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Appendix A Sponsor Licence Documents

If you are a UK employer looking to employ an overseas national, you must first complete a sponsor licence application and obtain a licence before you can do so.

For more information about gathering and submitting the right supporting documents when making a sponsor licence application, including bespoke advice that makes it easier to get a sponsor licence, get in touch with us today on 0330 311 6351 to access our team of experienced immigration experts.


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Overview of Appendix A Sponsor Licence

Appendix A guides applicants on which documents to include in their sponsor licence applications. In most cases, applicants must provide at least four mandatory documents depending on their circumstances or organisation type.

Applicants may not need to provide up to four documents if they are a:

  • Public body recognised by the UK Government, such as a local authority.
  • Company listed on the London Stock Exchange Main Market.

The required documents can be determined by carefully reading the requirements in each list below:

  • List 1: Specific bodies and organisations.
  • List 2: Start-ups, Franchises, Charities and Organisations subject to regulation or inspection.
  • List 3: Organisations applying for route-specific licences.
  • List 4: Undefined organisations.

As an applicant, the best way to determine which documents you are required to send is to read through each list carefully. Even after you have identified documents that apply to your organisation in a list, you must check other lists to ensure you do not leave out other important documents.

What are the required documents for Sponsor Licence applications?


The following lists show specific organisations and all the documents required to make a sponsorship licence application:

  • List 1: Specific bodies and organisations.
  • List 2: Start-ups, Franchises, Charities and Organisations subject to regulation or inspection.
  • List 3: Organisations applying for route-specific licences.
  • List 4: Undefined organisations.
two people handing documents

List 1: Specific bodies and organisations


List 1 covers organisations such as public bodies (published and unpublished), government departments, local authorities, establishments applying under an international agreement, enterprises listed on the London stock exchange main market, and scale-up companies.

Public bodies published by the UK government (also known as quangos)

These organisations appear in the UK government’s 2013 report. No documents are required to be sent except for mandatory documents applicable to the particular route applied for and found in other lists.

Public bodies not published by the UK government

These public organisations do not appear in the UK government’s 2013 report. In addition to mandatory documents applicable to the route you are applying for, you should also send either of the following:

  • Document from your sponsoring government department proving that you are a public body
  • A cover email or letter showing details of your sponsoring department to facilitate an online check, if your details are published on your sponsoring department’s website.

Government Department

No documents are required to be sent except for mandatory documents applicable to the particular route applied for.

Local authority with an accessible website

Except for mandatory documents included in other lists below and specific to your immigration route, no documents are required.

Establishments applying under an international agreement

Suppose you are applying as an overseas government, a diplomatic mission, or an international organisation whose employees enjoy certain privileges and immunities under UK or international law. In that case, you must include with your application a signed letter from your Head of Mission, or Head of Organisation, confirming that they:

  • Agree to the application for a sponsor licence being made.
  • Wish to sponsor workers on the International Agreement route.
  • Accept the duties of sponsorship.

Enterprises listed on the London stock exchange market

Except for mandatory documents included in other lists below and specific to your immigration route, no documents are required.


No documents are needed unless you are required to be registered with or monitored by a regulatory agency to operate lawfully in the UK, in which case you must send any evidence or information specified, found on other lists below, for such organisations.

Are you aiming to apply for a Sponsor Licence? Our expert immigration lawyers are here to assist you.

List 2: Start-ups, Franchises, Charities and Organisations subject to regulation or inspection


This list covers the documents required to be submitted by franchises, charities, start-ups, and organisations that are subject to inspection or regulation.


You must send your franchise agreement signed by the parties involved.

Start-ups (Less than 18 months of operation or trading)

Except you’re applying under the Global Business Mobility – UK expansion worker, you must send evidence that you have a current, corporate bank account with a bank registered by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority in the UK.

If you are unable to provide four necessary documents from Lists 1 to 3, you can also send any of:

  • A certificate of VAT registration.
  • A letter from your corporate banking provider, setting out the dealings it has had with you, including the nature and duration of those dealings.
  • Any document from List 4 below.

