Chef Visa


For an initial consultation, call us now on 0300 131 6767


The hospitality industry requires talented and skilled chefs, and many UK employers seek to hire candidates from all over the world. For foreign nationals (including EU nationals who were not already in the UK by 31 December 2020) looking to work in the UK, their first, if not greatest, challenge is to be sponsored for a work visa.

Our expert immigration solicitors help chefs meet the requirements for sponsorship to work in the UK food industry. Call us today on 0300 131 6767 or complete our enquiry form and we will get straight back to you.

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Welcome changes to the eligibility requirements

As the UK Government previously considered chefs (and other associated food service roles) a ‘low skilled role’, high thresholds were imposed on applicants. The potential high cost for the sponsor and restrictions on fast food chains and take-away establishments largely discouraged potential UK employers from even considering applying for a sponsor licence to recruit for this role.

Requirements changed from 1st December 2020. The minimum skill level required for a skilled worker decreased from RQF Level 6 to RQF Level 3, meaning most chefs are now eligible to be sponsored - this change was the most important among others, including:

The restrictions on fast food outlets and standard fare outlets were lifted
There is no longer the need for a ‘resident labour market test’ - however, the UK employer still needs to show a genuine need to recruit overseas

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Who is eligible for a Chef visa?

In order to qualify for a Chef visa, you must fulfil all of the following criteria:

  • Be aged 18 or over.
  • Be undertaking a suitable role, i.e. Chef, Chef-manager, Food Stylist, Head Chef or Pastry Chef. Cooks, kitchen, and catering assistants are not eligible under the skilled worker route.
  • Have a confirmed job offer from a UK employer that has been approved by the Home Office to sponsor overseas workers. The salary must meet the minimum salary requirements set out under the Skilled Worker visa route.
  • Meet the relevant English language requirements.
  • Provide a valid TB certificate, if you are from a listed country.


These conditions are strict and it can be difficult to ensure that you meet all of the requirements when making an application, particularly as the criteria listed above are not the only eligibility considerations, as detailed below. For this reason, it is recommended that you work alongside expert immigration lawyers throughout the process to maximise your chances of succeeding in your visa application.

For an initial consultation, call us now on 0300 131 6767

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What documentation do I need to supply?

Similar to the skilled worker route, you will be required to satisfy the relevant Points Based System criteria.

Certificate of Sponsorship

In order to apply for a Chef visa, you must be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) by an approved Home Office-licensed sponsor.

You will not be able to submit an online application for a Chef visa without the relevant CoS reference number, which will be stated on the CoS.

The CoS is an electronic record, rather than a physical document, and it will include information such as your contact details, job, salary, employment start date and a brief explanation of how you will meet the Chef visa eligibility requirements.

Eligible job offer

All eligible Chef roles must meet the relevant Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Code criteria. This will be job code 5434 under the SOC 2020 occupation codes.

English language requirement

You will be required to satisfy the English language requirement by passing a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) test at Level B1 in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

You will be exempt from meeting the English language requirement if you are from a majority English-speaking country as listed within the Immigration Rules.


You will usually be required to receive a minimum salary of at least £38,700 per year unless you have previously been sponsored as a Chef in the UK.

Maintenance requirements for a Chef visa

You must show that you have personal savings of at least £1,270, which must have been held for at least 28 days before the date of your application.

However, if your sponsor is an ‘A-rated sponsor’, they can certify your maintenance up to the end of your first month of employment in the UK. If your sponsor certifies maintenance on the CoS, you will not be required to provide any evidence of your finances.

Furthermore, you will not be required to meet the maintenance requirement if you have had permission to stay in the UK for more than 12 months.

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How can Latitude Law help?

The expert solicitors at Latitude Law can provide expert advice on all aspects of Chef visa applications. We can provide detailed guidance about the requirements or prepare the entire application alongside a detailed representation document explaining how the relevant rules are met. Our experts can also provide assistance in applications to switch to the Chef visa route from another category, extend your leave or apply for settlement.

Why choose Latitude Law?

Latitude Law has significant experience in preparing successful Chef visa applications.

Thanks to our extensive knowledge of immigration rules, we are able to provide pragmatic advice and meet our client’s needs. We have connections with the Home Office and other immigration authorities so we can advise you with confidence and ensure the entire immigration procedure runs smoothly and efficiently for you.

