Did you obtain a sponsor licence when they were first made available in the run up to November 2008? If you did, your initial period of grant is likely to be coming to an end and your sponsor licence may expire as early as November 2012. 

You should have received reminders from the UKBA to renew your sponsor license but if you haven’t kept your details up to date, these reminders may have gone astray. 

All sponsor licences granted by the UKBA are valid for an initial period of 4 years. If you  acquired your licence after November 2008, you should check how long the licence will remain valid, and diarise accordingly.

If you fail to submit your renewal application before the expiry date, your licence will lapse automatically. All sponsored migrants will then have their leave curtailed and have to exit the UK.

Is renewal an easy process?

If your details have not changed, renewal can be completed in a few simple steps by logging onto the Sponsor Management  System (SMS). There is no need to submit supporting documents. The fee of £1500 (or £500 if you are a small company within the meaning of the Companies Act 2006) is paid at the time the application is submitted.

Once submitted, your licence expiry date will be temporarily extended and a decision will be made regarding the validity of your application within 14 days  (although the wait time to receive the licence could be considerably longer).

Applications to renew should ideally be completed at least one month before your licence expires.

Before submitting your application

  • check your sponsor licence details using the 'Sponsor Summary' function on the SMS and ensure these details are up to date;
  • if any of your licence details are incorrect (this includes Authorising Officer, Key Contact or Level 1/2 Users), you must submit a request to change them before you apply to renew.

If you do not update your licence details before submitting the renewal or if the incorrect fee is paid, the application will be considered invalid and rejected (albeit the fee will be refunded).

A revised application must be submitted before the licence expiry date otherwise it will expire automatically on rejection. If your licence expires you will have to make a fresh application for a new sponsor licence.

No longer require your licence?

If you do not want to continue to be a sponsor, you can also use the 'Renew Licence' function to decline the renewal. Alternatively simply allow the licence expiry date to pass.

Remember if your licence expires on the original expiry date, you will no longer be able to sponsor migrants who you have  issued with a Certificate of sponsorship (CoS), or any future migrants you may wish to recruit.

Once your sponsor licence has expired, whether as a result of declining to renew or failing to renew in good time, migrants who are sponsored by you will have their leave curtailed. It is therefore important to diarise the licence expiry date and if you wish to renew your licence, ensure any changes are submitted and accepted before lodging a valid application, well in advance of the expiry date.