You can apply for a Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange visa if you:

This visa has replaced the Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5).

If you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein 

If you or your family member started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme.

The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people. You can still apply if either:

  • you have a later deadline - for example, you’re joining a family member in the UK who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021 - for example, you had an illness or were the victim of domestic abuse

Check if you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Otherwise you need a visa to work in the UK.

Irish citizens do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme.


You need to have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor before you can apply to come to the UK to work.

A certificate of sponsorship is not a paper document. It’s a reference number your sponsor gives you which confirms your job and personal details.

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 takes

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents.

You may need to allow extra time if you need an appointment to do this. You’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.

Getting a decision

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:

  • 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
  • 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK

If you need to go to an appointment, you may be able to pay for a faster decision. How you do this depends on whether you’re outside the UK or inside the UK.

How much it costs

You, your partner or children will each need to:

Application fee

The application fee for each person applying is £259.

The fee is the same whether you’re applying from inside or outside the UK.

How long you can stay in the UK

The amount of time you can stay depends on the length of your visa and the start and end dates of your job.

Depending on the scheme you apply for, you’ll get a visa for a maximum of 10 months, 12 months or 24 months.

You can enter the UK up to 14 days before the date your job starts, as long as you do not arrive before the start date on your visa.

You can stay in the UK for up to 14 days after the date your job ends, as long as you do not stay past the end date on your visa.

You cannot enter the UK before the date your visa starts. You must leave the UK by the end date on your visa.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

You cannot: