The New Health and Care Fast Track Visa: Everything You Need to Know!

Written by ID Medical

23/07/2020

If you’re an international healthcare professional planning on relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, you have chosen a great time to do so! Why? Because the UK has a new and improved UK Health and Care Fast Track Visa!

This means faster processing, free Immigration Health Surcharge fees and better support!

Keep reading to find out more!

Who can apply for the UK Health and Care Visa?

The new route is open to all EU and non-EU citizens, who are medical and healthcare professionals, on the condition they have a valid UK sponsor (job opportunity confirmed by a CoS).

This includes medical practitioners, nurses, dental practitioners, biological scientists, medical radiographers, midwives, occupational therapists, ophthalmic opticians, paramedics, physical scientists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, psychologists, speech and language therapists and more!

Why is the UK Health and Care Visa replacing the Tier 2 Visa?

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock has saidThe unwavering commitment, skill and compassion [NHS] staff have shown during the fight against this deadly virus is nothing short of phenomenal…

I’m incredibly proud of our health and care workforce and look forward to welcoming new professionals from across the globe to continue the fantastic work to ensure our health system remains the best in the world.”

Covid 19 and the need to resume normal operations highlighted how overstretched the NHS is and the pressure it puts on its individual workforce which is not sustainable. Thus, the purpose of the new system is to ensure there is an equal policy for all whilst making the process for international healthcare professionals a whole lot easier.

How do I apply for a UK Health and Care Fast Track Visa?

The new visa is available from 4th August 2020 and until then; you must apply for the Tier 2 visa.

To be eligible to apply for the UK Health and Care Visa, you must have been offered a job within the NHS or a registered licensed sponsor.

To apply, you must prepare and upload your documents, pay the fee and then, the great news? Your visa will be processed within a maximum of three-weeks!

What documents do I need to apply for the UK Health and Care Fast Track Visa?

  • Your CoS reference number (which can only be obtained by obtaining a CoS from an NHS job offer, which requires GMC Registration)
  • Proof of your English language skills: Your GMC/NMC Registration evidence (as an approved English language test was required for this)
  • A bank statement showing you have enough personal savings (unless your CoS evidenced that your sponsor will provide maintenance*): You must have £945 in your bank account for 90 days before you apply
  • A current passport or travel document to prove you can travel
  • Expired passports or travel documents if you need to show your travel history
  • Your TB test results if you’re from a listed country as having high incidence of TB present
  • A criminal record certificate: You’ll be required to submit one for each country you have lived in for other 12 months (non-consecutive) over the last 10 years

* Please note, ID Medical will work hard to ensure that your NHS hospital will tick maintenance on your CoS – which means that you will not need to evidence your bank account funds for you or your family.

How much is the UK Health and Care Visa?

A visa for up to 3 years costs £232 and a visa for more than 3 years costs £464! The fee is the same whether you apply from inside or outside the UK.

Your dependants will also pay the same amount. If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia a visa for up to 3 years costs £177 and a visa for more than 3 years costs £409.

Bonus is that on 21st May 2020, The UK Home Office made the previous fee of £400 (per person, per year) for the Immigration Health Surcharge Fee FREE for all NHS workers! This change also includes all dependents included under the application… which means you will have free access to the NHS – same as all British citizens.

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What’s the difference between Tier 2 Visa’s and the UK Health and Care Visa?

On top of the shortage occupation fees being cheaper than a standard Tier 2 visa and the IHS fee being scrapped, the new visa will offer you:

1. Faster Processing Time

Once you’ve submitted your biometrics at your local Visa Application Centre, your UK Health Care Fast Track Visa can be returned to you in as little as three-weeks compared to the previous eight-ten weeks! Helping you get to the UK sooner than you thought!

2. Long Stay Application

The new and improved visa now also allows you to apply for up to five-years and 14-days stay (as long as your CoS matches it!) Helping you save time!

3. Better support from your NHS sponsor

Your NHS sponsors will now be able to contact a specific dedicated UK Health and Care Visa team to track your application, whereas this was not available previously which meant many applications were simply a waiting game.

A Final Word

The introduction of the new UK Health and Care Fast Track Visa is cause for celebration as we are truly grateful for all international healthcare professionals who choose the UK as their new home; however, the process has not always reflected this.

We hope this blog post answers all of your questions, but if you have any other concerns please do email us at marketing@id-medical.com!

