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This route is for those who have a sponsor and want to come to the UK for a short time (usually one or two years) for work experience, an internship, or to do training, research or a fellowship.

You will need a certificate of sponsorship (COS) from a licensed sponsor before you can apply for this visa. Your sponsor can be:

  • an organisation running an approved government exchange scheme

  • a higher education institution (if you are a sponsored researcher, visiting academic or examiner)

  • a government department or agency.

You can only apply for this visa from outside the UK, unless you are applying to undertake work experience or an internship and are switching from a Tier 4 visa.


You must have £945 in savings to prove that you can fully support yourself while 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).

If you are hoping to do an internship or other work experience scheme, your employer would normally be expected to sponsor you. If the employer does not hold a Tier 5 licence, there are ‘overarching bodies’ who will sponsor you on behalf of the employer for a fee.

Two of the most relevant ‘overarching bodies’ for students are Access Tier 5 and Tier 5 intern.

You can find more information about the Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) visa category on the GOV.UK website.


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