Précis - If your company obtained a sponsor licence from UK Border Agency (UKBA) when they were first made available, your initial period of grant is likely to be coming to an end.

What? All sponsor licences granted by the UKBA are valid for an initial period of four years. For those of you who obtained your sponsor licence in late 2008 or early 2009, you should check how long the licence remains valid and diarise accordingly.

So What? If you fail to submit your licence renewal application before the expiry date, your sponsor licence will lapse automatically. This will mean that all sponsored migrants within your organisation will have their leave curtailed and will have to exit the UK.

Renewal Process

Providing your details have not changed, renewal can be completed easily by logging into the SMS Sponsor Management System. No supporting documents are required and the fee of £1500 (or £500 if you are a small company within the meaning of Companies Act 2006) is payable at the time you submit your application.

Once your application has been submitted, the expiry date for your licence will be temporarily extended and a decision will be made regarding your application within 14 days. The waiting time to actually receive your licence after this may be much longer.

Ideally, an application for renewal should be completed at least one month prior to the expiry of your licence.

Before you submit your application, be sure to check all of your existing details are correct. If any of these require amendments, a request to change details must be made before your renewal application. If this is not done, your application will be considered invalid and rejected. Any application which has been rejected and not revised prior to the expiry date will automatically expire and you will have to make a fresh application for a sponsor licence.

If you no longer require a licence you can use the SMS to decline the renewal or, alternatively, simply allow the expiry date to pass.