Establishments that are required to be registered with and/or inspected/monitored by a Regulatory Body

These establishments include:

  • Nursing or care homes and other businesses, which must be inspected by Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission or the equivalent bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Financial or insurance businesses carrying out regulated activities which must be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority.
  • Healthcare and medical providers, who must be registered with the General Medical Council or General Dental Council.
  • Other unlisted businesses that require regulation or inspection.

Unless asked to do so, you do not need to provide any documents as the Home Office will carry out an online check on your organisation and other branches included in the application.

If you are regulated by a company that is different from the ones listed above, you must send evidence of your registration and the web link to a page on the regulatory body’s website where your status can be verified online.

Food Businesses that are required to be registered with or approved by a Food Authority

You must send evidence of your registration or approval to the Home Office which can be a rating or a letter from the registering or approving authority.


If you are registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, or the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), you do not need to include any documentation as the Home Office will conduct an online check to confirm your claims.

Ecclesiastical establishments must send evidence that they are established for charitable purposes while schools that hold academy status need not send any evidence.

If you are not registered according to a relevant charity legislation, you must explain why it is so.

a person filling out an application form

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List 3: Organisations applying for route-specific licences


This list covers specific routes (under the Worker and Temporary Worker visa) and the documents applicable to each of them.

International Sportsperson

To sponsor sportspersons including coaches, you must send a copy of the endorsement from the governing body for your sport, which has been approved already by the Home Office. The copy must contain the body’s unique reference number.

Service supplier under the Global Business Mobility (GBM)

To sponsor contractual service suppliers or independent professionals, you must show proof that you have been awarded a service contract for a period of 12 months or less. The contract must be genuine under an eligible international trade agreement as outlined in the guidance for sponsoring a GBM worker.

Government Authorised Exchange (GAE)

Your scheme must have been endorsed by an endorsing government department and approved by the Home Office.

Thereafter, you would only need to send a total of three documents which can be mandatory ones from list two and other documents from lists three and four.

Seasonal Worker

To be eligible to apply for a seasonal worker licence, you would already have completed a Request for information exercise by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). You must send, afterwards, a copy of your endorsement form DEFRA to the Home Office as evidence.

Minister of Religion (T2) or Religious Worker

Where applicable, you must send a form from the General Register office showing your authorisation:

  • For the use of a building as a place of worship.
  • To conduct marriages at a place of worship.

In addition, you must send information which shows the following:

  • Which faith or religion you belong to.
  • Details of your parent organisation and how you are connected to them, if applicable.
  • A hierarchy chart that shows where you are in the hierarchy, if applicable.
  • The size of your adult congregation.
  • The number of clergies you currently employ, where applicable.
  • The addresses of your regular meeting places.
  • Your scheduled days and hours of worship.
two persons in a business suit

Graduate Trainee and Senior or Specialist Worker (Global Business Mobility)

As evidence that you are linked by common ownership or control, or through a joint venture agreement, to a qualifying overseas business, you must send one of the following to the Home Office:

  • Head Office’s audited accounts or audited annual report clearly showing the link between both entities.
  • An affidavit signed by a senior partner/executive within the UK entity, identifying all of the connected entities both in the UK and overseas.
  • Certified copy of the agreement naming both entities as parties or one entity as a party and the other entity as the subject of the agreement which allows one entity to control the composition of the other entity’s board.
  • Certified copy of the share register or equivalent of one or other of the entities showing ownership by the entity or a copy of the share registers of both entities showing the common parent company.
  • Certified copy of the agreement naming both entities as parties or one entity as a party and the other entity as the subject of the agreement which allows one entity to cast or control the casting of more than half the maximum number of votes that might be cast at a general meeting of the other entity.
  • A notarised statement by the company secretary of the organisation, setting out the global corporate structure with ownership percentages of each related corporate entity detailed if registered on the London Stock Exchange or one of the FCA-approved international stock exchanges.
  • A certified copy of the joint venture agreement naming both entities as parties or one entity as a party and the other entity as the entity formed by that agreement.
  • A certified copy of the agreement which allows both entities to use a trademark which is registered or established under the laws of the UK and the jurisdiction of the other entity’s country of operation – this is only applicable to accountancy or law firms
  • A certified copy of the agreement which allows both entities to operate under the same name in the UK and in the jurisdiction of the other entity’s country of operation – this is only applicable to accountancy or law firms.
  • A certified copy of the agreement naming both entities as parties or one entity as a party and the other entity as the entity formed by that agreement that would constitute a joint venture agreement other than for the fact that joint venture agreements are not permitted in the country of operation; or one of the entities is not permitted to enter into joint ventures in the country of operation.
  • Articles of Association.

