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sponsor licence

UK Expansion Worker

If you work for an overseas business, the UK expansion worker visa allows you to come to the UK on a temporary basis to set up a branch. You must already be employed by the business in a specific capacity. You can normally stay in the UK for around 12 months, with the possibility of extending.

green tick

What you can do

  • Work for your sponsor in the UK for 12 months

  • Bring your dependants

  • Extend your visa

  • Switch to different visa

Red X Mark

What you can't do

  • Receive public funds

  • Work in any role other than that which your sponsor has assigned to you

  • Settle in the UK



Valid Passport

Existing Employment

Not Currently Trading

Current Immigration Status

UK Expansion Worker Licence

Certificate of Sponsorship

Genuine Job

English Language


You must have a valid passport to apply.

You must already be employed by the overseas business as a senior manager or specialist employee.

If your overseas employer is already trading in the UK, you cannot apply under the UK expansion worker route. The senior or specialist worker route may be a suitable alternative.

You cannot switch to the UK expansion worker if you currently hold any of the following visas:

  • Visitor

  • Short-term student

  • Parent of a child student

  • Seasonal worker

  • Domestic worker in a private household

  • Leave outside the Immigration Rules

Your sponsor will need a UK expansion worker sponsor licence with an A-rating in order to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

You must have a valid CoS confirming key details including your job, occupation code, salary, and start date.

The job you are coming to the UK to undertake must not have been created mainly for you to be able to apply for this visa.

There is no English language requirement for this route.

Unless you have already been in the UK for 12 months or longer, you will need to show you have at least £1,270 held in your account for the 28 days prior to making the application.


You may require a tuberculosis test depending on which country you are applying from. You could also be required to provide a criminal record certificate. 

The current application fee for a UK expansion worker visa

is £298. You will also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge which is £1,035 per year.

Term & Fees

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You can stay in the UK for 12 months after the start date on your Certificate of Sponsorship or the end date of your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.


ukvi processing time

The current processing time for the UK expansion worker visa is approximately 3 weeks for applications made from outside the UK or 8 weeks for applications from inside the UK. You may be able to get a faster decision by paying for an enhanced service.


Next Steps

If your application for a UK expansion worker visa is successful, you will receive a new biometric residence permit confirming the length and conditions of your permission to remain in the United Kingdom.

If your application for an UK expansion worker visa is refused, you will receive a refusal letter outlining the reasons. You may consider applying for an administrative review if you believe an incorrect decision has been made based on a casework error. Alternatively, a fresh application may be more appropriate.

Are you interested in making an application?

Use this form to fill in your information and one of our partners will get in touch to discuss your needs.

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We will aim to reply to you within 1 working day.

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