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International Agreement Visa | Temporary Work Visa

You can apply for a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - International Agreement) visa if:

  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland;

  • you’ll be contracted to do work covered by international law while in the UK, eg working for a foreign government or as a private servant in a diplomatic household;

  • you meet the other eligibility requirements.

To find out whether you can come to the UK under any of the categories below, call ICS Legal on 0207 237 3388 or e-mail us your details on ICS Legal helps a number of migrants by setting up their migration program in the UK. Complete the visa assessment form by clicking here

You need to be sponsored (ie have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed employer) before you can apply to come to the UK. The work you do in the UK must relate to the work of your sponsor organisation.

How long it will take
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK. You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. Check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.

How long you can stay
In most cases, you’ll be able to stay for 2 years, or the time is given on your certificate of sponsorship plus up to 28 days, whichever is shorter. In certain cases, you can only stay for 6 months in any 12 month period, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter. This applies if you’re providing a service:

  • under contract as set out in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS);

  • under similar trade agreements, such as the EU-Chile free trade agreement;

You can enter the UK 14 days before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship. You may be asked to leave the UK within 60 days if your job finishes early. It’s unlikely you’ll have to leave if your visa has less than 60 days remaining.

What you can and can’t do
You can:

  • the study - for some courses, you’ll need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate;

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship;

  • do a second job on the Tier 2 shortage occupation list or one in the same sector as your main job for up to 20 hours per week (unless you are a private servant, a contractual service supplier or an independent professional);

  • The study, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you’re sponsored for travel abroad and return to the UK;

  • bring family members with you.

You can’t:

  • get public funds;

  • start working before you get your visa.

Extend your visa
You can apply to extend your Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - International Agreement) visa. You should include any dependents who are on your current visa on your application to extend - including children who have turned 18 during your stay. You should apply before your current visa expires.

You must be in the UK to extend your visa. You must continue to meet the eligibility rules.

How long you can stay
You can apply to extend your visa for up to 2 years at a time up to a total maximum stay of 6 years unless:

  • you are a private servant in a diplomatic household and applied for your visa on or after 5 April 2012 - your total maximum stay can only be 5 years or until the last date of your employer’s posting, whichever is shorter;

  • you are a contractual service supplier or independent professional - you can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 6 months in any 12 month period.

You must also provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). You can give your biometric information at:

  • certain Post Office branches if you applied online (this costs £19.20);

  • a premium service centre if you applied in person.

You’ll get a biometric residence permit if your application to extend your visa is successful.

How long it takes
A decision will be made:

  • within 8 weeks for postal and online applications;

  • usually on the same day if you use the premium service.

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, eg:

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified;

  • if you need to attend an interview because of your personal circumstances eg you have a criminal conviction.

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.


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