Sponsor Licence Fees

There are various potential costs, beyond the initial Sponsor Licence fee, that potential applicants should be aware of. These include costs for Certificates of Sponsorship and the Immigration Skills Charge.

A quick look

Costs vary, depending on the size of the sponsoring business and the kind of role to be filled by a foreign worker. Small businesses are required to pay relatively smaller fees than larger ones. Costs include those for the Sponsor Licence itself (from £536); Certificates of Sponsorship for each employee working under it (from £21), and an Immigration Skills Charge for businesses hiring skilled workers (from £364). For more details about Sponsor Licence fees, click here.

No. There is a system in place to ensure that smaller organisations pay less than their larger counterparts.

Initially, there is a Licence Fee, which is payable to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) for the licence itself. This will be valid for 4 years. Costs vary, depending on the size of the sponsoring organisation and the type of licence being applied for. Costs range from £535 to £1,476.

Then, there are fees for each Certificate of Sponsorship, issued to individuals that a business wishes to sponsor. Costs range from £21 for temporary workers and £199 for skilled and long-term workers.

Companies may also have to pay an Immigration Skills Charge when they assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to someone intending to work as a skilled worker, or under a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa. There are some exemptions, but it is important that organisations check if this is needed, before they apply for their licence. Costs range from £364 to £1,000 for an initial 12 month period, with additional fees every 6 months thereafter.


In the majority of refused cases, application fees are refunded by UK Visas & Immigration. Applicants should ensure that they provide proper documentation in a timely manner, so not to risk an application fee being withheld.

Sponsor Licence Fees

Fees often depend on the size of the business applying for a Sponsor Licence. UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) put businesses into two categories.

They are either:

  • Small or charitable sponsors
  • Medium or large sponsors

You are usually a small sponsor if at least 2 of the following apply:

  • Your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less
  • Your total assets are worth £5.1 million or less
  • You have 50 employees or fewer

You are a charitable sponsor if you are:

  • A registered charity in England or Wales
  • A registered charity in Scotland
  • A registered charity in Northern Ireland
  • If you are not on the register, you must provide proof of your charitable status for tax purposes from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • An excepted charity
  • An exempt charity
  • An ecclesiastical corporation established for charitable purposes

Otherwise, if none of these apply, a business is a medium or large sponsor according to UKVI.

Types of Fees

It is important that businesses are aware of all the fees linked to Sponsor Licences, before applying –  there is more than just the cost of the licence to pay for.

The three main types of fees are:

  • For the Sponsor Licence itself (£535 – £1,476)
  • For each Certificate of Sponsorship issued to individuals working under the licence (£21 – £199)
  • Immigration Skills Charge for specialist roles (initial cost of £364 – £1,000).

Licence Fee

Worker Visa Licence
Small/charity sponsor: £536
Med/large sponsor: £1,476

Temporary Worker Licence
Small/charity sponsor: £536
Med/large sponsor: £536

Both Worker and Temporary Worker Licence
Small/charity sponsor: £536
Med/large sponsor: £1,476

Add a Worker Licence to an existing Temporary Worker Licence
Small/charity sponsor: No fee
Med/large sponsor: £940

Add a Temporary Worker licence to an existing Worker Licence
Small/charity sponsor: No fee
Med/large sponsor: No fee

Certificates of Sponsorship

Sponsors must assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) to each foreign worker they employ. A COS is an electronic record; not a physical document. Each certificate has its own number which potential workers can use when applying for their particular visa.

There is a fee for each certificate assigned to each individual worker. Costs vary, depending on the kind of role being filled.

  • Worker (skilled or long term) – £199
  • Temporary Worker – £21

There are some exemptions for International Sportspersons.

Immigration Skills Charge

It may be necessary to pay an additional charge when a Certificate of Sponsorship is assigned to an individual applying for a skilled or specialist role. It was introduced by the UK government to encourage businesses to fill their skilled positions with UK workers.

There are exemptions for certain skilled positions, particularly within the field of science (eg. chemical scientists, biological scientists & biochemists, etc.). The list also includes exemptions for clergy, sports players, and higher education teaching professionals.

The Immigration Skills Charge requires an initial payment, covering the first 12 months of a sponsored worker’s employment, with additional charges for each additional 6 month period.

Small or charitable sponsors
First 12 months: £364
Each additional 6 months: £182

Medium or large sponsors
First 12 months: £1,000
Each additional 6 months: £500

Businesses can sponsor workers for a maximum of 5 years. To sponsor a worker for the maximum time period, it would cost a small or charity sponsor £1,820 (5 x £364). For a medium or large sponsor, it would cost £5,000 (5 x £1,000).

The initial fee must be paid when a Certificate of Sponsorship is assigned, so that a sponsored individual can then apply for their visa.

Should their application be unsuccessful, there is a system in place to make sure that sponsors are refunded.

The information contained on this page is sourced from UK Visas and Immigration and is subject to change. While Woodcock Law Limited makes every effort to keep this information current, prices and information cannot be guaranteed and should always be checked on www.gov.uk.

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