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What is an International Sportsperson visa?

An International Sportsperson visa provides a route to settlement for sportspersons who have been granted leave in the International Sportsperson category for a period exceeding twelve months. This is a visa for those who are recognised as being at the highest level of their sports internationally. They will need to be sponsored on a short or long-term contract and have been endorsed by an appropriate UK sports governing body.

What are the requirements for an International Sportsperson visa?

In order to qualify for this visa you need to satisfy the following:-

  1. That you are aged 16 or over.
  2. That you have the offer of a job as a sportsperson for an approved sponsor that holds an International Sportsperson sponsor licence.
  3. You have been endorsed by an appropriate UK sports governing body.
  4. You genuinely intend and are able to undertake the role for which you are being sponsored and do not intend to undertake other employment.
  5. You satisfy an English language requirement.
  6. You have sufficient personal savings to support yourself in the UK.
  7. Your application does not fall for refusal under the General Grants of Refusal.
  8. You have been provided with valid TB Certificate, if applicable.

What are the financial requirements for an International Sportsperson visa?

Unless you have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least twelve months or your employer agrees to cover your costs during your first month in the UK (that will be confirmed in the certificate of sponsorship), you will need to have at least £1,200 of savings in your bank account held for at least 28 days ending not more than 31 days before the date of your International Sportsperson visa application.

What is the English Language requirement for International Sportsperson visa?

If you apply for a visa for a period exceeding twelve months, you will need to have English language skills at Level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Speaking and Listening. If you are a national of a majority English speaking country National, or if you have an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by Ecctis, you do not need to pass an English test.

Can I switch to the International Sportsperson’s route?

If you are currently in the UK in another immigration category, you may extend your stay in the UK by switching to the International Sportsperson route. If you have been in the UK previously as a visitor, short term student, parent of a child student, seasonal worker, domestic worker in a private household or outside the immigration rules, you cannot switch to this category in-country.

Can I apply for settlement on the International Sportsperson route?

Settlement under the International Sportsperson route can be granted after five years’ continuous residence in the UK. Time spent in this category can be combined with time spent in the skilled worker, global talent, innovative founder, Tier 2 Minister of Religion, representative of an overseas business and Tier 1 (other than Tier 1 graduate entrepreneur) route. You must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in any twelve months’ period during the five years period relied on and your sponsor will need to confirm that they still require you to work for them for the foreseeable future and that your salary currently is at least £35,800 per year. Again, unless exempt you will need to demonstrate your English language ability to the level of B1 and passed the Life in the UK test.

How long will it take to get an answer?

You can apply for a visa up to three months before the day you are due to start the work in the UK. This date is listed on your Certificate of Sponsorship. Once you apply online and have proved your identity and provided documents, you will usually get a decision within three weeks if you are outside the UK and eight weeks if you are inside the UK.

Other ways a sportsperson can come to the UK

According to the Home Office guidance, sportspersons and their personal and technical staff if applicable may be allowed to come to the UK as visitors without needing to be sponsored. You may therefore wish to consider whether this route is more suitable for you than the International Sportsperson’s route. You should note that sports workers who enter as visitors cannot receive payment from UK sources except in limited circumstances set out in Appendix V Visitor. The worker will need entry clearance if they are nationals of a country listed in Appendix Visitor Visa National List.

Who needs parental consent?

Applicants must be at least sixteen years of age on the date of the application to be able to make a valid application on the International Sportsperson’s route. Where an Applicant is under the age of 18 at the date of the application they must have written consent from both their parents, or one of their parents if the parent has sole responsibility for the Applicant or their legal Guardian.

Danielle invites you to take a look at her blog, where you will see the diverse range of clients that she has helped.

If you have any questions about the process or would like to apply for an International Sportsperson visa, please contact Danielle or call on 020 7267 4133. Danielle will only charge you for the first consultation if you decide to become her client and if she can assist you.

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