Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa

Overview
You can apply for a Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa if you:

want to come to the UK for a short time for work experience or to do training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship through an approved government authorised exchange scheme
have a sponsor
are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
meet the other eligibility requirements

Sponsorship
You must get sponsored – ie have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor – before you can apply to come to the UK to work.

Your work, training or research in the UK must relate to the work of your sponsor organisation.

Your sponsor can be any of the following:

an organisation running an approved exchange scheme
a higher education institution (if you are a sponsored researcher, visiting academic or examiner)
a government department or agency
How long it will take
You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.

Check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.

Fees
How much you pay for your visa depends on your situation, where you are and how you apply.

Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch by post in the UK Extend or switch in person in the UK (premium service)
You £225 £225 £625
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £170 £170 £570
All dependants £225 each person £225 each person £625 each person
You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

How long you can stay
You can stay in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months (depending on the scheme you’re applying for) or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter.

You can enter the UK up to 14 days before the start date of your job.

What you can and can’t do
You can:

study (for some courses you’ll need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate)
work in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
do a second job for up to 20 hours per week
do a job on the Tier 2 shortage occupation list for up to 20 hours per week as well as your main job
apply to change (‘switch’) into a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa if you’re in the government authorised exchange scheme for sponsored researchers
bring family members with you
You can’t:

take a permanent job
get public funds


Eligibility

You must have both of the following:

a certificate of sponsorship reference number from your UK sponsor
£945 in savings – this is to prove you can support yourself and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply
You won’t need £945 in savings if your fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor has stated on your certificate of sponsorship that they’ll certify your maintenance and that you won’t claim benefits during your stay.

Certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship is a reference number which holds information about the job and your personal details. It’s not an actual certificate or paper document.

Your sponsor will give you your certificate of sponsorship reference number.

They must also give you some other information to help you to apply, eg your working hours.

You’ll need to add your certificate of sponsorship reference number to your application form – you can only use it once.

You must apply for your visa within 3 months of receiving your certificate of sponsorship.

Multiple entry
Your sponsor can give you a multiple entry certificate of sponsorship so you can leave and return to the UK.

Documents you must provide
When you apply you’ll need to provide:

a current passport or other valid travel identification
a passport-sized colour photograph
bank statements showing you’ve had at least £945 in savings continuously for 90 days before you apply – this is to prove you can support yourself and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply
your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
You’ll need to have a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.

You won’t need £945 in savings if your fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor has stated on your certificate of sponsorship that they’ll certify your maintenance and that you won’t claim benefits during your stay.

You must provide the original plus a photocopy of every document you provide.

You must also provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

Read the guide for a full list of documents you can provide.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

Apply
Read the full guidance before you apply.

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

Apply outside the UK
You must apply online for this visa.

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.

You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date).

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.

North Korea

You can’t apply online if you’re living in North Korea.

To apply from North Korea you must:

download the form and appendix
read the instructions on how to apply
Apply in the UK
You can only extend your existing visa or switch to this visa if you’re already in the UK.

Extend your visa
You can apply to extend your Tier 5 (Temporary worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa.

You should include any dependants who are on your current visa on your application to extend – including children who have turned 18 during your stay.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility
You might be able to extend your stay. You must still meet the eligibility requirements.

You must apply while you’re still in the UK.

How long you can stay
You can apply to stay in the UK for up to a maximum of:

12 months, if you’re doing work experience
24 months, if you’re doing research, training or an Overseas Government Language Programme
You can also stay for the length of time on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.

Fees
Who you’re applying for Apply by post Apply in person
You £225 £625
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £170 £570
All dependants £225 each £625 each
You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

How to extend your visa
Read the Tier 5 guidance before you apply.

You can either:

download the form and apply by post – the address is on the form from https://www.gov.uk/tier-5-government-authorised-exchange/extend-your-visa
download the form and use the premium service at a premium service centre https://www.gov.uk/tier-5-government-authorised-exchange/extend-your-visa
You should apply before your current visa expires.

