Tier 5 Visa Overview

The Tier 5 visa allows entry to work in the UK in a number of different circumstances, such as for charity workers, entertainers, diplomatic staff, and sportspeople. Most Tier 5 workers need a job offer from a licensed Tier 5 sponsor in the UK, but people from one of the small number of Countries whose nationals can come under the Youth Mobility Scheme can gain entry without a job offer.

Tier 5 visa categories:

  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa For workers who have an unpaid/voluntary job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK charity with a valid Tier 5 sponsorship licence. The job taken must be directly related to the sponsor charity’s work. 
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) visa For very highly skilled workers who have a job offer as a sportsperson or creative worker – such as a musician or actor – in the UK, and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 5 sponsorship licence. Sportspeople on this visa must be internationally established at the highest level in their sport, and/or their job must make a significant contribution to the development and running of sport at the highest level. 
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa For workers coming to the UK through an approved government authorised exchange scheme. This visa allows the worker to do work experience, training, academic research or a fellowship, and to take part in an Overseas Government Language Programme. 
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa For workers who have a job offer that is covered by international law, such as embassy and diplomatic household workers, and a certificate of sponsorship from an organisation with a valid Tier 5 sponsorship licence. This includes workers under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and similar agreements. 
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) visa For workers offered a job, such as preaching or work in a monastery or convent, by a religious order in the UK. 
  • Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa For workers aged 18 – 30 from a limited number of countries who wish to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years. This scheme replaced the
  • Working Holiday visa, though it’s important to note that far fewer people gain entry under the new scheme.

Documents

Tier 5 applicants must provide several documents with their application, these include:

  • Current passport and/or other travel documents 
  • A separate passport photograph 
  • Proof that they can meet the maintenance funds requirements for their visa, such as bank statements 
  • A clear tuberculosis (TB) test result letter, if the applicant is from one of the countries on the Home Office’s TB testing list, found here (link).

Family members (dependants)

In some cases, you can bring your partner or children with you during your stay, but you must show that you have sufficient funds to provide for them. They will be able to apply under a family visa, please see our UK Family Visas page (link) for more details.

English language requirement

Tier 5 visa applicants may be required to complete an English test if they are not nationals of an English-speaking country or have not completed any academic courses in English.


Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa

Charity Workers

This category is for people coming to the UK to do voluntary work for a charity. The work must be directly related to the work of your sponsor’s organisation. In order to apply under this category you must have a valid Tier 5 certificate of sponsorship from a licensed Tier 5 sponsor charity.

Length of stay

Usually until one month after the period of work stated on your certificate of sponsorship, and up to 1 year with extensions.

Funds

Tier 5 Charity Worker visa applicants must have funds of at least £945, unless their Tier 5 sponsor can guarantee their maintenance with the UK Home Office. Only ‘A rated’ sponsors have this option.

Restrictions

Workers on this visa cannot receive any payment for their work.


Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) visa

Creative and Sporting

The creative and sporting worker category is for aq small number of very highly skilled people coming to the UK to work or perform as sportspeople, entertainers or creative artists.

In order to apply under this category you must have a valid Tier 5 certificate of sponsorship from a licensed Tier 5 sponsor. Your sponsor must have an endorsement for you from the governing body for your sport, which confirms you meet the governing body’s requirements to give their endorsement. The governing body must be recognised by the UK Home Office.

Length of stay

Usually until one month after the period of work stated on your certificate of sponsorship, and up to 2 years with extensions.

Sportspeople can extend their visa upto a maximum stay of 12 months, while creative workers can extend their visa upto a maximum stay of 24 months.

Funds

Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visa applicants must have funds of at least £945, unless their Tier 5 sponsor can guarantee their maintenance with the UK Home Office. Only ‘A rated’ sponsors have this option.


Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa

Government Authorised Exchange

This category is for people coming to the UK to do various work experience, training, and research activities through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice.

This category must not be used to fill job vacancies or to bring unskilled labour to the UK. However, people in the UK on this visa may work in a second job for up to 20 hours per week. Work experience placements for this visa must be equivalent to NVQ or SVQ level 3 or above. These qualifcations impart functional skills in a variety of vocations, roles which rely on NVQ/SVQ level 3 qualifcations include: electricians, carpenters, teaching assistants, tree surgeons, and many other skilled jobs and trades.

In order to apply under this category you must have a valid Tier 5 certificate of sponsorship from a licensed Tier 5 sponsor organisation.

Length of stay

Usually until one month after the period of work stated on your certificate of sponsorship. This visa can be extended to 1 year for those doing work experience, and 2 years for those doing research, training, or studying on an Overseas Government Language Program.

Funds

Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange visa applicants must have funds of at least £945, unless their Tier 5 sponsor can guarantee their maintenance with the UK Home Office. Only ‘A rated’ sponsors have this option.


Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa

International Agreement

The international agreement category is for people coming to the UK under contract to do work that is covered under international law. In order to apply under this category you must have a valid Tier 5 certificate of sponsorship from a licensed Tier 5 sponsor organisation. Work covered by this visa includes:

  • the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); 
  • similar agreements between the UK and another country; 
  • employees of overseas governments and international organisations; and 
  • private servants in diplomatic households.

Length of stay

Usually until one month after the period of work stated on your certificate of sponsorship, and up to 2 years with extensions.

You may be able to stay for longer if you are applying as an employee of an overseas government or international organisation or as a private servant in a diplomatic household.

Funds

Tier 5 International agreement visa applicants must have funds of at least £945, unless their Tier 5 sponsor can guarantee their maintenance with the UK Home Office. Only ‘A rated’ sponsors have this option.


Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) visa

Religious Workers

This category category is for people coming to the UK to work temporarily as a religious worker.
This includes work such as preaching, working as a pastor, or working in a monastery or convent. In order to apply under this category you must have a valid Tier 5 certificate of sponsorship from a licensed Tier 5 sponsor religious organisation.

If your main reason for coming to the UK is to do preaching and pastoral work on a long term basis, you should apply under the Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa.

Length of stay

Usually until one month after the period of work stated on your certificate of sponsorship, and up to 2 years with extensions.

Funds

Tier 5 Religious Worker visa applicants must have funds of at least £945, unless their Tier 5 sponsor can guarantee their maintenance with the UK Home Office. Only ‘A rated’ sponsors have this option.


Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa

Youth Mobility Scheme

The youth mobility scheme is for young people (18 -30) from a limited number of countries and territories who want to come and experience life in the UK. Every year, the UK government allocates a specific number of places for each country and territory.

This is a good visa for young people eager to experience living and working in the UK. The Tier 5 visa allows young people from a limited number of countries entry to live and work in the UK for up to two years. However, there are only a relatively small number of countries whose nationals are eligible to apply for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa category; These are detailed below. Your national government will be considered your sponsor during your stay.

Participating countries and territories

You can apply for a UK Youth Mobility Scheme visa if you are between 18 and 30, and are from one of these countries:

Workers from Taiwan, Korea, and Hong Kong must apply for a certificate of sponsorship from their government to apply.

  • Australia 
  • Canada 
  • Japan 
  • Monaco 
  • New Zealand 
  • Hong Kong 
  • Republic of Korea 
  • Taiwan

You can also apply under the scheme if you are aged between 18 and 30, and a:

  • British overseas citizen 
  • British overseas territories citizen, or 
  • British national (overseas)

In these cases, applicants will not need a sponsor, and there is no limit on the number of places on the scheme.

Restrictions

The Youth mobility Scheme is closed to people who;

  • Have children who they are financially responsible for, or who live with them 
  • Have previous travelled to the UK through the scheme, or the old working holiday visa (now closed)

Length of stay

Up to 2 years

Funds

Youth Mobility visa applicants must have funds of at least £1890

  • UK Visa Tier Points-Based Immigration System
    • Tier 1 Visa
      • Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa
      • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
      • Tier 1 Investor Visa
    • Tier 2 Visa for Skilled Workers
      • Tier 2 General Visa
      • Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa
      • Tier 2 Visa Points System
      • UK Visa Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship
      • Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Application – How to apply
      • UK Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List
      • Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa
      • Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa
      • Tier 2 Visa Resident Labour Market Test
      • Tier 2 visa switching from another visa scheme
      • Tier 2 Visa Government fees from 29 March 2019
    • Tier 3 Visa – Never Implemented and discontinued
    • Tier 4 Student Visas
      • Tier 4 Visa for International Students
    • Tier 5 Visa for Temporary Workers
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) visa
      • Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa
    • Who needs a UK Tier 2 Work Visa or other visa?
  • Non Tier UK Business visas
    • UK Innovator Visa
    • UK Start Up Visa
    • UK Sole Representative of an overseas business visa
    • UK Turkish Businessperson visa
  • UK Visitor Visas
    • UK Standard Visitor visa
    • UK Permitted Paid Engagement visa
    • Who needs a UK visitor visa?
  • UK Family Visas
    • UK Family of a settled person visa
      • UK Marriage visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips
      • UK Fiancé visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips
    • EEA Family Permit and UK Residence Card
    • UK Parent of a Tier 4 child visa
    • British Ancestry visa
    • UK Entry Clearance Guide
    • EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals Working in the UK
  • UK Permanent Residence and UK Citizenship
    • UK Permanent Residence/Indefinite Leave to Remain
    • UK Citizenship and Naturalisation – How to apply
      • Children Born Outside The UK
        • The British Nationality Act 1981
        • British Citizenship By Descent Or Otherwise
        • Children born outside the UK/qualifying territory
        • UK Children of parents in Crown and similar services
        • Children who will not be British citizens
        • List of Crown and services
      • Right of Abode (UK)
    • Long Residence in UK