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International Agreement Visa

The purpose of this visa is to allow eligible international workers to enter the UK to undertake specific forms of work for a limited period of time.

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    The nature of the work you intend to carry out must be one of the following:

    • Covered under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
    • Covered according to a similar agreement between the UK and other countries
    • Working on behalf of an overseas government or international organisation
    • Working as a private servant in a diplomatic household


    You may be eligible for an International Agreement Worker Visa if one of the following applies to your situation:

    • You are being contracted to carry out work which is covered by an international law or treaty
    • You will be working on behalf of a foreign government
    • You will be working as a private servant/ member of a diplomatic household
    • You intend to provide a service under contract as a contractual service supplier or independent professional
    • You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
    • You have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK (at least £1,270)
    • You are aged at least 18 years old


    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

    The International Agreement Worker Visa can be extended for a maximum period of 24 months at one time, or the time period stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 28 days (whichever is shorter).

    This may be extended for 24 months at a time for a total of five years if you are a private servant in a diplomatic household.

    If you are currently in the UK on another visa or immigration permission, you will typically not be permitted to switch to the International Agreement Worker Visa.

    You may be eligible to switch to this category if one of the following situations applies to your case:

    • You have a valid work permit
    • You work for an overseas government or international organisation

    Note that you must apply in advance of the expiration of your current visa.

    However, it may be possible to leave the UK, apply for the visa while abroad and return if it is granted.



    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 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 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.

    How can IAS help?

    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.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    As of February 2023, the application fee for the International Agreement Worker Visa is £259 per person, and there is no difference between applying from inside the UK or outside.

    There are additional costs involved, including the healthcare surcharge (where relevant) which costs £624 per year.

    As well as this, you pay be required to pay to submit your biometric information (usually £19.20)

    In general, most cases will be processed within 3 weeks from outside the UK, or 8 weeks if the application is made within the UK.

    There is an option to fast track your application for a fee, where you will receive a decision within 24 hours.

    Additionally, the applicant must have a minimum of £1,270 in their bank account to demonstrate that they can support themselves financially in the UK.

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

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