Most Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps (ESC) participants coming to the UK require a Temporary Work - Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) visa to allow them to work in the UK. This includes both paid and unpaid work, traineeships, internships and voluntary work.
A Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) visa requires a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The British Council / Ecorys can sponsor and issue CoS for Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps (listed in the Immigration Rules as European Voluntary Service (Youth in Action Programme)) 2014-2020 mobilities, placements or traineeships only. This is where the sending university or organisation is using a 2020 grant agreement to fund the placement (e.g. 2020-DE01-1-KA103-00001).
If you think you may be eligible with 2020 funding, our guidance and application form can be found at the bottom of this page.
The Erasmus+ 2021-2027 programme is not a Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) scheme. Although the European Commission has designated the UK as an eligible destination as a “third county” or a “partner” under the 2021- 2027 programme, there is no UK National Agency to support incoming Erasmus+ participants for the 2021-2027 programme. The British Council / Ecorys cannot sponsor participants funded under reference numbers starting 2021 or later.
We are unable to provide further advice on sponsorship or visas for the 2021-2027 Erasmus+ programme. Please seek further assistance from your UK host organisations. Alternatively, you can contact the UK Visa and Immigration Contact Centre https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk or check the list of Government Authorised Exchange programmes.
1. Apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship
A Temporary Work – GAE visa requires a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The British Council assign each eligible Erasmus+ Higher Education participant a CoS, and Ecorys assign each eligible Erasmus+ Vocational Education and Training, Adult Education, Youth and ESC participant a CoS.
Details of how to apply can be found in our handbook section.
2. Apply to the UK Government for a Temporary Work – GAE visa
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 visa application is managed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
The earliest you can apply for a Temporary Work - GAE visa is three months before the date you are due to start work. The start date will be on your CoS.
It can take a minimum of three weeks to apply for and receive a visa. Please check the UK government guidance for up-to-date information on visa processing times and submit your CoS application earlier to allow for delays where visa processing times are taking longer.
3. Begin making arrangements
We recommend that no travel plans are made, or costs incurred, until you have been advised of the decision regarding your CoS and a visa has been approved by the Home Office.
Once you have arrived in the UK, you and the host organisation will need to meet the reporting requirements and report any changes to the British Council or Ecorys as outlined in the handbooks.
Please allow sufficient time for a CoS and visa to be issued before the start of the placement.
For Higher Education: Applications for CoS must be submitted a minimum of 10 weeks before your placement start date.
For Vocational Education and Training, Adult Education, Youth and European Solidarity Corps: Applications for CoS must be submitted a minimum of 11 weeks before the placement start date.
Incomplete or incorrect documentation will cause delays in issuing a CoS.
Our handbooks provide information about the CoS application process, the information you need to submit and guidance to help you in your application.
You can download the Temporary Work - GAE Certificate of Sponsorship handbooks below:
- Higher Education (HE) Temporary Work - GAE handbook (325 KB)
- Adult Education (AE), Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Youth Temporary Work - GAE handbook (481 KB)
- European Solidarity Corps Temporary Work - GAE handbook (248 KB)
You can find further information on these webpages:
- UK Visas and Immigration
- Check if you need a visa
- Entering the UK guidance
- Temporary Work - Government Authorised Exchange visa
- Visa decision waiting times guidance
For Higher Education CoS queries, please contact [email protected].
For Vocational Education and Training, Adult Education and Youth CoS queries, please contact [email protected].