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Creative Worker Visa

Creative Worker Visa to the UK: peculiarities, conditions of obtaining, opportunities and prospects that opens Creative Worker Visa.

The UK authorities are interested in attracting new and unique personnel from abroad, so the country’s immigration policy is aimed at active development of the labour market. Foreign citizens wishing to move to the United Kingdom can realise their cherished dream thanks to their talents.

Main aspects of the visa of an artist

Citizens working in creative professions can apply for a Creative Worker Visa in the UK. It allows the holder to work temporarily in the United Kingdom. In the future, the Creative Worker Visa can be extended and then switched to a long-term work visa, which opens the way to obtaining a permanent residence permit.

An artist is recognised here as a foreigner who is able to make a distinctive contribution to the UK creative sector. The requirements for an applicant for a Temporary Creative Worker visa:

  • The foreign national has received a relevant job offer from a party based in the UK;

  • The applicant can prove that he/she fulfils the necessary criteria to obtain a visa.

Who should be recognised as an artist? The UK Home Office defines it as a member of the creative industry. They can be:

  • actors;

  • artists;

  • interpreters;

  • dancers;

  • directors;

  • cameramen;

  • models, etc.

The above list of occupations is not exhaustive.

A person holding an artist visa can stay in the UK for one year to realise their professional goals. The stay can be extended for a further 2 years. The document does not give the right to settle in the country but opens such a prospect in the future.

The opportunities that the Creative Worker Visa opens up:

  • In-country training;

  • Working for a sponsor, the terms and conditions of which are detailed in the CoS (Certificate of Sponsorship);

  • Obtaining a second job in the same field of work (up to 20 hours per week);

  • Performing work that is included in the list of rare occupations (also up to 20 hours per week).

The creative professional is authorised to come to the UK with their child/children and/or partner.

What a creative worker visa holder can NOT expect to do:

  • To start your own business;

  • To receive funds from the state;

  • Staying in the country for longer than your visa allows. If you do not leave the UK within 2 weeks you will be considered to be in breach of your period of stay and will be deported.

Requirements for visa applicants

In order to obtain an artist visa, you need to prove your significant contribution to your field of work. This could be, for example, achieving international recognition.

You are eligible to apply for a Creative Worker visa if:

  • Have the potential and opportunity to make a distinctive contribution to the UK labour market;

  • You have a certificate from your sponsor. It shows the nature of your immigration status, how long you have been in the country and what you have been doing;

  • Are paid at least the approved minimum wage set by Equity, PACT or BECTU (Britain’s trade union organisations);

  • You have enough money to provide for everything you need (minimum is £1,270). The money must be held in your account for 28 days or more.

The fulfilment of the requirements for this visa category is assessed by points. A total of 40 points are required. A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued in accordance with the established rules gives you 30 points, and a further 10 points when you prove that you fulfil the financial requirements.

The Certificate of Sponsorship is an electronic document number that contains your details and employment details. The document must be recognised by the Home Office. The sponsor needs to be your employer for the duration of your stay in the UK. The work the sponsor provides must be creative. If you are working for more than one sponsor, each sponsor must provide a CoS. There must not be a break of more than 14 days between each job. If you leave the UK and then come back (e.g. due to touring), the time away will not count towards those 14 days.

The sponsor of a temporary creative worker must hold an immigration sponsorship licence under this visa category. The certificate is provided by the organisation whose activities are related to creativity.

If it is not just one person but a team, CoS must be obtained by all participants. A team can consist of people whose activities are related to acting, visual arts, theatre or music. They all need to have relevant skills. They each need to hold their CoS certificate and fulfil the requirements for an artist visa.

An applicant for this visa should not:

  • Being an immigration lawbreaker;

  • Being on immigration bail.

The Creative Worker visa holder is entitled to bring dependants with them to the UK. Each family member must complete a separate application form and pay a visa fee of £259. The application form must include the main applicant’s application number (this is called the Global Web Form or Unique Application Number), which you will receive once it has been submitted. This can be seen in the emails you will receive about your application.

Who can be a dependent:

  • A legal spouse or partner with whom you are not legally married;

  • A child under the age of 18;

  • A child over the age of 18 who is in the UK on a dependent child visa.

Dependent family members increase the financial requirements for the applicant. Thus, to the £1,270 for the main applicant, are added:

For a partner


For the first child


For all subsequent children


If you are not legally married to your partner, you will need to prove that you have lived together at the same address for at least two years before you decide to apply for a Creative Worker Visa.

