1. Overview

You may need to apply for a registration certificate to be allowed to work in the UK.

The type of registration certificate you may need will depend on:

  • whether you need permission to work in the UK
  • what you’ll be doing

You must be working, self-employed, studying or able to support yourself to stay in the UK longer than 3 months.

Working for someone else (an employee)

You may need to apply for a purple registration certificate to be able to work. A licensed UK employer must sponsor you first.

You can apply for a purple registration certificate before you come to the UK.

If you have a degree from a UK institution

You won’t need to be sponsored or apply for a purple registration certificate - but you’ll still need to apply for a blue registration certificate to prove your right to work in the UK.

You’ll need to be in the UK to apply.

If you have an endorsement from an approved organisation

You won’t need to be sponsored or apply for a purple registration certificate if you have an endorsement from an approved organisation (eg the Arts Council or Royal Academy).

You’ll still need to apply for a blue registration certificate to prove your right to work in the UK.

Working for yourself (self employed)

You don’t need permission to work for yourself.

You can choose to apply for a yellow registration certificate to prove your right to work for yourself.

You’ll need to be in the UK to apply.

Studying

You’ll need to apply for a yellow registration certificate if you want to work while you study.

You’ll need to be in the UK to apply.

Your family members

Your family members can also work in the UK if they’re eligible.

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