Extending Your Stay: Getting a Visa for the Channel Islands

While you have the benefit of being able to use a UK visa to live and work in the Channel Islands, Guernsey also has it’s own Immigration Department giving you the best of both worlds! In this article I’ll explain how to apply for a Guernsey work visa revealing my secret to staying in the British Isles beyond your Youth Mobility Visa…

I was nearing the end of my 2 years in the UK and searching for one last locum position when a job opportunity came up in Guernsey. I’d heard good things about the position and the island, so decided to give it a shot for a few weeks until my visa expired (sob) and I had to call it quits on my UK working/European travelling dream.

I’d actually already arrived on the island and had been working away happily for a few weeks when I stumbled across the most amazing piece of news…

It was possible to apply for a Guernsey work visa that was entirely separate from my UK Youth Mobility Visa, which would allow me to stay for another 3 years!


So if, like me, you’ve fallen for this little patch of the world and you’re keen on sticking around a little longer, take a look at what options you might have to get a bit more Guernsey time (but remember this is just a brief summary, for all the latest info it’s best to head to the Guernsey Immigration website).

It’s also worth noting here that unfortunately Jersey does not provide it’s own visas. If you wish to work here you must have UK or Guernsey immigration clearance.


Leave to remain

If your Short, Medium or Long Term Work Permit is due to expire soon you can apply for an extension, or further limited leave to remain.

You have the option of staying for an extra 1 month, 9 months, 3 years or more than 3 years, with costs ranging from £50-500 depending on how long you wish to stay.

In addition, you must pay a £704 application fee.

It takes 6 weeks to process your application once you’ve submitted your form to the Immigration Office, so don’t leave it to the last minute.

This will essentially give you a temporary work visa, but ties you to your employer for the duration of your stay – so make sure you like your job!


Indefinite leave to remain

If you’re feeling like you’re really ready to take the next step in your commitment to island life (wow serious stuff, I should leave you two alone…), you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

This means there is no limit on how long you can stay, you’re essentially planning to settle down long term and establish your life on the island. And you wouldn’t be the first! Plenty of people who have arrived for their short term locum job, still haven’t left years later!

This application will cost you £2,389 and you should allow 6 weeks for processing. To be eligible you will need to have passed the Citizenship test or “Life in the UK/Guernsey” test, and have lived and worked in Guernsey for at least 5 years with an approved work permit.


Settlement Scheme

If you’re from the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland you can apply for settled status in Guernsey, which is essentially indefinite leave to remain.

Because of Brexit your rights will be changing from 31st December 2020, and you will need to apply for the Settlement Scheme if you intend to stay.

You’ll be granted pre-settled status if you’ve been living in Guernsey for less than 5 years, and settled status if you’ve been Guernsey for 5 years or more.

Once you’ve printed and completed your form, take it in with your supporting documents to your friendly local Immigration Officer (seriously, they are super friendly!), pay your fee, and wait for the day you get to collect your passport with your shiny stamp of approval to stay in the Bailiwick.

You’re officially a local, congrats! Time for a bean jar, a slice of Gache, and a pint of Rocquette cider to celebrate.


> Completing your Leaving Guernsey Form

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