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GAE VISA - UK Government Authorised Exchange Visa

The United Kingdom's Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Visa opens doors for individuals seeking enriching experiences through work, training, research, or participation in overseas government language programs. This article will guide you through the application process, eligibility criteria, requirements, and other essential details to help you embark on this exciting journey.


To qualify for the GAE Visa, applicants must have a sponsor – a UK-based organization running an approved exchange scheme. They must demonstrate financial self-sufficiency, proving they can support themselves and cover the costs of their journey. Additionally, applicants must be able to finance their return or onward journey.


A crucial aspect of the GAE Visa is sponsorship. The sponsoring organization in the UK plays a pivotal role, providing applicants with a Certificate of Sponsorship. This document is instrumental in proving an individual's eligibility to come to the UK under the GAE scheme.


The GAE Visa offers flexibility by allowing stays in the UK for either 12 or 24 months, depending on the specific exchange scheme the applicant is applying for. This duration provides ample time for individuals to engage in various activities, from work experience to research and training.

Work Opportunities:

GAE Visa holders have the privilege of working for their sponsor in the job outlined in their Certificate of Sponsorship. Moreover, they can take on a second job within the same sector and at the same level for up to 20 hours per week, adding an extra dimension to their UK experience.

Study Provisions:

While pursuing the GAE Visa, individuals can engage in studies, though certain courses may require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. This ensures a well-rounded experience, allowing participants to enhance their skills not only through work but also through academic pursuits.

Family Inclusion:

The GAE Visa recognizes the importance of family. Applicants are permitted to bring their family members, referred to as 'dependants,' ensuring a supportive environment during their time in the UK.

Application Process:

Applying for the GAE Visa involves several key steps. First and foremost, secure sponsorship from an approved organization running the exchange scheme. Once sponsored, applicants can initiate the visa application process, providing the necessary documentation and details.

Documents Required:

To complete the application, gather essential documents, including the Certificate of Sponsorship, proof of financial capability, evidence of return or onward journey funding, and any required ATAS certificate for specific courses.

Validity and Processing Time:

The GAE Visa is typically issued for the duration specified in the Certificate of Sponsorship, either 12 or 24 months. The processing time can vary, but applicants are advised to apply well in advance of their intended travel date to allow for ample processing time.

GAE Visa step-by-step guide

Process to follow when applying for the UK Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Visa:

Step 1: Identify an Approved Exchange Scheme and Secure Sponsorship

Research and identify an approved exchange scheme that aligns with your goals, such as work experience, training, research, or language programs. Contact the sponsoring organization in the UK and secure sponsorship. The sponsor will provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS).

Step 2: Check Eligibility

Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria, including having a sponsor, demonstrating financial self-sufficiency, and being able to cover the costs of your journey and stay.

Step 3: Gather Necessary Documents

Collect all required documents for your visa application. This typically includes:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) from the sponsoring organization.
  • Proof of financial capability to support yourself.
  • Evidence of funding for your return or onward journey.
  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate, if required for specific courses.
  • Passport and passport-sized photographs.

Any additional documents specified by the UK government.

Step 4: Complete the Online Visa Application Form

Visit the official UK government website and complete the online visa application form. Provide accurate and up-to-date information, and be ready to upload the required documents during the application process.

Step 5: Pay the Visa Fee

Pay the applicable visa fee as per the current rates. Payment is usually made online as part of the application process. Keep a record of the payment confirmation.

Step 6: Biometric Information

Schedule and attend a biometric appointment. This involves providing fingerprints and a photograph at a visa application center. You'll receive a biometric residence permit as part of the process.

Step 7: Attend an Interview, if Required

In some cases, applicants may be required to attend an interview. If so, prepare for the interview by reviewing your application and being ready to discuss your plans in the UK.

Step 8: Receive Visa Decision

After submitting your application, track its progress online. Once a decision is made, you will be notified. If approved, your passport with the visa will be returned to you.

Step 9: Travel to the UK

Upon receiving your visa, plan your travel to the UK within the specified validity period. Ensure that you have all necessary documents, including your passport with the visa, when you travel.

Step 10: Report to the Police, if Required

Depending on the terms of your visa, you may be required to register with the police upon arrival in the UK. Check the conditions of your visa and comply with any reporting requirements.

By following these steps, you can navigate the GAE Visa application process smoothly and embark on a rewarding experience in the United Kingdom.

In conclusion, the Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) Visa stands as a gateway to unparalleled opportunities in the United Kingdom. By understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and associated requirements, individuals can embark on a transformative journey, gaining valuable experiences and contributing to the global exchange of knowledge and skills.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top in-demand jobs in the UK and what are their average starting salaries?

Here’s a list of the top demanding jobs, along with their average salaries in the UK:

  • Programmers and Software Developers
  • Architects
  • Cyber security experts
  • Healthcare Specialists
  • Scientists   
  • Graphic designers
  • Business Analysts
  • Operations Manager
  • Sales Assistant

Job Occupation

Average starting salaries

Programmers and Software Developers


Cyber Security Specialists




Health Services and Residential Care

£21,000 – £30,000

Graphic Designers


Physical Scientists


Sales Assistant


Customer Service Advisor


Operations Manager


Business Analyst


Is a UK work permit easy to get?

