Sponsor Licenses. Simplified.
We can help you apply for your sponsor licence. Here we tell you how
What are the eligibility requirements to apply for a sponsor licence?
If you wish to employ a person who is not a settled worker, or who does not otherwise have immigration permission to work for you in the UK, you will need to be authorised by the Home Office. This authorisation is known as a ‘sponsor licence’, and employers who hold a sponsor licence are known as ‘sponsors’.
You will need to show that you
- are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK – to prove this, you must provide certain documents specified in the sponsor guidance
- are honest, dependable, reliable, and are not engaging and have not engaged in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good. The Home Office will look at your history and background, the key personnel named in your application, and any people involved in your day-to-day running
- are capable of carrying out your sponsor duties and evidencing your compliance in a timeframe and manner set out in section C1 of Part 3: Sponsor duties and compliance. The Home Office judge this by looking at your current human resources and recruitment practices to make sure you will be able to fulfil your sponsor duties. The Home Office may visit you before your licence is granted, or afterwards at any stage
- can offer genuine employment that meets the skill level and salary requirements, if applying under the Skilled Worker or Intra-Company routes
- otherwise meet the eligibility and suitability criteria
How do I apply for a sponsor licence?
You must register your details online by completing the UKVI ‘Online sponsor application registration’. Once you have registered, you will be able to log into the UKVI ‘Sponsor application log in’ page. You must then complete the online application form and submit specified documents to prove you are eligible and suitable. These documents are listed in Appendix A of the sponsor guidance.
The online form asks you for an estimate of the number of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) you may wish to assign in your first year in each route for which you are applying for a licence. You will need to assign a CoS to any worker you wish to sponsor before they can apply for entry clearance, permission to enter, or permission to stay. You will therefore need to think carefully about how many workers you are likely to employ during the year and why. You must be able to justify your request. You must provide additional information, as specified in Appendix A to the sponsor guidance, about current vacancies and workers you wish to sponsor.
Once you have submitted your online application, you must send the following documents to the Home Office (by email) to validate it:
- all pages of the submission sheet, signed and dated by your authorising officer – this includes a declaration from you that you agree to meet all of the duties associated with being a licensed sponsor
- the mandatory documents listed in Appendix A of the sponsor guidance and on the submission sheet
How much does it cost to apply for a sponsor licence?
In order to apply for a sponsor licence, businesses need to bear in mind the following fees:
- Sponsor licence application fee: £536 (small company) or £1476 (large company)
- Application expedition fee: £500
After the licence is granted, the sponsor should bear in mind the following fees
- Certificate of Sponsorship application fee: £199
- Immigration Skills Charge: £364 per year of sponsorship (small company) or £1000 per year of sponsorship (large company)
The prospective employee (sometimes covered by the company) will also need to bear in mind the following fees
- Skilled Worker visa application fee: £1,220 (for 3+ years sponsorship) (less payable where position for under 3 years, or on Shortage Occupation List)
- Immigration Health Surcharge: £624 per year of visa
Can you review my sponsor licence application before it is submitted?
We regularly review sponsor licence applications prior to their submission, and which we would usually do via our popular one-off consultation service. If you would be interested in this please do get in touch.
Do you need a lawyer to make a sponsor licence application?
We cover this question in a general way on our Do you actually need a lawyer? page.
If you are in doubt about whether you think you need a lawyer give us a call for a chat.
What information do I need to provide in the sponsor licence application online form?
At the time of writing, the following information is required in the sponsor licence application form:
- Under which routes is your organisation applying to become a sponsor
- Organisation details, Authorising Officer, Key Contact, Level 1 user, other users and representatives
- The number of CAS and/or CoS you need and your reasons for this number.
- The names and trading dates of your organisation if it has traded under another name in the last four years
- Your organisation's size and sector
- The name and registration number of any accrediting or governing body
- The name and registration number of any Stock Exchange your organisation is registered with
- Details of any criminal convictions or civil penalties
- Is your organisation registering as a head office, a UK branch, a single body or another type of body
- Is your organisation a charity, or does it hold charitable status
- How many employees do you currently employ in the UK
- The period for which your organisation has been trading in the UK
- Is your organisation registered with Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to pay PAYE, National Insurance, or VAT?
Other information needs to be provided with the application, as set out in Appendix A, for example details of any prospective employee you wish to hire under the licence.
What supporting documents do I need to provide with a sponsor licence application?
The documents you will need to provide to show that you are a genuine business are set out in Appendix A
Examples of documents you can provide include
- Evidence that you have a current, corporate bank account with a bank registered by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (last three months 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)
- a copy of your lease and/or other arrangement relating to your office premises
- HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) VAT registration certificate confirming VAT registration number and ‘effective date of registration’ if business’ VAT taxable turnover is more than the ‘threshold’
- Provide the Business’s Unique Tax Reference Number (UTR) (proof of registration must be original or certified copies of documentation issued by HMRC only).
- Evidence of Registration with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as an employer to pay PAYE & National Insurance: provide proof of PAYE Reference Number & Accounts Office Reference Number (evidence of registration must be original or certified copies of documentation issued by HMRC only).
- Evidence that you have employer’s liability insurance cover for at least £5m from an authorised insurer
HOW CAN WE HELP WITH YOUR SPONSOR LICENCE APPLICATION
As a part of our one-off consultation service, we regularly review sponsor licence application forms and supporting documents prior to their submission to the Home Office. This service is aimed at applicants who are
- concerned about their eligibility to apply for a sponsor licence
- unsure about the supporting documents required in their application, or
- seeking reassurance from an experienced practitioner to make sure everything has been correctly completed
Your review will be undertaken by Nick Nason, principal at Edgewater Legal, and listed as an expert on the Lexis Nexis immigration experts Q&A panel, and regular commentator and contributor to Free Movement, the best read UK immigration law blog.
We charge a flat fee of £300 + VAT for this service. You can find further details on our one-off consultation page.
We regularly represent individuals making sponsor licence applications to the Home Office. If you instruct us to assist with your application, we will manage the process from end to end, from completing the application form through to the decision. This includes the following
- Clear initial advice regarding eligibility with a detailed letter of advice and guidance on the route, and on the supporting evidence that is required
- A very high level of client responsiveness including contact by email, phone or other means during the evidence gathering process
- Detailed scrutiny of the online form and supporting documents prior to submission with collation and preparation of the application
- Preparation of a covering letter to be filed with application (if required)
- Collation of the supporting documents into PDF format and uploading them on the Home Office portal
- Advice and guidance on rights and responsibilities once the licence has been obtained, and what you need to do whilst working towards the extension
We offer our sponsor licence application service for a fixed fee of £3,500 + VAT.
This does not include the Home Office application or other fees. Our fee is fixed, and will not vary depending on the number of hours that need to be spent on the application, or if the application becomes more complex than originally envisaged (which often happens): it covers clients from instruction through to advice on the decision
Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take for an application to be processed?
This depends on Home Office capacity, but generally you should expect to wait 8-12 weeks for an application to be processed.
You can pay £500 for expedition, although there are currently a limited number of slots for this. If accepted for one of the daily slots, a decision should be made within a week.
The Home Office is undertaking a Sponsor Licence Compliance visit. What will happen?
The Home Office produces guidance for its officers undertaking sponsor compliance visits. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/points-based-system-sponsor-management