Requesting Tier 5 CoS and preparing visa application

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In order to sponsor a Tier 5 visa holder, the University must issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). This is an electronic document which lists the sponsored individual's personal details, information about the role, and the advertisement process. The CoS also includes a reference number which must be included in the Tier 5 visa application. 

The employing college or department should download and complete the CoS form depending on whether the visiting researcher is applying from outside or from within the UK. The relevant CoS form and supporting documents should be secured with 7-zip and emailed to their contact person within SIT. The immigration adviser will review the application, check that the researcher is receiving enough funding and that they are undertaking supernumerary research. Once the adviser is satisfied that the necessary criteria have been met, the Tier 5 CoS will be issued to the visiting researcher. 




> Visiting researchers applying from outside the UK 

> Tier 4 visa holder switching into Tier 5 (GAE)







>  Currently sponsored Tier 5 visa holder wanting to extend visit and continue work on their research project 



The main purpose of the visit will be for the visitor to undertake their own research project in collaboration with the host department or college at the University of Oxford. Before a Tier 5 CoS can be issued, the Immigration adviser must be satisfied that the visitor is not coming to work on part of already on-going research, and that they are not filling an advertised position at the University. 


To provide an overview of the research project they will be working on, every visitor will need to provide a project plan (1-2 pages long) to their host department or college. This document must be included in the Tier 5 CoS application sent to SIT. 


The plan should also include a bulleted list of the research activities they will be undertaking. These activities will be entered into the Tier 5 CoS to show the Home Office exactly what the sponsored researcher will be doing. 

Please note that a Tier 5 sponsorship will not be issued where a researcher is working on and supporting a University-hosted project. The Tier 5 visa route may not be used to sponsor individuals who will be filling a vacancy in the UK or filling a department or college's normal staffing requirement. 

A Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) visa holder cannot be self-funded or rely on savings. They must instead receive funding from their employer overseas, or by an external funding body, to cover their living costs in the UK for the whole duration of the visit.

The visa holder must receive funding which exceeds the hourly minimum wage in the UK.

The default position is the employing department/college certifies this requirement if required during first month of engagement.

Otherwise the applicant has to evidence £945 of personal savings held for a 90 days, plus additional savings (£630) for each dependant, prior to the date of the visa application.


Tier 5 Extension

It is not necessary to certify maintenance for Tier 5 extension applications. 

Please refer to our TB screening test webpages for more information.

SIT will issue a Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship to the visa applicant and send this by email together with information on the visa application process. The Certificate of Sponsorship will contain information about the sponsored individual, the research project they will be undertaking, the amount of funding (stated in GBP) they are receiving, and whether their hosting department or college is certifying the sponsored individual's maintenance. The CoS also contains a CoS reference number which must be included in the Tier 5 visa application. 


Tier 5 Certificates of Sponsorship can be issued for a period up to 2 years. This is the maximum amount of time that can be spent on a Tier 5 visa in the UK.  Tier 5 visa holders who have already been issued with a 2 year visa would need to leave the UK and reapply for a new Tier 5 visa from overseas. 


The Tier 5 visa application page provides further details on the visa requirements to be met, which can include tuberculosis screening and maintenance funds. 

Tier 5 visa holders can also bring dependants. See the dependant visa pages for more information on how to submit a visa application for family members. 


Contact us

Medical Sciences / Humanities / GLAM / UAS / Continuing Education / Colleges

Angelina Pelova Tel: 01865 289904 Email: 

James Galloway Tel: 01865 289927 Email:


MPLS / Social Sciences

Nina Song Tel: 01865 289926 Email:

Solveig Alsaker Tel: 01865 289912 Email:




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