1. Overview

You can apply for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa if all of the following apply:

  • you’re an elite sportsperson or qualified coach recognised by your sport’s governing body as internationally established at the highest level
  • your sport’s governing body is endorsing your application
  • your employment will develop your sport in the UK at the highest level
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

How long it will take

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Fees

How much you pay for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa depends on your situation, where you are and how you apply.

Who you’re applying for Apply Extend or switch online Extend or switch in person (premium service)
You £564 £651 £1,051
If you’re a national of Turkey or Macedonia £509 £596 £996
All dependants £564 each person £651 each person £1,051 each person

 

 

How long you can stay

You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa for up to 3 years.

You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 3 years to a maximum stay of 6 years.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • do a second job
  • play for your national team in the UK
  • work as a sports broadcaster
  • do voluntary work
  • study as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family members with you

You can’t:

  • get public funds
  • start or run a business
  • apply for a second job until you’ve started working for your sponsor

2. Eligibility

You must:

  • have a certificate of sponsorship reference number from your sponsor
  • meet the English requirement

You must also have £945 in savings - this is to prove you can support yourself. You must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply, unless you’re exempt.

Saving exemptions

You won’t need to provide proof of funds if you’re in the UK and you have a visa in one of the following categories:

  • Tier 2
  • work permit holder
  • Jewish agency employee
  • ground staff for an overseas airline
  • minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order
  • representative an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation

Certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship is a reference number which holds information about the job and your personal details. It’s not an actual certificate or paper document.

Your sponsor will give you your certificate of sponsorship reference number.

They must also give you some other information to help you to apply, eg how much you’ll be paid.

You’ll need to add your certificate of sponsorship reference number to your application form - you can only use it once.

You must apply for your visa within 3 months of receiving your certificate of sponsorship.

3. Knowledge of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

You can prove your knowledge of English by either:

  • passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelors degree

Exceptions

You won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

4. Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • 1 passport-sized colour photograph
  • proof that you meet the English requirement
  • bank statements showing you’ve had at least £945 continuously over the last 90 days
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • a letter of endorsement from your sport’s governing body, if you’re applying as a sportsperson or coach

You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.

5. Extend your visa

You can apply to extend your stay in the UK under a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa.

You should include any dependants who are on your current visa on your application to extend. This includes children who have turned 18 during your stay.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You must have your endorsement by your sport’s governing body renewed and a new certificate of sponsorship reference number.

How long you can stay

You can apply to extend your stay in the UK with a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa for up to 3 years and 14 days.

You must leave the UK after this. You can only apply for this visa again if either:

  • 12 months have passed and your previous certificate of sponsorship was granted for less than 3 months
  • you can show you’ll be paid a gross annual salary of £155,300 or more

Fees

You’ll pay:

  • £651 to apply online
  • £1,051 to apply in person

6. Switch to this visa

You can apply to change (‘switch’) from another visa to a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You must meet the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) eligibility requirements and you must already be in the UK under any of the following visas or schemes:

  • Tier 1 visa
  • Tier 2 (General) visa
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer: established staff) visa and you’re applying to change sponsor
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and you’re applying to change sponsor
  • Tier 4 visa, or you’re a on another kind of student visa - read ‘Switching from a Tier 4 visa’ below
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Creative and Sporting) for a job as a professional footballer
  • Highly Skilled Migrant Programme
  • Innovator Scheme
  • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme
  • International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor, the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme)
  • Business and Commercial work permit (except multiple entry work permits)
  • Sports and Entertainment work permit (except multiple entry work permits)

You can also switch to a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and you’re:

  • a dependent partner of someone with a Tier 4 visa
  • a Jewish agency employee
  • operational ground staff of an overseas-owned airline
  • a minister of religion, missionary or member of a religious order
  • an overseas qualified nurse or midwife
  • writing up a thesis
  • a postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • a representative of an overseas business
  • a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
  • a student union sabbatical officer

You must leave the UK and make your Tier 2 (Sportsperson) application from abroad if you’re not in any of these categories.

Switch from a Tier 4 or other student visa

You must have received one of the following under your Tier 4 or other student visa if you want to switch from a Tier 4 to a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa:

  • a UK bachelors degree
  • a UK masters degree
  • a postgraduate certificate in education
  • a professional graduate diploma of education

You must have got your qualification at a UK recognised body or an institution that has a Tier 4 sponsor licence.

The other student visa categories are:

  • student
  • student nurse
  • student re-sitting an examination
  • overseas qualified nurse
  • person writing up a thesis
  • postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • student union sabbatical officer

PhD students

You must have completed at least 12 months’ study for your PhD during your most recent stay in the UK and had permission to take the qualification.

How long you can stay

You can apply to extend your stay in the UK with a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa for up to 3 years and 14 days.

You must leave the UK after this and can only apply for this visa again if either:

  • 12 months have passed and your previous certificate of sponsorship was granted for less than 3 months
  • you can show you’ll be paid a gross annual salary of £155,300 or more

Fees

You’ll pay:

  • £651 to apply online
  • £1,051 to apply in person

7. Family members

Your family members (‘dependants’) must apply to join or remain with you in the UK if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

  • your husband, wife or partner
  • your child under 18
  • your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant

They’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of their application. Check how much they’ll have to pay before they apply.

They must complete their visa application by 5 July if they’ve already paid the immigration health surcharge or they might have to pay it twice. They’ll get a refund for their first payment.

Savings

You must show that your dependants can be supported while they’re in the UK.

Each dependant must have £630 available to them whether they apply with you or separately. This is in addition to the £945 you must have to support yourself.

You must have proof you have the money, and that it’s been in your bank account or your dependent’s bank account for at least 90 days before you or they apply.

8. Taking a second job

You’ll need to make a new Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa application if you want to do a second job that isn’t in the same sector as your main job or isn’t voluntary work.

You can do a second job (up to 20 hours a week) if it’s on the shortage list without making a new application.

You’ll need to be sponsored by your second employer and get a new certificate of sponsorship if you make a new application.

You can’t:

  • apply until you’ve started work with your first sponsor
  • start work with your second sponsor until your application has been approved

Documents you must provide

You must provide some documents with your application.

You must also include a letter with your application explaining that you want to change your current permission to stay.

Your letter must state:

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • your current certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • the date when your current permission to stay runs out

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