Visas for Sportspeople

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International Sportsperson visa

You can apply for an International Sportsperson visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and your sport’s governing body endorses your application, confirming:

  • you’re an elite sportsperson or qualified coach
  • you’re internationally established
  • your employment will develop your sport in the UK at the highest level

This visa replaced the Sportsperson (T2) visa and the sporting part of the Temporary Worker - Creative and Sporting visa (T5).

The sponsoring club or professional sports team must hold an employer sponsorship licence allowing them to issue a certificate of sponsorship to professional athletes or coaches. Once this certificate is received, the applicant can apply for entry clearance to the UK from your home country. out if y

Endorsement of the Applicant by the Sport's Governing Body

For a certificate of sponsorship to be issued in the Sports Persons visa category, the sponsoring club must have an endorsement for the applicant from the appropriate governing body for their sport. The endorsement will confirm that:

  • The player or coach is internationally established at the highest level; and
  • The player or coach will make a significant contribution to the development of his or her sport at the highest level in the UK; and
  • The post could not be filled by a suitable settled worker.

Getting sponsored

Your sponsor is your employer. They’ll give you a certificate of sponsorship to prove they’re sponsoring you.

How long it takes

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

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents.

You may need to allow extra time if you need an appointment to do this. You’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.

Getting a decision

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:

  • 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
  • 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK

If you need to go to an appointment, you may be able to pay for a faster decision. How you do this depends on whether you’re outside the UK or inside the UK.

How long you can stay

Your visa can last for up to 3 years. You can extend it as long as you’re still eligible.

After 5 years, you may be able to settle permanently in the UK if you’ve had at least one visa that lasted longer than 12 months.

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 your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible

You cannot:

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


Spouses and Dependents

The International Sportsperson visa can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain and as such this category makes provision for the spouses and civil or unmarried partners of the applicant and any dependent children to immigrate to the UK at the same time as the main applicant.