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Tier 5

There are a number of different visa options under Tier 5 that you may wish to consider:

  1. Tier 5 (Temporary worker-charity worker) visa
  2. Tier 5 (Temporary worker- creative and sporting) visa
  3. Tier 5 (Temporary worker- government authorised exchange) visa
  4. Tier 5 (Temporary worker- international agreement) visa
  5. Tier 5 (Temporary worker- religious worker) visa
  6. Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa

The two types of Tier 5 visa which may be of particular interest to students are the Tier 5 (Temporary worker- government authorised exchange) and Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa.

Tier 5 (Temporary worker- Government Authorised Exchange) visa

You can apply for this type of visa if you want to come to the UK through an approved government authorised exchange scheme. All Higher Education Institutions who hold a Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) licence are permitted to use Tier 5 (GAE) for the following types of roles:

  • Sponsored researchers (which commonly means you have been issued a grant or fellowship to undertake research)
  • Visiting academics who will give lectures, act as an examiner or work on a supernumerary research collaboration

However, you can only enter this route by applying from outside the UK.


You must:

  • Have a licensed sponsor who can issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). You will need a CoS before you can submit a visa application. The CoS provides various details about the role and your personal details.
  • Have £945 in savings to prove that you can fully support yourself whilst in the UK. This must have been in your bank account for 90 days. (Individuals with a fully approved ‘A rated’ sponsor do not need to meet this requirement and your maintenance is certified in your CoS).
  • Not take up a permanent or advertised vacancy.
  • The funding/salary must meet UK national minimum wage requirements.


You can stay in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months depending on the scheme you are applying for, or the time given on your CoS plus 28 days, whichever is shorter.

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

Switching from inside the UK

Students who currently hold a Tier 4 visa are permitted to switch into Tier 5 (GAE), but only if they are undertaking work experience or an internship. The following conditions apply in these cases:

  • If you wish to undertake either work experience or an internship, you must first approach an overarching body who will be your sponsor. Only certain bodies are approved as sponsors for work experience purposes. See the link for full details.
  • It is your responsibility to obtain a CoS through an overarching body which you can then use to apply for a Tier 5 (GAE) visa. The Institution who will be hosting your work experience/internship will be required to provide a letter for the purposes of your visa application.

Visa Application

The following provides an overview of the application process:

  • You can apply up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.
  • Apply using the online application form (unless in North Korea).
  • You must submit your passport, two passport photographs, bank statements to show you meet the maintenance requirement (unless exempt) and a TB certificate if required.
  • All documents must be the original plus a photocopy.
  • You should provide certified translations of any documents not in English or Welsh.
  • Additional documents may be required depending on your circumstances.

Further information is outlined on the Home Office website


Tier 5 (Youth Mobility) visa


  • Are aged between 18 to 30
  • Have £1890 in savings
  • Are from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Taiwan OR
  • Are a British overseas citizen, British overseas territories citizen or a British national (overseas)

You cannot apply if you have children who live with you, children you are financially responsible for or if you have already been in the UK under the scheme or in the former ‘working holiday maker’ category.


You can live and work in the UK without restriction for up to 24 months. You can enter and leave the UK at any time during your stay.

Switching from inside the UK

You cannot apply to switch to this visa from inside the UK.

Visa Application

  • You will need to submit your passport, a passport sized photograph, bank statement(s)showing that you have £1890 in savings and a TB certificate if applicable.
  • Any documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied with a certified translation.
  • Additional documents may be required depending on circumstance.

Citizens of Hong Kong or the Republic of Korea must get a certificate of sponsorship before they can apply for the visa.

Further information is outlined on the Home Office website