Returning to the UK on a visitor's visa shortly after a Tier 2 work visa
July 6, 2015 10:46 AM   Subscribe

Can I (a US citizen) leave and then return to the UK and stay as a tourist for several weeks shortly after a Tier 2 work visa expires?

I, a US citizen with no other citizenships, had a job in the UK which ended on June 30, and my Tier 2 work visa expires on July 14. If I leave the Common Travel Area for a few days, by heading to Poland, and come back on July 18, would I be able to stay in the UK as a visitor for 1-2 months?

Confounding factor: While I would not be working in the UK, I am applying for academic jobs in the UK and the Republic of Ireland -- one reason I would like to stay until early August or so is so that I could attend interviews relatively easily without having to resort to transatlanic flights or Skype. (I realize that if I were to be offered a job, I would need to exit the country to apply for a new Tier 2 visa.)

Calling the UK Visa folks cost me money, and all they did was email me a link to their website again anyway. Might calling the US Embassy in London be a better gamble? (The US Consulate in Belfast didn't seem to think they were up to the task of advising me on this.)
posted by dhens to Law & Government (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The third answer here seems to speak to your scenario and indicates that the problem is not leaving and coming back for vacation, but that there is a one year cooling off period between Tier 2 visas.
posted by MsMolly at 11:02 AM on July 6, 2015

As a recipient of a working visa, you're going to face additional scrutiny if you leave with an expiring visa and try to return under the Visa Waiver Programme a few days later. You technically wouldn't be doing anything wrong, but the 'Schengen/CTA Reset' trip is something that UKBA will look for and could easily refuse you entry for attempting. It's less likely if you're not trying to chain together a bunch of VWP stays, but it's still a risk.

I'd ask this question over at UK Yankee, where you might get more detailed answers.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:05 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: MsMolly: Yeah, I had seen that. When I called the UK visa people today though they said that that wouldn't be a problem (?!?)

Thanks for the link, HappyDave
posted by dhens at 11:07 AM on July 6, 2015

Here are the complete rules for Tier 2 visas. Section 73 seems pretty clear that there is always a one year cooling off period except in some very specific circumstances.
posted by MsMolly at 11:23 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: MsMolly: Thanks. Ugh. The odd part is I have actually had some interviews with UK universities in the meantime for jobs that would start in September 2015. Perhaps they didn't know.

Follow-up: Can anyone recommend an immigration solicitor in Belfast?
posted by dhens at 11:34 AM on July 6, 2015

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