International sportsperson visa route

Last updated 4 January 2024


The International Sportsperson route is for an elite sportsperson or qualified coach who is recognised internationally and can make a substantial contribution to the development of their sport at its highest level in the UK.

This is a sponsored route and the individual will require the university to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship as part of their visa application.  The visa can last up to 3 years, and there is the option of extending the visa if the eligibility criteria can still be met. 

For further information including restrictions please visit the UKVI webpage.


For an individual to be eligible for an International Sportsperson visa, they must meet the criteria below:

  • Be an elite sportsperson or qualified coach, who’s recognised by the sport’s governing body as being at the highest level of the profession internationally
  • The individual’s sport’s governing body is endorsing their application
  • The individual’s employment will develop the sport in the UK at the highest level
  • They meet the other eligibility requirements as detailed below;
    • have a valid certificate of sponsorship for the job
    • evidence of English language if they are applying to stay for longer than 12 months
    • evidence they can travel and their travel history over the last 5 years
    • have tuberculosis test results if they’re from a listed country
    • evidence an eligible qualification if they’re switching from a student visa

The UKVI website provides further information on whether the course studied is eligible.

Frequently asked questions

How much does an International Sportsperson visa cost?

The application fees are available below and as part of the visa application, you must pay a NHS Surcharge. 

How do I apply for a International Sportsperson visa?

Once you have all the documents ready you can apply online. 

What documents do I require to apply?

You can find all the documents you require below.

Can my family join me in the UK on my International Sportsperson visa?

For more information on eligibility for the dependents International Sportsperson visa and the link for them to apply, visit the UKVI information. Everyone will need to complete a separate application and pay the fee. 

How long does the International Sportsperson visa application take?

Once you have completed the application process including proving your identity and providing your documents, the decision will be received within 8 weeks.  While you await the decision you can stay in the UK.  

Can I work a second job alongside my sports position?

You are able to work a second job up to 20 hours a week if the second job is the same profession as the role you are currently sponsored for, or that the second job is on the Skilled Worker shortage occupation list. Alternaitvely, you can do unpaid voluntary work. If the second job is in a different profession you would need to apply for a new visa and meet the eligibility criteria.