Working with a law firm can be a big decision, which is why we ensure that our clients are at the heart of everything we do. We are a highly driven team that is dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice.

As a boutique law firm specialising in UK-inbound immigration, our experts understand the complexity and uncertainty that constantly shifting visa and residence policies create for Chefs looking to work and settle in the UK. Our lawyers can provide up-to-the-minute legal advice on how any changes will impact your application.

We are pleased to be recognised as a leading law firm by the following independent bodies: The Times Best Law Firms 2024, Chambers & Partners 2024, Legal 500 2024 and Who'sWhoLegal 2024. These endorsements from the international legal directories demonstrate our integrity and success in dealing with difficult cases. We are also proud of our 5-star Google reviews from over 150 satisfied clients.

Call us today on 0300 131 6767 or fill out our enquiry form and we will get straight back to you. Let our legal experts take the uncertainty out of your Chef visa application so you can start your successful immigration journey today.

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Contact us

As the requirements for a Chef visa are complex, to ensure success, you should seek specialist advice from an immigration solicitor before you proceed with an application. Latitude Law’s specialist lawyers can advise you about your individual requirements and ensure that the conditions of your voluntary work are compliant with the very latest immigration rules.

Get in touch with our legal team today on 0300 131 6767 or fill out our enquiry form and we will get straight back to you. Face your future knowing you have the dedicated support of one of our expert lawyers.

Chef Visa FAQs

How long does it take to secure a Chef visa?

Applicants are able to apply for a Skilled Worker Chef visa within three months before the day they are allowed to start work in the UK. The date of application will be referenced in the Certificate of Sponsorship. The application will need to be supported by relevant documents, such as proof of identity.

Responses to visa applications usually take three weeks if they are made outside of the UK and eight weeks if you are present in the UK at the time of the application. Your supporting documents must be in order to ensure your application is kept on time.

How long does a Skilled Worker Chef visa last?

Applicants seeking an eligible job in the UK as a chef under a skilled worker visa are allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of five years. If you wish to extend the duration of your visa, you must apply to extend or update your work permit after its expiry or if there is a change in job or employer.

After five years in the UK, applicants are able to apply to settle permanently in the country after fulfilling eligibility criteria. Permanent residency in the UK or indefinite leave to remain gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, as well as provides access to benefits.

What documents are required for a Skilled Worker Chef visa?

The following documents are required at the time for applying for a Skilled Worker Chef visa:

  • A valid passport or other document that proves your nationality and identity
  • A Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
  • Proof of knowledge of the English language
  • Your job offer and the occupation code
  • Your annual salary
  • Name of the approved employer
  • The sponsor licence number of the approved employer

Can I bring my family members with me on a Skilled Worker Chef visa?

A skilled worker (chef) can be joined by their spouse/partner and any dependant children under the age of 18, provided that they are able to meet the relationship and financial requirements.

Each dependent must have a certain amount of personal savings to support themselves while in the UK. These funds are required to prove that they can be maintained during their stay without requiring public funds.

How long is the Chef visa valid?

If your application is successful, you will normally be granted leave for the period stated on your CoS plus 14 days.

How long does it take to secure a Chef visa?

Responses to visa applications usually take three weeks if they are made outside of the UK and eight weeks if you are present in the UK at the time of the application.

Can I extend my Chef visa?

If you have secured further sponsorship, you will be able to extend your visa from within the UK. If you have been continually living in the UK as a Chef for 5 years, you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain provided certain requirements are met.

Our other visa services

Applying to work in the UK

Are you looking to work in the UK? Getting a visa to work in the UK can be a complicated process, but our immigration lawyers are experts in processing visas across all employment categories. We can help you.

Some employment routes are governed by the Points-Based System (PBS). The rules can be complex and it is, therefore, vital that you consult a specialist immigration solicitor for legal advice and information before applying to work in the UK.

Skilled Worker visa

A Skilled Worker visa is available for skilled workers of all nationalities that have been offered a position from an eligible UK company who is a registered sponsor. This route can lead to settlement and applicants can be joined by dependent partners and children.

Partner Visa

Whether you’re looking to apply for the first time or aiming to renew your partner visa, Latitude Law is well placed to help you secure the right to live with your family member in the UK.

For an initial consultation, call us now on 0300 131 6767

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