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.

Demetris Demetriou

Demetris is a dual-qualified lawyer in the UK (Solicitor) and Cyprus (Advocate) with 10+ years of experience in UK immigration. He completed his legal studies at University College London and City University London. Over the course of his career, he held key roles as Head of Immigration at Legal 500 firms and within the Big4, overseeing teams of 15+ fee earners handling 2000+ applications annually.

Demetris went on to co-establish his firm in London and continues to offer innovative solutions and strategic immigration planning to multinationals, SMEs, and private clients.

He personally represented 1500+ clients in 30+ visa routes including investors, entrepreneurs, innovators, sole representatives, students, family visas, global talent, UK ancestry, administrative reviews and appeals. Demetris has managed corporate relocations, conducted immigration law training and implemented post-Brexit immigration policies for corporate clients.

Demetris has been featured in various events and publications focusing on UK immigration, notably at the Cambridge Network, the Westminster Policy Forum and most recently at DGEMS, a global mobility summit hosted by Forbes India.

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.

Tatiani Preifelt

Tatiani has a wealth of expertise in global mobility and corporate immigration. Her ample skills were acquired within leading immigration practices including three out of the Big4 firms in both the UK and Sweden. Tatiani went on to co-establish her firm in London where she continues to advise clients predominantly in corporate, business and skilled work migration.

Having personally relocated to 10 different countries, Tatiani understands the importance of an expedient and successful immigration process and takes pride in delivering a seamless experience to her clients as well.

Over the course of her career, she has assisted over 500 individuals and businesses to obtain the appropriate visa permits in the UK.

Her awarded academic work at The University of Oxford, The London School of Economics, and at The Geneva University is in the fields of Political Science, International Human Rights Law, and Global Migration Governance.

She regularly provides immigration training and has recently participated as a speaker and panellist at DGEMS 2023, a global mobility summit hosted by Forbes India.

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.