guidance of specialist immigration solicitors who can assist you through the process. Based on your exact circumstances, they may also be able to recommend another approach. Whichever route you choose, be assured that if your intention is to remain in the UK, every effort and endeavor will be made to make sure this objective is achieved.

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ACQ5 Awards Award ACQ5 Awards Award
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O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

That alone shows what an amazing and talented team Reiss Edwards are. Thank you".

Christine .C

"I wholeheartedly recommend Reiss Edwards to anyone who is in search of immigration advice. I had the pleasure of speaking with Amar who has been very thorough in finding a solution to my enquiry, and followed up with additional information even after the consultation. I normally don't leave reviews, and this firm already has enough good reviews for me to need to my own anyways! However, in this instance, I do hope that my review can let anyone who reads it be aware that RE is a great choice, these people care enough to help you the best they can".

Zohaib Butt

"I had the chance to use Reiss Edwards services for my Tier 2 extension. Marija dealt with my case and I found her very professional and experienced in dealing with my application. The care and attention to detail was exceptional. I would definitely recommend Reiss Edwards!".

Quintus Liu

"Knowledgeable, experienced, and relatable. Translated a complex process into steps that are easy to follow. Cruised to 3 successive wins on my Tier 1 graduate/entrepreneurship visa which allowed us to play our part in making the UK a better and healthier place!".

Khasan Vosijonov

"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy.

As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

Nora Nkechi

"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

Deepak Chartbhurjh

"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

Hakeem Salam

"I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them".

Top Notch Immigration Service

"Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them".

Mo Hussein

"I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation".

Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly".

Richard Stone

"I have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, I was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that I wasn't disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle their case, contact Reiss Edwards".

Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is definitely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind".

Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards".

Florence Giwa

"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards".

Salisu Ibrahim

"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them".

Amir Sandeep

"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help".

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