How to apply for a work permit

A work permit application has to be for a named person and for a specific job, normally on a full-time basis. The permit holder cannot transfer a work permit to a different job or to work for a different employer. If a work permit holder wishes to change employer, the new employer should apply for a fresh work permit.

Work permit enquiries 0114 259 4074

Application forms

For an initial Business and Commercial work permit you should use form WP1.

There are special forms for certain categories, such as sports people, entertainers and student internships.

Timing of applications

A work permit has to be issued before a potential overseas employee can enter the UK. Nationals of certain countries also need the permit to get an exit visa to leave their own country and/or an entry visa to the UK.

Therefore you need to allow enough time, not only for you to get the work permit to the person but also for them to meet any visa requirements.


An applicant who qualifies for a work permit is not guaranteed a visa or entry to the UK. Visa applications may be sent to British embassies, high commissions or consulates.

Cost of a work permit

The charge for both Work Permit and Sector Based Scheme applications is a flat rate fee of £153 per application. The fee applies to all applications including extensions and change of employment.

Extend or change existing work permits

If you want to extend a work permit, you need to fill in form WP1X which is available from the Working in the UK website. You need to say why and for how much longer you need to employ the person.

You can't apply to extend a Multiple Entry Work Permit. Instead, you'll need to submit a fresh application when the old one expires.

Change of employment applications

If you want to employ somebody who already has a work permit that was issued for another job, either with your business or another, apply on form WP1. You can

There are separate forms for categories, such as sports people, entertainers and student internships.

You won't need to carry out a recruitment search if the type of work the person is doing remains broadly the same. However, if the application involves a change to the duties and conditions of work, a search of the resident labour market will normally be required.

Technical changes of employment

As an employer of someone holding a work permit, you will need to notify Work Permits (UK) of:

  • any changes to the address at which the person is employed
  • full details of any business transfer involving the permit holder

Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate Employers' Helpline 0845 010 66 77

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