Overview of the application process
When it's confirmed you have met the sponsorship requirements and you have accepted a formal offer of employment from us, we will start the onboarding process.
As part of this process, you’ll need to complete an ‘Applicant Details Form - CoS Checklist’. This will enable us to carry out the necessary checks before assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to you. The CoS is our guarantee that the role is genuine and meets the necessary skill and salary requirements needed for sponsorship.
You will be asked to confirm the following information:
- that your personal details are correct as stated on your job application form
- details of your current UK visa (if applicable)
- how you will meet the points criteria for sponsorship
- how you will meet the English language requirements
You will also be asked to upload the necessary documentation to your applicant account on our Jobs website to support your visa application. This may include a copy of your passport or visa, a copy of your PhD qualification, your UK ENIC (formerly known as UK NARIC) reference number or English Language test reference number.
One of our HR Recruitment Co-ordinators will check your documents and will get in contact if we need any further information from you, or if there are any issues with the details you have provided. Once they have carried out the checks and are satisfied the requirements for sponsorship have been met, they will start the process of assigning a CoS.
Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requirements
If you need a Skilled Worker Visa and are intending to research at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects (for example academics and researchers), you will require an ATAS certificate. Please visit our ATAS webpages for further information.
The Staff Immigration Team will let you know if you need to apply for an ATAS Certificate. They will advise you of your SOC code, academic subject (CAH3) code and provide you with the research statement from your line manager.
The Staff Immigration Team will not issue you with a CoS until they have received formal confirmation from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) that your ATAS application has been approved.
Assigning a CoS
When your CoS is ready to be assigned, you’ll receive an email from HR notifying you that you need to log into your applicant account. Once you have logged in to your account, you’ll need to check that the details in the CoS are correct. You will then need to use this CoS to make your visa application.
It’s important to keep your HR Recruitment Co-ordinator updated on the progress of your visa application. You should let them know immediately if you encounter any problems as we are obligated to report any changes to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) within strict timeframes.
Duration of a CoS
The duration of your employment contract will determine the duration of your CoS. For example, if you have a permanent contract, you will be issued with a five year CoS (the maximum visa length before you need to extend it).
You can apply to extend your visa as many times as you like (subject to your contractual position) as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.
After five years, you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK. This is known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). ILR gives you the right to live, work and study in the UK for as long as you like and to apply for benefits if you are eligible.
If you are successful in gaining settlement, you will no longer be subject to visa restrictions in the UK and you will have the unlimited right to work.
How to apply for a visa
How you apply depends on whether you are:
- outside the UK and you are coming to the UK
- inside the UK and extending your current visa
- inside the UK and switching from a different visa
If you want to change your job or employer, you must apply to update your visa.
As part of your visa application, you will need to provide the relevant documents, dependent on your individual circumstances.
The visa application can be made in the country where you are currently residing and does not have to be your country of origin.
You can apply for a visa up to three months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your CoS.
If you are applying from outside the UK as the main applicant, you will need to apply for your visa before your partner and children can apply for theirs. They will need your Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN) when they apply. You'll be able to find this information on emails and letters from the Home Office about your visa application.
If you are applying from inside the UK, you can apply for your partner or child’s visa at the same time as you apply to extend or switch your own visa. This includes children who were born or have turned 18 during your stay.
If you can't apply at the same time, your partner or child can apply to extend or switch their visas at a later date. This must be before their current visa expires.
How long it takes
Once you have applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you will usually get a decision on your visa application within:
- three weeks, if you’re outside the UK
- eight weeks, if you're inside the UK
In addition to the cost of the visa application, you will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee. The exact amount you will have to pay will depend on how much leave you are granted. Full details on the costs of a visa application and the IHS can be found on the government website.
If applying online, the IHS will need to be paid at the same time as your visa application. This will ensure you have full access to the National Health Service (NHS).
The IHS will cost an additional £624 per person per year that your visa is valid. Children aged under 18 pay a reduced fee of £470.
Support with immigration expenses
We provide the following support for staff to help with the cost of immigration expenses:
- Visa Reimbursement Scheme
- Interest-Free Loan Scheme (for Home Office application fees and related legal costs)
These support options are subject to eligibility criteria and they are only accessible once you have started your employment with us.
Please note: if you have a valid work visa in place, we will not be able to support you switching visas (if eligible) until your current visa is due to expire.
After you apply
You'll receive a letter or an email from the Home Office with the result of your visa application and this will explain what you need to do next.
If your application is successful, you will be given either:
- a sticker (called a vignette) that goes in your passport if you gave your biometric information at a visa application centre
- access to view your immigration status information online if you used the smartphone app to prove your identity
The vignette or online immigration status information will show:
- what you have been granted (for example, a Skilled Worker Visa)
- the dates your visa is valid (start date and end date)
- the conditions of your visa
You must enter the UK before your vignette expires otherwise you will need to apply and pay for another one. In making your travel plans, you should aim to arrive in the UK prior to your start date at the University.
If you get a vignette and you are coming to the UK for more than six months, you need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). This can be done either before the vignette sticker expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later. You can choose where to collect your BRP from during your application. Typically, for most new starters at the University this will be the central Post Office in Bath.
Right to work check
You will need to provide your BRP to your HR Recruitment Co-ordinator as soon as you receive it, so they can carry out the right to work check with you. This right to work check must be carried out before you start work. If there is an exceptional reason why you have not been able to collect your BRP before your first day, we will allow you to start work on the basis of your vignette as long as it is still valid. You must then obtain your BRP from your designated collection point as soon as possible and provide this to your HR Recruitment Co-ordinator.
If you get access to your immigration status information online, you will need to share this information with your HR Recruitment Co-ordinator so they can carry out a right to work check with you before you start.
Application refusals or problems with your BRP
If your visa application is refused, you will receive a letter or email explaining why.
You must let your HR Recruitment Co-ordinator know immediately if your application is refused as we will need to notify UKVI as part of our reporting obligations.
Your passport will be returned if it was kept as part of your application. Your refusal letter will explain if you have the right to either an Administrative Review or an Immigration Decision Appeal.
Similarly, if there is a problem with your BRP, it is lost or stolen, or you need to replace it, you should read this guidance and contact UKVI immediately.