What is a Sportsperson Visa?
An International Sportsperson Visa allows an elite sportsperson or qualified coach the opportunity to live and work in the UK in the sporting sector.
The international sportsperson visa is a unique UK work visa category that works on the points-based system to permit internationally established sportspeople a route into the UK. In order to acquire the international sportsperson visa lead type, you must be recognised in your profession internationally by a sports governing body and gain governing body endorsement as proof of your elite status in your sporting profession.
You can remain in the UK on an International Sportsperson Visa for a maximum of three years. During this time, you must live and work within Great Britain and strive to make an outstanding difference in your specialty sport in the United Kingdom.
For immigration advice and on h0w to apply for an International Sportsperson Visa, call Birmingham Immigration Lawyers today on 0121 667 6530 for a chat with one of our friendly advisors.
Points Requirements For International Sportsperson visa
As with many other UK work visas, a UK Sportsperson Visa requires applicants to score 70 points to qualify.
The majority of your points will come from getting a Certificate of Sponsorship. For this particular document, you will acquire 50 points. The Certificate of Sponsorship must come from your sport governing body offering you an endorsement. They must have a valid sponsor licence to do so. The certificate must state your job role in the UK and how you will make a significant contribution to the excellence of your specific sport’s governing body.
1o additional points are scored when you can prove that you meet the financial requirements to support yourself when you arrive in the UK. You must show proof that you have personal savings of at least £1,270 to support yourself and maintain living in the UK. The funds in question must have been in your bank account for 28 consecutive days prior to applying for your International Sportsperson Visa.
Finally, 10 points will be scored when you can meet an English language requirement for this specific visa. Applicants must satisfy the requirement of a pass at an A1 level. This academic qualification is different from some other visas which require a pass at CEFR level B1. The English test is to be taken prior to applying for the UK Sportsperson Visa.
Documents required For An International Sportsperson Visa
To have your International Sportsperson Visa application considered by the Home Office, you must ensure you submit all of the relevant supporting documentation. The following documents are required:
- Certificate of Sponsorship reference number- this will be given to you by your employer along with your certificate of sponsorship
- Proof of your English language knowledge- if you are staying for more than 12 months
- Evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself when you arrive in the UK- bank or building society statements will suffice
- A valid passport or other relevant travel documents which show your identity and nationality
- If you need to show your travel history, expired passports and other documents should be presented
- An official letter of endorsement from your sports governing body
- A tuberculosis test result- if you are from a listed country
Your documents must be translated into English and Welsh before sending to the Home Office if they aren’t already.
Cost of a Sportsperson Visa
There are three aspects of cost to take into consideration when you are applying for an International Sportsperson Visa. These include:
- The cost of the application fee
- Payment of the immigration healthcare surcharge
- Sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK
The amount you pay to apply will ultimately depend on how long you plan on staying in the UK.
For those staying up to 12 months, the application for an International Sportsperson Visa will cost £259 (for every person applying).
Anyone looking to stay in the UK over 12 months, and applying from outside of the UK, will be required to pay £625.
If you are applying from inside the UK, either to switch your current visa expires or extend your current visa, an application payment of £719 per person will apply.
Applicants opting to take the International sportsperson route are required to pay healthcare fees for each year they remain in the UK. The fee is ££624 per year
Payment of these fees will allow International Sportsperson Visa holders to access National Healthcare Service (NHS), should they need to, whilst in the UK.
How long does it take to get a decision?
You will need to submit your application form along with the supporting documentation before a decision on your Sportsperson Visa can be made by the Home Office. The time it takes to get a decision will depend on where you apply from.
For those applying for visit visa outside of the UK, it can take up to three weeks to receive a decision after the visa application process has begun.
For those applying within the UK, it can often take up to eight weeks for a final decision to be made.
If you are looking to get a faster outcome, you can opt for priority service. However, this will incur an additional cost to your application.
If you are granted your visa as an internationally established sportsperson, you can expect to receive your biometric residence permit prior to relocating to your sport in the UK.
What does a Sportsperson Visa allow you to do?
The International Sportsperson Visa will allow you to work and live in the UK for up to three years at a time. In addition, you can also:
- Work a second job (this is permitted under certain circumstances)
- Play for your national team in the UK
- Work a job as a sports broadcaster
- Take on voluntary work
- Study in the UK– provided it does not impact the job you are sponsored for
- Travel abroad and return to the UK afterward
- Bring your partner and children to the UK as dependants (if they meet the eligibility requirements)
Whilst there are many things that you are permitted to do with an International Sportsperson Visa, the visa holder is not permitted to claim public funds or benefits or to acquire a business or set one up outside the UK.
