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Everything you need to know


Overseas teachers need to hold UK working rights to legally be able to teach in the UK.  This means they would need to hold a British Passport or be eligible to apply for a right to work in the UK through one of the visa categories outlined below.

There are a range of visa options available based on the country of origin, age, and nationality of an overseas teacher.

If a teacher holds a British passport, then no visa is required, and they can live and work in the UK indefinitely.

Common Visa Types available are as follows:

  • Youth Mobility Visa
  • Ancestry Visa
  • Skilled worker Visa/School Sponsorship


For other visa types not listed please contact us. We recommend that you refer to the UK Gov website for all of the latest updates for each visa type as these can be changeable.  Links to the UK Government website for each visa type can be found below.

Visa Types

The length of the Youth Mobility Visa is initially 2 years in length with the option to renew for a third year once in the UK and within 6 months of the expiry of the initial two-year period. Individuals can only have this type of visa once.

Follow this link for the most up to date information on this visa type.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Available to Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian teachers
  • Must be between 18-35 years of age.
  • Must not have children
  • If married, the partner must be eligible to apply in their own right to work in the UK
  • Costs:
    • £298 Visa 
    • £940 Immigration Health Surcharge
    • Must have £2,530 in savings

Other important information:

  • Can only have this visa once and it cannot be stopped or started.
  • Application should be no more than 3 months before arrival in the UK
  • The application process is online, with a requirement for a physical biometric appointment to confirm identity.

The Ancestry visa is a five-year visa and can be reapplied for multiple times. 

Follow this link for the most up to date information on this visa type

Eligibility criteria:

  • Available to Australian, New Zealand and Canadian teachers.
  • Must have British grandparent and documentation to prove lineage.
  • Costs:
  • £516 Visa
  • £3,120 Immigration Health Surcharge
  • Must have £2,530 in savings. If travelling with spouse and children this is the cost per head.


Other important information:

  • Spouses and children can accompany but the same fees will apply per head.
  • Application should be no more than 3 months before arrival in the UK.
  • The application process is online, with a requirement for a physical biometric appointment to confirm identity and show proof of work opportunities.
  • Can transition from an Ancestry Visa to ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ after 5 years.

The skilled visa can be awarded to an individual once a school has sponsored the individual. Sponsorship and the Skilled Worker Visa is an alternative for those individuals who do not qualify for any other visa category within their own right.  Teachers can be sponsored for a minimum of 1 year but the school can choose to sponsor for anywhere up to five years. This is a points-based system to sponsor a teacher. 

Follow this link for the most up-to-date information on this visa type.


Eligibility criteria: School Requirements:

The school must hold an A-rated skilled worker licence. Application usually takes less than 8 weeks. You can pay an extra fee of £500 for 10-day turnaround.


The steps to apply are as follows:


  • To gain a licence schools must apply online and prove they are a financially viable organisation and submit proof, along with other compliance documents.
  • Allocate an Authorised Officer/Key Contact to liaise with the home office.
  • Pay the licence fees:
    • Small organisation: £536 
    • Medium-Large organisation: £1,476 
  • The worker will need to be paid £25,600 salary pa or the ‘going rate’, whichever is higher. Exceptions apply for shortage subjects.


Other school information:


  • Once a licence has been awarded:
  • The Authorised Key contact will have access to the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) to manage all sponsorship activity.
  • You can apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) through the SMS
  • Apply for COS within 3 months of the teacher arriving and starting work. Certificates will appear in the SMS if they have been allocated.
  • Each COS costs £199 and approval will usually be gained within one working day.
  • Schools have to pay an ‘Immigration Skills Charge’ for each person sponsored as follows:
    • £364 per year (small school)
    • £1000 per year (large School)
    • COS can be gained for 1 to 5 years.

Eligibility criteria: Candidate Requirements:

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, teachers must:


  • Work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office (sponsorship licence)
  • Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK
  • Do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
  • Be paid a minimum salary
  • Have a confirmed job offer before you apply for your visa.


Knowledge of English

In addition, candidates must be able to speak, read, write and understand English and will need to prove this on the application.


Length of Stay

Candidates can stay for as long as their COS is issued for, which will be between 1 to 5 years.  After 5 years the candidate can apply for indefinite leave to remain if applicable.


Other candidate information: To apply outside of the UK

  • Apply for an entry clearance visa online using the COS issued by the sponsoring school
  • Attend a biometric appointment to confirm identity and pay the associated fees.
  • Fees include:
    • The application fee – the standard fee ranges from £610 to £1,408 depending on the candidate’s circumstances
    • The healthcare surcharge – this is usually £624 per year upfront


  • The candidate will also need to prove they have sufficient funds in their bank account to support themselves on arrival in the UK. The minimum requirement is at least £1,270 available (unless they are exempt)
  • Candidates may be exempt if a school nominates on the COS that they will be a guarantor.
  • Enter the UK within 3 months of the COS issue date and pick up their biometric card on arrival.


There are some other types of visas, which individuals maybe eligible for such as the Spousal Visa if the individual has a partner that holds a British Passport. There are some other categories for special reasons.  For further information on these visa types please contact TeachLondon for a confidential discussion.

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