Sports visitors

Sports visitors

This section describes the immigration category of general visitor, and explains who can come to the UK as a sports visitor.

If you are based abroad but you want to visit the UK for short periods to undertake sports-related activities, you may be able to come here as a sports visitor.

Can you come to the UK as a sports visitor?

This page explains whether you can come to the UK as a sports visitor.

The ‘sports visitor’ category is for nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

You can come to the UK as a sports visitor if you are a sportsperson who wants to:

  • take part in a specific event, tournament, or series of events (including charity events and exhibition matches) as an individual competitor or a member of an overseas team; or
  • join an amateur team as an amateur sportsperson (provided you receive no payment except for travel and other expenses);
  • make a personal appearance or take part in a promotion such as a book signing or television interview;
  • negotiate a contract or discuss a sponsorship deal;
  • take part in a trial (which must not be in front of an audience, either paying or non-paying);
  • do a short period of training, as an individual or as part of a team.

For example, competitors in the British Open Golf or Wimbledon, touring football and cricket teams, and boxers coming for 1 fight can all be sports visitors.

You can also come to the UK as a sports visitor if you are:

  • a member of the technical or support staff of amateur or professional sportspeople, and you are attending the UK with them for the same event or series of events; or
  • an official attending a sporting event or series of events as, for example, an umpire.

You must be able to show that, during your visit, you do not intend to:

  • take paid or unpaid employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services directly to members of the public;
  • do a course of study;
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership; or
  • receive private medical treatment.

You must also be able to show that:

  • you are 18 or over;
  • you intend to visit the UK for no more than 6 months;
  • you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit;
  • you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds, or you and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends;
  • you can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and
  • you are not in transit to a country outside the ‘Common Travel Area’ (Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).

What documents do you need as a sports visitor?

This page contains information about the documents that you may want to provide to support your application to come to the UK as a sports visitor.

If you apply for a visa, you should provide these documents with your visa application. If you travel to the UK without a visa, you should bring them with you so that you can show them to our officers at the border.


You should provide as many relevant documents as you can to show that you qualify for entry to the UK. If you do not provide them, we may refuse your application.

You must decide which documents will best support your application. We advise you to consider providing documents that contain:

  • information about you
  • information about your finances and employment
  • your accommodation and travel details
  • information about your visit to the UK

Can you extend your stay as a sports visitor?

This page explains whether and how you can extend your stay in the UK as a sports visitor.

If you come to the UK as a sports visitor, you are allowed to remain here for a maximum of 6 months. When you enter the UK, we will stamp the duration of your permission to stay in your passport.

If we give you permission to enter for less than 6 months, and you later want to extend your stay to the maximum of 6 months in total, you must apply for an extension – see below.

If we give you permission to enter the UK for 3 months as a child visitor to carry out sports activities, and your 18th birthday is during this period, you can apply to extend your stay as a general visitor. The maximum total time that you can stay in the UK will be 6 months (or 12 months if you are accompanying an academic visitor).

If we allow you to extend your stay, you must continue to meet the requirements for sports visitors.

When your permission to stay as a sports visitor expires, we expect you to return home. In some circumstances, you may be able to ‘switch’ into Tier 5 of the points-based system.

You must apply using application form FLR(O). You can complete and submit this application form online, or you can print out the form, complete it by hand and submit it by post, by courier or in person.

You should read the FLR(O) guidance notes before you complete the application form. You will need to pay a fee when you apply, and we will not refund your fee if we refuse your application or if you withdraw it.

The application form gives details of the documents you must send with the form. You should send the original documents, not copies. In exceptional circumstances, we may accept a photocopy that is certified as an accurate copy by the body or authority that issued the original, or by a notary. You must include a letter explaining why you are providing a certified copy rather than the original document.

You must be in the UK to apply, and you must apply at least 4 weeks before your permission to stay in the UK ends.

What happens if you are refused permission?

This page explains what you can do if we refuse to allow you to enter the UK as a sports visitor.

We will make a decision by carefully checking your application, immigration history and supporting documents, to see whether you meet the Immigration Rules. If we cannot make an immediate decision, we may need to interview you.

If we refuse your application for a visa or to enter the UK, our immigration officer or entry clearance officer will send or give you a notice of refusal. This document will list the reasons for the refusal, and will tell you whether you have the right to appeal. The notice will also give you advice on where to send your appeal.