UK work visa for US Citizens 2023: 5 best ways to apply

Are you a US citizen? And you want to work in the UK. Before coming, you need a UK work visa.

Do you know? If you want to work in the United Kingdom, you’ll need a job offer from a company that has been approved as a sponsor by the UK Home Office.

You need to show that you can sustain yourself without assistance from the government, speak English, and pass a rigorous points-based evaluation that considers your education, work experience, and age.

However, as we will see below, the new High Potential Individual visa is one of the exceptions that does not require a sponsor to get a UK work visa In this piece, we’ll go through the four most common UK work visas for Americans in the United Kingdom:

  • Skilled worker visa
  • Scale up visa
  • High-potential individual visa
  • Global business mobility visa

As a US citizen, you can qualify for an additional UK work visa.

UK work visa: Skilled worker visa

When it comes to working in the United Kingdom, American nationals often use the Skilled Worker visa. For US residents, the requirement to prove English proficiency is waived when applying for a Skilled Worker visa to work in the UK, giving them an advantage over candidates from many other nations.

To qualify for the UK’s Skilled Worker visa, U.S. citizens must demonstrate that they:

  • Have a UK sponsor license employment offer (and have a Certificate of Sponsorship)
  • Work in one of the qualifying professions
  • Earn at least £25,600 annually, or £10.10 per hour, or the standard rate for their profession. If they work in a scarce job, are still in school or just graduated, are in professional training, or have a Ph.D., they may be able to get a lower salary.
  • Able to sustain themselves while in the UK (£1,270 held for at least 28 days before applying).
  • A skilled worker visa is usually good for up to 5 years. After that, the visa can be extended or the worker can apply for settlement in the UK, which is also called ILR.

uk work visa

UK work visa: Scale up visa for US citizens

Scale-up visa holders have the same rights as Skilled Worker visa holders, but they can switch companies and jobs after six months in the UK without getting permission from the Home Office (Skilled Worker visa holders must apply to do this).

The term “Scale up” is used to describe a company in the United Kingdom that is expanding rapidly.

To fit this classification, a company must have hired at least 10 people at the beginning of the most recent three-year period and increased its revenue or staff count by at least 20% annually over that time.

American citizens seeking a Scale-up visa for the UK’s Skilled Worker visa must be able to show that they:

  • Possess a Certificate of Sponsorship and a job offer in your field from a UK-based employer with a scale-up sponsor license.
  • Participate in one of the eligible occupations
  • Pay at least £33,000 annually, or $10.10 per hour, or the standard rate for their profession.
  • Have £1,270 saved for at least 28 days to support yourself in the UK?
  • When you apply for a scale-up visa, you can stay in the UK for up to two years. After that, you can either request to extend your stay or apply for indefinite leave to remain after five years.

UK work visa: High-potential US citizen visa applicant

U.S. citizens who have just graduated from a prestigious U.S. university are eligible for the High Potential Individual visa, which allows them to go to the UK to look for work and work in most occupations.

American citizens can benefit greatly from this plan because it does not necessitate sponsorship by a UK employer and permits holders to work for any firm, including those without a sponsor license.

High Potential Individual visa applicants from the United States who want a UK work visa must provide evidence that they:

  • Have earned a degree in the recent five years that is roughly equal to a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. from a university in the United Kingdom.
  • Bear in mind that each year a new set of colleges and universities will be considered1.
  • Have enough money to live in the UK (at least £1,270 secured for at least 28 days before applying).

Here are some of the US schools that are on the list for 2022:

  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech) (Caltech)
  • University of Columbia
  • The Cornell University
  • The Duke University
  • The Harvard University
  • The Johns Hopkins University
  • Tech School in Cambridge, Massachusetts (MIT)
  • New York University (NYU)
  • Northwest University
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • Berkeley University
  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • San Diego University of California
  • Chicago University
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Washington
  • Yale University 

In most cases, a High Potential Individual visa will be valid for 2 years, meanwhile, holders of advanced degrees may be eligible for a 3-year extension.

The High Potential Visa cannot be renewed, although American workers in the UK can apply for a different work visa that does allow for renewal and settlement if they change visas while they are there.

The High Potential Individual visa provides a fantastic pathway for recent graduates of elite US institutions to enter the UK labor market and build careers before transferring to another visa category.

uk work visa

Global business mobility visa for US citizens

U.S. citizens in the United Kingdom can obtain a Global Business Mobility visa to work temporarily for a U.S. firm.

In addition, there is a total of five visas available under this program, each of which is intended to address a specific need:

Senior or Specialist Worker — Allows a U.S. national to work in the United Kingdom for up to five years at a branch of his or her U.S. business. 

Graduate Trainee — permits a U.S. national participating in a graduate training program with a U.S. firm to work in a UK branch for up to a year as part of that program. 

U.S. citizens have several options for legal work in the United Kingdom: 

UK Expansion Worker: This visa lets a US citizen coming to the UK for up to a year to set up a branch of a US business. 

Service Supplier: This visa permits a US national to come to the UK to work on a contract for a UK company, maybe as an employee of a US company or as a self-employed expert based in the US. 

Secondment Worker: This visa allows a US national to come to the UK to work on an elevated contract for another company

Do Americans need a visa to go to the UK?

If you’re wondering whether or not you need a visa to visit the United Kingdom, you should know that Americans are considered non-visa nationals there.

In this case, they don’t. Visa-free travel for US citizens is valid for up to six months.

Citizens of the United States are welcome for

  • Tourists
  • Family visits
  • Private medical treatment
  • Study
  • Business or academic activities.

If you plan on traveling for any of these reasons, it is important that you first familiarize yourself with the relevant legislation.

What documents do l need to work in the UK?

