Intern in Britain FAQs
Please see below for frequently asked Intern in Britain questions.
What nationalities can apply?
The Intern in Britain programme is open to all nationalities outside of the UK.
Does BUNAC find me an internship?
No but many students find placements through their university careers office, study abroad departments, family contacts or through previous US employers etc. BUNAC also partner with organizations who can help find you a placement as well as provide in-country support.
Can I do an unpaid internship on this program?
An internship may be unpaid on this program 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 are 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 organization and strong objectives for each period. BUNAC are happy to consider a training plan before you apply to the Intern in Britain program.
What is National Minimum Wage?
National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation is the equivalent of Federal Minimum Wage laws in the USA. It establishes the rules under which employees in the UK must be paid, and also covers situations where unpaid employment is permitted.
You can see the currrent National Minimum Wage on the UK Government's website.
The internship must be a supernumerary, career-enhancing, limited duration opportunity. The level of remuneration, if any, must be agreed in advance between the intern and the employer.
What does "supernumerary" mean?
'Supernumerary' means that presence of an intern must not harm the resident labor market. Interns must not fill vacancies in the UK workforce and must undertake projects that are additional to the employer's normal staffing requirements.
If I don't like my internship, can I complete an internship with another employer?
No. Your visa only applies to the company and internship specified on your Certificate of Sponsorship. You can not undertake another internship at a different employer under any circumstances. If there is a problem at your internship you should contact BUNAC for assistance.
What if I change my address or contact information?
It is your responsibility to keep BUNAC informed at all times of your residential and work address, e-mail and contact phone number.
Can I stay in the UK after my visa?
Interns cannot overstay their visas but they are typically granted 7 days before the start of their internship and 7 days at the end of the internship. The date by which you must leave the UK will be stated on your visa. If you wish, you may then leave the UK and re-apply to enter under a different status (e.g. as a tourist). Permission to enter and stay is granted at the discretion of the immigration official at port of entry.
Is there an application deadline?
Applications are accepted by BUNAC year-round. However you must allow sufficient time (minimum of 10 weeks) for your application to be processed and to apply for a UK visa before you leave the US to start your internship. We recommend you apply as early as possible. However, you cannot apply for your visa more than three months before the start date of your internship.
What should be included in a training plan?
The structure of a training plan is entirely at the discretion of the employer and will depend on the nature of the internship. However, as a guide it may be split into weeks/months/projects, detailing what the intern will be involved with, the objectives for that period and who will be supervising the intern during each period. BUNAC require a full understanding of what the intern will be involved with in order to ascertain that the internship is at the required level for sponsorship.
What do I need to provide for proof of insurance?
BUNAC needs to see explicitly in your summary of benefits that you are covered with a payout benefit of at least $100,000 as well as repatriation of remains. Without a document that states repatriation of remains coverage exactly BUNAC will be unable to accept the proof. You can purchase our policy that meets all requirements for this visa.
What do I need to show for proof of support funds?
BUNAC needs to see a document that shows: the letterhead of your bank, account holder's name, type of account, date the document was generated and the present available balance. All documents submitted must reflect an account that has funds available for immediate withdrawal; CD's or other investment accounts may not be accepted. All documents should be generated in the last 30 days. Participants may submit proof of support funds from an account that is not in their name as long as it is accompanied by a letter of support from that account holder. Letters of support may be uploaded to your BUNAC account.
You will need to show proof of $1,500 USD / £1,068.
Can you provide a letter of recommendation instead of BUNAC's reference form?
Yes. BUNAC requires a general character reference for the Intern in Britain application. This may be a letter of recommendation or our reference form filled out by a previous professor or employer.
Who requires an SELT?
If English is not your first language you need to provide proof of English Language skill with a SELT (secure English language test).
If you are from an English speaking country you will not be required to provide this, for example America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. Our team will contact you for a SELT if they determine that you need one.
Will my company 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.
Will my internship be paid?
Participants should expect their internship to be unpaid. By completing an internship in Great Britain, you will be introduced to a whole new world of professional experiences, giving you the opportunity to learn what it's like to manage your time within a professional environment, improve your communication and networking skills and explore your different career options.
Can I complete an internship for longer than 6 months?
No, you cannot request a visa extension for the Tier 5 visa. You will need to return to your home country and complete the process a second time if you wish to take part in a second internship.
How many hours will I be interning for each week?
Interns will be expected to work between 25-35 hours per week, depending on your individual placement and your host company.