If your child has reached the age of 16, he or she must:

  • Not to be in a marital relationship;

  • Depend on you financially;

  • Living with you.

Application process and processing time

Firstly apply online on the Gov.uk portal and complete the proposed form. At the end of the form you must pay the required fees:

  • Immigration medical fee (if the visa is issued for more than six months);

  • Visa fee. The date of payment of the visa fee is the date of application submission.

After that you should book a biometric appointment for the biometric data submission at the visa application centre. All family members must attend the biometric appointment.

You should apply for your visa no earlier than 3 months before you start work – the date of your employment will be stated in the CoS.

By the time the application is submitted, all required documents must be collected. List of required documents:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship;

  • Passport;

  • Proof that you have enough money to live in the UK. For example, this could be a bank statement;

  • TB test certificate (if necessary);

  • Certified English translations of documents originally written in your native language. They must be dated and signed by a translator who attests to their authenticity.

In some cases, applicants may be asked for other documents to prove eligibility for a Creative Worker Visa. For example, if you are applying for a visa with family members, you will need documents to prove your relationship.

The application will be considered by the UK Home Office. A decision is most often made within 3 weeks. If the artist applies to extend their stay, a decision will be made after 8 weeks.

It is possible to reduce this timeframe by using the priority service. If you are applying from outside the UK, it is possible to purchase a priority service for £500. This will put your application at the front of the queue. Domestically, there are two options: a £500 priority service (which takes 5 days to process) and a £1000 super priority service (which takes just one day to process).

Cost of visa processing

The visa fee is £259 per person. The amount is fixed whether the application is made in the UK or outside the UK. The Immigration Medical Fee costs £1035 (for adults) £776 (for children under 18) – for each year of visa validity (if the visa is issued for more than six months) for each person. The minimum payment period is six months.

Renewal of an artist’s visa

The Creative Worker Visa is issued for a maximum of 12 months or as long as specified in the CoS. It can be renewed, but not if you have taken advantage of the visa concession upon entry to the country.

The application must include all family members who have travelled with you to the UK. You must apply for an extension within the UK and until the visa expires. The maximum period of stay in the UK on a Creative Worker Visa is 2 years.

The visa can be extended for:

  • For a year;

  • For the term specified by CoS;

  • For the period necessary to extend the term (but not more than two years).

The partner or children of the visa holder also have the option to apply for an extension or replacement visa at the same time as the visa holder or at any other time, but provided they apply before the current visa expires.

However, certain categories of person staying in the UK on a particular visa cannot apply for a visa with you. These are:

  • Employees who have arrived for a particular season;

  • Visitors to the country;

  • Students;

  • Parents of students;

  • Employees of private households.

Also, those on immigration bail or granted compassionate leave to remain cannot apply for an extension. If your partner or child is in the UK on a student visa, there are some options available. For example, they can change their visa if:

  • They’ve already been trained;

  • Have been enrolled in a PhD (doctoral) programme for at least two years.

In case the visa holder wishes to change to another sponsor, he/she submits a new application. He also needs to fulfil all the requirements for a visa applicant.

Path to a residence permit thanks to an artist visa

The British Creative Worker Visa does not grant an ILR in the United Kingdom. The Creative Worker Visa allows a foreign national to work in the country and reside temporarily. The time spent on a Creative Worker Visa will count towards the 10 years of legal residence in the UK.

It is also possible for a Creative Worker Visa holder to change to a long-stay visa, which potentially leads to permanent residence in the UK. This means that you can apply for another visa without leaving the country. It remains to be seen which visa categories are available to you.

Possible options:

  • Family visa. For example, if you are married to a British citizen or a person who is applying for citizenship in the UK;

  • Skilled Worker Visa.

Frequently asked questions on the topic of artist visas

Do I need to take an English test when applying for a Creative Worker Visa?

No, the visa gives the foreign national the opportunity to realise their talents without taking a test.

What if I plan to work in the country for only 3 months or even less?

If you have a certificate of sponsorship, will be working in the UK for less than three months and do not need a tourist visa to visit the UK, you can obtain a Creative Worker Visa on arrival. But in this case the visa cannot be extended.

What should I do if my application for an artist visa is refused?

You can apply for an Administrative Review within a fortnight. This will cost £80. The UKVI visa authority will check to see if the refusal decision was wrong. The review will not be carried out by the same person who made the first decision, but by a representative of an independent panel. An applicant for a Creative Worker Visa can also reapply for a new one.

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