How to apply For an International Sportsperson Visa
You must apply for an International Sportsperson Visa online. For your application to be seen and considered by the Home Office, you need to submit the provided online application form with the specified application payment and documents before the application process begins.
As part of applying for a Sportsperson Visa, you will be required to prove your identity. This is done in one of two ways:
- Attending a biometric information appointment at a Visa application centre to provide your photograph and fingerprints- you will be issued with a biometric residence permit if you have to attend an appointment of this sort
- Use the Immigration ID Check app to submit identity documents
You will be instructed on which method of identity checking you will be required to participate in once you apply.
ILR on the International Sportsperson Route
Athletes with international sportsperson visa who have received UK visa approval as an International Sportsperson for over 12 months at any point within the last five years are eligible to apply for UK permanent residency (ILR) after living continuously in the country for five years.
The time accrued under the International Sportsperson visa can be combined with time accumulated under other visa categories such as Skilled Worker, Global Talent, Innovator Founder, T2 Minister of Religion, Representative of an Overseas Business, and Tier 1, except for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) pathway.
You must ensure that you haven’t lived outside the UK for more than 180 days in any one-year span during these five years.
Your sponsoring organization must affirm that they plan to continue employing you for the foreseeable future and that your annual salary is no less than £35,800.
Unless you’re exempt, you’ll also need to prove your English language proficiency at level B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, specifically in speaking and listening skills, and pass the Life in the UK test.
Understanding the eligibility for the UK indefinite leave to remain can be complicated, especially if your situation is unique.
International Sportsperson Visa Holders & Dependants
International athletes can bring along their dependent partners, who are at least 18 years old, and/or dependent children below 18.
To qualify, dependents must provide proof of relationship and may also need to meet financial criteria.
Unless they’ve held a valid UK visa for at least a year, or the athlete’s employer guarantees to cover their first-month expenses in the UK, the International Sportsperson or their dependents must have at least £285 for a partner, £315 for one child, and an additional £200 for each extra child.
These funds should be held for a minimum of 28 days and the period must end within 31 days prior to the visa application date.
For dependent partners to be eligible for UK permanent residency, they must reside in the UK for five years without exceeding 180 days of absence in any 12-month period.
Unless an exemption applies, they must also show English language proficiency at level B1 or higher in speaking and listening according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, and pass the Life in the UK test.
How can Birmingham Immigration Lawyers help?
Applying under the International Sportsperson route can be a great way for an elite international sportsperson visas to gain entry clearance into the UK.
At Birmingham Immigration Lawyers our team are experts in immigration matter and all aspects of immigration law and immigration rules. BIL are ready and waiting to help you with your visa application and make applying for a visa as stress-free as possible. They can assist in all aspects of your application, from getting an endorsement from sports governing bodies to extending your UK sports visa in three years.
Get in touch with our team today on 0121 667 6530 for more information on our full immigration services and tailored visa application packages.
Last modified on September 27th, 2023 at 7:28 am
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You are permitted to extend your Sportsperson Visa, however, you must do so before it is due to expire. Extending your visa will allow you to work and live in the UK for an additional three years. You must still have a valid certificate of sponsorship from an employer or governing body to support your sporting visa.
After five years, you may meet the criteria to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
You can bring your partner and children to the UK as long as they meet the criteria as a dependant. A dependant is any of the following:
- A spouse or civil partner
- An unmarried partner – you must be able to prove that you have lived at the same address for a minimum of two years prior to applying
- A child under the age of 18 who is unmarried and has no children of their own (includes being pregnant at the time of the application process taking place)
Dependants must apply separately to the main applicant and pay all of the specified fees associated with acquiring a UK visa.
You may be permitted to take on a second job if you meet the following eligibility requirements:
- You are working up to 20 hours per week
- The additional job is in the same profession as your main job
- The job is in a profession on the skilled worker shortage occupation list
You can switch from a different UK visa to the International Sportsperson Visa if you meet the following guidelines:
- You meet the eligibility criteria for a Sportsperson Visa
- You are already in the UK on an eligible visa
- If you are switching from a Student visa:
- You’ve completed the course you were sponsored to study on your Student visa, or
- The start date of your job is after the completion date of your course, or
- You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months