Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa

Overview
You can apply for a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa if:

you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
you’ll be contracted to do work covered by international law while in the UK, eg working for a foreign government or as a private servant in a diplomatic household
you meet the other eligibility requirements
Sponsorship
You need to be sponsored (ie have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed employer) before you can apply to come to the UK.

The work you do in the UK must relate to the work of your sponsor organisation.

How long it will take
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

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

Fees
How much you pay for a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) 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 £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 long you can stay
In most cases you’ll be able to stay for 2 years, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus up to 28 days, whichever is shorter.

In certain cases you can only stay for 6 months in any 12 month period, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter. This applies if you’re providing a service:

under contract as set out in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
under similar trade agreements, such as the EU-Chile free trade agreement
You can enter the UK 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship.

You may be asked to leave the UK within 60 days if your job finishes early. It’s unlikely you’ll have to leave if your visa has less than 60 days remaining.

What you can and can’t do
You can:

study – for some courses you’ll need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate
work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
do a second job on the Tier 2 shortage occupation list or one in the same sector as your main job for up to 20 hours per week (unless you are a private servant, a contractual service supplier or an independent professional)
study, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
travel abroad and return to the UK
bring family members with you
You can’t:

get public funds
start working before you get your visa

Eligibility
You can apply for a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa if you have:

a certificate of sponsorship reference number
£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.

Work covered by international law
Your work in the UK must be any of the following:

covered by the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
covered by similar agreements between the UK and other countries
for an overseas government or international organisation
as a private servant in a diplomatic household or in the household of an employee of an international organisation
Certificate of sponsorship
A certificate of sponsorship is a unique reference number that holds information about you and your job. It’s not an actual certificate or paper document.

Your sponsor will give you the certificate of sponsorship.

Your sponsor will also give you the information they used on your certificate about your job, eg your working hours.

Your sponsor must be recognised by the UK government to issue certificates of sponsorship.

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 size 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’ll need to 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 – International Agreement) 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 must be in the UK to extend your visa.

You must continue to meet the eligibility rules.

How long you can stay
You can apply to extend your visa for up to 2 years at a time up to a total maximum stay of 6 years unless:

you are a private servant in a diplomatic household and applied for your visa on or after 5 April 2012 – your total maximum stay can only be 5 years or until the last date of your employer’s posting, whichever is shorter
you are a contractual service supplier or independent professional – you can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 6 months in any 12 month period
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 full Tier 5 guidance before you apply.

Within the UK you’ll need to download the form then either:

apply by post – the address is on the form
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:

certain Post Office branches if you applied online
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 and online 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.

Switch to this visa
You can apply to switch into a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa while you are in the UK if you want to continue working for your current employer and you:

have a work permit
work for an overseas government or international organisation
You should apply before your current visa expires.

How long you can stay
You can stay for 2 years or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus up to 28 days, whichever is shorter.

How to switch your visa
Within the UK you can:

download the form and apply by post – the address is on the form
apply in person for the premium service – you must fill out the paper form before you attend your appointment
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
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.

Fees
Switching to this visa costs:

£225 to apply by post
£625 to apply in 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 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) and Switzerland.

A dependant is any of the following:

your partner
your child aged under 18
your child aged 18 or older if they’re already in the UK as dependants
It’s best to send your dependant’s application at the same time as yours. Read the guidance on dependant applications before you apply.

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.

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. They 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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