USA and the UK
What is the UK Sportsperson Visa?
The T2 Sportsperson Visa is one of the UK’s work visas and part of the UK’s points-based immigration system. If you are an elite sportsperson or qualified coach from the US then you may be able to work in the UK using this type of visa. To qualify for this visa category you will need to achieve a minimum score of 70 points.
The Tier 2 Sportsperson will grant you entry clearance to live and work in the United Kingdom for up to three years. This visa can then be extended for another three years until the maximum duration of 6 years. Whilst in the country on the Sportsperson Visa you must make a significant contribution to the development of sport in the UK during your role as either a coach or sportsperson.
The eligibility requirements for Sportsperson visa applicants
There are several specific criteria that US citizens will need to meet to be eligible for a Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa. To be eligible, you must:
- Be an elite sportsperson or qualified coach, who’s recognized by your sport’s governing body as being at the highest level of your profession internationally
- Have your application endorsed by your sports governing body
- Be working in a role that will see you make a significant contribution to the development of sport in the UK at the highest level
As well as these eligibility requirements, there are several other requirements that the Home Office requires you to meet for your Sportsperson application to be successful. These include:
- Having a job offer in the UK from an organization or club that holds a valid Sponsor Licence
- Having a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for your job
- Proving that you have enough savings to support yourself whilst in the UK
- Showing that you can travel and providing your travel history for the previous 5 years.
Usually, applicants are also required to demonstrate their knowledge of the English language, but US citizens are exempt from this requirement because the US is a majority English speaking country.
How to apply for the Sportsperson Visa
You can apply for the UK Sportsperson Visa up to 3 months before you are due to start your employment in the UK.
US citizens must apply for the UK Sportsperson Visa online using the form available on the gov.uk website. As well as filling in the application form, you will need to book an appointment at a visa application centre near you.
During your appointment, you will need to have your biometric information taken, this is your photograph and fingerprints. This information is for your biometric residence permit that you will need to collect within 10 days of arriving in the UK and can use to prove your right to be in the UK.
When submitting your Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa application you will also be expected to provide the Home Office with evidence that you can meet all of the requirements. Your portfolio of evidence should be substantial, as it’s one of the most important aspects of the application process.
What am I allowed to do on a Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa?
Whilst in the United Kingdom on the Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa, you will need to follow the relevant immigration rules for this category.
Whilst you are in the UK you will be able to:
- Work in the job described on your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
- Take a second job for up to 20 hours a week as long as it’s in the same profession as your main job or a role on the Shortage Occupation List.
- Do voluntary work
- Work as a sports broadcaster
- Play for your national club in the UK
- Study in the UK, as long as this doesn’t interfere with your job
- Travel in and out of the UK
- Bring family members with you to the UK.
Whilst this visa allows you to do a lot of things, it’s important to note the things that Sportsperson Visas don’t allow you to do. These include:
- Accessing public funds
- Starting or running a business
- Applying for a second job before you’ve started working for your sponsor
Extending your Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa
If you would like to stay in the UK beyond the 3 year validity period, then you can apply to extend your Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa. To be eligible for an extension you will need to have your endorsement by your sport’s governing body renewed.
By extending your Sportsperson Visa you will be able to stay in the UK for another 3 years. However, you cannot apply to extend the Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa a second time unless you will be paid a gross annual salary of £35,800 or more.
If you are unable to extend your visa a 2nd time, but still wish to stay in the UK then you could be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK.
How can IAS help?
Several specific requirements can make the application for a Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa complex, this is why it is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of a professional immigration lawyer to help you with your application.
Our IAS attorneys are experienced in the field of immigration law and are very familiar with the Sportsperson Visa application process. They have helped Sportspersons from all over the world to come to work in the UK and know exactly what it takes for a successful application.
Our immigration lawyers can assist you throughout the application process. They can assess your eligibility, offer reliable advice about your application, help you to complete your application form, and can assist you with gathering a substantial portfolio of evidence.
We have several offices located across the US, but if you are unable to make it to one of our offices, our lawyers can still assist you. They offer all of their services remotely and can also conduct appointments over the phone or via Skype call.
For immediate immigration advice, simply contact our immigration lawyers today on +1 844 290 6312.
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To be eligible for this visa you must be a sportsperson or coach, you will also need to be internationally established in your sport at the highest level. This can seem vague but your sport’s governing body will determine whether you are internationally established. If so, the governing body will endorse your sports visa application so that you can obtain sponsorship and receive your Certificate of Sponsorship.
Sportspeople must also meet some other requirements, including having enough savings to support themselves whilst in the UK.
If you are still unsure about whether you are eligible for the UK sports visa, our immigration lawyers can assess your eligibility for you and give you advice about your Tier 2 Visa application.
Contact them today on +1 844 290 6312.
Yes, the UK Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa will allow you to bring some family members from the US to live with you in the UK. The family members that you can bring include your:
- Partner, this includes your husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner
- Your children under the age of 18
- You children over the age of 18, if they are already in the UK as your dependent
You will need to make separate applications for and dependents and will also need to prove that you have the money available to support them whilst in the UK.
Yes, US migrants already living in the UK may be able to switch to the Sportsperson Visa. You should apply to switch before your current visa expires.
You can switch from any of the following UK visas:
- Tier 1 visa
- Tier 2 visa or Skilled Worker Visa
- Minister of Religion visa
- Intra-company Transfer visa
- Student visa – if you have an eligible qualification or you’ve done at least 12 months of a PhD
- Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) for a job as a professional footballer
- Start-up visa
- Innovator visa
To switch you must still be able to meet the relevant requirements, including having an employment offer from a UK sponsor that will see you develop your sport in the UK at the highest level. You can apply to switch online using the form available on the gov.uk website.