The Types of Certificate of Sponsorship and How to Get a COS

4 min read
03 January 2023

A certificate of sponsorship (CoS) is an electronic document that testifies that a qualified and sincere immigrant has been offered employment or a place of study by a licensed UK firm or educational institution.

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

When hiring a foreign person on a Tier 2 Skilled Worker Visa or Tier 5 Visa, a UK-based firm must submit an application for a CoS. Your prospective employee will utilize the certificate as supporting documentation for their visa application after it has been obtained. A certificate of sponsorship may only be requested by employers who have a Sponsor Licence.

Once the position has been formally offered, the employer should only start the CoS application. An employer must include information about the position and remuneration with the application. The employer runs the risk of having their Sponsor Licence suspended if there are any discrepancies between the information given and the truth.

The government presently offers two different types of COS: limited and unrestricted. Only 20,700 of the Restricted kind are currently supplied annually.

Types of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS)

Defined CoS

Those applying for a skilled worker visa from outside the UK must submit defined certificates. Once you obtain your sponsor license, you must submit an application using the online Sponsorship Management System (SMS) if you want to grant a defined certificate of sponsorship. The overseas worker will be given the application if UKVI approves it, at which point they can apply for a visa. Application processing for designated CoSs normally takes one business day.

Undefined CoS

Undefined certifications are required for all sponsored visa applications, including those from UK citizens seeking a skilled worker visa. You will be required to estimate how many undefined certificates you will require during the first year of sponsorship when submitting your sponsor license application as a sponsoring organization. 

How to Get a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?

An employer must first get a Sponsor Licence before submitting a certificate of sponsorship application. The CoS effectively serves as confirmation that the employee has a job offer from a sponsored employer, hence this is the primary eligibility condition that must be met in order to get one.

Once your Sponsor License is in place, you must be sure to assign the proper CoS to your potential employee. To accomplish this, you must compile all pertinent details about the position for which you are applying, including the anticipated pay.

Once the data is ready, it must be entered into the Sponsor Management System (SMS). The COS  will subsequently be generated by the SMS as an individual reference number. Your prospective employee will use this number when applying for a visa.

How Long Will it Take to Obtain a CoS?

Being a sponsored employer shouldn't make getting a CoS a time-consuming procedure. Your potential employee's unique reference number will be generated practically immediately when all the necessary data has been obtained and entered into the SMS. Their certificate of sponsorship is a reference number that needs to be entered on their visa application.

What Are The Certificates of Sponsorship Fees?

You must provide specifics about the jobs you wish to fill when seeking a CoS allocation, whether it is a Defined or an Undefined CoS. If the migrant's information is known, you should include it in the request for an Undefined CoS allocation and explain how the migrant was chosen for the position.

The CoS fee varies depending on the kind of visa your potential employee is requesting. The CoS now costs £199 to get if a Tier 2 Visa is being requested. It costs £19. for a certificate of sponsorship for a Tier 5 Visa. For Tier 2 General and Intra-Company Transfer Visas, the "immigration skills charge" must be paid.

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