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Sports Immigration

Our team of sports immigration solicitors put together UK sports visa applications that give your team the best chance of being there on game day

Elite level sport in the UK is as diverse as ever and our specialist team are on hand to advise clubs, individuals and their representatives on all aspects of the UK's complex immigration legislation.

Visit our sport specific pages or contact us if your sport is not listed:

Applicable Visas for Sports

Visas for sportspeople and coaches are issued under the Home Office Points-Based System. The applicable Tiers for sport are Tier 2, Tier 5 and the Sports Visitor Visa which allows players and support staff to take part in specific sporting events here in the UK.

In order to be eligible for a UK visa, a non-EEA sportsperson or coach should be internationally established and contribute to the ongoing development of sport at the highest level.

Applications for sportspeople are subject to the rigid Points Based System. If you are a club or sports team wishing to employ a Non-EEA athlete or coach, Immigration Rules require applicants to be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship. Individual applications must also be endorsed by the respective Sport's Governing Body prior to submission to the Home Office. Please contact us for further information.

Sports Licences for Clubs and Sports Teams

It is the sponsoring club or team which provides the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). In order to be able to issue a CoS, the Home Office issues clubs with a Sponsor Licence. The licence is valid for up to 4 years, and can be extended to allow clubs to employ people from around the world to help them develop both on and off the pitch.

Obtaining a Sponsorship Licence

Our team can advise of the process for obtaining a licence and the requirements which must be met before the Home Office will issue a licence. We can also advise regarding existing licence holders who wish to extend.

UK Sports Visas for Individuals

Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa

The Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa category is for non-EEA nationals who will be employed in the United Kingdom subject to the following criteria:

  • As an elite sportsperson or qualified coach recognised by your sport's governing body as internationally established
  • Your employment will contribute to the development of your sport at the highest level
  • Your sponsoring club or sports team has a sponsor licence allowing them to issue a certificate in respect of your visa application
  • Your sports governing body endorses your application

Only once the sport's governing body has issued an endorsement, which is subject to that body's own criteria, may an individual apply for a UK visa.

Obtaining a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa is subject to achieving the requireded number of points on the Points Based System.

Duration of Visa

Applicants are granted an initial stay of three years or the duration of the contract, whichever is shorter. At the end of this period applicants can apply to extend their stay.


The Immigration Rules provide for applications for visas from spouses, civil unmarried and same sex partners and their children to join Tier 2 visa holders in the UK subject to some additional maintenance requirements.

Please contact a member of the team for further information.

Tier 5 (Sporting) Visa

This category allows non-EEA national sportspeople to remain in the UK for a maximum period of 12 months.

The requirements are broadly the same as for the Tier 2 category with the exception that there is no requirement to demonstrate competency in English language. This Tier may be suitable for those applicants who do not meet the English Language requirement at the time of initial application as it is possible to switch to Tier 2 within the UK should the applicant reach the required level within the duration of the Tier 5 visa.


The Spouse and Children of a Tier 5 temporary sportsperson can join them in the UK subject to additional maintenance fund requirements.

Sports Visitor Visa

This category is for sportspeople, support staff (e.g coaches) and officials who wish to come to the UK to participate in a sporting event or competition. This visa does not fall under the Points Based System but does have certain criteria which include:

  • Applicants must be 18 or over
  • Be visiting the UK for less than 6 months
  • Have funds to support yourself during your stay

Applicable sporting activities include:

  • Participating in a tournament, event or series of events
  • Making a promotional appearance
  • Negotiating a contract or sponsorship deal
  • Training
  • Working as technical or support staff for an event

Relocation Services

Gherson provide full a full relocation service for professional sportspeople and their families, who are coming to the UK for a medium to long term stay. Our friendly and diligent team will take care of every eventuality so that you can concentrate on making a successful start to your career in the UK.

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Contact Us

For advice on immigration, nationality, extradition or human rights, please contact us now.

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