As of 11 October 2021, the Home Office have introduced a new visa route for professional sportspeople and coaches entitled the International Sportsperson visa. This will be replacing the previous Tier 2 Sportsperson and Tier 5 Sporting and Creative Worker categories for sportspeople, and combining them into one category to make applications more straightforward.
The key requirements an individual will need to meet to obtain a visa under this category are as follows:
- they must be 16 years of age or older;
- they must have an endorsement from their Governing Body confirming that they are internationally established at the highest level and will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the UK (the list of approved sporting bodies can be found under Appendix Sports Governing Bodies: Immigration Rules Appendix Sports Governing Bodies – Immigration Rules – Guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk));
- they must have been assigned a valid Certificate of Sponsorship by their sponsor;
- they must satisfy the financial requirement; and
- they must meet the English language requirement if applying for a period of leave that is longer than 12 months.
This will be a route to settlement, and dependants will be able to apply under this visa category in line with the main applicant.
This visa allows the visa-holder to undertake work for their national team, should their national team be in the UK for a competition, as well as provide expert guest commentary for sporting events.
The introduction of this singular visa route for professional sportspeople and coaches is a welcome simplification of the application process and guidance for those in the sporting profession. Furthermore, it will allow for Creative Workers to fall under its own distinct route, in recognition of how different the two sectors are.
For more information on the requirements for this visa category please see the Home Office’s guidance: Immigration Rules Appendix International Sportsperson – Immigration Rules – Guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
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