December 6, 2023

Business Visa

The Business Visa Is Mightier Than Sword

Secondment Worker visa (Global Business Mobility): Overview

Apply for this visa if your overseas employer is transferring you to the UK to do an eligible job for a different organisation.

Your overseas employer must have a high-value contract with the UK organisation.

Your employer will tell you if their contract makes you eligible for a Secondment Worker visa.

If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

If you or your family member started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme.

The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people. You can still apply if either:

  • you have a later deadline – for example, you’re joining a family member in the UK who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021 – for example, you had an illness or were the victim of domestic abuse

Check if you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Otherwise you need a visa to work in the UK.

Irish citizens do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme.


To be eligible for a Secondment Worker visa, you must:

  • be an existing employee of an overseas organisation that has a high-value contract with your UK sponsor that has been approved by the Home Office
  • have worked for your overseas employer for at least 12 months outside the UK
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your sponsor with information about the work you will do in the UK
  • do a job in the UK that’s on the list of eligible occupations

Check if you’re eligible.

How long you can stay

You can stay in the UK with a Secondment Worker visa for whichever is shorter of:

  • 12 months after the start date of the job detailed in your certificate of sponsorship
  • the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days

If you want to stay longer in the UK, you can extend your visa by 12 months. The maximum time you can stay in the UK on a Secondment Worker visa is 2 years.

If you’ve spent time in the UK on a Secondment Worker visa or another visa before

You can only stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years in any 6 year period if you’ve spent time on any of these visas:

  • Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
  • Intra-company Transfer visa
  • Graduate Trainee visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • Secondment Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • Service Supplier visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • UK Expansion Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)

How to apply

You must apply online.

How you apply depends on whether you’re:

You can include your partner and children in your application to stay in the UK if they are eligible.

How much it costs

You, your partner or children will each need to:

  • pay the £259 application fee
  • pay the healthcare surcharge, which is usually £624 per year – you can check how much you’ll have to pay
  • prove you have enough personal savings

Check how much it costs.

How long it takes

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents.

You may need to allow extra time if you need an appointment to do this. You’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.

Getting a decision

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:

  • 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
  • 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK

If you need to go to an appointment, you may be able to pay for a faster decision. How you do this depends on whether you’re outside the UK or inside the UK.

What you can and cannot do

With a Secondment Worker visa you can:

You cannot:

  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • change jobs unless you update your visa
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’)
  • do a second job

If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Secondment Worker visa.