- What is the Government Authorised Exchange Scheme?
- Who is eligible for the Government Authorised Exchange Visa?
- Required documents for the Government Authorised Exchange Visa
- What can you do on a Government Authorised Exchange Visa?
- How to apply for the Government Authorised Exchange Visa
- What are the fees and processing times?
- How can I extend my visa or switch to this visa?
- Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirement
- How can IAS help with the Government Authorised Exchange visa?
- Frequently asked questions
What is the Government Authorised Exchange Scheme?
The Government Authorised Exchange Visa was previously known as the Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5). This visa is part of the UK’s Temporary Worker visa category and is aimed at foreign nationals planning to come to the UK with the aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice.
To be eligible for this visa you must be coming to the country under a government-approved exchange scheme and have a licensed sponsor. Your sponsor could be an organisation running an approved exchange scheme, a government department or agency or a higher education institution if you are either a sponsored researcher, examiner or visiting academic. A full list of the approved schemes that are eligible for this visa can be found here.
The Government Authorised Exchange Visa allows you to enter the UK for a short time for the purpose of work experience, training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship. How long you can stay in the UK for depends on what you will be doing whilst here. You can stay for up to 12 months if you are doing work experience or you can stay for up to 24 months if you will be doing research, training or an Overseas Government Language Programme.
As well as doing the work outlined in the exchange scheme you are participating in this visa also allows you to study and take on a second job part-time whilst in the UK.
Required documents for the Government Authorised Exchange Visa
When applying for your Government Authorised Exchange visa you will also be expected to submit a number of documents to prove that you meet the visa requirements. The documents that you will need include:
- A valid passport or another national identity document, you will also need a blank page on your passport for your visa
- Your certificate of sponsorship reference number
- Evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself, this could include bank statements
- Your tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where you have to take the test
- A valid ATAS certificate if your employer tells you that you need one because your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher
If you are planning to bring any dependent relatives with you to the UK such as your partner or children then you will also need to provide documents proving your relationship with them.
All documents submitted must be in either English or Welsh, if your documents are in another language then you will need to provide a certified translation of them.
What can you do on a Government Authorised Exchange Visa?
The Government Authorised Exchange Visa is a Temporary Worker Visa that allows you to participate in work experience, training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship whilst in the UK. These activities must be part of an approved scheme.
This visa also allows you to do some activities outside of the job described on your Certificate of Sponsorship, this includes studying and taking on a second job outside of your main job. However, you cannot take on a permanent job whilst in the UK, you can only take on a second job on a part-time basis for up to 20 hours per week.
You also cannot access public funds as a Government Authorised Exchange visa holder.
Who is eligible for the Government Authorised Exchange Visa?
You could be eligible to apply for the Government Authorised Exchange visa if you plan to come to the UK for a short period of time to do work experience, training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship through one of the schemes approved by the UK government.
As well as being accepted onto an approved scheme there are several other eligibility requirements that you will need to meet, you must:
- Be over the age of 18
- Hold a Certificate of Sponsorship from a registered UK sponsor
- Prove that you have enough money to support yourself whilst in the UK, you will need to show that you have at least £1,270 available in your bank account for at least 28 days in a row within 31 days of your visa application
You can be exempt from the financial requirement if you have already been in the UK for at least 12 months on a valid visa or if your employer agrees to cover your costs during your first month in the UK.
How to apply for the Government Authorised Exchange Visa
You must apply for the Government Authorised Exchange Visa online via the form available on the gov.uk website. You can apply for this visa up to 3 months before you are due to start work in the UK.
As well as completing the application form you must also prove your identity as part of your Government Authorised Exchange Visa application. How you do this will depend on where you are from and the type of passport that you hold.
You will either need to use the UK Immigration: ID Check app to scan your valid identity document or if this is not possible you will need to attend an appointment at a visa application centre to have your biometric information taken, this is your photograph and fingerprints.
It’s worth noting that you can only apply for this visa from outside of the UK. If you are currently in the UK you can only apply to extend this visa or to switch from your current visa to this one.
What are the fees and processing times for the Government Authorised Exchange Visa?
The application fee for the Government Authorised Exchange Visa is £259.
As well as the application fee you will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is usually £624 per year. If you are bringing family members with you will also need to pay separate application fees and Health Surcharge fees for them.
Processing times for this visa may depend on a variety of factors, such as if the Home Office need extra time to verify your information or if you need to attend an appointment at a visa application centre. However, once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your required documents, you’ll normally receive a decision on your visa within 3 weeks if you’re outside the UK, or 8 weeks if you’re applying to switch to this visa from inside the UK.
How can I extend my visa or switch to this visa?
Extending your visa
You can apply to extend your visa if you’re already in the UK on a valid Government Authorised Exchange visa. In order to be eligible, you must:
- Still meet all the eligibility criteria for the visa
- Still have a valid visa that is not expired
After extending your visa, you’ll be able to stay in the UK for either a further:
- 12 months, if you’re doing work experience, or
- 24 months, if you’re doing research, training or an Overseas Government Language Programme
You can also stay for the length of time on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.
Note that if you wish to change your sponsor, you must apply for a new visa again.
Switching to this visa
You may be able to switch to a Government Authorised Exchange visa if you’re eligible.
You can apply if you’re any of the following:
- A student, such as if you’re studying, resitting an examination or writing a thesis
- A student union sabbatical officer
- A student nurse
- A postgraduate doctor or dentist
- A Student visa holder (including Tier 4)
You must have also completed a UK bachelor’s or master’s degree during your last grant of leave.
You must also ensure that the work, training or research you wish to do in the UK is related to your UK degree, such as the following:
- A postgraduate training or work experience that will give you a professional qualification or registration in the same field
- An internship for up to 12 months that’s related to your degree
Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirement
To apply for a Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange Visa in the UK, make sure you meet these key requirements:
- Obtain a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from an approved Home Office sponsor. Your sponsor must hold the appropriate license for the exchange scheme you’re participating in.
- Your sponsor should fulfil their responsibilities in overseeing your program, and they must be A-rated on the Home Office’s list of registered sponsors. This requirement may not apply if you’re continuing with the same sponsor as in your previous permission on the Government Authorised Exchange route.
- Ensure your CoS is issued within 3 months of your Visa application date and contains essential information such as your name, job details, a start date within 3 months, scheme requirements, no job replacement, alignment with skilled occupations tables, and no previous use in a successful, refused, withdrawn, or cancelled application.
Meeting these conditions is crucial for a successful Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange Visa application in the UK.
How can IAS help?
If you want to apply for the Government Authorised Exchange route, our lawyers are here to help. We have helped thousands of clients to apply for their Temporary Worker Visas and know exactly what it takes for an application to be successful.
Because this visa is only for those participating in certain activities through an approved scheme it can be difficult to know whether you are eligible. Our lawyers can assess your eligibility and if you are not eligible they can also advise you about how you can meet the requirements or offer some alternative visas that you may be eligible for.
When it comes to completing your application our lawyers can be there to support you through every step of the process, this includes assisting you with the application form, helping to gather all of the required documents and communicating with the Home Office on your behalf.
Last modified on September 27th, 2023 at 2:20 pm
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