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Tier 2 Sports Person

Tier 2 Sportsperson

You can apply for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa if all of the following apply:

  • you’re an elite sportsperson or qualified coach, who’s recognised by your sport’s governing body as being at the highest level of your profession internationally
  • your sport’s governing body is endorsing your application
  • your employment will develop your sport in the UK at the highest level
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • you meet the other eligibility requirements

If you are unsure of your position or would like to ensure that your application is handled by a knowledgeable specialist, get in touch with one of our friendly team members now on 0203 384 4389 to find out exactly how we can assist you to get it right first time round, saving you time, money and the heartache of being refused.

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Further Information

Getting Sponsored

Your sponsor is the governing body endorsing your application. They’ll assign you acertificate of sponsorship to prove they’re sponsoring you.

How long it will take

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

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

How long you can stay

You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa for up to 3 years.

You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 3 years to a maximum stay of 6 years.

What you can and can't 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 doesn’t interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family members with you

You can’t:

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

Eligibility

You need to:

  • have a valid certificate of sponsorship for your job
  • prove your knowledge of English
  • have personal savings so you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK
  • show you can travel and your travel history over the last 5 years
  • have tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country

You need to have an eligible qualification if you’re switching from a Tier 4 visa.

Certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship holds your personal details and information about the job you’ve been offered. It’s an electronic record, not a paper document. Your sponsor will give you a certificate of sponsorship reference number to add to your application.

You can only use your certificate of sponsorship reference number once. You must use it 3 months after getting it.

Personal savings

You must have £945 in your bank account for 90 days before the date you apply.

You won’t need this money if you have either a:

  • Fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor who can give you at least £945 to cover your costs for a month if you need it (your sponsor must confirm this on the certificate of sponsorship)
  • Tier 2 visa and you’re applying from within the UK

Knowledge Of English

You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

You can prove your knowledge of English by either:

  • passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD

You may be able to meet the English language requirement in other ways.

Exceptions

You won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • your certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • proof of your knowledge of English
  • a bank or building society statement or letter that shows you have enough personal savings
  • a current passport or travel document to prove you can travel – you need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa
  • expired passports or travel documents if you need them to show your travel history
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country
  • a letter of endorsement from your sport’s governing body, if you’re applying as a sportsperson or coach

If your documents aren’t in English or Welsh you’ll need to send a certified translation.

You might need to provide more documents depending on your circumstances.

Extend your visa

You can apply to extend your stay in the UK under a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa.

You should include any dependants who are on your current visa on your application to extend. This includes children who have turned 18 during your stay. They’ll also need to submit a separate application.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You must have your endorsement by your sport’s governing body renewed and a new certificate of sponsorship reference number.

How long you can stay

You can apply to extend your stay in the UK with a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa for up to 3 years and 14 days.

You must leave the UK after this. You can only apply for this visa again if either:

  • 12 months have passed and your previous certificate of sponsorship was granted for less than 3 months
  • you can show you’ll be paid a gross annual salary of £159,600 or more

Switch to this visa

You can apply to change (‘switch’) from another visa to a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

Eligibility

You must meet the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) eligibility requirements and you must already be in the UK under any of the following visas or schemes:

  • Tier 1 visa
  • Tier 2 (General) visa
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2010 and you’re applying to change sponsor
  • Tier 4 visa – if you have an eligible qualification or you’ve done at least 12 months of a PhD
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) for a job as a professional footballer

You can also switch to this visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and you’re a:

  • dependent partner of someone with a Tier 4 visa
  • representative of an overseas business

You must leave the UK and make your Tier 2 (Sportsperson) application from abroad if you’re not in any of these categories.

Eligible qualifications for Tier 4 visa

You must have been sponsored by a licensed tier 4 sponsor to get one of the following qualifications:

  • a UK bachelors degree
  • a UK masters degree
  • a postgraduate certificate in education
  • a professional graduate diploma of education

PhD students

You must have completed at least 12 months’ study during your most recent stay in the UK. This can be through a licensed Tier 4 sponsor or another visa that allowed you to study.

How long you can stay

You can apply to extend your stay in the UK with a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa for up to 3 years and 14 days.

You must leave the UK after this and can only apply for this visa again if either:

  • 12 months have passed and your previous certificate of sponsorship was granted for less than 3 months
  • you can show you’ll be paid a gross annual salary of £159,600 or more

How long it takes

Decisions are made:

  • within 8 weeks for online applications
  • within 10 days if you’re able to use the Tier 2 priority application service
  • usually on the same day if you use the premium service

You’ll be told if it will take longer, for example if:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • your application is complex because of your personal circumstances, for example you have a criminal conviction

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

Family Members

Your family members (‘dependants’) must apply to join or remain with you in the UK if they’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:

  • your husband, wife or partner
  • your child under 18
  • your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant

Read the guidance on dependant applications before you apply.

They’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of their application.

Personal savings

You must show that your dependants can be supported while they’re in the UK.

Each dependant must have £630 available to them whether they apply with you or separately. This is in addition to the £945 you must have to support yourself.

You must have proof you have the money, and that it’s been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 90 days before you or they apply.

Example:

You must have £2,205 if you want to bring your partner and one child with you to the UK (£945 to support yourself + £630 for your partner + £630 for your child).

You won’t need evidence of your savings if you have a:

  • Fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor
  • certificate of sponsorship stating that your sponsor will give each of your dependants at least £630 to cover their costs for a month if they need it

Children born while you’re in the UK

If you have children while you’re in the UK, you can apply for permission for them to stay.

You must do this if you want to travel in and out of the UK with your child.

When you apply you must send a full UK birth certificate showing the names of both of your child’s parents.

Taking a second job

You can take a second job on this visa if you’re working up to 20 hours a week in either:

  • the same profession as your main job
  • a profession on the shortage occupation list

You can also do unpaid voluntary work.

Otherwise, you’ll need to apply for a new visa. You’ll need to be sponsored by your second employer and get a new certificate of sponsorship.

When to apply for a new visa

You can’t apply for a new visa until you’ve started work with your first sponsor.

You can’t start work with your second sponsor until your visa application has been approved.

How to apply

Read the guidance before you apply online.

You can get a same-day decision at a premium service centre. You must book an appointment in advance as part of your online application.

You must be in the UK to apply.

Documents you must provide

You must provide some documents with your application.

You must also include a letter with your application explaining that you want to change your current permission to stay.

Your letter must state:

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • your current certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • the date when your current permission to stay runs out

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