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73 Comments

  1. Shoaib

    Hello i just have a question regarding changes in english language requirement overall score.Is it also going to
    Decreased to more achievable level?

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Shoaib, thanks for your question!

      The UK Home Office have in fact changed the rules so that you can now use your GMC/NMC Registration to evidence your English language skills.

      We hope this helps and all the best!

      ID Medical

      Reply
    • Mohamed Emara

      Hi my OET will expire soon but I am already registered with the GMC do I need to repeat OET to apply for this new visa?

      Reply
      • ID Medical

        Hi Dr Emara, thank you for your comment.

        If you have already obtained full GMC Registration, you can simply use your certificate/invitation for your ID check to apply for your UK Health and Care Visa – Hope this helps!

        All the best,

        ID Medical

        Reply
        • Harry

          Hi

          My question is if you are currently studying in the Uk and you are a medical doctor but yet to obtain the license for GMC for full registration, can you apply through this route and get an opportunity to write to complete the exams and registration process

          Reply
          • ID Medical

            Hi Harry, thanks for your message.

            To answer your question, No: you will need to be eligible for GMC Registration with a full UK job offer in order to apply for the new UK Health and Care Visa.

            Good luck with your studies!

            All the best,

            ID Medical

        • Samantha

          I’m a carer working in a care home how could l apply ? Would my work have to sponsor me ?
          I’m not NHS, it’s a private care home

          Reply
          • ID Medical

            Hi Samantha, thank you for your comment.

            Could I please ask for you to send us your CV to marketing@id-medical.com and we can look at your career history and properly guide?

            All the best,

            ID Medical

  2. Kanwal

    Will it be considered as tier 2 visa in long run when we would be applying for indefinite after few years??

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Kanwal, thanks for your comment.

      The UK Home Office have not commented on how the new visa will impact ILR at this stage. However, it’s likely it will be the current five years and you will still be able to apply as normal, regardless of whether the visa name has changed or not!

      All the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
  3. Bilal

    Is it working for tier 5 visa aswell ??

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Dr. Bilal, thanks for your comment.

      If you’ve obtained an MTI post, then you’ll still need to go ahead and apply for a Tier 5 visa as the MTI post is a study post.
      Unless of course, the hospital have asked you to apply for a Tier2/UKHC Visa as sometimes this is the case.

      Hope this information helps and all the best.

      ID Medical

      Reply
  4. Mened

    Excellent🌹🙏

    Reply
  5. Khirabdi Nayak

    Thankyou for information. Please keep me updated

    Reply
    • Sabeela

      I am on a tier 2 applying in Feb for extension. Will i spply for this visa or tier 2?will it count in combination with mu tier 2 for ilr if i am eligible for ILR in 1.5 years

      Reply
      • ID Medical

        Hello Sabeela, thank you for your comment!

        When it comes to applying for your extension, you will apply for the new UK Health and Care Visa.

        The UK Home Office has not commented on ILR and the UKHC Visa, however – it’s likely that your ILR will still count and nothing will change.

        Hope this information proves useful and all the best,

        ID Medical

        Reply
    • Dixya regmi

      I am registered gnm nurse with experience around 6 months and IELTS AT 5.5 and my husband is pharmacist from Nepal. Is it possible to apply for me with spouse !!

      Reply
      • ID Medical

        Hello Dixya, thanks for your comment.

        To apply for the UK Health and Care Visa, you will still need to be eligible for NMC Registration. Unfortunately, IELTS 5.5 does not suffice and you will need an average score of 7 and at least 6.5 in the writing section and at least 7 in the reading, listening and speaking sections.

        Have you considered OET? Most healthcare professionals prefer this as the questions are of a clinical context!

        You will also need to evidence your specialist knowledge via the CBT exam.

        Hope this information is useful and best of luck!

        ID Medical

        Reply
  6. Mohammed Naveed

    I tried entering NHS from long time. Everything I was defeated with ielts scores . Always I use to get less in writting.
    I think gmc should come down on its ielts band.

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hello Dr Naveed, thanks for your comment.

      We’re very sorry to hear that you have always struggled obtaining the required IELTS score. The writing element is often the area where doctors struggle with, so please don’t feel demotivated.

      Could we please ask if you have considered sitting the OET exam? The test is of a medical context and so, you will have more confidence sitting it. The great news is that you can now sit the exam from home too!

      We hope this helps and all the best!

