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The UK will introduce a new Sportsperson visa

The UK Home Office has announced the launch of a new visa route, the Sportsperson route, to replace the respective subcategories of Tier 2 and Tier 5 routes. The changes will take effect on 11 October 2021.

Endorsement letter

If you want to get this visa, you will need your endorsing body’s approval. The endorsing body must issue a confirmation that you meet all the eligibility requirements:

  1. You must have accomplishments recognised internationally;
  2. You can considerably contribute to the development of your sport in the UK.

This is no different for those who have a Tier 2 Sportsperson visa. They already have the same requirements to comply with. But this might cause difficulties for those on the Tier 5 Sporting Worker visa who only have to comply with either of the two criteria.


As a matter of fact, a sportsperson visa is a type of a work visa. Therefore, it requires an invitation from an employer who has a sponsorship licence and has the right to hire foreign workers.

Application fee and processing time

You must apply for the visa online. The processing time depends on where you are when you do:

  • if you apply from outside the UK – 3 weeks;
  • if you apply from within the UK – 8 weeks.

The application fee also depends on your current location:

  • if you apply from outside the UK – £610 per person;
  • if you apply from within the UK – £704 per person.

If your visa will be valid less than 12 months, the application fee is £244 per person regardless of where you apply from. Besides, the fee is £55 less for nationals of most European countries. However, this discount only applies to the main applicant. Their family members (spouse and children), who have the right to come with you, do not get the same discount.

You will also have to pay the immigration health surcharge (IHS) which is £624 per year of the visa duration, and prove that you have enough personal savings and/or sufficient income to support yourself and your family throughout the entire stay in the UK.

How long the UK Sportsperson visa is valid for

UK Sportsperson visa is granted for up to three years. It may be extended, provided you are still eligible. After living for 5 years in the UK, you can apply for an indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Note that if you stay for less than 12 months, you don’t have to pass an English language test. Otherwise, the test is mandatory.

Rights and restrictions

Under this visa route, you can:

  • work, but only for your sponsor;
  • have a second job, provided it’s not more than 20 hours a week and the job is in the same professional field (sport) or in the shortage occupation list;
  • do voluntary work;
  • study, as long as it does not interfere with your main job;
  • play for the UK national team;
  • work as a sports commentator.

At the same time, you cannot:

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

Imperial & Legal will help you deal with all the technicalities of the UK immigration rules. Book a consultation with our experts to learn what visas you can apply for and what is required to get them.

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