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Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa

If you wish to apply for a visa in this category then our team at Hunter Stone Law will be able to guide and assist you throughout every step of the process. In order to qualify for this visa you would have to meet the requirement of the relevant section of the Immigration Rules. However we have attempted to simplify the requirements below.

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

  • you’re an elite sportsperson or qualified coach recognised by your sport’s governing body as internationally established at the highest level
  • 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 granted a visa then 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.  You’ll need to make a new application to the Home Office if you want to do a second job that’s not in the same sector as your main job.

Eligibility

You must:

  • have a certificate of sponsorship reference number from your sponsor
  • meet the English requirement

You must also have £945 in savings - this is to prove you can support yourself and you must have had this in your bank account for 90 days before you apply, unless you are exempt.

Saving exemptions

You won’t need to provide proof of funds if you’re in the UK and you have a visa in one of the following categories:

  • work permit holder
  • Jewish agency employee
  • ground staff for an overseas airline
  • minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order
  • representative an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation

You won’t need £945 in savings if your fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor has stated on your certificate of sponsorship that they’ll certify your maintenance and that you won’t claim benefits during your stay.

Certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship is a reference number which holds information about the job and your personal details. It’s not an actual certificate or paper document.  Your sponsor will give you your certificate of sponsorship reference number.  They must also give you some other information to help you to apply, eg how much you’ll be paid, what the job description is, etc...You’ll need to add your certificate of sponsorship reference number to your application form - you can only use it once.

You must apply for your visa within 3 months of receiving your certificate of sponsorship.

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 reading, writing, speaking and listening
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelors degree

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

English language exceptions

You won’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of an English speaking country (see the Home Office website for the full list of countries). You also may not have to prove your knowledge of English in other circumstances if you fall within certain categories

Documents you must provide with your application

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • a passport size colour photographs
  • proof that you meet the English requirement
  • bank statements showing you’ve had at least £900 in savings (£945 from 1 July) continuously over the last 90 days
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
  • a blank page in your passport on which to put the visa.

You won’t need £945 in savings if you’re exempt or your fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor has stated on your certificate of sponsorship that they’ll certify your maintenance and that you won’t claim benefits during your stay.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

Applying for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa

If applying for outside the UK then the application is completed online. You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of your application.

If you’re applying in the UK then you can only extend your existing visa or switch to this visa if you’re already in the UK legally and under certain requirements.

Extend your visa

If you’re already on a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa then 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 - including children who have turned 18 during your stay. 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. You must then meet the rest of the eligibility criteria.  You can apply to extend your stay in the UK with a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa for up to 3 years and 14 days.

Switch to this visa from a different visa

You can apply to change (‘switch’) from another visa to a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa.  You should make sure you 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: established staff) visa and you’re applying to change sponsor
  • 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, or you’re a on another kind of student visa - read ‘Switching from a Tier 4 visa’ below
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Creative and Sporting) for a job as a professional footballer
  • Highly Skilled Migrant Programme
  • Innovator Scheme
  • Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme
  • International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor, the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme)
  • Business and Commercial work permit (except multiple entry work permits)
  • Sports and Entertainment work permit (except multiple entry work permits)

You can also switch to a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa if you meet the eligibility requirements and you’re:

  • a dependent partner of someone with a Tier 4 visa
  • a Jewish agency employee
  • operational ground staff of an overseas-owned airline
  • a minister of religion, missionary or member of a religious order
  • an overseas qualified nurse or midwife
  • writing up a thesis
  • a postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • a representative of an overseas business
  • a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
  • a student union sabbatical officer

If you’re not in any of these categories then you must make an application from abroad once you have left the country

Switch from a Tier 4 or other student visa

You must have received 1 of the following under your Tier 4 or other student visa:

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

You must have obtained one of the qualifications above during your most recent stay and at a UK institution that’s a UK recognised or listed body or one which holds a Tier 4 sponsor licence.

PhD students - You must have completed at least 12 months of study towards your PhD in the UK before you can switch.

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

Taking a second job

You’ll need to make a new Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa application if you want to do a second job that isn’t in the same sector as your main job or isn’t voluntary work. You can do a second job (up to 20 hours a week) that is on the shortage list without making a new application.  You’ll need to be sponsored by your second employer and get a new certificate of sponsorship if you make a new application.

You can’t:

  • apply until you’ve started work with your first sponsor
  • start work with your second sponsor until your application has been approved

Documents you must provide if you intend to take a second job

You’ll need to 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

Family members/Dependants

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

Savings to prove that you can support your dependants

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.

You won’t need evidence of your savings if you have a letter from your fully approved (‘A-rated’) sponsor saying they’ll provide 1 month’s funding of at least £630for each of your dependants.

Dependants applying outside the UK

Your family members must apply online.  They’ll need to have their fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of their application.

Dependants applying in the UK

Your dependants can apply to extend or switch their visas to stay with you if they’re already in the UK. They should apply using the dependant application form.  It’s best to send your dependants’ applications at the same time as yours but they can apply at a later date by post or in person at a premium service centre.

Please note that your family members can’t apply in the UK as your dependant if they hold a visitor visa.

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
  • play for your national team in the UK
  • 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