      ID Medical

      Reply
      • Rajan B

        Initially I have recommended all medical professional to take oet instead of IELTS,as its text/ task comes from medical back ground. It was right as far as oet 1 is concerned too.

        But in oet 2.0 , since an year , the results are demotivating .
        The passing percentage is only 10% from first timers.
        Usually nurses community clears after 3 to 4 times of appearance now.

        That means one need to spend six months to an year with minimum of over a lakhs Indian Rupees spend on exam fees itself!

        Better go for itelts. This is an expert opinion from a English language experts who has successfully guided 18000 candidats over a period of 18 years

        Reply
        • ID Medical

          Hello Rajan,

          This is a very interesting insight, thank you for sharing.

          All the best,

          ID Medical

          Reply
  7. Claudette Tribiana

    Im interested with this new rule. Thanks

    Reply
  8. Sohail

    What about those who are already in UK and will apply for extension. Will they be applying for new visa or Tier 2 extension?

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Sohail, Thanks for your comment!

      Unfortunately, the UK Home Office has not advised on this yet as they have given extensions to all healthcare workers in the UK due to Covid 19.
      When the time comes, we will absolutely update you. However, its likely that they will extend on the new visa.

      All the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
      • Sam

        Hi , how many band required in IELTS??

        Reply
        • ID Medical

          Hi Sam, thank you for your comment!

          If you’re a Doctor: A minimum of 7 in all sections of IELTS with an average of 7.5.
          And, if you’re a Nurse: A minimum of 7 in reading, listening and speaking and 6.5 in writing with an average of 7.

          We hope this helps but if you have any further questions, please email us at marketing@id-medical.com!

          All the best,

          ID Medical

          Reply
  9. Arjun

    Are the physicians still required to write plab exam?

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hello Dr Arjun, thanks for your comment.

      To apply for the new UK Health and Care Visa, you will need a UK job offer to do so.

      To obtain a UK job offer, you will need to be eligible for GMC Registration. So, yes: you will need to have successfully passed PLAB or obtained a GMC approved postgraduate qualification & a pass in IELTS/OET to obtain your full GMC Registration.

      Best of luck with your exams and all the best!

      ID Medical

      Reply
  10. dr

    Hey thanku for the helpful blog.what if we hav been issued a cos and hav not yet applied for tier2 visa and plan to apply after aug 4th so does the cos need a sponsor note mentioning health and care visa eligibility?? Or we can just apply directly without any spinsor note after august 4??

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hello Dr Afridi, thank you for your comment.

      If you’re applying on 4th August or after, you’ll apply for the UK Health and Care Visa – you will not need a new CoS to do this. Remember, your CoS is only valid for three-months before you need a new one.

      Hope this helps!

      Kindest regards,

      ID Medical

      Reply
      • Mohammed

        Hi,

        Thank you for this helpful post.

        I am a physician applying from out side UK,
        I have tier 2 General visa, I will apply on 9th of August, what type of visa should I choose tier 2 visa or Health and care visa?

        Kind Regards 🌹

        Reply
        • ID Medical

          Hi Mohammed, thanks for your comment.

          Congratulations on your NHS job offer! When it comes to applying for your visa, please apply for the UK Health and Care Visa (Tier 2) as they have now merged. You will still reap the benefits of the new visa.

          Best of luck with the new job!

          ID Medical

          Reply
  11. Hina

    After OET, what should be the first step to enter in NHS system?

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Hina,

      Each pathway is unique to each allied healthcare professional! Can we please ask for you to email us at marketing@id-medical.com? And we can provide you with a full step-by-step guide.

      All the best and look forward to hearing from you,

      ID Medical

      Reply
    • Variksha Ramsumuj McAlees

      Good day
      I am currently practising as a senior nurse on a cruise ship since 2014.

      I have been registered as a nurse for 11 years with ICU as my background.

      My international nmc application is currently pending as they require further documentation.

      However, I have come across your article and quite pleased with the changes been made. And hoping I can reapply to practice as a nurse in the UK.

      Since my current clinical practice is based overseas i.e. Providing care to American, Australian and European patients. We follow 350 health standards accredited by the CHKS which is the leading health care accreditation organisation based in the UK, I feel that I meet the criteria of evidence type 3.

      Kindly provide me with more information as I am interested in bringing my international experience to the UK.

      If I may also ask for clarification on evidence type 4 in your article.

