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Sportsperson visa (Tier 2)

Overview

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

  • you’re an elite sportsperson or qualified coach, who’s recognised by your sport’s governing body as being at the highest level of your profession internationally
  • 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
  • you meet the other eligibility requirements

Getting sponsored

Your sponsor is the governing body endorsing your application. They’ll assign you a certificate of sponsorship to prove they’re sponsoring you.

How long it will take

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you’re due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

Find out about paying for a faster decision.

Fees

How much you pay for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa depends on where you are.

Who you’re applying forApply (outside the UK)Extend or switch (in the UK)
You£610£704
You – as a national of Turkey or North Macedonia£555£649
All dependants£610 each person£704 each person

Healthcare surcharge

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

If you’re applying to extend or switch in the UK

You’ll need to pay £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.

Get a faster decision on your application

If you’re applying to extend or switch in the UK you can pay an extra £500 for the priority service to get a decision within 5 working days.

You can pay an extra £800 for the super priority service to get a decision:

  • by the end of the next working day after providing your biometric information if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after providing your biometric information if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.

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 cannot do

You can:

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

You cannot:

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

Eligibility

You need to:

You need to have an eligible qualification if you’re switching from a Tier 4 visa.

Certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship holds your personal details and information about the job you’ve been offered. It’s an electronic record, not a paper document. Your sponsor will give you a certificate of sponsorship reference number to add to your application.

You can only use your certificate of sponsorship reference number once. You must use it 3 months after getting it.

Personal savings

You must have £945 in your bank account for 90 days before the date you apply.

You will not need this money if you have either a:

  • fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor who can give you at least £945 to cover your costs for a month if you need it (your sponsor must confirm this on the certificate of sponsorship)
  • Tier 2 visa and you’re applying from within the UK
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 bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD

You may be able to meet the English language requirement in other ways. Check the full guidance for detailed information.

Exceptions

You will not 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

You also may not have to prove your knowledge of English in other circumstances – check the visa guidance.

Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • your certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • proof of your knowledge of English
  • a bank or building society statement or letter that shows you have enough personal savings
  • a current passport or travel document to prove you can travel – you need a blank page in your passport for your visa
  • expired passports or travel documents if you need them to show your travel history
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country
  • a letter of endorsement from your sport’s governing body, if you’re applying as a sportsperson or coach

Read the guide for a list of documents you can provide.

If your documents are not in English or Welsh you’ll need to provide a certified translation.

You might need to provide more documents depending on your circumstances.

Apply

Read the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) guidance before you apply.

Apply outside the UK

You must apply online for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa.

As part of your application you’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre. This is to get a biometric residence permit.

You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK.

Find out how to get your visa decision faster – this depends on what country you’re in. Check if your visa application centre offers faster decisions and other services.

North Korea

You cannot apply online if you’re living in North Korea.

To apply from North Korea you must:

Apply in the UK

Check if you can apply from inside the UK to:

  • extend your existing Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa
  • switch to this visa from another visa
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. They’ll also need to submit a separate application.

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 £159,600 or more

Fees

Check the fees for your type of visa.

How to extend your visa

Read the Tier 2 guidance notes before you apply.

You must apply online as an individual or family group.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).

You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

How long it takes

Decisions are usually made:

  • within 8 weeks of your application date if you use the standard service
  • within 5 working days of your UKVCAS appointment if you use the priority service

If you use the super priority service a decision will be made:

  • by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.

You’ll be contacted if your circumstances or application are more complicated, for example if:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • you have a criminal conviction

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

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) visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and you’re applying to change sponsor
  • 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

You can also switch to this visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and you’re a:

  • dependent partner of someone with a Tier 4 visa
  • representative of an overseas business

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

Eligible qualifications for Tier 4 visa

You must have been sponsored by a licensed Tier 4 sponsor to get one of the following qualifications:

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

PhD students

You must have completed at least 12 months’ study during your most recent stay in the UK. This can be through a licensed Tier 4 sponsor or another visa that allowed you to study.

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 £159,600 or more

Fees

Check the fees for your type of visa.

How to switch your visa

Read the Tier 2 guidance notes before you apply.

You must apply online as an individual or family group.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).

You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

How long it takes

Decisions are usually made:

  • within 8 weeks of your application date if you use the standard service
  • within 5 working days of your UKVCAS appointment if you use the priority service

If you use the super priority service a decision will be made:

  • by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.

You’ll be told if it will take longer, for example if:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • your application is complex because of your personal circumstances, for example you have a criminal conviction

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

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

Read the guidance on dependant applications before you apply.

Personal 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 dependant’s bank account for at least 90 days before you or they apply.

ExampleYou must have £2,205 if you want to bring your partner and one child with you to the UK (£945 to support yourself + £630 for your partner + £630 for your child).

You will not need evidence of your savings if you have a:

Fees

Check the fees for your type of visa.

Dependants applying outside the UK

Your family members must apply online.

As part of their application they’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre. This is to get a biometric residence permit.

They’ll have to collect their biometric residence permit within 30 days of when they said they’d arrive in the UK (even if they actually arrive at a later date).

They may be able to get their visa faster or other services depending on what country they’re in – check with the visa application centre.

If your child is over 18 they cannot apply if they are outside the UK. They can apply from inside the UK if they are already here as your dependant.

North Korea

Your family members cannot apply online if they’re applying from North Korea.

Each family member will need to make their own application. They must:

Dependants applying in the UK on their own

Your dependants can apply to extend or switch their visas to stay with you if they’re already in the UK.

Your family members can apply online if they’re your:

It’s best for your dependants to apply at the same time as you but they can apply at a later date.

Your family members cannot apply in the UK as your dependant if they hold a visitor visa.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When they apply, they’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide their biometric information (their fingerprints and a photo).

They’ll also need to submit their supporting documents. They can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at their UKVCAS appointment

They must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until they get a decision. Their application will be withdrawn if they do.

Children born while you’re in the UK

If you have children while you’re in the UK, you can apply online to add them to your visa as your dependant.

You must do this if you want to travel in and out of the UK with them.

You’ll need to provide a full UK birth certificate for each child, showing the names of both parents.

Taking a second job

You can take a second job on this visa if you’re working up to 20 hours a week in either:

You can also do unpaid voluntary work.

Otherwise, you’ll need to apply for a new visa. You’ll need to be sponsored by your second employer and get a new certificate of sponsorship.

When to apply for a new visa

You cannot apply for a new visa until you’ve started work with your first sponsor.

You cannot start work with your second sponsor until your visa application has been approved.

How to apply

Read the guidance before you apply online.

You must be in the UK to apply.

Documents you must provide

You must provide some documents with your application.

You must also provide a letter 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

Data Source: https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-sportsperson-worker-visa