Creative Worker Visa

If you have been offered work in the UK as a musician, dancer, actor, film crew member or other role within the creative industries, you may be eligible to apply for a Creative Worker Visa.

This visa replaces the Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting (T5) visa.

To be eligible for a Creative Worker Visa, you must:

  • make a unique contribution to the UK labour market
  • have a certificate of sponsorship from a licenced sponsor
  • be able to prove you can cover your first month’s costs upon arrival in the UK (up to £1270)
  • be paid the minimum salary as defined by the relevant UK trade union
    • NB: this requirement is different for circus performers, models and musicians)

If you are only intending to work at a small, limited number of paid events, you may want to consider whether you can enter the UK on a Permitted Paid Engagement basis instead.

Alternatively, you may be eligible for a concession to enter the UK and work without applying for a Creative Worker visa.

Creative Worker Visa cost and permissions

If you decide to apply for a Creative Worker Visa, once the application has been submitted a decision is usually received within three weeks (if applying from outside the UK). Applications from within the UK can take up to eight weeks to receive a decision. The application itself can be submitted up to three months before work in the UK is intended to begin.

The Home Office fee to apply for a Creative Worker Visa is £298. Applicants will also need to pay a healthcare surcharge before a visa will be granted.

Once granted, a Creative Worker Visa allows its holder to study, and to take second jobs similar to their main job (or on the UK’s shortage occupation list) for up to 20 hours per week. They can also bring their partner or children with them to the UK providing they are eligible, though they will need to submit their own applications and satisfy their own fee and proof of funds obligations.

Creative Worker Visa concession

If you are only intending to enter the UK to work for less than three months, and do not normally require a visa to enter the UK as a standard visitor, you may be able to enter the UK as a creative worker without first applying for a Creative Worker Visa.

In order to qualify for this concession, you must still hold a Temporary Work – Creative Worker certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor and meet all other eligibility requirements for a Creative Worker Visa.

If you believe you are eligible for a concession, you should present yourself to an immigration officer when you reach the UK border, and explain that you are intending to enter the UK for less than 3 months on a Creative Worker Visa concession basis. Before you are permitted to enter the UK, the immigration officer will need to see:

  • a valid certificate of sponsorship
  • a valid passport
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself for your first month in the UK (usually £1270)

As with the Creative Worker Visa, if you enter the UK on the basis of this concession you will be permitted to study, take up similar second jobs or shortage jobs, and bring eligible dependants to the UK with you. You will not be allowed to extend your stay or switch to a different visa after you have arrived.

Important: You should ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for a Creative Worker Visa concession before making plans to travel to the UK, as you could be refused entry at the border if immigration officials are not satisifed with your declared intentions and/or supporting evidence. If you would like to check or confirm whether you are eligible, book an appointment with a qualified UK immigration solicitor today.

Neveen Galal

Neveen is a UK Immigration Solicitor with over 20 years experience in UK Immigration Law. She represents corporate and individual clients seeking assistance with any visa category to the UK. Neveen is a graduate of Westminster University, from which she was awarded the 2021 Westminster Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award.

Neveen’s rapid career trajectory saw her progress at pace from paralegal to Head of Department level, and then to earning a place on her firm’s Board of Directors by the age of 28. This achievement was recognised by Who’s Who placing her in their directory of ‘Britain’s Business Elite’ in 2008. Neveen then went on to establish her own boutique Immigration Law Firm in the City of London in 2015. She also co-founded the Hexagon Legal Network in 2017.

Neveen is passionate about all aspects of UK immigration law, and is committed to providing bespoke residence and citizenship solutions to citizens across the globe that wish to relocate to the UK. Neveen’s immigration advisory services are predominately geared towards highly skilled workers and companies wishing to have a UK presence, however she and her team of experienced immigration advisors can also assist with partner-based applications, student visas and all other personal and business immigration matters.

If you would like to discuss your UK immigration matter or have any questions about your options for immigrating to the UK, you can book a consultation here.