The UK International Sportsperson Visa is for sponsored international high-level sportspeople and coaches who will work to develop their sport in the UK at the elite level.
Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form to discuss your UK Sports Visa application.
The UK International Sportsperson visa is for sponsored international high-level sportspeople and coaches who will work to develop their sport in the UK at the elite level. The UK International Sportsperson visa replaced the Tier 2 Sportsperson visa and Tier 5 Creative and Sporting visas.
You will be eligible for a UK International Sportsperson visa if you are endorsed as an elite sportsperson or qualified coach at the highest level internationally by the governing body of your individual sport.
UK International Sportsperson visas are typically granted for a period of up to 3 years initially, after which you can further extend your stay as long as you remain eligible. After 5 years as an International Sportsperson visa holder, you will be eligible to apply for ILR.
As an International Sportsperson UK visa holder, you will be able to live, work for your sponsor (including a second job if you are eligible), work as a sports broadcaster, study, and travel freely in and out of the UK. You can also bring your dependant family members to join you in the UK (i.e., your partner and children).
Foreign nationals who do not meet the criteria for the International Sportsperson visa may be able to apply for a Skilled Worker visa.
To make a successful application, you will need to meet the UK sports visa requirements below:
UK Sports visa applicants must provide a letter of endorsement from an approved body that governs the sporting activity in their home country. The endorsement should confirm the applicant:
The letter should also contain a unique endorsement number beginning with an abbreviated form of the governing body (e.g., RUGU for rugby union).
UK Sports visa applicants must show they have savings of at least £1,270 to support themselves in the UK. The funds must have been available in the applicant’s bank account for at least 28 days. This requirement will not apply, however, if you have already been in the UK for 12 months or more. Alternatively, your UK employer can support you by stating on your Certificate of Sponsorship the words ‘sponsor certifies maintenance’.
If you intend to spend more than 1 year in the UK on an International Sportsperson visa, you will need to meet the English language requirement. You can meet this requirement by either having:
You will also meet this requirement if you are from an eligible English-speaking country1.
It is important to ensure you have all the documents required for a UK International Sportsperson visa application. Below is a list of required documents needed when applying for a UK sports visa:
To apply for a UK International Sportsperson visa, you will need to complete the following steps:
International Sportsperson visa applications typically take 3 weeks to process. You may be able to pay an extra fee to have your application processed faster.
International Sportsperson visa applicants are required to pay the following fees:
Those who have held an international sportsperson visa and lived in the UK for over 5 years may be eligible for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), also referred to as settlement in the UK. The International Sportsperson visa ILR requirements state that applicants must:
A person with ILR is able to live permanently in the UK without being subject to immigration control. They can also work, study, and travel freely as a settled person. After a further 12 months, it is possible for a person with ILR to apply for British citizenship.
As an International Sportsperson UK visa holder, you can apply3 to further extend your visa for another 3 years as long as you continue to meet the same eligibility requirements you met when you were last granted your leave under this route. It is essential to apply for an international sportsperson visa renewal before your current visa expires.
To make a successful international sportsperson visa extension application, you will need to have your endorsement renewed and a new Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer.
Extension applications cost £719 per person and can take up to 8 weeks to process. As long as you apply to extend your visa before it expires, you can continue to live and work in the UK while waiting for a decision from the Home Office. Your partner and children can also apply to extend their visas at the same time.
If your International Sportsperson visa application is successful, you will also be able to bring your dependant family members with you to the UK. You can bring your partner if you are married, in a civil partnership, or you have been together in a relationship for at least 2 years. If your children are 16 years or older, you will need to show they are dependant on you and not living an independent life. This means they must be living with you (unless they live away for education), and you financially support them. They must also not be married to be considered a dependant.
When applying4 for your dependants, you will need to show you have sufficient funds for their needs:
It is important to include your visa application number (i.e., Global Web Form or Unique Application Number) on your dependant’s visa applications.
1 GOV.UK: Knowledge of English
2 GOV.UK: Online application form
3 GOV.UK: Visa extension application
4 GOV.UK: Application for partner and children
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