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Navigating the UK Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Visa

Seeking to participate in a government-approved program for research, training or work experience in the UK? The UK Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Visa offers this opportunity. The following guide will walk you through the essentials of the GAE Visa.

Understanding the UK Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Visa

The GAE Visa permits international participants to visit the UK for the purposes of sharing knowledge, experience and best practice, and to experience the social and cultural life of the UK. It provides a chance to engage in an approved scheme for a maximum duration of 2 years.

The Essentials of the GAE Visa Application Process

The GAE Visa application process involves crucial stages including eligibility assessment, certificate of sponsorship procurement, and application submission. Our team at Immtell is adept at guiding applicants through each of these stages, ensuring an efficient and smooth application process. The basic requirements of the GAE visa are: 

You want to come to the UK for a short time for work experience or to do training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship through an approved government authorised exchange scheme
You must obtain sponsorship from a registered GAE sponsor. Upon sponsorship, you will be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), this is like an online UK work permit. The sponsor can be any of the following:
  • an organisation running an approved exchange scheme
  • a higher education institution (if a sponsored researcher, visiting academic or examiner)
  • a government department or agency
  • You must have held £1,270 in savings for 28 days prior to the date of application, or an A-Rated Home Office sponsor may certify that they will provide this on the CoS. Further funds must be held for each dependant family member applying


    Initial GAE visas granted outside of the UK are usually valid for 1 or 2 years, depending on the scheme applied for or the period stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), whichever is shorter.

    If sponsorship continues, it is possible to apply for an extension up to the maximum time of 1 or 2 years depending on the applicable scheme the individual is on.

    It is permitted to switch into the Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) visa type, if you are:

    • student, whether studying, resitting an examination or writing a thesis
    • student union sabbatical officer
    • student nurse
    • postgraduate doctor or dentist
    • student visa holder (including Tier 4)
    • sponsored researcher who came to the UK on a work permit and you want to continue in the same job with your sponsor


    You must have completed a UK bachelor’s or master’s degree during your last grant of leave.


    Unfortunately, the GAE visa does not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.  Following the maximum time permitted in the UK, you will usually be required to leave the country.

    Spouses or partners and children under the age of 18 may apply for visas to accompany you to the UK as your ‘dependants’.  Your spouse or partner should be permitted to work.

    Initial applications should be made from abroad, either from your country of nationality or legal residence. Unless you are eligible to switch into this category (see above).

    UKVI aim to process visas as follows:

    Visa applications submitted outside of the UK:

    • Standard processing: 15 working days
    • Priority Service processing: 5 working days


    Visa applications submitted inside the UK:

    • Standard processing: 8 weeks
    • Priority Service processing: 5 working day


    Important: UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) do not guarantee processing times and delays do occur. We advise that you do not book any non refundable travel until your visa has been approved and your work visa is in your possession.  Priority services can be suspended without notice and may not be available at the time of application.

    The UKVI application fee is £259.  In addition, you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which is £624 per year of the visa duration.

    Our professional fee will depend on the level of service you require. Please see the options below or contact us for further information.

    Why Choose Immtell Immigration Services for Your GAE Visa Application?

    Navigating the visa process can be a daunting task, but with Immtell, you don’t have to do it alone. Our experienced consultants guide you through every step of the application process, helping to streamline your visa application, ensuring compliance with UK immigration rules and thereby increasing your chances of success.

    Experience a hassle-free GAE Visa application with Immtell Immigration Services. With our dedicated team by your side, you can make the most out of your UK exchange program.