The International Sportsperson visa is a type of visa that allows professional athletes and coaches to come to the UK to take part in sports-related activities.
The International Sportsperson visa is part of the UK's points-based immigration system, and you must score a certain number of points to be eligible. You can score points for your job offer, your salary, your endorsement, and your available funds.
If you need legal advice or help with your International Sportsperson visa application, our experienced immigration lawyer can provide you with the help you need.
Table of Contents
- What is an International Sportsperson visa?
- Requirements for International Sportsperson visa
- Documents required for an International Sportsperson visa
- Extension of International Sportsperson visa
- Switch to an International Sportsperson visa
- Your partner and children
- Visa application processing time
- How can our immigration lawyer help you?
Requirements for International Sportsperson visa
To be eligible for an International Sportsperson visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Sponsorship: You must have a job offer or a contract with a UK-based sports organization that is willing to sponsor you. The organization must hold a valid sponsorship license.
- Certificate of Sponsorship: Your sponsor must provide you with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship. This is an electronic document that contains information about your job, salary, and length of stay.
- Endorsement: You must also be endorsed by the relevant governing body for your sport in the UK. The governing body will need to confirm that you are internationally established at the highest level and will make a significant contribution to the development of your sport in the UK.
- English language: You must be able to speak, read, write, and understand English to the required standard. You may need to take an approved English language test and meet the minimum score requirements.
- Financial requirements: You must have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds.
- Criminal record: You must not have a criminal record in the UK or in any other country where you have lived for more than 12 months in the past 10 years.
- Tuberculosis (TB) test: If you are from a country where TB is prevalent, you may need to be tested for TB.
You must also meet all the other eligibility requirements depending on type of application and your personal circumstances. Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options.
What is a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?
A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a document issued by a UK employer or sponsor to a non-EEA (European Economic Area) worker who is offered a job in the UK. It is a unique reference number that the worker needs in order to apply for a UK work visa.
The CoS contains information about the worker, their job, and the sponsoring organisation, and confirms that the job offer meets the relevant UK immigration requirements.
You must have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself in the UK. You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.
English language requirement
When applying for an International Sportsperson visa in the UK, you will generally be required to meet the English language requirements as part of the application process.
In general, to meet the English language requirement, you must provide evidence that you:
- Have a degree taught in English that is equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree, master's degree, or PhD;
- Have passed a Home Office approved English language test at the required level (currently CEFR level A1 or above) with a recognized test provider; or
- Have obtained an academic qualification taught in English from an institution that is recognized by UK NARIC (the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom).
What documents are required for an International Sportsperson visa?
You must provide the following documents when you apply for an International Sportsperson visa:
- Your valid passport or travel document to confirm your identity.
- Your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) reference number.
- Evidence that you have enough to support yourself during your stay in the UK such as bank statements.
- Evidence of your knowledge of the English language.
- A letter of endorsement from your sport’s governing body
This is a general list of documents. Depending on type of application and your personal circumstances, you might also need to provide additional documents.
Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and find out the required list of documents in support of your application.
Extension of International Sportsperson visa
If you are currently in the UK on an International Sportsperson visa and wish to extend your stay, you may be able to apply for an extension of your visa. To be eligible for an extension, you must still be working for the same religious organisation that sponsored your original visa, and you must continue to meet the other requirements of the visa.
To extend your visa, you must still be sponsored by a UK-based sports organisation and still be endorsed by the relevant governing body for your sport in the UK.
You can apply to extend your International Sportsperson visa online. You will need to provide the required documents, including a valid Certificate of Sponsorship, proof of endorsement, and evidence that you meet the other eligibility requirements.
Switch to an International Sportsperson visa
If you are already in the UK on a different type of visa and wish to switch to an International Sportsperson visa, you may be able to do so if you meet the eligibility requirements.
You must have a job offer or a contract with a UK-based sports organization that is willing to sponsor you for an International Sportsperson visa.
You must apply for the International Sportsperson visa before your current visa expires.
To switch to an International Sportsperson visa, you will need to apply online and provide the required documents, including a valid Certificate of Sponsorship, proof of endorsement, and evidence that you meet the other eligibility requirements. You should always consult with a qualified immigration advisor to check the most up-to-date information.
Your partner and children
Your partner and children can apply to join you or to stay in the UK as your 'dependants' if they’re eligible. If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.
A dependent partner or child is any of the following:
- your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
- your child under 18 - including if they were born in the UK during your stay
- your child over 18 if they're currently in the UK as your dependant
You'll need to provide evidence of your relationship when you apply.
International Sportsperson visa processing time
You should get a decision on your International Sportsperson visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK using the standard service. Home Office takes 8 weeks to process visa applications when you apply from inside the UK.
You may be able to use priority service to get your visa faster depending on what country you're in.
How can our immigration lawyer help you?
As part of our immigration services for your immigration application, our expert immigration lawyer will:
- assess your eligibility for the relevant visa type by fully considering your circumstances;
- advise you on the required supporting documents to be submitted in support of your immigration application;
- assess all the documents to ensure that the documents you provide are as per the requirements of the Immigration Rules;
- advise you on strengths and potential weaknesses in your visa application and how you can overcome such weaknesses if any;
- complete the online immigration draft application form to share it with you for cross-checking;
- submit your application online and schedule your biometrics appointments with the relevant commercial partner of the UKVI;
- prepare a detailed cover letter in support of the immigration application explaining in detail how you are meeting all the requirements of the Immigration Rules so that you have the maximum chances of succeeding in your visa application;
- upload all the supporting documents online in support of the immigration application in their correct format and order;
- dealing and responding to any caseworker enquiries or correspondence from the Home Office caseworker for any further documents or information concerning your pending immigration application;
- do all the follow-up work on your immigration application until a decision is received from the Home Office UKVI.