Applicants under the Graduate Trainee route must also provide evidence of their graduate training programmes, such as a brochure for the course, evidence of the recruitment for the programme, or a company website giving details of the programme.

UK Expansion Worker (Global Business Mobility)

For the UK expansion worker route, you must send evidence related to each of the following categories:

  • Proof of UK footprint e.g. proof of a UK registered branch or proof that you bought or leased business premises in the UK.
  • Evidence of overseas trading presence – You must submit the following unless specified otherwise
    • Evidence you have been trading overseas for at least 12 months before the date of your application.
    • Evidence your business was trading overseas three years before the date of application.
  • Evidence of your planned expansion to the UK which must include the following:
    • At least one document showing your capability to fund your planned expansion by detailing funds available to cover the initial costs for the first 12 months, as projected in your expansion plan.
    • At least two documents showing evidence of your expansion plans.
  • Other documents such as
    • annual reports and investor information.
    • Evidence of engagement with, or advice sought from, specialist advice companies, such as company formation businesses, relocation firms, UK corporate law services, tax services, or the British Chamber of Commerce.
    • Details of any recruitment campaigns you have run, or plan to run, in the UK for employees of the UK business once trading begins.
    • Articles of Association for your overseas business or equivalent document.
    • Details of any tendering or process where any activity relating to your business expansion plan, such as the commission of market research, has been conducted by an independent third party.
    • Any document from List 4.

Secondment Worker (Global Business Mobility)

You must send proof that you have a contract with an overseas business for goods or investments worth at least £10 million per year, and no less than £50 million in total.

Student or Child Student

You must send the following:

  • Proof that you are based in the UK.
  • Proof of your lawful operation and trading in the UK
  • Proof that you have registered for VAT with HM Revenue and Customs where required to do so
  • A written record of a fire risk assessment conducted by a competent person.
  • Evidence to show that you have appropriate planning permission or local planning authority consent to operate the relevant type or class of organisation at your trading address.
  • Any documentation which is required to demonstrate that your sites, exceptional arrangements and/or partnerships, where applicable, meet all of the relevant requirements of the Student sponsor guidance.

If you are a new independent school, you must send evidence that you have been formally registered by the relevant Government Department in your country.

You must submit all the following if you are an overseas educational institution offering short-term ‘study abroad’ programmes in your own premises in the UK to students who are enrolled in their home country:

  • Overseas accreditation, which can be confirmed by Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC), that your programmes are UK Higher Education equivalents.
  • Proof that you only teach part of your programmes in the UK.
  • Proof that you have full legal control of the premises you use.

Want to apply for a sponsor licence but unsure where to start? Reach out to us and let us guide you through the process.

List 4: Undefined Organisations

You can send any of the following documents where applicable:

  • Evidence that you have employer’s liability insurance cover for at least £5m from an authorised insurer.
  • Proof of your listing on the London Stock Exchange AIM market.
  • Proof of your listing on one of the Financial Conduct Authority-approved international stock exchanges.
  • Proof of registration with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as self-employed.
  • Current financial report or audited annual report showing the name of the accountant who should be a member of an accredited accounting body such as the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA).
  • Original or certified copies of evidence of Registration with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as an employer to pay PAYE & National Insurance.
  • Latest acknowledgement of a Company Tax Return CT620, or the completed CT600 tax return and the CT603 notice.
  • Evidence of submitting returns to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) – Foreign Entertainers Unit.
  • Evidence that you have the appropriate planning permission to operate your type/class of business at your trading address where this is a Local Authority requirement.
  • Proof of listing as an overseas company on the London Stock Exchange International Companies listing.
  • Your latest audited annual accounts clearly showing the name of the accountant, who must be a member of an accredited accounting body such as:
    • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
    • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
    • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
    • Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA).
  • Latest annual self-assessment tax return to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
  • Latest corporate/business bank statement and/or a letter from your bank setting out the dealings it has had with you, including the nature and duration of its dealings.
  • Proof of ownership or lease of your business premises (showing the signatures of all parties concerned).
  • Licence for premises to serve alcohol issued by the local authority/court.
a woman holding a document

The process of obtaining a Sponsor Licence can be complex. We would be happy to help and make it easier for you.

