Temporary visas for short-term research and innovation in the UK

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) can endorse research and innovation organisations and businesses for a Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) visa sponsorship licence.

The sponsorship licence enables you to sponsor a visa for individuals to work in the UK.

Individuals can come to the UK on a temporary basis for up to two years on a research and training programme, and up to one year on a work experience programme. This enables the transfer of skills and knowledge, increases collaboration, and builds global connections.

We operate two GAE visa schemes. Eligible individuals and activities are the same for both schemes.

A full list of all government authorised exchange schemes is available on GOV.UK.

Eligibility criteria for a temporary visa

As an organisation holding a UKRI sponsorship licence you will be able to apply for a temporary visa for the following individuals and activities.

Eligible individuals include:

  • academics
  • researchers
  • scientists
  • interns, including master’s or PhD students
  • other skilled research technology specialists

Check if your organisation is already on the list of approved organisations.

All individuals must receive National Minimum Wage and have a supernumerary role. A supernumerary role is a role is in addition to the standard number of staff in an organisation. It must not fill a permanent position or ongoing vacancy in a workforce.

Funding can come from the sponsoring organisation, an individual’s overseas employer, or a research and innovation funding body.

Eligible activities include:

  • a research or innovation project or collaboration
  • a period of work-based training, work experience, an internship or placement
  • skill development and knowledge transfer

Future Technology Research and Innovation (FTRI) scheme for businesses

This scheme is for businesses to sponsor eligible individuals for a temporary visa.

To do this you must be endorsed for a sponsorship licence by UKRI.

To be eligible for UKRI endorsement under the FTRI scheme your business must:

The critical technologies are:

  • artificial intelligence
  • engineering biology
  • future telecommunications
  • quantum technologies
  • semiconductors

How to apply for a sponsorship licence from UKRI

If you think your business is eligible, find out further details and register your interest on UKRI’s Engagement Hub.

Ask a question about this scheme

Email: ukrigae@ukri.org

Science, Research and Academia scheme

You can apply to UKRI for a sponsorship licence if your organisation is one of the following:

  • independent research organisations (IRO)
  • public sector research establishments (PSRE)

Organisations applying for sponsorship under this scheme must:

How to apply for sponsorship licence from UKRI

If your organisation is not already approved and you think you are eligible then email ukrigae@ukri.org

Visa applications for individuals

UKRI does not issue visas. All visa applications must be made on GOV.UK.

Use GOV.UK to apply for:

Last updated: 25 June 2024

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