The UK International Sportsperson Visa is for recognized elite sportspeople or coaches working in the UK to develop their sport here to the highest level.
The visa provides a streamlined immigration pathway for elite sports coaches and internationally established sportspeople, replacing and merging the Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa and the sports component of the Tier 5 Sports and Creative Visa.
Who is entitled to an international sports visa?
UK International Sportsperson Visa
- You are a qualified coach or elite athlete recognized by your sport’s governing body.
- Your governing body approves your request.
- Your employment will develop your sport in the UK to the highest level.
- You have a valid sponsorship certificate.
- You have a tuberculosis test if you are from one of the countries listed.
- Shows your travel history for the last five years.
- You have savings to support you financially when you arrive in the UK.
- Do you speak English.
- You have a suitable qualification if you are transitioning from a student visa.
UK sports visa applicants must provide a letter of approval from an authorized sports activity body in their home country. The approval should confirm that the applicant:
- Is an internationally recognized player or coach at the highest level of their sport.
- They will contribute to the development of their sport at the highest level.
The Sponsorship Certificate is an electronic record that contains your personal data relating to the job you have been offered. Your sponsor will provide you with a certificate with your sponsorship reference number to add to your application. The reference number can only be used once, within three months of receipt.
English language requirement
If you are staying for more than a year you must demonstrate that you know English. You can demonstrate your knowledge of the English language:
- Passing an approved English test, at least A1 in speaking and listening.
- Have an academic qualification taught in English and recognized by Ecctis.
Documents required for the UK International Sports Visa
To apply for an international sportsman visa you need to prepare the following documents:
- A letter of approval from your sport’s governing body.
- The reference number of your sponsorship certificate.
- Proof of your English language skills if you are staying for more than 12 months. You can demonstrate your knowledge of English:
- Passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening
- Have an academic qualification taught in English and recognized by Ecctis
- Proof of sufficient money to support yourself in the UK, unless your employer supports you. You must provide bank statements to prove you have enough money.
- Your original and valid passport.
- Travel documents that show your travel history, such as expired passports.
- A tuberculosis test if you are from one of the countries listed. You will need a tuberculosis test if you are coming to the UK for more than six months.
Request for an international sports visa
To apply for the international sportsman visa, you need to follow the steps below:
- Complete the online application form. Make sure you complete each step correctly and provide your personal information in English.
- Upload the required documents. Documents must be scanned or photographed. File types must be PNG, JPG, or JPEG. If you upload photographed documents, they can also be in PDF.
- Pay the required fees. After submitting the documents, you need to pay the application fee and healthcare surcharge online.
- Make an appointment at the visa application center. You can find the VAC closest to you by checking the ‘Find a Visa Application Centre’ section on GOV.UK. You need to book the appointment while applying online because you have to attend an appointment at a visa application center to provide your biometric data.
- Provide additional documents. While applying online, you may be asked to submit supporting documents. You can upload them to the online application form or at the visa application center when you show up for your appointment.
Making a decision about your visa
If you receive a positive response, you will receive a sticker in your passport if you provide your biometric information at a visa application center. If you use the app to provide your biometric information, you will receive access to view your immigration status information online. The online immigration status sticker or information will show:
What you have been granted.
- How long is your visa valid for.
- The conditions of your visa.
- Obtain a biometric residence permit
If you receive a vignette and come to the UK for more than six months, you will need to collect a biometric residence permit (BRP) after your arrival. You must do this before the sticker expires or within ten days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later.
Duration of the international Sportsman visa
The international sports visa is valid for three years. You can extend it as many times as you want as long as you are eligible.
Fees of the International Sportsperson Visa
You must pay the following fees for the International Sportsperson visa:
|For staying up to one year||£259|
|For staying more than one year-if applying outside the UK||£625|
|For staying more than one year-if applying inside the UK to switch or extend||£719|
|The healthcare surcharge||£624 per year|
Processing time for international sportsman visa
The length of time you will wait for a response depends on whether you are outside or in the UK. If you are in the UK, you will receive a decision within around eight weeks. If you are outside the UK, you will receive a response within approximately three weeks.
How to extend an international sports visa?
You can extend your international sports visa if you still meet the eligibility requirements. Your children can also extend their visa. However, they must apply separately. To extend your international sports visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must request an extension online. You must obtain your COS number to complete the application form. The answers provided must be in English.
- You must submit the necessary documents. Uploaded documents must be scanned or photographed.
- You must pay the required fees. While applying online you need to pay the application fee and health surcharge.
- You must make an appointment at a UKVCAS when applying online. If you do not have a BRP, you must provide your biometric details at a UKVCAS service point. If you are asked to present additional documents you can present them at the appointment.
Note: Your BRP will be sent to you by courier within ten days of receiving the decision letter from the Home Office.
How to upgrade to the international sports visa?
You can switch to the International Sportsman visa if you are already in the UK on another visa. You must apply before your current visa expires. If your family members want to switch to the international sports visa, they must apply separately. To upgrade to the international sports visa, you need to apply online through the UK government website. While applying online you need to pay the application fee and health surcharge.
You also need to make an appointment at a UKVCAS while applying online. If you do not have a BRP, you must provide your biometric details at a UKVCAS service point. If you are asked to present additional documents you can present them at the appointment.
You cannot switch to this visa if you are in the UK on the following visas:
- Visit visa – unless you have carried out permitted activities as a sportsperson
- Short-term student visa
- Student visa for parent of a child
- Seasonal worker visa
- Domestic worker with private residence visa
- Because you’re on immigration bail
- Because you have been given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, for example on compassionate grounds
Conditions of the International Sportsman Visa
Once you get your international sports visa, there are some things you can and cannot do. While you are under the International Sports Visa, you can:
- Work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship.
- Have another job under specific conditions.
- Be a volunteer.
- He works as a sports presenter.
- Play for your national team in the UK.
- Study if it doesn’t interfere with your work.
- Play for your national team in the UK.
- Travel to the UK and back.
- Bring dependents.
With the international sports visa you cannot:
- Be self-employed.
- Get public funds.
- Apply for another job before you start working for your sponsor.