INTERNATIONAL SPORTSPERSON VISA

SCROLL TO DISCOVER MORE

What is an International Sportsperson visa?

The International Sportsperson UK visa route is for an elite sportsperson or qualified sports coach who is both internationally established and able to make a significant contribution to the development of their chosen sport at the highest level in the UK

What are the business requirements for the International Sportsperson visa route?

  • A company must be authorised by the Home Office to sponsor International Sportsperson visa holders and hold a valid Sponsor Licence for the International Sportsperson route
  • Your organisation must be a UK-based sporting body, sports club, events organiser or other organiser operating, or intending to operate, in the sporting sector
  • Before applying for a sponsor licence, you must make sure your organisation has an endorsement from the Sports Governing Body approved by the Home Office for your specific sport (or sports). Through its endorsement, the Sports Governing Body confirms that you are a genuine club or other eligible organisation, and that you have a legitimate need to bring overseas nationals to the UK as sportspersons
  • If you do not already hold a sponsor licence, you must apply for one by completing the online application form, paying the relevant application fee, and submitting the supporting evidence specified in the sponsor guidance
  • If you already hold a valid licence to sponsor workers, but it does not include the International Sportsperson route, you can apply to add the International Sportsperson route to your existing licence

    Further Information and FAQs

    • Which sports can you be endorsed in to obtain an International Sportsperson visa?

      Sports which you can be endorsed in include archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cricket, curling, cycling, equestrianism, fencing, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, ice skating, jockeys and trainers, judo, lacrosse, motorcycling, netball, polo, rowing, rugby league, rugby union, sailing, windsurfing, snooker, squash, swimming, water polo, diving and synchronised swimming, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, wrestling and yoga.

    • Are the Sports Governing Bodies that can issue an endorsement the same in England and Scotland?

      Governing bodies cover the UK in its entirety unless otherwise stated, where they are only able to issue endorsements for a listed territory. For the vast majority of sports, the Sports Governing Body that can issue you with an endorsement is the same UK wide for roles based in both England and Scotland.

      However, in fields such as badminton, cricket, football, netball, rugby union, squash and volleyball, the Sports Governing Bodies that can issue you with an endorsement are different UK wide.   For example, if you wish to obtain an endorsement from the relevant Sports Governing Body for a football or rugby role based in England, you would need to apply to The Football Association or Rugby Football Union, but for a role based in Scotland to the Scottish Football Association or Scottish Rugby Union.

    • Which activities can you undertake in the UK if you hold an International Sportsperson visa?

      You can only work in the UK in the job you are being sponsored for as recorded on your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in addition to supplementary employment and voluntary work.

      Supplementary employment is that which is either a job listed in the Shortage Occupation List or a job in the same profession and at the same professional level as the job for which your CoS was assigned, no more than 20 hours a week and outside the working hours covered by your CoS.  If the extra work meets these requirements, you do not need to inform the Home Office before taking extra work.

      Employment as a sportsperson for your national team while your national team is in the UK, playing in British University and College Sport (BUCS) competitions, and in temporary engagements as a sports broadcaster providing guest expert commentary on a particular sporting event are also permitted.

    • Can you change employer in the UK with an International Sportsperson visa?

      Yes, you can change employer in the UK if you hold an International Sportsperson visa.  However, your new employer will need to issue you with a new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and your new role must meet all of the requirements as detailed above.

      You’ll also need to apply to update your visa with the Home Office and receive your new visa before you can work with your new employer compliantly in the UK.

      A sports player moving on loan can change employers in the UK without being issued with a new CoS and without having to apply to update their visa with the Home Office.

    • Do you need to satisfy an English language requirement for an International Sportsperson visa?

      If you are applying for entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK as an International Sportsperson for a period exceeding 12 months, you must evidence English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in speaking and listening of at least level A1 (unless an exemption applies). An exemption can apply if you are a national of a majority English speaking country such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA.

    • Do you need to satisfy a financial requirement for an International Sportsperson visa?

      You must have held £1270 in your bank account for a 28-day period before you apply unless you are applying for permission to stay in the UK and have been living in the UK with permission for 12 months or longer on the date of application. You also do not need to evidence this if your UK job role is with an ‘A-rated’ sponsor who can certify your maintenance.

    • How long is an International Sportsperson visa valid for?

      The International Sportsperson visa can be granted for up to 3 years initially.

      If you wish to stay longer in the UK, you can extend your visa as long as you remain eligible.

    • Can you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as an International Sportsperson visa holder?

      Yes, the International Sportsperson visa route provides the opportunity to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK after having spent a 5-year continuous period in the UK.

    • How long will your International Sportsperson visa application take to process – inside of the UK?

      If you apply from inside the UK, you’ll usually get a decision within 8 weeks.

      You can get your visa faster within 5 working days if you pay an extra fee of £500 for the priority visa service or by the next working day if you pay an extra fee of £1000 for the super priority visa service.

    • How long will your International Sportsperson visa application take to process – outside of the UK?

      If you apply from outside the UK, a decision is typically made within 3 weeks.

      You may be able to get your visa faster within 5 working days if you pay an extra fee of £500 or by the next working day if you pay an extra fee of £1000, subject to availability at your visa application centre.

Why Viaje

Why use VIAJE for International Sportsperson visa matters?

Extensive experience in making successful applications across many sports disciplines of International Sportsperson visa applications including athletics, equestrianism, football, gymnastics, rugby, swimming and tennis

It’s all taken care of: we provide expert legal advice specific to your matter

Excellent technical knowledge of all aspects of International Sportsperson visa applications

Cost effective service with upfront fixed fees so that you know what to expect

Being able to contact your lawyer out of traditional office hours, assisting clients globally

Unwavering commitment to delivering excellent client care

Meticulous preparation of all supporting documentation to expedite the approval process

Whether you’re seeking an International Sportsperson visa for England or Scotland, we’re here to help

Send us an enquiry and we will be in contact with you shortly

Name(Required)
Service
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.