Leave to remain (visa) application process (for in-country applicants)

PLEASE NOTE: Travel is not possible while an application is being processed

While applicants will retain their documents, or have them returned by the Home Office, a recent change in the Immigration Rules has clarified that travel outside the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) is not possible, as it would automatically result in the application being withdrawn.

Once a Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship is issued to an applicant, they must apply for leave to remain in the UK visa within three months of the date that their Certificate of Sponsorship is issued, or before their existing visa expires, whichever is sooner. This applies to all in-country Tier 5 temporary worker applicants. After three months the certificate will lapse and can no longer be used to support a visa application.

With effect from 6 April 2015 those applying for a Tier 5 visa from within the UK, and their dependants, will have to pay the NHS Surcharge in addition to the relevant visa application fees when submitting their visa applications. The NHS Surcharge is based on the duration of the visa applied for and is charged as a seperate payment when submitting a visa application. If the NHS Surcharge is not paid the visa application will be refused. More information in relation to the NHS Surcharge can be found in the Cost and payment of applications page.

Those applying from within the UK are issued their visa in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) (a credit card sized plastic visa card). Guidance in relation to BRPs for in-country applicants can be found on the Home Office website.

Leave to remain (visa) application process

It is the responsibility of the applicant to complete the online leave to remain application form, although the Staff Immigration Team can offer guidance on this. The online application system is intuitive and only asks for the required information applicable to the application being made.

When making an application the applicant is first asked to provide an email address and password. A unique hyperlink is then emailed to the address provided on exiting the application. This hyperlink enables the applicant to draft the application and return to it later. A .pdf can be created of a partially completed application at any point in the application process.

The Staff Immigration Team will, where possible, check .pdf summaries of draft Tier 5 leave to remain visa applications from in-country applicants (and from their dependants, where applicable) before the visa fees are paid and the application(s) submitted. An application cannot be amended after the visa fees have been paid and the application submitted.

Please note that the Staff Immigration Team cannot guarantee the successful outcome of any leave to remain application since this decision is made by the Home Office and not by the University.

Where possible, the .pdf of the draft online leave to remain visa application should be submitted to the Staff Immigration Team for checking no later than eight weeks before the applicant's current visa is due to expire to allow sufficient time for the application to be checked, issues resolved, and for the applicant to then submit the application and original supporting documents to the Home Office.

The Staff Immigration Team cannot guarantee to be able to check any leave to remain applications received later than three working days before the applicant's current visa is due to expire. In such circumstances, the Staff Immigration Team will, where possible, work with the applicant to ensure all is in order with the application and supporting documents before they are submitted to the Home Office.

Applicants are strongly advised not to make any travel plans until they have received their passport and new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) back from the Home Office. Once an application is made, the Staff Immigration Team cannot request a progress update from the Home Office unless the application has been outstanding for more than six months (although applications rarely take longer than 8 weeks). Unfortunately, the date of return of an applicant's documents cannot be guaranteed.

If the applicant has a spouse or children who also need to extend their leave to remain, their details can be included in the online application to form a family group application which will mean that separate applications for each dependant wil not need to be submitted. The online application will ask whether any dependants are applying and the details are added by specifying whether they are a 'dependant partner or spouse' or a 'dependant child'. Please note that when applying as a family group the combined visa fees for all those applying must be paid as one amount, as do the combined NHS Surcharges.

Where dependants are applying from within the UK separately from the main applicant each dependant will need to submit their own separate online 'dependant partner' or 'dependant child' applications as appropriate. Guidance and links to the seperate online dependant applications can be found in Home Office Tier 5 guidance for Family members.

If maintenance is not certified by the host department/ college applicants will be required to show that they have held sufficient funds for themself and each dependant to meet the maintenance requirements.

Please see Tier 5 leave to remain (visa) application guidance (in-country) (222kb) for details of the supporting documents that will be needed for this application. The relevant guidance document will be sent to the applicant by the Staff Immigration Team by email together with their Certificate of Sponsorship.

Please note that those applying under this category will be subject to a "genuineness test".

Applying in person

Applicants may make an application for their Tier 5 Leave to Remain visa in person at one of the Home Office's Visa Premium Service Centres although this does cost considerably more. The fee for an application made in person is the relevant standard fee plus £610 per person (this includes a £100 appointment fee paid at the time of booking which may be retained if the applicant fails to attend their appointment without good reason, the appointment is cancelled without good reason and not rebooked, or the application is withdrawn before the appointment).

An appointment to submit a Tier 5 visa application in person is booked as part of the Tier 5 online application with the 'in person' fee in respect of each application to be submittedon the day paid in full with the visa application fees. If the online system does not provide an appointment date and time that is convenient the Staff Immigration Team may be able to book an appointment directly with the Home Office on the applicant's behalf.

The applicant must take a printed copy of their application summary to their appointment and ensure they have copies of confirmation of their visa fees, NHS Surcharge payments, and booking reference numbers.

The nearest Premium Service Centres to Oxford are in Croydon, London and Solihull, Birmingham. Further information in relation to the centres can be found on the Home Office website

When applying in person, the applicant should receive a decision on their application the same day. However, their Biometric Residence Permit (plastic visa) will not be available immediately, but will instead be sent to the applicant within ten working days after the appointment.

Biometric enrolment process

Applicants (and their dependants) applying for a Tier 5 grant of leave from within the UK will need to have their biometrics (fingerprints and photographs) taken before a decision is made on their application. They will be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), rather than a work visa or vignette in their passport.

Once the Home Office receives a Tier 5 Grant of Leave application, the applicant (and any accompanying dependants) will be identified as needing to give their biometric details and will be sent a letter inviting them to do so within 15 working days of receiving the letter. Applicants can find more information about enrolling their biometric information on the Home Office's website.

Applicants who have submitted their application to extend their stay by post or online may enrol their biometric information at one of the Post Office branches offering this service across the UK, information about this process can be found in the Home Office's Biometric Residence Permits guidance. Please note that the Post Office charges a fee for each person enrolling their biometric information. There is no need to book an appointment at the Post Office as it is a walk-in service but you can only use the service after you have received a letter inviting you to do so. The Post Office is open from 09:00 - 17:30 Monday to Saturday.

Applicants who have made an appointment to submit their application in person will enrol their biometric information at the time of their appointment.

When enrolling their Biometric information applicants must ensure that they take the following information with them:

  • the complete original letter from the Home Office inviting the applicant to submit their biometric information (including the back page which contains a barcode and the applicant's case reference number, full name and date of birth), the Post Office will not be able to proceed with their enrolment if the complete letter is not presented.
  • sufficient payment for the service (when enrolling your biometric information through the Post Office fees can be paid by cash or debit card only).

Any applicant under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. If the responsible adult is the parent, they must bring either the letter they received from the Home Office inviting them to use the biometric enrolment service or photo identification such as a UK photocard driving licence, passport or national identity card. If the responsible adult is the child's legal guardian or someone else who is not a parent, they must bring one of the forms of photo identification listed above as well as a letter confirming that they are a responsible adult who has a close connection to the child and who has been authorised to accompany him or her to enrol their biometric information.