How to Get a UK Sportsperson Visa? The Easy Way!
If you’re a UK resident who wants to work in the UK as a sportsperson, you’ll need a visa to do so. There are a number of different types of visas available to international athletes and officials looking to work in the UK. It can be difficult to know where to begin when applying for a visa as there are so many different options. Thankfully, we’ve put together this guide that explains everything you need to know about getting a UK Sportsperson Visa. We outline the basics of what a sportsperson visa is, present some of the most common types of visas offered by the Home Office, outline the requirements needed to get one as well as how to go about applying for one, and give you some practical tips on how to make the most of your application process!
Finding a UK Sportsperson in the United Kingdom can be difficult. The whole process of becoming a sportsperson is different from country to country and even between leagues. But with all the hoops you have to jump through to get your foot inside the door, there’s bound to be an easier way! A UK Sportsperson visa is specifically for athletes working with or playing for a UK sports organization.
So what exactly does that mean?
For starters, it means you don’t need any experience as a coach or player to qualify. It also doesn’t matter how much time you spend outside of the UK - if your primary source of income comes from representing your nation, then you will most likely be eligible.
If you want to become a sportsperson in the UK but aren’t sure where to begin, this article will help point you in the right direction. We will explain what a sportsperson visa is, how it can benefit you, and provide some basic information about applying.
What is a Visa
A visa is a document that allows a person to travel to a country and enter its borders. The traveler will usually hold a passport valid for the entry and geographical area they wish to visit. The visa is generally good for a period set by the country's government to which the traveler travels. Most countries require permits to travel to airports, seaports, and land borders. Some countries also have specific requirements for cruise ships and other waterborne travel.
What is a UK Sportsperson Visa?
A sportsperson works as an employee or an independent contractor for a sports team, association, or league. If you fall into this category, you will want to arrange for your application for a UK sportsperson visa to be sent to your home country. The UK Sportsperson Visa is designed to allow athletes classified as sportspersons by the British Embassy in the United States to enter the UK as tourists and work as employees or contractors for UK sports teams, associations, or leagues.
Tier 2 sportsperson visa
The Tier 2 Sportsperson visa is open to individuals coming to Britain temporarily to work in a sporting role that will make a remarkable difference to their sport in the UK.
The Tier 2 sportsperson visa is a standard visa for professional sports such as football. It is available to international sportspersons and qualified coaches who will need to evidence recognition by their sport’s governing body that they are elite members of their profession.
Who is eligible for a Tier 2 sportsperson visa?
To apply for a Tier 2 sportsperson visa, the individual must satisfy the following criteria:
They must be an elite sportsperson or qualified coach recognized by their sport’s governing body as internationally established at the highest level
- The sport’s governing body must endorse their application
- Their employment must develop their sport in the United Kingdom at the highest level
- They must be from outside the EEA
- They must be aged 16 or over.
In addition to the above, the standard Tier 2 requirements will also be applied:
They have a confirmed offer of employment from a sports organization with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship license.
They must have a valid certificate of sponsorship issued by the sponsoring organization.
They must score 70 points under the points-based system, comprising 50 points for holding a valid CoS, 10 points for meeting the English language requirement, and 10 points for the financial maintenance requirement.
The organization must be a genuine sports organization with a real need to employ non-EEA sportspersons or coaches in the UK.
For the CoS to be valid for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson), it must also include a governing body endorsement reference number for the applicant to show the organization obtained endorsement from the relevant Home Office recognized governing body for their sport before applying to the Home Office for a sponsor license.
The recognized body must also be satisfied that filling the post with an individual from outside the EEA is appropriate.
What will applicants need to show to apply for a Tier 2 visa?
You will need to evidence your eligibility by providing various supporting documents. This will include, among others depending on the circumstances of your application:
- Your certificate of sponsorship
- The letter of endorsement from your sport’s governing body
- Suitability for the role
- An ‘appropriate’ salary for the role
- Proof of knowledge of the English language
Evidence you meet the financial requirement, such as a bank statement covering the required period. Your valid passport and any expired passports and travel documents that show your travel history.
TB test results, if applicable.
What is the financial requirement?
Applicants must show they have £945 in savings unless their maintenance is certified by their A-rated employer that they won’t claim public funds.
To rely on the funds for your application, you will need to show these funds have been in your bank account consistently for at least three months.
The funding requirement may not apply where the applicant is already in the UK, and one of the following applies:
- Holders of any other category of Tier 2 visa
- Employees of a Jewish agency
- Ground staff employed by an airline based outside of the UK
- Religious workers (with a pre-existing visa), including ministers, missionaries, and religious order members
- Workers employed by a media organization – such as a newspaper or television news station – based outside of the UK
Work permit holders
What is the English language requirement?
In most cases, this is evidenced either by having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognized by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. or by passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening, unless certain specific circumstances apply.
Nationals of the following countries are exempt from the language requirement and will not need to prove their knowledge of English:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- the USA
submitting a Tier 2 visa application with dependents
Holders of a sportsperson visa may petition to bring their dependents with them, as is the case with other Tier 2 immigrants. Children under 18 and a spouse or partner are examples of dependents. If a kid is already residing in the UK as a dependant and is over 18, they may request to continue there as their dependent.
