The UK International Agreement Visa is a temporary work visa for foreign nationals who have been contracted to do work that is covered by international law or treaty in the UK. Despite being a temporary work visa, in some cases, it is possible to stay in the UK for up to 2 or 5 years with an International Agreement Visa. In this article, we will explain who is eligible for the International Agreement Visa, how long you can stay, and what you can and cannot do on this visa.
Who is The International Agreement Visa For?
The International Agreement Visa, which replaces the ‘Temporary Worker – International Agreement Worker visa (T5)’, is for those who have work in the UK that is covered by international law, including for:
- overseas government or international organisations
- diplomatic households as a private servant, or
- the household of an individual who works for a ‘recognised international organisation’ as an employee
The UK government publishes a list of recognised international organisations; these include, but are not limited to the:
- African Development Bank
- Asian Development Bank
- Council of Europe
- European Atomic Energy Community
- European Community
- European Court of Human Rights
- European Court of Justice
- European Patent Organisation
- European Union
- Food and Agricultural Organisation
- International Fund for Agricultural Development
- World Health Organisation
- World Meteorological Organisation
- World Trade Organisation
Who is Eligible For An International Agreement Visa?
To qualify for an International Agreement Visa, applicants must:
- Be 18 years or over
- Have a job offer in the UK for work covered by international law and for one of the recognised international organisations
- Be sponsored by a recognised international organisation in the UK (i.e. they must hold a sponsor licence granted by the Home Office)
- Have a valid certificate of sponsorship (CoS)
- Have sufficient funds to support themselves in the UK (typically at least £1,270)
If you do not have the required support funds, you can ask your UK sponsor to support you; to do this, your CoS must have the words “sponsor certifies maintenance”.
What Are The Conditions Of The International Agreement Visa?
As an International Agreement Visa holder, you will be permitted to:
- work for your UK sponsor
- work a second job for up to 20 hours per week in a role that is either on the Skilled Worker shortage occupation list or is in the same sector as your main role (this does not apply if you are employed as a private servant)
- travel freely from and to the UK, and
- bring your partner and children to live with you in the UK:
You cannot, however, receive public funds (i.e. benefits).
The amount of time you can stay in the UK on an International Agreement Visa depends on the type of work you will be doing. If you work for an overseas government or an international organisation, your total length of stay will be limited to 2 years. Those working as private servants in a diplomatic household are permitted to stay in the UK for up to 5 years. It is important to note, however, that you can only apply for up to 2 years at a time when applying for your visa or the time given on your CoS, whichever is shorter.
Can I Extend My Stay in The UK on an International Agreement Visa?
If you plan to stay longer in the UK, you may be able to extend your International Agreement Visa, but only up to a maximum of 2 or 5 years, depending on your job. It is essential that you apply to extend your visa before your current visa expires. Another option is to switch to another visa, such as the Skilled Worker visa, from within the UK. The Skilled Worker visa will not only allow you to further extend your stay as long as you wish, but you can also apply for permanent settlement after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK.
Garth Coates is a leading niche immigration firm based in the heart of London, specialising in all forms of personal and business immigration, including visas, global mobility, sponsorship and compliance, settlement, and citizenship. To discuss how we can help with your International Agreement Visa application, please contact one of our friendly and approachable immigration Solicitors on Tel: +44 (0)20 7799 1600 or by completing our online contact form.