      Kind regards

      Variksha Ramsumuj McAlees

      Reply
      • ID Medical

        Hello Variksha, thank you for your comment.

        Unfortunately, the new UK Health and Care Visa does require you to have NMC Registration.

        Once the council has granted your registration and you have been invited to sit the OSCE exam – please do get in touch with us and we will be more than happy to support you on your journey to the UK and secure the perfect NHS post.

        All the best,

        ID Medical

        Reply
  12. Indira

    Can I apply along with my dependents ? If so what amounts should I have in my account ?

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Indira, thanks for your comment.

      Yes, the new UK Health and Care Visa lets you apply with your dependents.

      If your hospital has ticked the maintenance box on your CoS, then you will not need to evidence sufficient funds for you or your dependents. However, in the rare occasion that the hospital has not ticked maintenance, you’ll need to evidence £945 for yourself (available in the last three months) and £610 per dependent (available in the last three months).

      Let us know if you have any further questions by emailing us at marketing@id-medical.com and we hope this information proves useful.

      All the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
  13. Pathik

    Hi
    Thanks fore the update.

    Can you please tell us if this visa is not for tier 5… Will tier 5 have to pay IHS??

    Duration in which tier 5 visa is issued is already within 3 weeks….I think..Am I right??

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hello Dr Pathik, thank you for your comment.

      The removal of the IHS fee only applies to Tier 2/UK Health and Care Visas! If you’re applying for a Tier 5 visa, yo’ll need to pay the IHS fee.

      And yes you’re right; it takes up to three-weeks to process a Tier 5 Visa.

      Hope this helps and all the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
  14. Sangita shrestha

    Hi there,
    Im also looking forward for this visa, unfortunately situation goes wrong with this pandemic..im due for apply since 6 months.I have completed OET with score B on november 2019.And im worried about the expiry date of OET.since condition is not normal so far:.and i would like to highlight i have applied for uk spouse visa on February 2020..so what i would like to clear is can i apply for this?and my passport is not here with me.i already have submitted for visa application so i could not give CBT exam since i do not have passport in my hand now..so what would b better for me.your responses would be highly appreciated…
    Thank you.
    Kind regards,
    Sangita shrestha

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hello Sangita,

      Thank you for your comment and we’re sorry to hear about the stressful time you are having.

      Could we ask how it was possible to apply for a Tier 2 visa without completing the CBT exam? Have you obtained a post within a UK Care Home?

      It is possible to cancel your visa application and obtain your passport back to allow you to sit the CBT exam etc – So don’t worry!

      Hope this helps and all the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
  15. Dr Dimpi

    I have GMC registration and wants to relocate to UK. I am single child with single parent. My father is dependent upon me. Does this visa allow me to bring my father as a dependent.

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hello Dr Dimpi, thank you for your comment.

      Unfortunately, the UK does not regard parents as a dependents and so, it’s highly unlikely your father can come with you on the Tier 2/UK Health and Care Visa.

      Sometimes there is leeway for a parent to come, but this is in extreme exceptional circumstances.

      Please note, your father can still visit you on a UK Visit Visa for up to 6 months at a time.

      All the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
  16. Dr. Mohammad Nayeem

    Thank you for delivering the update

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Dr Nayeem,

      No problem and we’re glad it’s proven helpful.

      All the best

      ID Medical

      Reply
    • Nader

      Is the ielts required ?
      And what the score ?

      Reply
      • ID Medical

        Hi Nader, thanks for your comment.

        Yes, you will need to evidence your English language skills to the UK Home Office. However, this can now be done by your council registration certificate – i.e. your GMC/NMC Registration or your invitation to an ID check/to sit the OSCE exam.

        We hope this helps!

        All the best,

        ID Medical

        Reply
  17. Ananta

    Will this Visa affect the dependent and their eligibility to work in UK if they are not from the medical field or do they have to apply under tier 2 individually if they want to work?

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Ananta, thank you for your comment.

      Your dependents will apply for the new UK Health and Care Visa at the same time as yourself! They’ll still be eligible to take up work in the UK, as the same rules apply to the Tier 2 Visa.

      Hope this helps and all the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
      • ahmed

        is this visa involved dentists?
        and GDC number is required or just passage of ORE?

        Reply
        • ID Medical

          Hi Dr Ahmed, thanks for the comment.

          Yes, the new UK Health and Care Visa includes dentists as it’s for all healthcare professionals who want to move to the UK. You’ll also need your GDC Registration to evidence your English language skills.

