Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) 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, for example working for a foreign government or as a private servant in a diplomatic household
  • you meet the other eligibility requirements


You need to be sponsored (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

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before the date you’re due to start work. This date is on your certificate of sponsorship.

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 much you pay for a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa depends on your situation, where you are and how you apply.

Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch online or by post in the UK Extend or switch in person in the UK (premium service)
You £244 £244 £854
If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia £189 £189 £799
All dependants £244 each £244 each £854 each

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

How long you can stay

In most cases you’ll be able to stay for 2 years, or the time 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:

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:

  • 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 listor 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)
  • study, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family memberswith you

You can’t:



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

  • a certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • £945 in savings – this is to prove you can support yourself and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply

You won’t need £945 in savings if your fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor has stated on your certificate of sponsorship that they’ll certify your maintenance and that you won’t claim benefits during your stay.

Work covered by international law

Your work in the UK must be any of the following:

  • covered by the General Agreement on Trade in Services(GATS)
  • covered by similar agreements between the UK and other countries
  • for an overseas government or international organisation
  • as a private servant in a diplomatic household or in the household of an employee of an international organisation

Certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship is a unique reference number that holds information about you and your job. It’s not an actual certificate or paper document.

Your sponsor will give you the certificate of sponsorship.

Your sponsor will also give you the information they used on your certificate about your job, your working hours for example.

Your sponsor must be recognised by the UK government to issue certificates of sponsorship.

Your certificate of sponsorship is valid for 3 months from the date it is assigned to you.

Multiple entry

Your sponsor can give you a multiple entry certificate of sponsorship so you can leave and return to the UK.