You’ll usually need a sponsor licence to employ someone to work for you from outside the UK. This includes citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020.

This includes unpaid work, like running a charity.

You will not need a licence to sponsor certain groups, for example:

  • Irish citizens
  • those with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK

Read more about who does not need sponsorship.

Sponsoring someone does not guarantee that they’ll get a visa to work for you in the UK.

How to get a sponsor licence

  1. Check your business is eligible.

  2. Check if your job is suitable for sponsorship.

  3. Choose the type of licence you want to apply for - this will depend on what type of worker you want to sponsor.

  4. Decide who will manage sponsorship within your business.

  5. Apply online and pay the fee.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may visit your business to check it’s suitable.

After you apply

You’ll be given a licence rating if your application is successful.

You’ll be able to issue certificates of sponsorship if you have jobs that are suitable for sponsorship.

Your licence usually stays valid for as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

If you have a licence to sponsor Scale-up Workers or UK Expansion Workers, it will be valid for 4 years. You will not be able to apply for another licence to sponsor these types of workers.

You may lose your licence if you do not meet your responsibilities as a sponsor.