Visa and Certificate of Sponsorship

From 1 January 2021, some Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps (ESC) participants coming to the UK may require a visa under the Temporary Work - Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) scheme. This is part of the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) points-based system and is needed before participants can take up their Erasmus+ or ESC placement/opportunity in the UK. Erasmus+ and ESC participants who come for a placement in the UK may need a Temporary Work - GAE Certificate of Sponsorship and a Temporary Work - GAE visa. Please see the handbooks below. 

Temporary Work - GAE applicants first need a sponsor before they can apply for their visa. The British Council and Ecorys are licensed Category A sponsors. As licensed sponsors, the British Council assign each eligible Erasmus+ HE participant a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), and Ecorys assign each eligible Erasmus+ Adult Education, VET, Youth, EVS and ESC participant a CoS. 

Applicants must have their CoS before they apply for their Temporary Work - GAE visa via the UK Government website. Please note that applying for a CoS and applying for a visa are two separate processes. The earliest you can apply for a Temporary Work - GAE visa is 3 months before the date you are due to start work. The start date will be on your CoS. You should get a decision on your Temporary Work - GAE visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK. 

The UK Government continue to support work-based mobilities to take place in the UK supporting participants of the residual 2014-2020 Erasmus+ and ESC programmes. However, any programme where the UK is deemed a Partner Organisation, the UK Government has no obligation to support incoming visas which are outside the remit of the 2014-2020 Erasmus+ and ESC programmes.  

If there are any queries, applicants should contact their sponsor institutions. For those organisations wishing to sponsor applicants, there are elements under the Erasmus+ programme guide, where participating organisations can utilise funding for higher education mobility projects.

The UK National Agency is unable to provide information or respond to queries relating to the changes to the immigration rules that come into effect on 1 January 2021. As such you must refer to the UK Government guidance.   

Before you apply for your CoS, please be aware of all UK Covid 19 entry, testing and quarantine rules and the UK roadmap for re-opening which may impact on your placement start date.  

You can find download links to the Temporary Work - GAE Certificate of Sponsorship handbooks below: 

Useful links

Further information can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

More information

Please continue to monitor our website regarding information about key changes to Erasmus+ in 2021 following the UK’s departure from the EU. Further information provided by the UK Government can also be found on the UK Government website. For example, in some cases the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may no longer be valid for UK Nationals travelling to other European countries after 31 December 2020.

For those travelling to the UK after 31 December 2020 please be aware that you may need to meet specific requirements in respect of your visit. Erasmus+ participants travelling to the UK must refer their queries to the sending organisation responsible for organising their placement. You can also check if you need a visa. A healthcare surcharge may be part of the visa application process.