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    International Sportsperson Visa

    The United Kingdom, as a great sporting nation, welcomes world-class professionals, providing them with unique opportunities for development and growth. A Sportsperson visa in the UK is an important tool in this process, providing the opportunity for deserving athletes and coaches to work in the country at the highest level.

    In this overview, we’ll look at the general aspects of sports visas in the UK, their categories, requirements, and benefits, and look at the role of legal experts such as Sterling Law in ensuring a successful and seamless process for athletes and coaches in obtaining these important documents.

    What is an International Sportsperson Visa?

    This kind of visa in Great Britain is provided to outstanding athletes or experienced coaches who have sponsorship and intend to work in the country to develop their sporting discipline to the highest level. The document can be valid for up to three years and can be extended, subject to continued eligibility. After five years with a visa that has been valid for more than 12 months, you can apply for permanent residence in the UK.

    Eligibility requirements

    To be eligible for an International Sportsperson Visa, you must meet the following requirements:

    • you must be 16 years or older​;
    • you’re a qualified coach or an outstanding athlete recognized by the government;
    • you contribute to the sports industry in the UK;
    • you speak English very well (test is needed);
    • you’re from an eligible country;
    • you’re approved by your governing body;
    • you passed a tuberculosis test;
    • you can provide your travel history for the last five years;
    • you can ensure financial well-being on arrival in the UK;
    • you have a recent CoS.

    Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

    A CoS is an e-paper about your personal details related to the job you have been offered. It’s provided by your sponsor and has a unique one-time-used number that should be attached to your application. Your sponsor (employer) must be a UK-based sports organization with a valid sponsorship license.

    Financial approval

    Financial approval for a UK International Sportsperson Visa involves demonstrating that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in the UK. You must have £1,270 (€1,418) in your bank account аt least 1 month prior to your application.


    • a valid visa for at least 1 year;
    • your employer is willing to cover your first month’s expenses (shown in CoS).

    English language test

    To fulfil the English language requirement you must:

    • have an English language proficiency of at least A1 in speaking and listening recognised by Ecctis;
    • be resident in an English-speaking country (typically countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and a few others).

    How long does it take to get an International Sportsperson Visa?

    You can apply for a visa up to three months before your expected start date in the UK, as stated on your sponsorship certificate. You will need to prove your identity and provide relevant documents when you apply.

    Additional time may be required, especially if you need to make an appointment. The waiting time for a decision depends on your location:

    • 8 weeks in the UK;
    • 3 weeks outside the UK.

    If you have an urgent need for an appointment, you can opt for an expedited decision, and the procedure for this also depends on your current location.

    How much does an International Sportsperson Visa cost?

    It depends on a number of factors, and the key one is the duration period:

    • for up to 12 months – £298 / person;
    • if you’re applying from outside the UK for a stay longer than 12 months – £719 / person;
    • if you’re applying from inside the UK to extend your stay or switch to this visa category for a period longer than 12 months – £827 / person.

    Additionally, you must pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application, which is usually £624 per year. This surcharge grants access to the UK’s National Health Service during your stay​.

    Partner and/or dependents’ visas

    A partner and children can also apply to join you or to stay in the UK as your ‘dependants’. Your dependents can be your spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner, and your children who are under 18 years of age. In certain situations, your children who are 18 years or older and already in the UK as your dependents might be eligible as well. You must provide evidence of your relationship when you apply.

    Each family member must individually apply for their dependent visa, linked to your primary sportsperson visa application. You need to demonstrate adequate financial resources to support your family members during their stay. You, your partner or child will need:

    • £285 for your partner;
    • £315 for one child;
    • £200 for each additional child.

    Conditions of stay on an International Sportsperson Visa

    You have a number of permitted activities and some restrictions:

    You can:

    • work/get a second job;
    • play for your national team in the UK;
    • working as a sports broadcaster;
    • become a volunteer;
    • study;
    • travel abroad and locally;
    • bring your partner and children.

    You can’t:

    • receive public funds;
    • start or run a business;
    • take a second job until you start working for your sponsor.

    Does the International Sportsperson Visa lead to settlement?

    Yes, if you have the visa for the last 5 years.

    Additional requirements:

    • no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12-month period within those 5 years;
    • salary is at least £35,800 per annum;
    • passing the “Living in the UK” test;
    • passing the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in Speaking and Writing (at least B1).

    These conditions help to ensure that those granted a professional Sportsperson Visa are able to remain in the UK on a permanent basis after an active and productive career in sport.

    How can we help?

    Turning to Sterling Law for International Sportsperson and other work visas offers a number of advantages, providing clients with highly qualified legal support. Our professionals have in-depth knowledge of UK immigration laws and have extensive experience in the field of sportsman visa issues. They provide personalized advice to help clients understand the requirements and procedures involved in the visa process and provide reliable support at every stage.

    Sterling Law stands out for its professionalism and focus on each client’s individual needs. The specialists strive to maximize client satisfaction in the field of immigration, ensuring not only successful visa application, but also long-term support in various issues. With the Sterling Law team, you can be confident that their rights and interests will be reliably protected during the immigration process with the UK authorities.

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