Personal Immigration
Business Immigration

A Step-by-Step Guide to Sponsor Licence Renewal

When a sponsor licence application is granted, it is usually valid for four years. The sponsor normally receives a first renewal reminder 120 calendar days before the expiry date with subsequent reminders. A final renewal reminder is sent 14 calendar days before the sponsor licence is due to expire. You can make a sponsor licence renewal application from 90 days before the licence end date. In this post we look at the essential steps and key considerations for a successful sponsor licence renewal, including the online renewal, fees, compliance visits, and what to do if your licence is suspended. 

Sponsor licence renewal process 

Online sponsor licence renewal

To start off the sponsor licence renewal process, the Level 1 User will need to login to the sponsorship management system (‘SMS’) account. The Authorising Officer will need to provide their consent to the licence renewal before the application is made. The Level 1 User will complete the online form, make the payment and keep a copy of the submission sheet for records. 

Request for documentation 

The Home Office will write to you if they require any supporting documents and you will have 5 working days to respond and send the requested documents. The documents may be those listed in Appendix A as set out in our blog post here. As explained, depending on the type of organisation, there are different types of documents required. They may also request to see documents which are not listed in Appendix A. 

Sponsor licence renewal checks

The Home Office may conduct checks before deciding on your application. The checks could include checking your key personnel and whether you meet your sponsor duties. The key personnel include the Authorising Officer, Key Contact, Level 1 User and Level 2 User. 

A reminder that your sponsor duties are: 

  • Reporting duties;
  • Record keeping duties;
  • Complying with immigration laws;
  • Complying with wider UK law;
  • Not engaging in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good.

We mentioned the key areas that are considered by the Home Office when a sponsor licence application is being assessed in our article, How Are Sponsor Licence Applications Assessed. This article may be of interest to you as a guide.

Sponsor licence renewal fees

To renew your sponsor licence, the fee is £536 for small businesses and charities. For medium or large businesses, the fee is £536 for the worker route (such as Skilled Worker and Senior or Specialist Worker of the Global Business Mobility route) and £1,476 for the temporary worker route (such as Creative Worker). 

For a comprehensive guide to the Skilled Worker route sponsorship costs, please check our post here, which also explains that: 

Small businesses normally have at least two of the following: 

  • Annual turnover of £10.2m or less;
  • Total assets with £5.1m or less;
  • 50 employees or fewer. 

Charitable sponsors are registered as charities in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or an excepted/exempt charity or an ecclesiastical corporation established for charitable purposes.

Understand the consequences of missing the deadline to renew your sponsor licence

Have a look at your licence end date in the SMS system to ensure that you renew your licence before the expiry date as this is the last date you can renew your licence. Please note that if your licence is granted on the UK Expansion Worker route or the Scale-up route, you will not be able to renew your licence beyond 4 years.

If you miss the end date to renew your licence, you will:

  • Not be able to sponsor any new workers; 
  • No longer be able to access your SMS account;
  • Not be able to assign any more certificates of sponsorship
  • Be removed from the Home Office’s Register of licenced sponsors;
  • Have to make a new application  if you wish to sponsor workers;

The permission of any current workers sponsored by you will usually be shortened to 60 calendar days unless their visas expire before then. It is therefore important to apply in good time.

Getting ready for a compliance visit following a sponsor licence renewal

During the renewal process, the Home OfficeIf may conduct a compliance check. If the Home Office decides to conduct a compliance visit, the visit may be on an announced or unannounced basis.

Interviews: The Home Office may conduct interviews with sponsored workers and key personnel

Illegal working checks: They may also check whether your organisation is employing workers illegally and the correct right to work checks have been carried out. Our article here sets out the current rules as to conducting right to work checks, the effect of not doing so properly and the steps to be taken.

Human resources systems checks: They may check whether you are complying with your sponsor duties such as inspecting your record keeping systems to see whether you have the documents specified in Appendix D

Verify information provided: The Home Office may also verify any information provided, including checking with other government departments .

Criminal records checks: The Home Office may conduct criminal records checks on the directors and key personnel as well as on anyone involved in the running of the business. 

It is useful to seek legal assistance in conducting an immigration audit of your business so that you can be prepared for any Home Office inspection. 

Outcome following sponsor licence renewal concerns

If the Home Office has any concerns and needs to carry out a full investigation, they may suspend your licence. They will write to you setting the reasons for the suspension. Our post, Sponsor Licence Suspended – What To Do Now explains what happens when your licence is suspended and Sponsor Licence Suspended – What’s Next sets out the potential outcomes.

If you are an A-rated sponsor at the time of the renewal application and the Home Office has any concerns, they may grant your application but choose to downgrade your licence to a B-rating or they may revoke your licence. 

One point to note is that the Home Office’s guidance states ‘If your licence is suspended but is due to expire, you must still apply to renew it. If you don’t apply to renew it and the result of the suspension does not lead to your licence being revoked, we will not be able to reinstate your licence if it has expired.’

Do seek legal advice as soon as possible if your licence is suspended so you are aware of your options and the next steps.

Contact Our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to a Sponsor Licence application, contact our  immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

    Attach a file if it supports your enquiry. Only .doc or .pdf files.


    Expert advice & representation from immigration barristers that you can rely on.

    Google+ - Five Stars

    Read the 600+ five out of five star Google reviews of our immigration barristers.