Britain is open for business
We’ll guide you through the application process, check your required documents, and vet your employer and internship offer to ensure it meets the UK Government visa criteria. Once done, we’ll issue your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). You need this before you can apply for your Temporary Work GAE visa.
You can only apply and pay for your visa directly through the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) website. But don’t worry, we’ll provide you with step-by-step guidance and our dedicated Intern in Britain team will be on hand to answer all your questions.
As part of your visa application, you’ll need to send your passport off to a UK Visa Application Centre in your country and attend a biometrics appointment. Currently due to COVID-19, the whole visa application process can take up to eight weeks, so please allow plenty of time for this.
Once your visa is approved, time to start ticking off your to-do list. Book your flights – letting us know the details so that we can countdown with you. And check the COVID-19 entry requirements. Please note that different UK countries may have different COVID-19 requirements.
Time to get to work doing your internship! As well as monthly online check-ins to make sure your internship is on track, our London-based BUNAC team are on hand to offer support and advice throughout your stay in Britain.
Intern in Britain FAQs
What’s the Temporary Work GAE visa?
Previously known as the Tier 5 visa, the Temporary Work GAE (Government Authorised Exchange) visa allows international students and graduates to come to the UK for a temporary period to do short-term work experience.
How long does the visa last?
BUNAC can sponsor internships for up to six months in duration. Your visa is only valid for the duration of your internship.
Can I request a visa extension?
It’s not possible to extend your visa. You’ll need to return to your home country and complete the process a second time with BUNAC for a different internship.
Which nationalities can apply?
The Intern in Britain program is open to all nationalities outside the UK.
Do I have to be a student?
Yes, you must be a full-time degree level student or have graduated within the last 24 months at the start of your internship. For more eligibility information, please check here.
Who issues the Temporary Work GAE visa?
The visas are issued by, and at the discretion of, UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI).
Can I leave the UK during my visa?
Yes, the Temporary Work GAE visa is a multi-entry visa, so you can travel during your internship. Many BUNAC interns use the opportunity of being in the UK to travel to Europe.
Do BUNAC find me an internship?
BUNAC provide the sponsorship that allows you to apply for your visa to undertake an internship in Britain. Many students find placements through their university careers office, study abroad departments or family contacts etc. If you need help finding an internship, BUNAC have partnered with a network of trusted placement companies who can help you find a placement as well as provide in-country support.
Can I change my internship?
Unfortunately not. Your visa and sponsorship are granted based on your application to complete a specific internship. If there is a problem at your internship, you should contact BUNAC for assistance.
Do I need travel insurance to intern in Britain?
Yes, it’s a visa and program requirement to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers for medical expenses and repatriation of at least USD $100,000. You can find your own travel insurance or get an online quote from our partners at World Nomads here.
What is the National Minimum Wage?
The National Minimum Wage legislation establishes the rules under which employees in the UK must be paid, and covers situations where unpaid employment is permitted. The current UK minimum wage depends on your age, find out more here. Your internship must be a supernumerary, career-enhancing and a limited duration opportunity. The level of remuneration, if any, will be agreed in advance between yourself and your employer.
Can I do an unpaid internship?
Yes, as long as it is a voluntary arrangement between the employer and intern. Your status would then be that of a 'volunteer'. However, being a volunteer does not simply mean that you are willing to work for no pay. Specifically, you and your employer must agree that you have no contract or formal arrangements and that you are under no obligation to perform any specific work or carry out instructions. You're able to come and go to work as you please and will have no expectation of, and will not receive, any payment or tangible benefit (including accommodation) for the work you do. BUNAC will verify this with your employer before issuing the Certificate of Sponsorship.
BUNAC will consider the training plan and contact the employer to discuss the nature of the internship. We will look for good rotation around various departments/areas of an organisation and strong objectives for each period. BUNAC are happy to consider a training plan before you apply to the Intern in Britain program.
Do I have to send off my actual passport when I apply for my visa?
Yes. You must send your 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.
When can I start my application?
You cannot start the visa application process until you have your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), which will be issued to you by BUNAC once your internship has been approved. Find out more about the application process at the top of this page.
Is there an application deadline?
Applications are accepted by BUNAC year-round. However, you must allow sufficient time (minimum of 10 weeks) for your visa application to be processed. You cannot apply for your visa more than three months before the start date of your internship.
Will I need to go anywhere in person to complete the visa application process?
You’ll need to attend a biometrics appointment at a registered biometrics location. You’ll schedule your appointment as part of your visa application.
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 a Temporary Worker GAE visa?
Yes, but you will need to meet the following criteria to switch your visa:
- You must have completed a UK recognised bachelor's or master's degree during your Tier 4 visa.
- You must be sponsored for the 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 Temporary Work GAE 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 a Tier 4 to a Temporary Work GAE visa does not intend to remain in the UK beyond the end of their internship.
Will the company I work for require a pre-site visit?
BUNAC will conduct a site visit prior to approving your internship for any company if any of the below statements apply:
- Have fewer than 20 full-time employees
- Have less than £3 million turnover
- Have been trading as a UK company for less than 2 years
Can I bring a dependent with me?
No, you cannot take a dependent (spouse, children) with you on this visa.
Can I work somewhere else while carrying out my internship?
Interns must not undertake any other work whilst being sponsored by BUNAC on their Temporary Work GAE visa.