What Documents Will My Company Need to Apply for a Sponsor Licence?

sponsor license

Applying for a sponsor licence in the UK is a crucial step for companies intending to hire foreign workers. The process involves submitting the application with supporting documents demonstrating your organisation’s legitimacy, compliance with UK immigration laws, and capability to meet sponsor duties. 

This guide will help you understand the specific documentation requirements for a successful sponsor licence application, including the role of Appendix A and how to prepare your submission. By following the guidelines, you can streamline the application process and improve your chances of approval.

What Is Appendix A In The Context Of Sponsor Licence Application?

Sponsor Guidance Appendix A sets out the documents a business requires to apply for a sponsorship licence. It forms part of the comprehensive policy guidance for sponsoring workers under the ‘Worker’ and ‘Temporary Worker’ routes. 

Understanding Appendix A’s stipulations is crucial when applying for a sponsor licence. It details the different types of documents that must be submitted depending on the nature of your organisation and the specific licence you are seeking. Talk to UK Sponsor Licence Lawyers For Businesses to ensure all documents are accurate and complete.

This includes everything from financial statements to proof of business operations and evidence of HR systems that ensure compliance with immigration laws.

Appendix A outlines that these documents be submitted in a specific format, with some being available or verifiable online. To maintain the validity of your application, these documents, along with a submission sheet, are signed by the organisation’s Authorising Officer.

The documents must be submitted within 5 working days of completing the online sponsor licence application form.

Sponsor Licence Documentation Requirements

Appendix A is organised into four distinct tables, each addressing different aspects of the application requirements based on the nature of the organisation and the specific type of licence sought. 

  • Table 1 focuses on identifying exceptions and tailored document requirements for specific types of entities, such as educational institutions or public bodies, providing clear guidance for these special cases.
  • Table 2 is for newly established businesses, franchises, charitable entities, and organisations under regulatory scrutiny. It outlines the mandatory documents these entities must provide to meet the stringent requirements of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
  • Table 3 details route-specific documents necessary for various visa routes, ensuring that businesses apply with the correct paperwork for their sponsorship needs.
  • Table 4 details additional document options that applicants can submit to strengthen the robustness of their application to showcase their compliance and operational integrity.

Applicants must submit at least 4 documents or combinations of documents from these tables, including those specified as mandatory.  Let’s explore more details about each category of documents. 

See also: How Much Does a Sponsor Licence Application Cost?

Table 1: Specific Bodies and Organisations

Table 1 is designed to simplify the application process for certain types of organisations, reducing the burden of documentation for entities that fall under specific categories, thanks to their established credibility and regulatory oversight. This includes:

  • Government Entities: This category encompasses departments, agencies, and other public bodies officially recognised by the GOV.UK listings.
  • Local Authorities and Councils: These municipal entities manage local areas within the UK and are often integral to regional governance.
  • International Agreements Participants: This group includes diplomatic missions, consular posts, and recognised international organisations, particularly those whose employees might be eligible for exempt entry clearances.
  • Stock Exchange Listed Organisations: Entities that are publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange’s main market benefit from reduced documentation requirements due to their public financial disclosures.
  • Scale-up Pathway Applicants: Organisations applying under the standard or endorsing body pathway of the Scale-up route are provided certain flexibilities in their documentation needs.

For these organisations, the typical requirement to submit four specific documents may be reduced or adjusted, acknowledging the trust and verification these entities usually command due to their public or high-profile nature.

Read also: What Are Certificates of Sponsorship?

Table 2: Start-Ups, Franchises, Charities, Etc.

Table 2 targets newer entities such as start-ups, franchises, charitable organisations, and those under strict regulatory oversight, detailing the mandatory documents needed to demonstrate they operate lawfully in the UK and follow the compliance:

  • Start-ups: Companies operating or trading in the United Kingdom for less than 18 months must present proof of a current corporate bank account with a UK-registered bank, demonstrating financial integrity and readiness for business operations. Entities applying under the UK Expansion Worker route are exempt from this requirement, recognising their developing stage and potential lack of extensive financial history.
  • Franchises: These businesses must submit their franchise agreement, signed by all relevant parties. This document validates the business model and the franchisor-franchisee relationship, ensuring alignment with UK business standards.
  • Charities: Charitable organisations registered with relevant regulatory bodies (like the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, or the Scottish Charity Regulator) and applying under their registered names can have their status verified online, obviating the need to submit proof of charitable status.
  • Regulated Organisations: If an organisation’s operation in the UK requires oversight from a regulatory entity, it must indicate the regulatory body overseeing its activities and provide a registration identification number. For organisations whose regulatory bodies do not maintain an online public register, documentary evidence of compliance, including the most recent inspection report, is necessary.