How do I apply for a Sponsor Licence?

After you have verified that your business is eligible, the following are the steps required to apply for a sponsor licence application process:

  • Check to ensure the job is eligible for sponsorship.
  • Decide the type of licence you want to apply for.
  • Choose those who will manage the sponsor management system (SMS).
  • Complete an application online, submit documents and pay all required application fees.

What happens after I apply for a sponsor licence?

If your application is approved, you will receive an A-rated licence and your business will be listed in the register of sponsors.

The A-rated licence is a full sponsor licence which allows you to start assigning certificates of sponsorship if you have jobs that are suitable for sponsorship.

The sponsor licence is valid for four years after which you may renew it upon meeting the conditions for renewal.

a man in a business suit holding a document

Am I eligible to apply for a sponsor licence?

To be eligible to submit a sponsor licence application as an employer, you must not:

  • Have had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months.
  • Have any unspent criminal convictions for offences in areas such as immigration, money laundering and fraud.

To be eligible for a sponsorship licence, you and your sponsor team must not:

  • Have an unspent criminal conviction for any of the relevant offences listed in the sponsor licence guidance and not pose any threat to UK immigration control.
  • Have been fined by UKVI in the past 12 months.
  • Have been reported to UKVI.
  • Have broken the law.
  • Have been a ‘key person’ at a sponsor that had its licence revoked in the last 12 months.
  • Have failed to pay VAT or other excise duty.

Furthermore, you and your team must be based in the UK most of the time, not have a history of non-compliance with sponsor requirements, and not be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project.

Also, the team must not be subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or undertaking, or a debt relief restriction order or undertaking.

You must demonstrate that you are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK. If you have branches in the UK, you may apply for one licence to cover all your linked UK branches or separate licences for each branch, depending on your circumstances.

The Home Office must be satisfied that you can offer genuine employment in a skilled occupation and that you will pay the correct rate of salary, as specified by the Home Office.

Maximize your chances of approval in applying a Sponsorship Licence. Let our expert immigration lawyers guide you.

How can IAS help?

If your sponsorship licence application is rejected for any reason, it would take a while before you can reapply, costing you delays which reflects in your short and long-term business goals.

Therefore, it is advisable to work with informed immigration professionals who would apply their wealth of knowledge and experience in helping you make a well-prepared application.

At IAS, we can assess your eligibility and determine the right type of sponsor licence to apply for depending on the type of workers you are looking to sponsor. We can, as well, determine the right Appendix A sponsor licence documents to include in your application and ensure you complete all required steps correctly.

Call us today on 0330 311 6351 or chat with us online to discuss your needs with an experienced immigration expert who will work with you to achieve your desired outcome.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

After the sponsor licence application has been submitted online, you must send all mandatory documents listed on the submission sheet made available to you.

You should scan or take clear pictures of all pages of your submission sheet (which has been signed and dated by your authorising officer) and mandatory documents. They must, then, be sent to the email address provided on the submission sheet.

You may contact the Home Office through the contact details given on the submission sheet in case you are unable to send documents electronically.

Failure to submit mandatory documents may result in rejected applications. Also, if you fail to send all requested documents as well as your signed submission sheet within 5 working days, the application may be rejected.

If required documents, other than the mandatory ones are missing from your application, you will be contacted by the Home Office. If you do not send the requested documents within 5 working days, your application will be rejected.

Other reasons why the Home Office may refuse sponsor licence applications and sponsor licence renewals include the use of fake supporting documents, incomplete applications, failure to pass the Home Office’s compliance audit, and complications with SMS key personnel.

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