Acquiring some of the UK work permits can be tricky based on visa requirements. Candidates who fulfill the eligibility criteria with proper submission of the requirements can get their visas processed within the due time. The candidate must have an offer letter for a job that meets a licensed employer’s minimum salary and skill requirements. To make the work permit process easy, it is suggested that the candidate applies at least three months before the travel date.

How much money is required for a U.K. work permit?

Individuals applying for the U.K. work permit must submit proof of financial funds. The candidate must have at least £1,270 in their bank account as proof to support themselves in the country. The money must be unused for 28 consecutive days, starting from applying for the visa.

List out the processing times for U.K. work visas?

The processing time for a U.K. work visa usually takes around three weeks to 8 weeks, based on where you apply from. The processing time for work visas that are applied from outside the U.K. is as follows:

Skilled worker visa: 3 weeks
Health and Care worker: 3 weeks
Global Talent: 3 weeks
Scale-up worker: 3 weeks
High Potential Individual (HPI): 3 weeks
Temporary work visa: 3 weeks
Innovator Founder: 3 weeks

The processing time for work visas that are applied from inside the U.K. is as follows:

Skilled Worker – 8 weeks
Health and Care Worker – 8 weeks
Global Business Mobility visas – 8 weeks
Temporary Work visas (selected categories) – 8 weeks
Innovator Founder – 8 weeks
Global Talent – 8 weeks
High Potential Individual (HPI) – 8 weeks
Scale-up Worker – 8 weeks

What are the different categories of UK work permit?

The different UK work permit categories or Tiers are mentioned below:

Tier 1 visa: The Tier 1 visa, or the Entrepreneur or UK Innovator visa, is specifically for highly skilled individuals like investors or business people. The Tier 1 visa is a special category visa for Non-EU candidates that are exceptionally talented and are willing to invest at least £200,000 in the UK.
Tier 2 visa: The Tier 2 visa is a work visa that allows transfers of skilled immigrants with a job offer or sponsorship to the UK. The candidate with a Tier 2 visa must score at least 60 points and is required to have an employment offer in the country.
Tier 3 visa: The Tier 3 visa is for low-skilled workers to fill job vacancies when there is a demand.
Tier 4 visa: The Tier 4 visa is a type of student visa for international students who wish to pursue higher education in the UK with two years to look for jobs in the country.
Tier 5 visa: The Tier 5 visa, also known as the Temporary Worker visa, is for individuals who can work in the UK temporarily. Charity workers, sportspersons, or Government exchange schemes are eligible for the Tier 5 visa.

How much proof of funds is required for a UK work visa?

Candidates applying for a UK work visa must show minimum proof of funds as a requirement. The individual must have at least £1,270 as evidence of funds to support their stay in the UK. The money in the account must be left unused for 28 consecutive days. The 28 days will be calculated as a part of 31 days from the date of applying for the visa.

What can you do with a Skilled Worker Visa?

The Skilled Worker Visa was introduced in place of Tier 2 (General) Sponsored Worker visa. This UK work visa is for businesses in the country that can sponsor both European and non-European nationals to work from January 1, 2021, in the UK.

What's the Global Talent visa, and who is eligible for it?

A Global Talent visa allows you to work in the UK as a skilled employee if you are currently in the capacity of leader or prospectively going to be one shortly in the domain of digital technology.

Digital technology includes sectors like artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, financial technology (fintech), etc. You are allowed to apply if you have earned an eligible award.

To work in the UK, I want to apply for a work visa. Which work visa is appropriate for me?

You are allowed to work in the UK both on long-term and short-term work visas. 

The work visa you will need will depend on four different factors –

  • Your eligibility kills and credentials
  • If you have a job offer and sponsorship from the UK
  • If you want your family members to accompany you to the UK 

The type of work you will perform in the UK

Can I get a job in the UK without any experience?

There are certain jobs in the UK which do not require any work experience. These include menial jobs, including cleaning and driving occupations. Employers want work experience of a minimum of one year in most such jobs. There are instances where employers are not inclined to waste time training employees. Obtaining work experience is possible. Instead of waiting for a job advertisement, you need to walk into the companies directly and ask for jobs.

You can try such organizations by telling them that you intend to provide your services on an experimental basis. The places where you can try are advertising agencies, hairdressers, and factories, among others.

Would I require sponsorship to work in the UK?

Yes. Usually, you would require a sponsor who invites you to work in the UK. You must have the work experience, necessary qualifications, and skills for the jobs you get through sponsorship and an invitation to the UK. Employers who would sponsor you will provide a sponsorship certificate.

Providing a sponsorship certificate is to support overseas workers’ applications. With this certificate, it will be ensured by the authorities that the employer will shoulder all the employees’ responsibilities during their employment tenure in the UK.