Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa

The Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa is for elite sportspeople and coaches who are internationally established at the highest level and whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport in the UK. A UK company wanting to sponsor a sportsperson will need to ensure it has a sponsor licence first. To be allowed to apply for a licence to sponsor sportspeople, you must be a sporting body, sports club, event organiser or other organiser operating, or intending to work in, the sporting sector.


Who is eligible for a UK sports visa?

All migrants in this category must be endorsed by their appropriate sports governing body. This confirms that they meet the governing body’s requirements as agreed between the Home Office and the endorsing body, and confirms that:

  • the migrant is internationally established at the highest level
  • the migrant will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the UK
  • it is suitable to fill the post with a migrant and not a person who is settled in UK

The governing body for each sport has separate endorsement criteria.

Extending your visa

Tier 2 (Sportsperson) migrants may apply for a visa for up to 3 years with the option to extend for up to a further 3 years. Migrants are unable to extend their total stay beyond 6 years but may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years of continuous residence.

Some sport governing bodies may only give an endorsement for 12 months at a time, regardless of the length of the migrant’s contract. If the migrant will continue to be employed beyond the period covered by the sport governing body endorsement, the migrant must get a new endorsement for this period.

Where a sportsperson leaves the UK after completing a period of leave as a Tier 2 migrant, they may be affected by the 12-month cooling off period if they seek to return under any of the Tier 2 categories.

Switching to a sportsperson visa

Certain individuals are eligible to switch into the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) category from within the UK. Subject to some exclusions, a migrant may have the option to switch if they have been granted leave as one of the following:

How we can help

We are able to offer the following support to you or your business:

  • Sponsor licence and endorsement applications;
  • End to end assistance with the sponsorship, endorsement and visa application processes for sportspersons;
  • Ongoing management of the sponsor licence, including the reporting of migrant activity and any changes to sponsor/migrant details;
  • Advisory service in relation to your existing immigration processes

UKVI compliance and right to work checks

Why choose Latitude Law?

Ranked as a leading immigration service provider by Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal, we assist many clients in the sports sector with their immigration needs, ensuring sponsoring bodies and their staff remain compliant with their immigration obligations at all times. We are able to provide support with all aspects of UK immigration including operational and strategic advice.

Sportsperson visa Q&As

When should I apply for a Sportsperson visa?

You will first need to be endorsed by the governing body of your sport. Once you have received an endorsement, you will need to be sponsored and issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which will allow you to make an application as a Sportsperson.

How much does it cost to apply for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa?

The Tier 2 sportsperson visa costs £610 for an in country application and £704 for an in country extension or switch. You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Optional premium services such as the priority service are also available at an additional cost

How long can I remain in the UK?

Tier 2 (Sportsperson) migrants may apply for a visa for up to 3 years with the option to extend for up to a further 3 years. Migrants are unable to extend their total stay beyond 6 years but may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years of continuous residence.

Are there any restrictions to what I can do in the UK?

As a Tier 2 Sportsperson, you cannot have access to public funds and cannot take employment, except:

  • working for the sponsor in the job recorded on your Certificate of Sponsorship; and
  • supplementary employment; and
  • voluntary work; and
  • if you are playing for your national side whilst you are in the UK, playing in British University and College Sport (BUCS) competitions, or doing temporary additional work as a sports broadcaster.

You can study, provided this does not interfere with the job you have been sponsored to do. You can study anywhere you choose and you do not have to study with a sponsor registered under Tier 4 of the points-based system.

What are the English language requirements?

You must be able to understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases, to introduce yourself and others, and to ask and answer questions about very basic personal details. This must be equivalent to level A1 or above of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning.

What documents must I provide during my visa application?

To apply for a Sportsperson visa, you must be able to provide:

  • A valid passport or equivalent travel document;
  • Your Certificate of Sponsorship reference number;
  • Evidence of how you meet the English language requirement;
  • Evidence of how you meet the maintenance requirement;
  • A letter of endorsement from your sport’s governing body.]

Additional documents may be required depending on the country you will be applying form (or the visa you will be switching from if applying from within the UK) and if your family members are also applying with you as your dependants.

Can I extend my Sportsperson visa, and if so how long does it take?

Yes, you can extend your Sportsperson visa to stay for upto a maximum of 6 years in this category. Processing times will depend on the chosen method of submission. Standard applications can take upto 8 weeks, priority applications can take around 10 working days and super priority applications are normally decided within 24 hours. Home Office processing times are not guaranteed and are subject to change.

Can I switch from Tier 2 to another visa category?

Yes, you may be able to switch into a different category depending on your circumstances. However, some categories may prohibit you from working as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.

Are my family members eligible to join me in the UK?

Yes, family members are permitted to join the main applicant. A ‘dependant’ is any one of the following:

  • A husband, wife or partner
  • A child under the age of 18.

Can I work a second job if I am in the UK on a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa?

You can take up supplementary employment, as long as it is:

  • in either a job which is included on the Shortage Occupation List, or a job in the same profession, and at the same professional level, as the work for which your Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned; and
  • no more than 20 hours per week; and
  • outside of the normal working hours for which your Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned.

You can also undertake voluntary work in any sector. You must not be paid for your work, other than being reimbursed for reasonable expenses.

If you wish to undertake additional work not covered by supplementary or voluntary work you will need to obtain prior authorisation first. Any secondary employment must be with a licensed sponsor and you will need a new Certificate of Sponsorship from that sponsor. This application will be considered separately from your first application and must meet the full Tier 2 criteria by itself. You must meet all the points requirements, which may include your new sponsor carrying out a resident labour market test.

When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

You may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after spending a continuous period of 5 years in the UK.

How can I reduce the possibility of my Sportsperson visa being refused?

Requirements under the points-based system (PBS) are very prescriptive. It is therefore important to ensure your application is prepared carefully so that any small errors do not result in your application being refused.

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