USA and the UK
What is the International Sportsperson Visa?
The International Sportsperson Visa is one of the UK’s work visas. This UK work visa has replaced the Sportsperson (T2) and sporting part of the Temporary Worker-Creative and Sporting visas. 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 must be recognized by your sport’s governing body as being an elite athlete or coach.
The International Sportsperson visa 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.
- What is the International Sportsperson Visa?
- What are the eligibility requirements for the Sportsperson Visa?
- What am I allowed to do on an International Sportsperson Visa?
- How to apply for the Sportsperson Visa
- What documents are needed for a Sportsperson visa application?
- Extending your International Sportsperson Visa
- How can IAS help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Eligibility Requirements for the Sportsperson Visa?
There are several specific criteria that US citizens will need to meet to be eligible for an International 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.
What am I Allowed to do on an International Sportsperson Visa?
Whilst in the United Kingdom on the International 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 team or 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 dependent family members with you to the UK such as spouses, civil partners, or children
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
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 International 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 Documents are Needed for a Sportsperson Visa Application?
When applying for an International Sportsperson Visa, visa applicants will need to submit the following documents to UK Home Office:
- The Certificate of Sponsorship reference number given to you by your UK sponsor/employer
- A valid passport or another valid travel document
- A letter of endorsement for your sport’s governing body
- Bank statements demonstrating that you have enough personal savings to support yourself while in the UK
- Expired passports or travel documents that document your travel history within the past 5 years
- Tuberculosis test results if you are applying from a country where it is required
- Evidence that you have the required English language skills (normally U.S. citizens are exempt from this requirement as they are from an English-speaking country)
It should be noted that all documents not in English or Welsh will need to be submitted along with certified translations.
Extending your International Sportsperson Visa
If you would like to stay in the UK beyond the 3 year validity period, then you can apply to extend your Sportsperson Visa. To be eligible for an extension you will need to have your endorsement by your sport’s governing body renewed along with being given a new Certificate of Sponsorship reference number.
By extending your Sportsperson Visa you will be able to stay in the UK for another 3 years. 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 process an International Sportsperson Visa complex, this is why it is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of professional immigration specialists 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 to submit to immigration services.
We have several offices located across the United States, 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 at +1 844 290 6312.
Last modified on July 31st, 2023 at 4:38 am
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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 International Sportsperson visa, our immigration lawyers can assess your eligibility for you and give you advice about your visa application. Contact them today at +1 844 290 6312.
Yes, the International Sportsperson Visa will allow you to bring some family members from the U.S. to live with you in the UK. The family members that you can bring include your:
- Partner, this includes your spouse, 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 dependents and will also need to prove that you have the money available to support them whilst in the UK.
Yes, U.S. 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:
- Skilled Worker Visa
- Minister of Religion visa
- Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
- Student visa
- Creative Worker Visa – for eligible creative workers
- Start-up visa
- Innovator visa
Additionally, if you plan to switch to this visa from a Student visa, one of the following must apply to you:
- You’ve completed the course you were sponsored to study on your Student visa
- The start date of your job is after the completion date of your course
- You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months
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.
One of the requirements for the International Sportsperson Visa is that the applicant meets the financial requirements which entail the following:
- At least £1,270 in the applicant’s bank account
- At least £1,270 must be available in the bank account for at least 28 days in a row (this 28-day time period must be within 31 days of visa application)
Visa applicants will need to show proof that they meet the financial requirements when they apply for a visa unless they have been in the UK for at least 12 months under another valid visa or their UK employer offers to cover their expenses for the first month in the UK (up to £1,270). This will be conveyed to the Home Office through the applicant’s Certificate of Sponsorship.
It should be noted that dependents who are accompanying the sportsperson to the UK will also need to prove that they can support themselves while in the UK.
Foreign nationals who are coming to the UK for stays longer than 12 months will need to prove that they have the adequate English language skills to cope in an English-speaking country. Applicants can prove their English-language knowledge by:
- Passing an approved English language test like IELTS with at least a CEFR level A1 in listening comprehension and speaking ability
- Having an academic qualification taught in English and recognized by Ecctis (formerly known as UK NARIC)
- Being a foreign national whose country is on the language requirements exemption list