Table 2 ensures that emerging businesses and specific operational models uphold high compliance standards and are fully prepared for the responsibilities that come with sponsorship.

Table 3: Route-Specific Documents

Table 3 in Appendix A outlines the essential documents required for specific pathways, ensuring businesses meet the specific criteria for sponsoring workers from different sectors and professions.

  • International Sportsperson Route: Sports clubs aiming to sponsor international athletes must provide evidence of endorsement by the sport’s governing body. This confirmation is crucial as it attests to the athlete’s recognition and eligibility under stringent UK standards, ensuring that only qualified individuals are brought into the country’s sports sectors.
  • Government-Authorised Exchange Route: Entities sponsoring individuals for cultural or educational exchange programs must present proof of endorsement by the relevant government department. This ensures that the exchange aligns with approved schemes and contributes to the cultural or educational objectives of both the host and the participant’s home country.
  • Global Business Mobility (GBM) Routes: This category includes diverse routes such as Service Suppliers, Senior or Specialist Workers, Graduate Trainees, UK Expansion Workers, and Secondment Workers. Specific documents vary per route but generally involve contracts demonstrating international business engagements or, in the case of graduate trainees, evidence of internal corporate training programs.
  • Seasonal Worker Route: Organisations in the agricultural sector looking to sponsor seasonal labour must show evidence of the need for such labour, supported by endorsements from appropriate governmental or industry-specific bodies. This documentation confirms the seasonal nature of the work and the lack of a suitable local workforce.
  • T2 Minister of Religion or Religious Worker Route: Religious organisations need to provide detailed information about their structure, the specific roles they intend to fill, and proof that they are established primarily for charitable purposes. This documentation helps establish the legitimacy of the sponsorship and the religious purpose behind it.

Table 4: Other Supporting Documents

Table 4 in Appendix A provides a comprehensive list of additional documents that organisations can submit to fulfil the minimum requirement of four documents for their sponsor licence application. This table is particularly useful for organisations that need to supplement their application with further evidence to underline their readiness and capability to sponsor workers under UK immigration rules.

  • Financial and Corporate Registrations: Documents such as proof of listing on the London Stock Exchange or registration with HMRC as self-employed or for PAYE and National Insurance contribute significantly to establishing the organisation’s financial and operational status within the UK.
  • Employer’s Liability Insurance: Showing proof of having employer’s liability insurance coverage of at least £5 million from an FCA-authorised insurer is vital, as it demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to meeting its obligations towards sponsored employees.
  • Compliance Documents: For organisations that must adhere to various regulatory frameworks, documents like licences to serve alcohol or the latest annual accounts are essential. These documents provide a snapshot of their adherence to UK laws and industry standards.
  • Operational Documents: Items such as a lease for business premises or evidence of appropriate planning permission are crucial in demonstrating the organisation’s established presence and compliance with local regulations.
  • Bank Statements and Financial Interactions: Recent corporate or business bank statements or a letter from the bank detailing the organisation’s financial dealings offer insight into the organisation’s financial health and transactional history, affirming its stability and longevity in the market.

By gathering and submitting the correct documents outlined in the sponsorship licence guidance, organisations can effectively demonstrate their eligibility and preparedness to sponsor workers, thus facilitating a smoother application process for a UK sponsor licence.

Let Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors Help You

Let Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors guide you to steer the complexities of the UK sponsor licence application. Our experienced team specialises in UK immigration law, providing tailored advice and detailed support to ensure your application meets all requirements with precision.

As your dedicated sponsor licence experts, we streamline the process, offering suggestions on the necessary documentation and strategic insights to enhance your application’s success. From preparing your application to maintaining compliance, we are committed to ensuring you receive expert guidance at every step.

Contact us today, and let’s discuss how we can help you. 


While making a sponsor application, you will need to provide various documents such as proof of business registration, financial documents, and information about the key personnel in your organisation,

Yes, there is an application fee for a sponsorship licence. The fee amount may vary based on the variation of licence you are applying for and the size of your organisation.

The online sponsor licence application process involves creating an account on the UK Visas and Immigration website, completing the application form, and submitting the required documents electronically.

The processing duration for a sponsor licence application can vary, but generally, it takes around 8 weeks for a decision to be made on your application. You can fast-track the process for an extra fee, which usually takes around 8 working days.

If a sponsor licence application is refused, the Home Office typically imposes a cooling-off period before a new application can be submitted. The length of the cooling-off period depends on the reason for the refusal and can range from 6 months to 5 years. The application fee is usually not refunded.

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