International Sportsperson Visa

An International Sportsperson Visa permits individuals to travel to and work in the UK as a sportsperson, coach, or sports broadcaster, providing that they have sponsorship from both an employer and their sport’s governing body in the UK.

The governing body’s endorsement should confirm that the sponsored individual is:

  • an elite sportsperson, or a qualified coach
  • internationally established
  • intending to develop their sport in the UK at the highest level

Amateur sportspersons who do not meet the eligibility criteria for an International Sportsperson Visa may still be able to travel to the UK to play their sport at a strictly amateur level, providing they meet the eligibility criteria for a Standard Visitor to the UK.

For more information on sporting visits to the UK and elsewhere, please see our dedicated sports visa page.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants for an International Sportsperson visa will be required to show:

  • that they have valid sponsorship from an empoyer and their sport’s governing body in the UK
  • if applying to stay for longer than 12 months, that they speak and understand English to at least A1 level on the CEFR scale
    • applicants from most majority English-speaking countries are exempt from this requirement
  • that they have enough money to support themselves on arrival in the UK
  • their travel history for the last five years
  • tuberculosis test results if applying from a country for which the UK requires this
  • that their employer will pay them at least the UK minimum wage

Permitted Activities

In addition to the job for which they have been sponsored, an International Sportsperson Visa also permits holders to:

  • do a second job of up to 20 hours per week if it is the same profession as their main job, or is on the UK’s shortage occupation list
  • play for their national team in the UK
  • work as a sports broadcaster
  • undertake volunteer work
  • study
  • leave the UK (e.g. on holiday) and return for as long as their visa is valid
  • bring eligible dependants to the UK with them

International Sportsperson Visa holders are not permitted to:

  • claim public funds such as unemployment or housing benefit
  • start or operate a business
  • apply for a second job before they have started working for their original sponsor

Application Process

An International Sportsperson Visa can be issued for up to three years, and extended as long as the holder remains eligible. Holders of this visa may be eligible for permanent settlement in the UK once they have lived in the UK for at least five years.

Applications for an International Sportsperson Visa can be submitted no earlier than three months before the intended first day of work in the UK. Once your application has been submitted, it can take up to three weeks to receive a decision when applying from within the UK and up to eight weeks when applying from outside the UK.

Applicants may be required to attend a visa application centre to have their photograph and fingerprints taken before their application will be submitted for assessment by the Home Office. You should allow sufficient time to plan potential travel to an application centre if the nearest one to where you live is in another city or country. Some visa application centres outside the UK permit the payment of an additional fee to get a ‘premium’ or ‘super premium’ service and receive a decision within a matter of days rather than weeks.


The Home Office fee for an International Sportsperson Visa wil depend on the intended length of the visa. Applications for visas of under 12 months cost £298 per person. For longer applications, the fee is £719 when applying from outside the UK and £827 when applying from within the UK. Applicants will also need to pay a healthcare surcharge for each year that their visa will be valid.

Any dependants who wish to apply to join you in the UK on this visa should submit their own application and pay the required fee and healthcare surcharge. They may also need to attend a visa application centre to provide their biometric information.

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.