Call for paid service +44 (0)344-991-9222

Tier 2 Visa Certificate of Sponsorship

Section Menu

show hide

Introduction to Tier 2 Certificates of Sponsorship

In order to apply for a Tier 2 UK visa, you must have a valid 'Certificate of Sponsorship' from the employer who has offered you a job.

The employer needs to apply for what is called a restricted COS (Certificate of sponsorship) for prospective employees who are based abroad for jobs paying less than £154,500 a year.  There is a monthly allocation meeting for COSs and an annual cap of 20,700. Prospective employees based in the UK who are eligible to change status to a Tier 2 visa do not come under the Tier 2 Visa Cap and do not need a restricted COS.

The 'Certificate of Sponsorship' is, in fact, a unique reference number which links you to the job you intend to do and your employer. You will not receive a paper certificate.

It is your Sponsor's responsibility to provide you with:

  • Your Certificate of Sponsorship reference number

  • Information associated with that reference number such as the declared wage

What makes a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship 'valid'?

For your visa application to be successful, your Certificate of Sponsorship must be 'valid'. To be valid, a Certificate of Sponsorship must

  • Be clearly yours. It must bear your name, age and other details as they appear on your passport

  • Have been 'Live' for no more than 3 months when you make your Tier 2 visa application. Please note, if you fail to make your application within three months, you must apply for a new Certificate of Sponsorship from your sponsor.

  • Not have been withdrawn or cancelled by either the Sponsor or by the UK Visas and Immigration of the Home office.

When is a Certificate of Sponsorship 'live'?

In order for your visa application to be successful, your Certificate of Sponsorship must also be 'live'.

A Certificate of Sponsorship

  • becomes live at the point where a reference number has been allocated to it by the Sponsorship Management System of the UK Visas and Immigration, Home office.

  • remains live until such time as the applicant uses its reference number to make an application for leave (to enter or remain in the UK) under Tier 2

A Certificate of Sponsorship will always expire after three months if it has not been used. No one is entitled to have more than one live Certificate of Sponsorship at one time.

What if you have a 'live' Certificate of Sponsorship but decide not to go ahead with your application?

In that case, you should contact your sponsor who will cancel the Certificate of Sponsorship. If you fail to do so, it will expire after three months in any event.

What if you have a 'live' Certificate of Sponsorship but decide to work in another position in the UK

If you wish to take up alternative employment in the UK then the procedure is as follows

  • You must ask your sponsor to withdraw your live Certificate of Sponsorship, either in writing or by email. You cannot apply for another Certificate while the original one remains live.

  • The sponsor must then cancel your live Certificate within five days of receiving your request.

  • If your sponsor does not cancel your Certificate, you can ask the Sponsor Licensing Unit of the UK Visas and Immigration to cancel it instead.

  • Once the original Certificate is cancelled, you can apply for another from your preferred employer.


Further information, help, and advice's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK and other Countries. We work with OISC registered advisers who can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on0344 991 9222 or at