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SPORTSPERSONS

SPORTSPERSONS

The UK is a top destination for athletes and sporting professionals in a diverse range of disciplines. Whether you are a sportsperson, coach or club, our immigration barristers are well versed in the full range of UK visas available to sportspersons who wish to visit, or work in, the UK.

UK Visas and Immigration Routes for Sportspersons

If you want to work as a sportsperson, undertaking sporting activities in the UK, you will normally need an International Sportsperson visa. You will need to be sponsored on a short or long-term contract and have been endorsed by an appropriate UK sports governing body. However, if you are going to be in the UK briefly, or for a single event or activity, one of the visitor visas may be appropriate.

The main immigration routes available to sportspersons are:

Employers, clubs and event organisers

If you want to employ someone who does not already have the right to work in the UK, you will need to sponsor them. All companies and organisations who want to sponsor their employees must obtain a Sponsor Licence.

To sponsor a sportsperson under the International Sportsperson route, you must be a UK-based sporting body, sports club, events organiser or other organiser operating in the sporting sector. Agents and overseas-based sports clubs and organisations cannot sponsor workers on the International Sportsperson route.

You will need to obtain an endorsement from the governing body for your sport, which must be recognised by the Home Office. The endorsement will confirm that you are a genuine club or similar organisation and have a legitimate requirement to bring migrants to the UK as sportspersons. If the governing body for your sport is not recognised by the Home Office, it is important to ensure you plan well ahead if intending to sponsor any migrants, as it can take up to 6 months for a governing body to be added to the approved list.

Players on loan: if you sponsor a sportsperson you will have special duties if they are on loan to another club. You can only loan and accept loaned players if the sports player has permission as an International Sportsperson, they are sponsored by a sports club and player loans are specifically permitted by the relevant sports governing body. The player may only be loaned if they will return to your club after the loan period. You will continue to be responsible for the player and must make arrangements with the loan club so that you can continue to meet your sponsor duties. The loan club does not need to make an application for an endorsement or have a Sponsor Licence.

How Our Immigration Barristers Can Help

Our immigration barristers provide expert advice to sportspersons, coaches and clubs on UK visa and immigration requirements. We assist professional and amateur sportspersons, employers and event organisers across all sports to ensure that they can visit and undertake sporting activities in the UK.

We can also assist with

  • Applications for Sports Visitor Visas

    The Sports Visit Visa is for amateur and professional sportspersons (individuals and teams), technical or support staff of sportspersons and sports officials who wish to visit the UK to undertake permitted unpaid sporting activities for a period of up to 6 months.

    The route does not lead to settlement in the UK and all visitors must make a separate application, even when travelling as part of a group.

    In order to qualify for a Sports Visit Visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that:

    • You are a visa national (a non-visa national can normally seek entry as a Visitor on arrival at the UK border);
    • You are genuinely seeking entry to the UK for a purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes;
    • You will not undertake any prohibited activities;
    • You have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to your visit (including travel, maintenance and accommodation costs) without working or accessing public funds;
    • You will leave the UK at the end of your visit;
    • You will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home;
    • Your application does not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.

    The exact requirements you will need to satisfy may vary depending on your circumstances.  You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.

  • Applications for Permitted Paid Engagement Visas

    The Permitted Paid Engagement Visa is available to certain professionals and experts who wish to visit the UK for up to 1 month in order to undertake a paid engagement relating to their expertise and occupation.

    The Permitted Paid Engagement Visa route does not lead to settlement in the UK and all visitors must make a separate application, even when travelling as part of a group.

    In order to qualify for a Permitted Paid Engagement Visit Visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that:

    • You are at least 18 years old;
    • You are a visa national (a non-visa national can normally seek entry as a Visitor on arrival at the UK border);
    • You intend to do one (or more) of the permitted paid engagements set out in the Immigration Rules;
    • Your permitted paid engagement is pre-arranged, evidenced by a formal invitation from a UK-based organisation or client and relates to your area of expertise and occupation overseas;
    • You will not undertake any prohibited activities;
    • You have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to your visit (including travel, maintenance and accommodation costs) without working or accessing public funds;
    • You will leave the UK at the end of your visit;
    • You will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home;
    • Your application does not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.

    The exact requirements you will need to satisfy may vary depending on your circumstances.  You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.

    Professional sportspersons may qualify for a Permitted Paid Engagement Visit Visa in order to carry out a paid activity in the UK for up to 1 month where the activity is directly related to their profession. For example, a professional footballer may enter to give a paid interview or attend meetings to discuss a contract.

    To qualify for a Permitted Paid Engagement Visa, sportspersons must be able to demonstrate that they are an established sports professional. This will need to be confirmed through documentary evidence such as media coverage, evidence of awards and proof of recent participation in sporting events.

    Professional sportspersons must be invited by a sports organisation, agent or broadcaster based in the UK. A sports organisation includes any organisation involved in organising or staging sporting events or matches.

  • Applications for International Sportsperson Visas

    The International Sportsperson visa is for elite sportspersons and qualified sports coaches who are recognised as being at the highest level of their sport internationally. You will need to be sponsored on a short or long-term contract and have been endorsed by an appropriate UK sports governing body.

    International Sportsperson visas are available for a period of either 12 months or less, or for a period exceeding 12 months.

    The International Sportsperson visa provides a route to settlement for sportspersons who have been granted leave in the International Sportsperson category for a period exceeding 12 months.

    In order to qualify for an International Sportsperson visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that:

    • You are aged 16 or over;
    • You have an offer of a job as a sports person from an approved sponsor that holds an International Sportsperson sponsor licence (which requires a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the role you wish to undertake);
    • You have been endorsed by an appropriate UK Sports Governing Body;
    • You genuinely intend, and are able, to undertake the role for which you are being sponsored and do not intend to undertake other employment;
    • You satisfy an English language requirement (if applying for an International Sportsperson visa for a period exceeding 12 months);
    • You have sufficient personal savings to support yourself in the UK;
    • Your application does not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal;
    • You have provided a valid TB certificate, if required.

    The exact requirements you will need to satisfy may vary depending on your circumstances.  You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.

WHAT CAN WE HELP YOU WITH?

To arrange an initial consultation meeting with a member of our team, contact our immigration barristers on 020 3617 9173 or complete our enquiry form.




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