If you have a genuine invitation to participate in an organised sporting event, you may enter the UK for up to six months as a sportsperson. You would not need a work permit, but there are certain sporting activities that you would not be able to take part in.
If you want to enter the UK for a holiday that involves a recreational sport then you can come as a visitor. You should enter as a business visitor if you want to:
- take part in trials; but you should not be paid to do so;
- negotiate contracts or discuss sponsorship;
- make personnel appearances or promotions.
As a professional or amateur sportsperson, you can participate in an event, series, or tournament as an individual competitor or as a member of a team.
As an amateur or professional sportsperson, you can participate in a one-off charity sporting event, testimonial, benefit or exhibition match; you must not receive payment.
As an amateur sportsperson, you can join a UK club that is mainly amateur, i.e. with only one or two professional players. You are allowed to accept board, lodging and reasonable expenses, but no pay.
As a groom, you can accompany a horse in a competitive event or series of events.
As a personal coach, you can accompany a sportsperson for an event or series of events. You can also come to officiate for an event or series of events.
Who needs a work permit
To come to the United Kingdom for other kinds of sporting activity, you need a work permit.
You will need a work permit if you intend to:
- base yourself in the United Kingdom for a sporting season
- join or represent a British team and receive pay,
- give coaching (unless you are personal coach accompanying a sportsperson for a specific event or series of events)
- stay more than 6 months.
If you are a visa national you will need to apply for a visa before you travel to the UK. As a sportsperson, you can stay in the UK for a maximum of six months.
To apply for entry as a sportsperson you will need to provide evidence of:
- a genuine invitation from the UK events organiser;
- evidence that you can live in the UK without help from public funds or working;
- evidence that you can pay for your journey out of the United Kingdom.