UK VISA Guide for Veterinary Staff January 2023

We thought we’d give you an update this month about the current UK VISA entry requirements.

You can use this as a resource for pre-submission checks on non UK/Ireland nationals. Firstly, check the Home office website to see whether you need a VISA in the first place:

There are various routes for application.

Skilled Worker:

When going via this route you will need the employer to sponsor you. Bear in mind that this costs the employer £7,000 for 3 years. So don’t expect to be able to be too choosy on your location as employers are unlikely to pay these kinds of fees for easy to fill roles in popular areas.

You will need to show that you have done a course taught in English or have IELTS B2 level – And may need to do a test, to be scheduled in your local country.

EU Settlement Scheme

If you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and you or your family member started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme instead of applying for a visa.

The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people. You can still apply if either:

  • you have a later deadline – for example, you’re joining a family member in the UK who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • There are ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021 – for example, you had an illness, or were the victim of domestic abuse
RCVS Registration:

You will need to have passed a course that was accredited at the time of your graduation to be eligible without passing the RCVS entry exam. This is challenging and has a low pass rate!
To Check likely eligibility see RCVS latest information

FYI- some institutions have gaps where there degrees aren’t recognised so this is definitely worth checking early on.

Work VISA without a job offer:

There are a number of eligibilities here where you will not need a job offer to come and work in the UK as a Vet surgeon or a Veterinary Nurse:

  • British National (Overseas) visa
  • Graduate visa
  • Youth mobility Scheme visa
  • Apply for the global talent visa
  • UK Ancestry visa


Please don’t be put off from coming to the UK as Vet Surgeon or a Veterinary Nurse – we need you! Although it is more complicated than before Brexit it’s by no means impossible. It’s still much easier than going to Australia or the States to work. Most national veterinary qualifications are recognised by the RCVS. And practices here have vacancies that need to be filled. There are so many UK practices owned and run by global vets. You will probably find you could be working alongside many other global staff that are already here 🙂

If you worked here before Brexit and are thinking of returning, or coming for the first time call us to discuss. We would be happy to assist you and guide you through the process.