Issuing the Certificate of Sponsorship
The earliest the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) can be issued is 3 months before the individual's
- employment start date
- current Skilled Worker visa expires
The CoS will be issued as soon as the Immigration Adviser is happy the Home Office requirements can be met. It is provided electronically to the applicant, enabling them to receive the information they require to apply for the Skilled Worker visa quickly.
We recommend the request for a CoS is submitted as soon as possible, ideally 3-4 months prior to their start date, or visa expiry date, to ensure enough time is provided for the CoS to be issued, and visa application process.
Applications that also require the applicant to have an ATAS certificate issued by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office may take longer as the CoS cannot be issued until the ATAS certificate is received. Further details can be found on the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) page.
Visa application processing timescales
Once the full visa application, including online application, payment of fee, and registering biometric details, has been completed processing times are normally
- 3 weeks when applying outside the UK
- 8 weeks within the UK
Priority services, at additional cost, are available. For overseas applications information on priority services will be detailed by visa application centre. In the UK this is either a super priority (next working day decision) or priority service (5 working days).
Once a decision is made, it can take another 1-2 weeks for the
- passport containing the entry vignette to be returned to the applicant overseas
- the new biometric residence permit (BRP) to be posted to the individual's UK address
Delayed Start date
A realistic start date should be set taking into account the individual's circumstances, and the visa application processing times.
Any proposed change in start date once the CoS has been provided should be discussed immediately with the Staff Immigration Adviser, if possible amendments can be made to the CoS before the applicant submits their visa application.
Late arrivals once the visa has been granted, cannot be delayed by more than 4 weeks otherwise the visa will be cancelled. Further details can be found on the Change in Start Date section.
Travelling to the UK as a Visitor
Once the visa application has been submitted, or after the Skilled Worker visa has been granted, an individual must not travel to the UK earlier than the issue date printed on their vignette or stated on their electronic immigration status. If they do their Skilled Worker visa will no longer be valid and they will not be able to start their employment.