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What is a Government Authorised Exchange visa?

A Government Authorised Exchange visa enables you to come to the UK for a short time (namely for 12 or 24 months) for:

  • Work experience
  • Training
  • An overseas government language programme
  • Research or a fellowship through an approved government authorised exchange scheme

Who is eligible for a Government Authorised Exchange visa?

To be eligible, you will need a certificate of sponsorship and sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK (unless your employer can support you).

You will usually need to show at least £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 days in a row.

You will need to be sponsored by an appropriate sponsor as set out below.

Who can be a sponsor for the purposes of a Government Authorised Exchange visa?

  1. A government department or agency
  2. An organisation running an approved exchange scheme
  3. A higher education institution (if you are applying as a sponsored researcher, examiner or visiting academic)

What documents do you need to provide for a Government Authorised Exchange visa?

You will need to have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor.

You will also need evidence that you have sufficient personal savings, a valid passport or document showing your identity and nationality, proof of your relationship with your dependants and a tuberculosis test result if required.

What can you do on a Government Authorised Exchange visa?

You can:

  1. Work for your sponsor as set out in your certificate of sponsorship
  2. Do additional work for up to 20 hours per week, so long as this is in the same sector and level as your main job, or if it is on the skilled worker immigration salary list.
  3. Bring eligible partners or children as your dependants
  4. Study

You are not eligible to receive public funds or take a permanent job whilst on a Government Authorised Exchange visa.

How long does it take to get a Government Authorised Exchange visa?

You can apply for a Government Authorised Exchange visa up to 3 months before the date you are due to commence work in the UK as set out on your certificate of sponsorship.

Once you have completed the application process, you should expect a decision usually within:

  • 3 weeks if you applied from outside the UK
  • 8 weeks if you applied from within the UK

You may be able to apply for a priority service. To read more about the potential priority service, please click here.

How long can you stay in the UK on a Government Authorised Exchange visa?

Depending on the scheme applied for, you may receive a visa for up to 12 months if you are doing work experience, or 24 months if you are doing research, training, or an Overseas Government Language programme.

You can enter the UK up to 14 days before starting your job (so long as your visa has already started).

You can stay in the UK for up to 14 days after ending your job, but you must leave the UK by the end of your visa.

How much does it cost to apply for a Government Authorised Exchange visa?

For each person applying, a Government Authorised Exchange visa application costs £298.

This is in addition to the NHS Surcharge, which is usually £1,035 per year per applicant.

How do you apply to extend my Government Authorised Exchange visa?

You must apply online to extend your Government Authorised Exchange visa before your current visa expires.

You may apply to extend your stay for up to 12 or 24 months, depending on the scheme.

Danielle invites you to take a look at her blog, where you will see the diverse range of clients that she has helped.

If you have any questions about the process or would like to apply for a Government Authorised Exchange visa, please contact Danielle or call on 020 7267 4133. Danielle will only charge you for the first consultation if you decide to become her client and if she can assist you.

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