July 15, 2024
certificate of sponsorship

Certificate of Sponsorship – What is It and Why is It Important?

If you are a business owner or a Human Resource professional looking to hire someone from overseas, you may have come across the term ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’. But what exactly is a Certificate of Sponsorship? A Certificate of Sponsorship is a job offer from a UK employer to skilled workers from outside the UK who want to come and work in the UK. This article will explore everything you need to know about a Certificate of Sponsorship. We will cover who can provide the certificate, how long it takes, the cost, and what types of certificates are available. It’s important to have a good understanding of this process so that you can make the right decisions for your business and your employees.

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is an electronic record with a unique reference number. Employers use it to sponsor non-UK workers who want to obtain a work visa in the UK. Most UK work visas require sponsorship from a UK-based employer to be approved. The CoS confirms details about the job, the worker, and the sponsorship duties that are required of the employer. In order to apply for a work visa, the worker must use the CoS within three months of it being issued. Employers need to ensure that the information provided on the CoS is accurate, as errors can result in refused visa applications and enforcement actions against the employer by the Home Office.

Who Can Give a Certificate of Sponsorship?

Who Can Give a Certificate of Sponsorship

An employer or sponsor licence holder assigns a Certificate of Sponsorship to enable an employee to apply for a sponsored worker visa. However, not all employers can assign a CoS. Only employers with an A-rated sponsor licence and level 1 or level 2 users can access the Sponsorship Management System (SMS), where requests for CoS can be processed. The CoS is an electronic record that carries a unique reference number and must be used by the worker to make their visa application within three months of being issued. Employers must ensure that they assign the correct type of CoS and comply with strict conditions and timings. It is necessary to check with the laws and regulations of the country regarding the eligibility of issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship to an employee.

How Long Does a Certificate of Sponsorship Take?

How Long Does a Certificate of Sponsorship Take

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is essential for employers looking to sponsor non-UK-based employees. The time it takes to approve a CoS varies greatly depending on the individual case but usually takes one working day. However, if the Home Office requires additional information or clarification, it can prolong the process.

Employers can expect to receive their defined CoS within one working day of making the request. Once the certificate is approved, a sponsor license is valid for four years. However, it is important to note that UK Visa and Immigration may carry out further checks or request additional information before making a final decision, which can add more time to the process. Overall, employers need to plan ahead and allow for some leeway should any unexpected delays arise in the process.

How Much Does a Certificate of Sponsorship Cost?

How Much Does a Certificate of Sponsorship Cost

Employers must pay a fee for assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to an employee, depending on the sponsor license type held. The fee for a CoS for a Skilled Worker or ICT worker is £199, while the fee for a CoS for a Temporary Worker is £21. A company with a sponsor license will pay less on CoS than those without the same. Certain countries’ nationals are exempt from paying a CoS fee. Additionally, the immigration skills charge may also need to be paid depending on the type of CoS being issued. It is important to note that the employer is the one responsible for paying the required fees for the Certificate of Sponsorship.

How Do I Get a Certificate of Sponsorship?

How Do I Get a Certificate of Sponsorship

If you are a doctor planning to work in the UK, you will require a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) as part of your visa application. The CoS is a self-certifying document that the NHS trust will issue, and the Home Office will approve. Your employer must have a sponsor license to issue the CoS, and most NHS Trusts are recognized as A-rated sponsors. Rules with regard to issuing the CoS are strict, including the need to use the CoS to make the visa application within three months of issuance. The CoS is a pivotal document that must be submitted as part of your Tier 2 visa application, so it’s important to ensure all the necessary paperwork is submitted on time.

Types of UK Certificate of Sponsorship

Types of UK Certificate of Sponsorship

In the UK, there are two types of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS): Defined and Undefined. A Defined CoS is typically used for Skilled Worker visa applicants who are based abroad. In contrast, Undefined CoS is used for Intra-Company Transfer visa applicants and those already in the UK who are eligible to switch to a Skilled Worker visa. An electronic document is issued by the employer or educational establishment for each CoS, which the Home Office must approve. An employer requires a sponsor license to apply for the CoS, and the NHS is generally recognised as an A-rated sponsor. Understanding the different types of CoS is crucial when seeking sponsorship in the UK, as it helps in determining the appropriate route for visa applications.


Certificates of Sponsorship are essential to the UK immigration process and can only be granted by a licensed sponsor. It is a necessary document that permits you to live and work in the United Kingdom temporarily or permanently. It is important to know the different types of Certificates of Sponsorship available, their cost and time for processing, and ensure that all requirements are met before applying. Being informed about the whole process takes the pressure off and is vital to making an informed decision. To learn more about a Certificate of Sponsorship, how to get one, and its importance, check out our detailed blog guide on Certificates of Sponsorship.

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