Are you planning an internship experience in London? Do you come from countries outside the EU and don’t know which documents are required? Have you heard of the word “VISA” but don’t know what is the process to get it?


DO NOT WORRY, in this article you will find everything you need.


Doing an internship in London changes your life, allows you to learn about a totally different reality, to meet different cultures, to improve your English and to open the doors to the world of work.

The biggest problem for those who want to move from outside Europe is to obtain the VISA, a document that gives permission to stay in a specific territory under certain conditions, in this case in the UK.

The Erasmus program is certainly an excellent option for those who want to do an internship in London precisely because the process of obtaining VISA is simplified by the presence of intermediaries such as universities and other institutions. Thanks to the international agreements stipulated between the various states today it is possible to carry out an experience in foreign lands much more easily.


For all the participants that are non-EEA / EU who want to move to the UK, the VISA Tier 5 Temporary Worker is required, which is valid for 12 to 24 months (depending on the scheme for which you apply).

The process consists of 3 stages: engagement, arrival in the UK and staying/end.

      1. Engagement: the stage necessary to get the VISA (we will deepen it later), documented by a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS form).
      2. Arrival in the UK: in this case we refer to the arrival in the UK, documented by the Arrival Form.
      3. During and end of sponsorship: where any change related to the internship is communicated, in terms of work location, working hours and more. The document in this case is called Changes / leaver form.


The stage that interests us is the first, the Engagement, since this is where most of the bureaucratic activities take place.

To simplify, let’s imagine 4 subjects: student, company, university and British council.

The procedure provides that the student:

      1. Contact the company in which you would like to work;
      2. Wait for the company acceptance;
      3. Apply at the university through Erasmus calls;
      4. Wait for the university to publish the calls and recognize the students as the winner of the Erasmus grant;
      5. Proceed with the documents exchange and forward them to the university coordinator;
      6. Wait for the university to send the documents to the British Council (the set of documents is recognized as “Certificate of Sponsorship” – COS);
      7. The British Council will then examine the COS, in about 4 weeks, and if the documentation is correct, it will recognize the VISA Tier 5, communicating it to the university;
      8. Wait for the green light from the university and finally proceed with the transfer organization.


As already mentioned, the documents necessary to obtain the VISA are several and different and the task of handing them all over to the university is up to the student initially and only afterwards to the university and the British council.

The documents included in the COS process are 6 (7 if it is a paid internship, where a salary is provided and therefore there is a work contract):

  1. Tier 5 Application form (downloadable here);
  2. Confirmation Letter (on university’s website);
  3. Acceptance Letter (on university’s website);
  4. Learning Agreement (on university’s website);
  5. Transcript of Records (on university’s website);
  6. Criminal Record (check here for more information).


For more detailed information you can search directly on the Erasmus website.


The Erasmus program makes it possible to greatly facilitate the process, to reduce the time and responsibilities on the student. These programs significantly reduce the barriers that often cause them to renounce, and they also allow the students to receive funds in the form of scholarships that make it possible to deal with these experiences more easily, also from an economic point of view.

Another advantage is the insurance, provided by the university thanks to the agreements stipulated with the various authorities and institutions.

Today having an experience abroad is really within everyone’s reach, what are you waiting for?