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Government Authorised Exchange Visa

The Government Authorised exchange visa comes under the temporary worker visa.

It enables individuals who hold the visa to live and work in the UK for up to 12 months if you are doing work experience or up to 24 months if you will be doing research, training, or an Overseas Government Language Programme.

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    The Government Authorised Exchange Visa allows you to enter the UK for up to 12 months for the purpose of work experience, or up to 24 months for training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research, or a fellowship.

    You are granted permission to pick up a second job or study on this visa during your residency in the UK.

    You can apply for this visa up to 3 months before you are due to start work in the UK.

    You can only apply for this visa from outside of the UK. If you are currently in the UK you can only apply to extend this visa or to switch from your current visa.

    You cannot take up a permanent job whilst in the UK, you can only take on a second job on a part-time basis for up to 20 hours per week.

    You also cannot access public funds as a Government Authorised Exchange visa holder.


    To be eligible for the government authorised exchange visa you must be:

    • Over the age of 18
    • Issued a Certificate of Sponsorship from a registered UK sponsor
    • Able to prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your residency in the UK (at least £1,270 available in your bank for at least 28 days in a row within 31 days of your visa application)

    You can be exempt from the financial requirement if you have already been in the UK for at least 12 months on a valid visa or if your employer agrees to cover your costs during your first month in the UK.


    Before applying for the government authorised exchange visa, you must ensure you already have:

    • A valid passport or recognised identity document
    • You certificate of sponsorship from your employer
    • Evidence that you can financially support yourself during your residency (e.g. a bank statement outlining the required amount)
    • Your TB test results if you are coming from one of these countries
    • A valid ATAS certificate if required (if your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level)

    All documents should be translated into English or Welsh by a certified translator.

    If you are travelling with dependants, ensure they have all of the required documentation too.

    To be eligible for this visa you must be coming to the country under a government-approved exchange scheme and have a licensed sponsor.

    Your sponsor could be an organisation running an approved exchange scheme, a government department or agency or a higher education institution if you are either a sponsored researcher, examiner or visiting academic.

    A full list of the approved schemes that are eligible for this visa can be found here.

    Your sponsor will issue you with a certificate of sponsorship, which will contain a unique reference number that is integral to your visa application.

    Extend/Switch to this visa

    You are not able to apply for this visa if you are currently inside the UK.

    If you are in the UK, you are able to switch to this visa from your current visa or extend your current visa to remain in the UK for longer.

    someone writing on a note with a laptop in front of them


    The government authorised exchange visa allows applicants to bring their dependants along with them during their residency.

    Each family member will need to complete a separate application and pay the visa fees. They must apply before they travel to the UK.

    They will also need your application number, which you will receive when you apply.

    This application number is called a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN). You will find it on emails and letters from the Home Office regarding your visa application.

    Dependants must pay the correct separate fees listed for partners and for children.

    A dependant is someone who is:

    • A spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner
    • A child under 18
    • A child over 18 if they are currently in the UK as your dependant

    Their visa will mirror yours, including start and end dates.

    You will need to prove the relationship of any dependants you have listed as included in your visa application.

    This includes:

    • Providing marriage certificates for spouses or evidence to support the grounds for a real relationship for unmarried partners, such as proof you have been living together for over 2 years
    • Providing birth certificates for children

    If your child is 16 or over, they must:

    • Live with you (unless they are at boarding school, college, or university)
    • Be unmarried and have no children
    • Be financially supported by you

    If your child lives with you, you will need to provide evidence of their address such as:

    • A bank statement
    • Credit card bills
    • Driving licence
    • NHS registration document
    • An official letter from their university or college

    As part of their application, your partner and children will need to prove their identity by way of a biometric residence permit.

    UK Tier 2 Visa Extension

    How Our Immigration lawyers can help you

    Obtaining visas can be a long process, which can also have uncertain results. Our Immigration team is qualified and ready to help you with visa applications or walking you through the process.

    Navigating visa routes or application forms can be tricky, especially if you speak a different language.

    We have friendly, experienced lawyers waiting to help you with you and your families immigration case today.

    Our list of assistance includes but is not limited to:

    • Provide a Letter of Representation
    • Assist you in completing your application to the best it can be, including fixing errors and proofreading
    • Conduct a thorough document check to make sure everything is included in your application
    • Walk you through eligibility for multiple visas that best suit your needs
    • Help you prepare for both the Life in the UK test and your English language examination
    • Liaise with the Home Office on your behalf throughout the entire process

    Call us today on 03334149244 or fill out the contact form on our website.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Tier 5 Temporary Work Visa allows people who meet the eligibility criteria to come to the UK to work.

    This visa provides working rights to researchers, creative and sport persons.

    It also provides an opportunity for charity and religious workers to live in the UK for a temporary period.

    You can apply for the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa for 12 months (if you’re doing work experience) or 24 months (if you’re doing research, training or an Overseas Government Language Programme).

    A Tier 2 visa lasts for up to 5 years and a Tier 5 visa lasts for a maximum of 2 years.

    If you are on a Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange visa) you cannot switch into a Tier 2 (General) visa.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on your High Potential Individual case. Contact Us

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