Certificate of Sponsorship application process

Initial Certificate of Sponsorship application process

Before applying to the Staff Immigration Team for a Certificate of Sponsorship, departments must satisfy themselves that the applicant meets the Tier 5 points criteria.

Applicants must obtain 40 points from the following attributes:

Requirement  Points
Sponsorship - possession of a letter from a funding body confirming the level and dates of funds and allowances payable to the applicant. Funding must meet the UK National Minimum Wage. 30
Maintenance - either (a) the equivalent of £945 of personal savings held for at least 90 days prior to the date of the visa application, plus additional savings (£630) for each accompanying dependant, or, (b) confirmation from the employing department/college that it will if necessary maintain and accommodate the applicant to a minimum value of £945 (and accompanying dependants to a minimum value of £630 each, if required) during the first month of the visit. PLEASE NOTE: it is now possible to certify maintenance for Tier 5 dependants. 10

In order to apply for a CoS you will need to complete the Tier 5 initial CoS application form (109kb) and return it to the Staff Immigration Team along with the documentation listed at the end of the form.

Departments and colleges are advised to submit Certificate of Sponsorship applications for initial applicants to the Staff Immigration Team approximatley three months before the applicant is due to commence their employment/ visit.

Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) Certificates of Sponsorship can be issued for a maximum of 24 months.

Please note that those applying for a Tier 5 visa, and their dependants, will have to pay the NHS Surcharge in addition to the relevant visa application fees when submitting their visa applications. As the NHS Surcharge is based on the duration of the visa and can be a significant addition to the visa fees this may affect the decision of the length of visa applied for. You may wish to draw the applicant's attention to this issue.

Switching from Tier 4 into Tier 5 as a research intern

With effect from 1 October 2013 Tier 4 student visa holders who have completed their studies are permitted to switch into Tier 5 from within the UK for a period of up to 12 months in order to undertake an internship and could be sponsored by the University as long as they have:

  • completed their studies and obtained a UK bachelors, masters degree, PGCE or PGDE; and
  • are being sponsored to undertake a research internship which is directly related to their qualification; and
  • the department/ college does not intend to employ them at the end of the period in question (switching into Tier 2 from within the UK is not permitted after such a period).

Tier 4 student visa holders seeking sponsorship from the University in order to undertake a research internship under the Tier 5 Temporary Worker route will need to provide evidence that they meet the above requirements and hence must provide the following:

  • Either an original certificate of award, or an original academic reference, on headed paper, from their institution, which clearly shows:
    • Their full name;
    • The title of the qualification/ award;
    • The course duration and date of course completion;
    • The name of the awarding body.

and

  • an original letter from either their funding body or the host department/ college (this could take the form of a separate letter or additional information contained within the funding letter) which confirms that:
    • The research to be carried out is directly related to their qualification; and
    • The host department/ college does not intend to employ the applicant at the end of their research internship

In addition, any student visa holders switching into Tier 5 who currently receive/ have received in the past twelve months, sponsorship for their studies in the UK from the British Government, any other Government or an international scholarship agency, must provide original written confirmation from the funding body giving consent to the Tier 5 application.

PLEASE NOTE: when a Tier 4 visa holder switches into Tier 5 they must inform their Tier 4 sponsor that they have changed immigration status, hence, they should be reminded of this obligation. Tier 4 students sponsored by the University of Oxford must notify the Student Immigration and Advisory Service by email (Tier4compliance@admin.ox.ac.uk) and their college (undergraduate and visiting students) or department (postgraduate or recognised students) as soon as possible. Full details of visa obligations for Tier 4 students sponsored by the University of Oxford can be found on the Student Information and Advisory Service website.

Please note that while we can accept copies of the above documents in support of the Tier 5 initial CoS application the originals will need to be submitted with the Tier 5 visa application.

Certificate of Sponsorship extension application process

The Staff Immigration Team will, where possible, send a reminder to departmental administrators three months before a Tier 5 leave to remain (visa) expires. It is the responsibility of the department and of the visa holder to ensure that, if an extension is required, it is applied for in plenty of time before the visa holder's current leave to remain expires.

If you wish to extend a visa holder's right to remain as a temporary worker you will need to apply for another Certificate of Sponsorship using the Tier 5 CoS extension application form (95kb) and return it to the Staff Immigration Team along with the necessary documentation. The visa holder will still be required to meet the points requirements for sponsorship and maintenance.

To obtain an extension, visa holders must be continuing with the same research, within the same department/ college. If there are any significant changes to the research, or the visa holder is taking up a different project altogether, they will need to return to their home country and apply for a new visa under Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange).

Departments and colleges are advised to submit Certificate of Sponsorship applications for extension applicants to the Staff Immigration Team approximately eight to twelve weeks before the current visa is due to expire.

Tier 5 visa holders may only extend their visa in the UK to take them up to a maximum of 24 months stay.

Please note that those applying for a Tier 5 visa, and their dependants, will have to pay the NHS Surcharge in addition to the relevant visa application fees when submitting their visa applications. As the NHS Surcharge is based on the duration of the visa and can be a significant addition to the visa fees this may affect the decision of the length of visa applied for. You may wish to draw the applicant's attention to this issue.