UK Sports Visas

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UK Sports Visas

The UK International Sportsperson visa is intended for elite sportspeople or qualified coaches who are recognised by their sport’s governing body as being internationally at the highest professional level. The visa allows the holder to stay in the UK for up to three years, with the opportunity to request an extension.

To apply for a UK Sports visa, you will need an endorsement from your sport’s governing body. The employment you will be taking up in the UK should also develop your sport in the country at the highest level. The visa replaces the Tier 2 Sports visa.

Your employer will need to sponsor you and provide a Certificate of Sponsorship. You may be able to bring your spouse or partner and dependent children with you if they are eligible.

In some circumstances, a Sports visa can be a route to settlement in the UK if you are given a visa for more than 12 months and you have been continually resident in the UK for over five years.

At IBB Law, we represent elite sportspeople and coaches in securing Sports visas so that they can live and work in the UK. We have in-depth experience of the visa application process and will work with you to provide the support and guidance you need throughout. We also advise sporting clubs and teams that will be sponsoring overseas sportspeople.

Our clients come from around the globe and have a wide range of sporting backgrounds. We provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances and are known for our exceptional level of service as well as our legal expertise in the area of immigration.

We also deal with the full range of other UK work visas in the event that a Sports visa is not the best choice for your situation.

Complete support for UK Sports visa applications

Our visas and immigration team provide a full service for those requiring a Sports visa for the UK, including the following:

  • Checking your UK Sports visa eligibility and advising you of any other possible visa options where appropriate
  • Putting together a UK Sports visa application on your behalf
  • Compiling the documents to accompany your UK Sports visa application to ensure you have sufficient evidence of eligibility
  • UK Sports visa rejections and refusals
  • Renewing a UK Sports visa

We also provide representation, advice and guidance to organisations who will be sponsoring sportspeople coming from overseas.

For more information about the services we provide, see our Business Immigration Services page.

Why choose IBB Law for help with applying for a Sports visa?

At IBB Law, our legal experts offer the following:

  • In-depth knowledge of UK Immigration laws, policies and procedures.
  • Hands on support from experts who keep up-to-date with developments in the law so that you always receive practical and accurate advice.
  • A cost-effective and timely service with great attention to detail.
  • Independently accredited immigration expertise with our team being ranked by leading client guide, the Legal 500 for Immigration Law.

Looking for immediate help with a UK Sports visa application?

If you need advice and guidance in respect of your application for a UK Sports visa, our experienced business immigration lawyers will be happy to hear from you.

To discuss your requirements with our industry-leading business immigration solicitors, you can call us on 03456 381381 or email

How to apply for a Sports visa for the UK

The following guide contains information in the following key areas:

Making a Sports visa application

The first step in obtaining a UK Sports visa is securing an endorsement from the governing body for your relevant sport. The governing body has a set of criteria that you will need to meet, and they will assess you as an elite sportsperson or coach to establish whether you are at the required standard.

Once you have an endorsement, you can apply to UK Visas and Immigration for your Sports visa. The application is made online. You will also need to provide your fingerprints and have your photo taken at a visa application centre or scan your identity documents using the UK Immigration: ID Check app.

Sports visas refusals and rejections

If your visa application does not contain enough information or documentary evidence, it is likely to be refused or rejected. You are advised to seek legal advice if this happens. At IBB Law, our immigration team are experienced in dealing with visa difficulties. We can advise you as to why your application was not accepted, and where possible put together a new application containing the correct information and accompanying documents.

If an error has been made in processing your visa, it may be possible to overturn the decision or to request a review, and we can discuss this option with you.

Renewing a Sports visa

It is possible to extend a Sports visa for three years at a time. You should apply to renew the visa before it expires. You will need to provide similar evidence as before, including a new endorsement from your sport’s governing body and a new Certificate of Sponsorship reference number.

Alternatives to a Sports visa

There may be other visa options open to you, including the following possibilities:

Standard Visitor visa – if you will be coming to the UK for less than six months

Student visa – for student athletes

Sports visa fees

If you will be staying for up to 12 months, the fee is £244.

If you will be staying for longer than 12 months, the fee when you apply from outside of the UK is £610.

If you are applying from inside the UK to switch to the visa or to extend it, the fee is £704.

You will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge which is generally £624 for each year that you will be in the UK.

If you will be bringing your family with you, each member will also have to pay relevant visa fees and a healthcare surcharge.

What rights does a Sports visa give you?

If you are granted an International Sportsperson visa, you are entitled to do the following:

  • Work for your sponsor as detailed in the certificate of sponsorship
  • Play for your national team in the UK
  • Work as a sports broadcaster
  • Carry out voluntary work
  • Study
  • Travel out of the UK and return
  • Bring your spouse or partner and dependent children to the UK with you, if they are eligible

Once you have started working for your sponsor, you may also be able to work in a second job for up to 20 hours per week as a sportsperson or in a job that is on the Skilled Worker Shortage Occupation List.

You will not be entitled to claim benefits or run your own business while in the UK.

UK Sports visa requirements

To be eligible for a UK Sports visa, you will need a valid certificate of sponsorship. You will also need to prove that you have adequate knowledge of the English language and sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK. This is a minimum of £1,270, and you will need to show that it has been in your bank account for a minimum of 28 days and that this was no more than a month before the date of your visa application. Your employer or sponsor can provide this money if they wish.

Supporting documents for a Sports visa application

A substantial number of documents are generally needed in support of an application for a UK Sports visa. We can work with you to ensure that you include everything necessary and that your visa application is as strong as possible.

Documents that you will need include the following:

  • Your valid passport or other travel and identity document
  • Copies of expired passports showing your travel history
  • Letter of endorsement from your sport’s governing body
  • A Certificate of Sponsorship reference number from your employer
  • Evidence that your English is at the required standard, either a copy of a degree level qualification taught in English or confirmation that you have passed an approved English language test
  • Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself, such as copy bank statements, unless your sponsor will be supporting you, and this is noted on your Certificate of Sponsorship
  • Tuberculosis test results where necessary

Your passport or other travel documents should have a blank page available for the visa to be added. You will also need to provide certified translations of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

You may need to provide other documents, depending on the evidence required to support your application, and we can advise you of any additional items.

How long does it take to get a Sports visa?

Once all necessary documentation has been submitted, including your identity information, you should receive a decision within three weeks if you have applied from outside of the UK. If you have applied from within the UK, the decision should be provided within eight weeks.

In some cases, you may be able to pay for a faster service.

Get immediate expert advice on applying for a UK Sports visa

If you need expert advice and support with a UK Sports visa application, our highly experienced business immigration team will be happy to assist.

To discuss your situation with our industry-leading business immigration solicitors, you can call us on 03456 381381 or email