Previously called a Temporary Work-Creative and Sports (T5) visa, a Temporary Work-Creative visa is a legal document that allows a foreign individual to come to the UK to work in a creative sector.
The idea is that the individual will make a unique contribution to the rich cultural life of the United Kingdom.
For example, the individual may be:
- an actor
- a dancer
- a musician
- an entertainer
- a member of a film crew
- an artist
- a television presenter
- a fashion model
- a photographer
- an author
- a choreographer
- a director or producer
- a comedian
What is a Creative Worker Visa?
A creative worker visa is a type of entry authorization that allows certain types of overseas creative workers to come to the UK for up to two years to work in their creative sector.
Creative worker visa holders must have a certificate of sponsorship from a qualified organization in the creative industry.
While you are in the UK on a Creative Worker Visa, you will generally only be permitted to work for the authorized sponsor listed on your visa.
If you change jobs, you will need to apply for a new visa unless the job is in the same industry and for the same sponsor listed on your visa.
Eligibility for dependent family members
Charity worker visa holders may be eligible to bring family members with them to the UK on the visa. Family members who are allowed to join you include dependents such as:
- Children under the age of 18
- Spouses or civil partners
- Qualified unmarried partners
If your dependent child is over 16 years old, he must live with you (unless he is in school), he must not be married and he must depend on you for financial support. Each family member must submit their own visa application to join you online on the UK government website. They will need to provide evidence of their relationship with the charity worker visa holder, as well as provide further financial evidence consisting of:
- Additional £285 for a spouse or partner
- £315 for one child and £200 for each additional child
These funds must be available in a personal bank account to support applicants during their UK visa period.
Eligibility requirements for the Creative Worker Visa
To qualify for the Creative Worker visa, you must:
- Get a job offer in the UK as a creative worker.
- Make a contribution to the UK jobs market. For example, you are famous or in demand for continuity.
- Receive an income set by Equity, PACT or BECTU.
- Have sufficient financial means to support yourself in the UK. You must have at least £1,270. You must have this amount of money available for 28 days within 31 days of applying for the visa. You do not need to meet this requirement if:
- You have been in the UK on a valid visa for one year.
- Your employer will cover your first month in the UK for a maximum of £1,270.
- You must have a sponsorship certificate. A CoS Certificate of Sponsorship is an important electronic document that your authorized sponsor must provide to you before applying for the Creative Worker Visa. The Certificate of Sponsorship is a reference number containing information about you and the work you will be carrying out in the UK. Once you have the CoS, you have three months to apply for the visa.
The documents required may vary depending on your circumstances, such as whether you will be bringing eligible family members with you on the visa. You will need a number of documents to prove your identity and support your application for a temporary charity worker visa under UK immigration law. Supporting documents may include:
- The receipt of your visa application
- The reference number of the certificate of sponsorship
- Birth certificate
- Your current passport and all previous passports
- The sponsor license number of the UK organization you will be working with
- Biometric information (photographs and fingerprints)
- Proof that you meet salary requirements
- Evidence of personal savings for both yourself and any dependents, if applicable
- Proof of proficiency in both oral and written English (exempt if you come from a majority English-speaking country such as the United States)
- Criminal record certificate
How to apply
First, confirm that you qualify according to the charity worker’s eligibility requirements. Next, gather your supporting documentation and certificate of sponsorship.
- Visa applications can be made up to three months before you start working in the UK.
- The application process consists of several steps.
- Start the application process online by completing the application form available on the UK Government website.
- Pay the visa application fee.
- Keep your application receipt.
- Upload the required documents online.
- Applicants must verify their identity. You may be able to do this by scanning your passport on the UK Immigration: Identity Check app. If you are unable to scan your passport using the app, you must schedule and attend a biometric information appointment at a visa application service center to have your fingerprints taken and photograph taken.
- Keep in mind that immigration control retains the final say on who is allowed to enter the country. The visa is not an absolute guarantee of entry.
To apply for the creative work track, you must follow the steps below:
- Read the Home Office applicant guide before starting your application
- Apply on the Gov.uk website in the temporary work visa section
- Submit proof of your identity by providing your biometric information via the app or at a visa application center
- Gather the supporting documents to submit with your application
- Please make sure all information in your application is accurate
- Submit your application online
- Wait for a decision
- Processing times
- Processing times for applying for a charity worker visa usually take up to 3 weeks after applying online.
- Since processing times are not guaranteed, we recommend that you wait to plan your trip until your visa application is approved.
In some cases, processing of your application may be delayed due to incomplete information.
Costs and commissions
Application fees may vary depending on your specific situation and circumstances.
Generally, fees associated with the Charity Worker Visa include:
- £259 visa application fee
- Around £19 for biometric information
- £624 per year Immigration Health Supplement
If your dependents join you, each family member will need to pay the visa application fee and immigration health surcharge.
Can I extend my creative worker visa?
Yes, it is possible to extend your visa if you meet the eligibility criteria.
- You must ensure that you extend your visa before your current visa expires. Additionally, you must be in the UK while applying for the extension.
- If you intend to stay with the same sponsor, you can extend for:
- 12 months
- The time indicated on the sponsorship certificate plus 14 days
- The time necessary to extend the stay up to a maximum of 24 months
- Or whatever event is the shortest.
If you wish to change sponsor, you can extend for:
- The time shown on the certificate plus 14 additional days
- The time required to extend your stay up to a total of 12 months
Can I switch to the Creative Worker Visa from another visa?
Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to move onto the Creative Worker path.
If the following situations apply to you, you may be eligible to apply to switch to this visa:
- You are currently in the UK on a standard tourist visa or permitted paid engagement
- You have undertaken some eligible activities in the creative sector
- You received a certificate of sponsorship from your employer before arriving in the UK
- However, if you have availed yourself of the Creative Worker Visa, you will not be eligible to enter the UK.
- After switching, you can stay for up to 12 months.