International Sportsperson Visa

Elite sportspeople and qualified sports coaches that are internationally established can apply for this visa. 


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The International Sportsperson visa route is for an elite sportsperson or qualified sports coach who is internationally established and can make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at its highest level in the UK.

This is a sponsored route, and therefore the business requires a sponsor licence. The route has both short-term (up to 12 months) and long-term (over 12 months) options. 

There’s a two-stage process to obtain a visa in this route:

  1. Obtain a Governing Body Endorsement from the Governing Body for the relevant sport; and
  2. Apply for entry clearance or permission to stay under the International Sportsperson visa route.

 How we can help

We have experience of preparing successful International Sportsperson visa applications on behalf of our clients. We pride ourselves on the presentation of our applications to the Home Office. You can be assured that your application process will be managed in a professional and organised manner.

International Sportsperson Visa FAQs

What is the international sportsperson visa? 

This visa allows elite sportspersons or internationally established qualified sports coaches to live and work in the UK. 

Do you need a job offer to get an international sportsperson visa?

Yes. As part of the application process, you will need to confirm details relating to your employer. Your employer must have a valid sponsor licence and issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship before you apply for your visa. 

Do I need to meet the English language requirement?

Yes. You can do this through either of the below options:

  • Passing the Secure Engligh Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider.
  • Have a GCSE at A level, Scottish National Qualification leve 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, or gained it through study at a UK school under the age of 18.
  • Have a degree level qualification that was taught in English. Ecctis will need to approve that it is valid. 
What documents will I need to provide?

You will need to:

  • show that you have paid Ecctis to check that your qualification is valid
  • a valid passport
  • proof of English requirement
You may also need to provide the following:
  • your biometric residence permit (BRP) or online proof of your immigration status if you are swapping from one visa to another
  • proof of your relationship with your partner and children if they are joining
  • Tuberculosis test results if you are from a qualifying country. 
How long can I stay in the UK with this visa?

The visa can last for up to 3 years. Following the initial grant of leave, you can apply to extend your visa, subject to meeting the eligibility requirements. 

Can I bring my family on an International Sportsperson Visa? 

Yes, subject to meeting eligibility requirements, you can apply for your partner and children aged under 18 to join you as your dependants.  

What if I want to stay in the UK after my visa expires? 

You may be eligible to apply for another visa, like the Skilled Worker Visa. 

Does this visa lead to settlement/British Citizenship?

Yes, international sportspersons who have, at any point in the preceding 5 years been granted leave as an international sportsperson for a period exceeding 12 months, can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK. 

How long does it take to get a decision for this visa? 

Current processing times are 8 weeks when applying from inside the UK, or 3 weeks when applying from overseas. For an additional fee, you can prioritise your application and receive an expedited decision. Please note, these timeframes are a guideline, and some applications do take longer to receive a decision.

How much does the visa cost?

The fees charged by Home Office can be found on their official website here. You will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge, found on the Home Office website. 

Will I need to submit my biometric information?

Yes. You will need to attend an appointment at your nearest visa centre to have your photograph taken and to submit your fingerprints. This is for your visa. 

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