          Hope this helps and all the best,

          ID Medical

          Reply
  18. Hazem

    Hi
    I already have an offer in the nhs and a cos and I applied for tier 2 visa
    Online (already paid the fees) , can I change to this new visa to save time or it is late

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Dr Hazem,

      Please just allow your application to process and if you applied after 31st March 2020, you will get a full IHS refund.

      All the best with your new job post and life in the UK!

      ID Medical

      Reply
  19. Amr ahmed Mahmoud Hussein aly

    I have valid OET certificate and master degree in orthopaedic surgery. how can apply?

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Dr Hussein, thanks for your comment and congratulations on passing OET!

      At this stage, you could apply for the MTI Scheme that allows you to train in the UK for two years and then return back to your home country. Alternatively, if you want to stay in the UK long-term then we would suggest you pursue the MRCS route – this allows you to demonstrate your specialist knowledge and skills and take up an ST3+ level post.

      Let us know if you need any further guidance.

      All the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
  20. Donna

    Does the hospital pay for your dependents when you apply for the new UK health and care visa? Or do I have to pay for them? If so what will be the cost for reach dependent?

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Donna, thank you for your comment.

      You will need to pay for your dependent’s UK Health and Care Visas! It’s £464 per dependent, per year!

      All the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
  21. kay

    Hello. I am currently in the UK under the t2 visa. I am in the process of applying for my dependents. Do I have to pay the Ihs for them.

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hello Kay, thank you for your comment.

      As the new UK Health and Care Visa has now been implemented (4th August 2020), you should not have to pay for your dependents. However, if there is a system error and you do end up paying – you will receive a full refund.

      All the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
  22. Thett Oo Maung

    I am in the process of Tier 2 (General ) application for dependent and myself.
    I have already paid IHS fees but haven’t submitted Visa documents in VACs ( both )
    Is it still possible to apply Tier 2 H&C ?

    Is it ok to change new Visa as soon as I cancel Tier2 (General ) ?

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hello Thett, Thank you for your comment.

      As you’ve already paid for the IHS, I would suggest continuing with your application. If you paid for it after 31st March 2020, you will receive a full refund.

      Good luck with the new job!

      All the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
  23. Thet Htar Swe

    Hi,I am currently working in the NHS under Tier 2(General work visa). I am planning to change a new job new NHS employer.To apply for new Tier 2 visa,should I extend the current one or switch to a new Tier or am I eligible for health and care visa?
    If you could answer this for me,that would be really greatful.

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Thet, thanks for your comment.

      When it comes to extending your visa, you will now apply for the UK Health and Care Visa (Tier 2). There is now no longer an option to exclusively apply for a Tier 2 visa as it has been replaced on the UK Government website.

      So, you will now benefit from the cheaper price and reduced processing time!

      hope this helps and all the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
  24. film

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    entirely rіght. This post truly maɗe my daʏ.
    You cann’t imagine jusst how much tіme I had spent for this information!
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    Reply
  25. Natasha

    Thank you for this information.May I ask what about Paramedics do they also need to register for NMC Pin in order to be eligible for Health care Visa.??

    Reply
  26. Jenny M

    Useful and straight to the point anwers. Thank you.

    Reply
  27. arun

    Im a sonographer working in private scan clinic in uk. I have valid COS from my employer. My ielts score is Band 6.5 equivalent to CEFR B2. Sonographer dont have any approved professional registration in UK. Im i eligible for health and care visa? whether my sponsor has to include my eligibility in my COS certificate? Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hi Arun, thanks for your comment!

      Yes, you will be applying for the new UK Health and Care Visa and there is no need for your employer to stipulate that you will be applying for that specific visa.

      All the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply
  28. ABDUL

    Hello , I am a healthcare professional and had applied for the Tier 2 general Visa ( NHS Sponsor ) before August . I am planning to apply visa for my dependants using the same COS, but under Health and care visa category. I am wondering whether that is possible using the same COS or I have to apply under tier 2 General category only ? Thank you.

    Reply
    • ID Medical

      Hello Dr Abdul, thank you for your comment and congratulations on your NHS job offer!

      You don’t need a new CoS, you can use the same CoS number to apply for your family’s visas! As the visa is now simply UK Health and Care Visa (Tier 2).

      Hope this helps and enjoy the UK!

      All the best,

      ID Medical

      Reply

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