Biometric information

You must also provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). This costs £19.20.

You can give your biometric information at:

at certain Post Office branches if you applied online
at a premium service centre if you applied in person
You’ll get a biometric residence permit if your application to extend your visa is successful.

How long it takes
A decision will be made:

within 8 weeks for postal applications
usually on the same day if you use the premium service
You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, for example because:

if your supporting documents need to be verified
if you need to attend an interview
because of your personal circumstances, eg if you have a criminal conviction
Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

Changing your sponsor

You must apply again and meet all the eligibility rules if you want to change your sponsor within the same organisation or move to a new organisation.

Switch to this visa
You can apply to change (‘switch’) to a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility
You can apply if you’re a:

student, whether studying, re-sitting an examination or writing a thesis
student union sabbatical officer
student nurse
postgraduate doctor or dentist
Tier 4 visa
sponsored researcher who came to the UK on a work permit and you want to continue in the same job with your sponsor
You must have completed a UK bachelor’s or master’s degree during your last grant of leave.

You must also have both of the following, whether you have the relevant qualifications or study time: 


a certificate of sponsorship reference number from your UK sponsor
£945 in savings in your bank account for 90 days before you apply, or confirmation from your sponsor that you will not claim public funds during your stay
Fees
Who you’re applying for Apply by post Apply in person
You £225 £625
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £170 £570
All dependants £225 each £625 each
You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

How to switch your visa
You can:

download the form and apply by post – the address is on the form
download the form and use the premium service at a premium service centre
Biometric information

You must also provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). This costs £19.20.

You can give your biometric information at:

at certain Post Office branches if you applied online
at a premium service centre if you applied in person
You’ll get a biometric residence permit if your application to extend your visa is successful.

How long it takes
A decision will be made:

within 8 weeks for postal applications
usually on the same day if you use the premium service
You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, eg:

if your supporting documents need to be verified
if you need to attend an interview
because of your personal circumstances eg you have a criminal conviction
Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

Family members
Your family members (‘dependants’) must apply to join or remain with you in the UK if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

your partner
your child under 18
your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant
They’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of their application. Check how much they’ll have to pay before they apply.

Read the guidance on dependant applications before you apply.

You can use the premium service if you’re a dependant applying in the UK on your own or you’re applying for your UK-born child to stay.

Savings

You must show that your dependants can be supported while they’re in the UK.

Each dependant must have £630 available to them whether they apply with you or separately. This is in addition to the £945 you must have to support yourself.

You must have proof you have the money, and that it’s been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 90 days before you or they apply.

Example
You must have £2,205 if you want to bring your partner and one child with you to the UK – £945 to support yourself + £630 for your partner + £630 for your child.

Dependants applying outside the UK
Your family members must apply online.

They’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of their application.

They’ll have to collect their biometric residence permit within 10 days of when they said they’d arrive in the UK (even if they actually arrive at a later date).

They may be able to get their visa faster or other services depending on what country they’re in – check with the visa application centre.

North Korea

Your family members can’t apply online if they’re from North Korea.

To apply from North Korea they must:

download the form and guidance
read the instructions on how to apply
Dependants applying in the UK on their own
Your dependants can apply to extend or switch their visas to stay with you if they’re already in the UK. Dependants can:

apply online – dependant partner application
apply online – dependant child application
download the paper form
download the paper form and apply using the premium service at a premium service centre
Family members can’t apply in the UK as your dependant if they hold a visitor visa.

Biometric information

Each person applying must also provide their biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). This costs £19.20.

They can give your biometric information at:

at certain Post Office branches if you applied online
at a premium service centre if you applied in person
They’ll get a biometric residence permit if their application is successful.

Children born while you’re in the UK
If you have children while you’re in the UK, you can apply for permission for them to stay.

You must do this if you want to travel in and out of the UK with them.

When you apply, send a full UK birth certificate for each child showing the names of both parents.

You can:

apply online – dependant child application
apply by post – download the paper form (the address is on the form)
download the paper form and apply using the premium service at a premium service centre

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