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What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

A Certificate of Sponsorship is a key part of the visa application and sponsorship compliance systems, but we often encounter both sponsors and visa-holders who are confused by some of the fundamentals of what a CoS is, and how you can obtain one.

A Certificate of Sponsorship, known as a ‘CoS’ for short, is a virtual document that a sponsor must provide to any potential employee they wish to sponsor, to enable that individual to submit a visa application.

CoSs are obtained and ‘assigned’ through a sponsor’s Sponsor Management System portal – or SMS. Each work visa route has its own category of CoS – an Intra-Company Worker CoS, a Minister of Religion CoS etc.

The CoS will include details of the individual to be sponsored, for example, their name, date of birth and passport details. It will also include key details of the job they will be doing – the job title and job description, what occupation code (or SOC code) the role falls under, what salary will be paid and what hours worked.

The CoS provides confirmation to the Home Office that an applicant will be employed, and allows them to check that the role will meet the criteria of the visa route in terms of the nature and skill level of the job, and the minimum salary requirements.

Without a CoS it is not possible for an individual to apply for a Skilled Worker or Intra Company Worker visa (or other employment visas such as a Charity Worker, Minister of Religion, or Sportsperson.)

Where can you find a CoS?

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?A CoS is a virtual document that can be viewed through the licence portal (the Sponsor Management System) of the sponsor who assigned it.

We would always recommend that a copy of the CoS is kept on a sponsored employee’s file, for easy access by HR and Managers. This is because it contains important information regarding the individual’s employment details – job title, description, salary, hours and work location. Changes to these details may need to be reported to the Home Office, and may even have implications for the individual’s immigration status.

When do you need a CoS, and how long will it last?

As a sponsor, you will need to assign a CoS every time you seek to sponsor an individual. Without a valid Certificate of Sponsorship reference number they will be unable to submit their visa application.

Once the CoS has been assigned to them it will last for the length of their visa, whether that’s 6 months or 5 years.

You will only need to assign a new CoS to an individual if their visa is due to expire and they need to extend it, or if their role within your organisation is changing to such an extent that it falls under a different occupation code. In both cases they will need to submit a new visa application, and so will need a new Certificate of Sponsorship.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson has extensive experience in all aspects of UK immigration law. If you have any queries relating to the blogs published or are interested in talking to us about your specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2022


 Ines Yassa 

 Jemima Johnstone


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