Tier 5 GAE Visa Eligibility

BUNAC can sponsor students and recent graduates of all nationalities to apply for a Tier 5 Government Authorized Exchange Visa that meet the following eligibility criteria.

  • Any nationality with a valid passport
  • 18 years or older
  • Be a full-time degree level student or have graduated within the last 24 months at the start of your internship
  • If English is not your first language, then you must have or be willing to obtain a SELT - secure English language test ( the equivelant of an IELTS score 6.0 or above) find out more about SELT here
  • You must not have completed the same internship before
  • You cannot apply for BUNAC sponsorship more than twice in a lifetime
  • Be able to show a minimum proof of funds of £1270 (UK immigration requirement)
  • Have insurance coverage, including a minimum of $100,000 USD medical coverage and coverage for repatriation of remains on one plan - check out BUNAC's tailor-made insurance policy

Contact the BUNAC team to check your eligibility.

Tier 5 Government Authorized Exchange (GAE) visa FAQs

How long will the visa last?

BUNAC can sponsor internships for up to 6 months in duration. Your visa is only valid for the duration of your internship.

Can I change internship?

No. Your Tier 5 Visa sponsorship is granted based on your application to complete a specific internship.

Can I stay in the UK after my visa expires?

The Tier 5 Visa is a multi-entry visa, so you can travel before, during and after your internship.

Can I bring a dependent with me?

No, you cannot take a dependent (spouse, children) with you on this visa.

Who issues the Tier 5 Visa?

The visas are issued by, and at the discretion of, the British Government.

Can I request a visa extension?

You cannot request a visa extension of the Tier 5 Visa. You will need to return to your home country and complete the process a second time. Please note that you cannot have more than two GAE visas in your lifetime.

Do I have to send off my actual passport when I apply for my visa?

Yes. You must send your actual passport to the UK Embassy in your country with your completed visa application. You will receive the passport back with the visa affixed to one of the pages of your passport.

Can I start the visa application now?

You cannot start the visa application process until you have your Certificate of Sponsorship, which will be issued to you by BUNAC once your internship has been approved. Find out more about the application process.

Will I need to go anywhere in person to complete the visa application process?

You will need to attend a biometrics appointment at a registered biometrics location. You will schedule this appointment as part of your visa application.

Can I be rejected for my Certificate of Sponsorship?

BUNAC reserves the right to reject any application at any time and is not responsible for any delayed applications or visa approvals.

Can I be sponsored more than once?

BUNAC can sponsor you up to two times, for a maximum of 12 months.

Do I need to be in a specific country to apply for the visa?

You must apply for your visa from the country that matches the nationality of your passport. If you are looking to apply from a country that differs to your passport nationality, you must provide a valid visa proving your residential status in that country.

Can I switch from a Tier 4 to Tier 5 GAE?

Yes you can. You will need to meet the following criteria to switch from a Tier 4 to Tier 5 GAE.

  • You must have completed a UK recognised bachelor’s or master’s degree during your Tier 4 visa
  • You must be sponsored for professional training or work experience which is required to gain a professional qualification or registration in the same field as your degree


  • The internship is related directly to your degree.

You must apply for and have the Tier 5 visa before your Tier 4 visa expires. We recommend applying a minimum of 12 weeks before the expiry of the Tier 4 visa. If applying to switch in the UK, there is a £19.20 biometrics fee payable. You will also be charged the immigration health surcharge fee (£624), even if you have already paid this for your Tier 4 visa. BUNAC must be satisfied that any student switching from Tier 4 to Tier 5 GAE does not intend to remain in the UK beyond the end of their internship. To discuss this further with the team please contact us here.