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Creative and Sporting Category | Temporary Work Visa

The purpose of this work visa under the creative & sporting category is to enter the UK with short term contracts or engagements.

If you would like to get some initial advice, click here to complete our visa assessment form. 

Sports People

The immigration rules provides the definition of a person who is classed as a “professional sportsperson”. This can be either paid or unpaid employment. Here are the requirements:

  1. Is a person currently providing services as a sportsperson, playing or coaching in any capacity at a professional or semi-professional level of sport.

  2. Receiving payment for playing or coaching, this will cover costs related to travelling to the UK as well as living in the UK.

  3. Must be registered as a professional or semi-professional sports team or have been in the last 4 years.

  4. Have represented their nation or national team in the last 2 years including all youth and development age groups.

  5. Represented your state or regional team within the last 2 years.

  6. Must have an established international reputation in their field of sport.

If you intend to be employed as a sports person in the UK, the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) prior it being assigned must be endorsed from the appropriate governing body for your sport.

Part of the endorsement is providing the Home Office the confirmation that you are internationally established or your employment will make a contribution to the sport in the UK. In addition to this, your post could not be filled by a person in the UK who is settled.

Creative workers

Appendix J of the Immigration Rules must be adhered by the sponsor prior to the allocation of the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). This requires the sponsor to carry out a resident labour market test prior a creative worker and their entourage operating in dance, theatre, film and television or as a model in the fashion industry can be sponsored.  

If the job itself is not covered by the immigration rules by a specific code of practice, the resident labour market still needs to take place and other evidences needs to be provided to support the application.

The Home Office understands that those under the creative sector, they may need to perform in a number of engagements at a number of venues. Your sponsor can assign the CoS for the multiple engagements as long as the gap between one events to the other is no more than 14 days in between.

Where a creative worker have been sponsored by an individual venue, producers or promoters, it is still possible for each events to have their own CoS, however you will need to make sure the dates does not overlap.

It is likely in these circumstances, that the Home Office will grant leave to enter for the entire periods as long as the gaps are no more than 14 days. If the periods of gap are longer than 14 days, then you will need to leave the UK and re-apply for a new visa each time.

How long can you remain in the UK on a creative and sporting visa?

The Home Office can grant a visa for period up to 12 months or leave will be granted in line with the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The maximum period of extension with the same employer is at 24 months with the same employer.

Switching into a creative and sporting visa category

Those who hold a sports or entertainer visitors or visitors who entered the UK under the permitted activities, they will be allowed to switch into the category if the CoS is assigned prior to their entry to the UK.

Visa concession for non- visa nationals to remain under the creative & sporting category

The Home Office have introduced a concessionary policy to permit non-visa nationals who intend to come to the UK under the creative and sporting category for no more than 3 months. Where non-visa nationals enter the UK through Ireland, they will need to apply for a visa regardless. There are no UK Immigration Officers to grant such a leave to enter at Port in Ireland and right to work checks cannot be made by the employer.

At the date of entry to the UK, you must hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to be granted leave to enter on that basis. Leave will be granted and your CoS will then become a valid document, enabling you to work in the UK.

Once an Immigration Officer grants you three months leave to enter on the basis of your CoS, if you leave the UK, then your leave is automatically curtailed and will not be permitted re-entry to the UK on the basis of your CoS. This type of grant does not permit multiple entries to the UK. The common travel area referred under the immigration rules includes the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

It is still possible to come back to the UK and fulfil your engagement if this is not completed, however you will need to provide the Immigration Officer details of your Certificate of Sponsorship number at arrival in the UK. The Official will ask you to prove details of the engagement and will ask that you demonstrate that the maintenance requirements have been met. Checks will be made with your employer to confirm details of the agreement and that the Certificate of Sponsorship has not been withdrawn.

Applying for a creative and sporting visa

The visa application is usually completed online unless this is not available at the country you intend to apply from. Decisions on these applications take around 15 weeks from the date of application.

What you can and cannot do on a creative and sporting visa

On this visa, you are permitted to do:

  1. Study in the UK but may need to apply for permission to the Home Office.

  2. Work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship.

  3. Able to work on a second employment in the same sector and at the same level, up to 20 hours per week.

  4. Able to bring your family in the UK.

You will not be able to get public funds or start your own business in the UK.

Taking legal advice on a creative and sporting category work visa

ICS Legal can provide legal advice to you, if you’re an employer or a migrant intend to work under the creative and sporting working visa. Call us today on 0207 237 3388 or email us at


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