UK Expansion Worker visa

Expansion Worker Visa in UK | Application Guidance


A UK Expansion Worker Visa is required in order for upper management and specialist people of a foreign company to be able to work on projects associated with the expansion of the company in the United Kingdom. The number of employees that sponsors are allowed to deploy is limited to five.

Companies who have not yet started doing business in the UK are the only ones that are qualified to employ people using the UK Expansion Worker approach. If your firm is already established and operating in the UK, you should submit an application for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa.

To be eligible for a UK Expansion Worker Visa, you need to have a job offered to you by a company that has been authorised by the Home Office and pays at least the minimum wage in the UK. Additionally, you need to have a role that fits your credentials.

Nevertheless, permanent residence in the UK is not guaranteed to those who get a UK Expansion Worker Visa. On the other hand, you can take a different immigration route that does lead to permanent residence. This is something you should keep in mind. The applicant’s spouse or significant other, as well as any children for whom they are financially responsible, are invited to submit an application.

A UK Expansion Worker visa allows you to come to the UK to set up a branch of an overseas business that has not started trading in the UK yet.

You must already work for the overseas business as either a senior manager or specialist employee.

If your business is already trading in the UK, you should apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa instead.

To be eligible for a UK Expansion Worker visa you need to:

  • have a valid certificate of sponsorship from your employer
  • have worked for your employer outside the UK
  • do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
  • be paid the minimum eligible salary required for your job

The specific eligibility depends on your job.

How long you can stay in the UK

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

  • 12 months after the start date of the job on 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 UK Expansion Worker visa is 2 years.

If you’ve spent time in the UK on this or another visa, you might not be able to stay on a UK Expansion Worker visa for as long. 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)


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 application fee
  • pay the healthcare surcharge for each year of your stay

prove you have enough personal savings

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.

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

It’s currently taking longer to get a decision on UK Expansion Worker visas when you apply from outside 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 UK Expansion Worker visa you can:

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • study
  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
  • do voluntary work
  • travel abroad and return to the UK

You cannot:

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

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

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