  1. Evidence that the holder is a British citizen or a citizen of the UK and Colonies with the right of abode in the UK, such as a current or expired passport.
  2. The holder’s passport or passport card proving their Irish citizenship (it can be an expired one).
  3. An official document from the Bailiwick of Jersey, the Bailiwick of Guernsey, or the Isle of Man proving that the holder has been granted indefinite leave to enter or remain under Appendix EU(J) to the Jersey Immigration Rules, Appendix EU to the Immigration (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Rules 2008, or Appendix EU to the Isle of Man Immigration Rules.
  4. A valid passport with an endorsement indicating that the possessor is exempt from immigration controls and has the right to abode in the UK, or can remain in the UK indefinitely.
  5. Documentation from the government or a prior employer indicating the individual’s identity and permanent National Insurance number, as well as a current Immigration Status Document issued by the Home Office with an endorsement stating that the listed person is entitled to stay forever in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK.
  6. A document showing the individual’s name and National Insurance numbers, such as a birth certificate or adoption decree issued in the UK, and a document showing the individual’s name and National Insurance numbers, such as a document issued by a government agency or a former employer.
  7. A permanent National Insurance card or other government-issued identification bearing the individual’s name and National Insurance number, as well as a birth or adoption certificate from the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or Ireland.
  8. An official government or employer document bearing the individual’s name and National Insurance number as well as proof of registration or naturalization as a British citizen.

uk work visa


Can a US citizen become a UK citizen?

who want British citizenship can keep both. It is possible to obtain dual citizenship by applying for British citizenship, which also grants you American citizenship.

How do I apply for UK work visa without a job offer

Other than the Ancestry Visa, the only other route you can think of to relocate to the UK for employment purposes without already getting a job is the Tier 1 Investment visa.

On the other hand, the Tier 1 Investment visa is only available to the wealthy. You must buy £2 million in UK government bonds or equities to qualify.

Holders of the Tier 1 Investment Visa do not need to work or look for work while they are in the UK. Still, students have the option to enter the workforce or launch their enterprise.

Most people don’t have £2 million lying around, thus a Tier 2 Work visa application is in order. However, you will need to secure a graduate-level position offering a salary of at least £30.000 before applying for this visa.

If you are a medical doctor, you can expect to make £55000 per year. Jobs matching those on the government’s “shortage occupation” list are the only ones exempt from the minimum salary requirements.

To attract candidates for the shortage occupations on the list, a starting pay of £22,000 is required. Eg. Technicians in the fields of nursing, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and physics.

Furthermore, without a degree, you can’t get a work visa unless the job is on the government’s “shortage occupation” list such as. Cook and a welder.

The alternative route to obtaining a Tier 2 visa without a university degree is to secure a job in the United Kingdom that pays at least £159,600 per year. Eg. Sports stars, CEO, financier, and TV host.

It’s also important to note that there’s a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Work visa for anyone between the ages of 18 and 30. This visa allows you to come to the UK for up to two years to search for employment in any industry.

A position at McDonald’s or a grocery store. Work in any capacity is acceptable.

This visa is only available to citizens of the countries listed below: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Monaco, and British Overseas Territories ( eg. Falkland Islands, Bermuda, BVI ).

British Overseas Territories Consist Of:

  • Anguilla
  • Bermuda
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  •  British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Falkland Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Montserrat
  •  Pitcairn Islands
  • St. Helena
  • St. George’s and South Sandwich Islands
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • How much is a UK work visa

UK work visa Applications fee

The cost is £625 for each individual for a maximum of three years. length of service over 3 years: £1,235 per person

How long does a UK work visa take?

A visa decision is often delivered within 3 weeks if you are applying from outside the UK after submitting an online application, proving your identification, and providing supporting documentation.

Time in the UK: 8 weeks

Which jobs are in demand for Foreigners in the UK

In the business world, supply and demand are the two most important factors. When there is a high demand but a limited supply, prices go up. High supply and low demand? Guess what? The market just will not bear the added cost.

So it is in the labor market. If you’re fortunate enough to possess in-demand skills, you can look forward to better pay and more employment offers.

Following the coronavirus outbreak and Brexit-related disruptions, the economy is experiencing skill and personnel shortages across the board.

Below are the five in-demand jobs for foreigners in the UK

  • Programmers and Software Developers
  • Cyber Security Specialists
  • Health Services and Residential Care
  • Architects
  • Graphic Designers

Does the UK skilled worker visa process involve an interview?

After completing the application form online and uploading the needed documents, visa applicants for the United Kingdom must pay the appropriate visa fee before scheduling an interview with the British Embassy or Consulate.

U.S. passports can enter how many countries without visas?

186 nations

In 2022, U.S. citizens can visit 186 countries and territories without a prior visa or by obtaining one upon arrival. Many passport rankings place a United States passport in the top ten in terms of travel flexibility.

Can someone sponsor me to work in the UK

YES! but the cost is no joke.

It’s not cheap to sponsor an international employee. Visa applications and associated taxes can cost thousands thousand pounds. Employers seeking to hire European Union nationals under the Points-Based Immigration System have had to pay sponsorship fees ever since the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

The visa application fee is split between the company sponsoring the employee and the employee. Instead of having employees spend large quantities of money on their own, many companies now cover them entirely.

Who is eligible to work in the UK?

To work in the United Kingdom, you’ll need a visa if you fall under the jurisdiction of the UK’s immigration authorities.

Those on the list below can enter the UK without a visa but will still need to provide evidence of legal authorization to work before starting a new position:

Citizens of the United Kingdom who are not British nationals, British protected persons, or British overseas territories citizens

Citizens of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland who are already living in the UK and have obtained permanent residency through the EU Settlement Scheme by December 31, 2020

Those who are not citizens of the European Economic Area but have been granted permanent residency in the United Kingdom.



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