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Rugby Union

UK Sports Visas for Rugby Union Clubs and Players

To be eligible for a Sponsor Licence, which is required to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to a non-EEU player, a club must be a member of the Aviva Premiership or Greene King Championship. (for enquires relating to the RaboDirect Pro 12 , SRU, WRU or IRU please contact us)

A licence is issued by the Home Office for a period of four years and will allow clubs to sponsor players/coaches under Tier 2 and Tier 5 of the Points Based System. Licences can be renewed every four years subject to the individual club continuing to meet the criteria for issue.

The issue of a licence by the Home Office allows clubs to apply for a Governing Body Endorsement from the Rugby Football Union (RFU). There are different qualifying criteria depending on the level of the national association of which the player is a member.

Players from Tier 1 and Tier 2 nations (listed below) are subject to different criteria from those outside this bracket. There are different criteria for an endorsement depending on the status of the national association.

Tier 1 Nations (Non-EEA only)

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa

Tier 2 Nations (Non-EEA only)

  • Canada
  • Fiji
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Samoa
  • Tonga
  • United States of America

Director of Rugby/Coach

It is also possible to employ a non EEA national in a senior coaching role subject to compliance with Home Office criteria and Immigration Rules along with appropriate supporting documentation.

Review of Applications

Where an application does not meet the above criteria, the club may seek a review of the application. The RFU will refer the Appellant club to an independent panel.

The RFU prefer that evidence is adduced in advance of the hearing in order that the panel have appropriate time to review. The Appellant club must lodge their appeal with the RFU Disciplinary Manager and set out in writing the reason for the appeal. The RFU are clear that any grounds of appeal not lodged in writing cannot be argued when the panel is convened. A fee is also payable in the form of a deposit at the time of lodging the appeal.

The panel will then be appointed and is normally comprised of three members, an independent chairperson, an RFU representative and a representative of the Aviva Premiership or Greene King Championship, depending on the status of the Appellant club.

The panel will take in to account whether the player or coach is internationally established and of the highest calibre and whether they will contribute significantly to the development of the English game. The decision is binding and no subsequent application can be made in respect of the same player during the relevant playing season.

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