In addition to the previously indicated £945 allowance, each dependent must have £630 available at the time of application. The sponsor may certify upkeep on behalf of the dependents as well.
the cost of the immigration health surcharge
It is crucial to remember that these applications need payment of the immigration health premium (IHS). Dependents must also pay the IHS.
When you arrive in the UK
You can stay in the UK for up to 3 years with the help of the visa, with the option of an additional three years, as long as your overall stay does not exceed six years. Before your existing visa expires, you must request an extension.
They can go internationally and return to the UK while their visa is valid since it allows multiple entries.
After five years in the Tier 2 Sportsperson category or combining time spent in the UK through other suitable immigration procedures, you may be qualified to apply for indefinite leave to stay in the UK.
If you don't apply for a visa extension, you will have to leave the UK when it expires. You can only reapply for this visa if 12 months have passed and your previous certificate of sponsorship was granted for less than three months or if you can demonstrate that you will be paid a gross annual salary of at least £159,600.
How to Apply for a UK Sportsperson Visa?
The first and most important thing you need to do is visit the British Consulate in your home city. If you are unsure where that is, or want guidance on where to start, a great website to help you out is VisitBritain.com. VisitBritain.com - the official UK Visas and Immigration website. Once your application is ready, you must send it to the British Consulate in your home city. You can do this by post or download and fill out an application form and send it to the British Consulate in your home city by email.
What visa holders can and can’t do
The freedom to do other things in the United Kingdom is extensive under this category. As a Tier 2 sportsperson visa holder, provided the activity does not interfere with the job you have been sponsored to do, you would be permitted to:
- Take on a second job
- Play for your national team
- Work as a sports broadcaster
- Do voluntary work
However, you would not be permitted to:
- Start or run a business
- Apply for your second job until you start working for your sponsor; and
Access public funds
The applicant must also not own more than 10 percent of the sponsoring organization's shares, directly or indirectly, if it is a limited company.
It is significant to note that the player must submit a new application to the Home Office if they wish to work a second job in a different industry. There is no need to submit a new application if the position is 20 hours or fewer and listed as being in low supply. Any time above this will need a fresh application, even by only one hour.
How Long Does a UK Sportsperson Visa Take?
Depending on your application, your UK Sportsperson Visa might take as little as one month to process or take longer. During this time, you will need to demonstrate that you have the necessary funds to legally enter the country and show that you have the means to survive and work in the UK.
Getting a Tier 2 visa
Tier 2 Sportsperson is a category that does allow you to switch. You will need to apply before your current visa expires.
Switching is permissible where the individual meets the Tier 2 requirements and is currently in the UK with valid leave to remain under one of the following:
- Tier 1 visa
- Tier 4 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
- Tier 4 dependant
- Representative of an overseas business
If you are in the UK under a different route to the above, you will need to leave the UK and make your application for a Tier 2 sportsperson visa from overseas.
Unless exempt, a person cannot apply for Entry Clearance in Tier 2 Sportsperson if they have had Entry Clearance or leave to remain in any Tier 2 category at any time during the 12 months immediately before the date of their application, unless they can provide evidence to satisfy the Home Office that they were not physically in the UK during this period.
The only exemptions from the ‘cooling-off period’ are for those who were not in the UK with leave as a Tier 2 migrant during this period and provide evidence to show this, or were only in the UK as a Tier 2 migrant during the last 12 months for a short period or periods with a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) which was assigned for three months or less or will earn a gross annual salary of £159,600 or higher
supplying biometric data and accompanying documentation
You must either use the digital scanning facility during your UKVCAS session or submit your supporting papers online after completing your online application form. Following submitting your application form, you will receive an invitation to schedule the appointment.
You will also be required to present your supporting papers and biometric data (fingerprints and a picture) during the appointment.
Times for processing Tier 2 visas
The regular processing time for Tier 2 sportsperson visa applications is eight weeks, and the priority processing time is five working days after your UKVCAS appointment.
The super priority service is even faster; if your UKVCAS appointment is during the week, a decision will be made by the end of the next working day; if your UKVCAS selection is over the weekend, a decision will be made two working days after your UKVCAS appointment.
Monday to Friday are considered working days, except for federal holidays.
If you are required to attend a visa interview, if there are problems with the supporting evidence, such as anything that has to be confirmed, or if the application is particularly complicated, processing may occasionally take longer than the allotted time.
You must stay in the UK while your application is being reviewed. Traveling outside of the UK can cause your application to be revoked.
What Should You Know About Applying for a UK Sportsperson Visa?
When you apply for a UK Sportsperson Visa, you must provide documentation establishing your eligibility to enter the UK as a tourist. These include proof of income, such as payslips for the last six months, a tax return for the lapreviousear, and proof of residence. Your passport will play a key role in demonstrating your identity and residency in the UK. When you apply for your first UK passport, you will also be required to provide a two-page notice (front & back) outlining your personal information such as your name, age, address, bank account number & street name, and contact details for immediate family members. Your passport must also be valid for at least six months from entry into the UK.
Becoming a UK Sportsperson is an excellent opportunity to make a real difference in your community. Hiring an employee or a sportsperson contractor can be expensive and often the only way to get them. Getting a UK Sportsperson Visa is easier than you might have imagined.