Overview of the Creative Worker Visa
This visa has been designed for individuals who plan to work in the UK as a creative worker.
The Creative Worker Visa has replaced the former Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting Visa (Tier 5).
There are strict eligibility criteria that applicants must meet including:
- You must have been offered an eligible role in the UK as a creative worker
- You can demonstrate you meet the visa eligibility requirements
The definition of a creative worker, according to the UK Home Office, is one who works in the creative industries (e.g., actors, dancers, musicians, film crew members, artists, authors, translators, presenters, dancers, choreographers, producers, directors, photographers, audio equipment operators, etc.).
Other temporary work visas include:
- Temporary worker – Seasonal Worker
- Temporary worker – Charity Worker
- Temporary worker – Religious Worker
- Temporary worker – Government Authorised Exchange
- Temporary worker – International Agreement
If granted the Creative Visa, you can come to the UK for up to two years (24 months) to undertake permitted creative work. The visa does not lead directly to UK settlement (indefinite leave to remain).
If you are interested in applying for this visa and need support with your application, contact IAS for immediate advice and support. Our experienced immigration lawyers can help with all stages of the application process and ensure your application is at the highest standard.
Who can apply for this visa?
There are clear guidelines for who is eligible to apply for this visa. Individuals must be able to demonstrate that they:
- Can make a unique contribution to the UK’s labour market
- Have a Certificate of Sponsorship from a valid sponsor
- Are paid at least the minimum salary set by trade bodies Equity, PACT, or BECTU
- Have sufficient financial resources to support themselves (at least £1,270)
You must also obtain 40 points under the UK’s new points-based immigration system.
You can receive points for the Creative Worker route in the following ways:
- Be issued a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (30 points)
- Prove that you meet the maintenance (financial) requirement (10 points)
The Certificate of Sponsorship is an important reference number which outlines the nature of your immigration status, your role, and the intended length of stay.
As well as this, the applicant must not fall under the grounds for refusal. Reasons for refusal may include:
- History of breaching immigration laws
- Being on immigration bail
If you are unsure about your eligibility for this visa, contact a qualified immigration lawyer who can advise you based on your personal circumstances.
How to apply
To apply for the creative work route, you should follow the below steps:
- Read the Home Office’s applicant guidance before you begin your application
- Apply on the Gov.uk website in the temporary work visa section
- Submit proof of your identify by providing your biometric information via app or at a visa application centre
- Gather your supporting documents to be submitted with your application
- Ensure that all the information in your application is accurate
- Submit your online application
- Wait for a decision
What documents do you need?
The document you need to apply for the visa include the following:
- Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
- Valid passport or travel document
- Proof of sufficient savings to maintain yourself in the UK (e.g., financial statements from your bank or savings account)
- If you are bringing dependents, evidence of your relationship with your partner and children
- Tuberculosis test results (where relevant)
- Certified translations of any documents not in English
Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to submit additional documents to demonstrate your eligibility.
Can you extend the Creative Worker Visa?
Yes, it is possible to extend your visa if you meet the eligibility criteria.
You must ensure to extend the visa in advance of the expiration of your current visa. Additionally, you must be in the UK while applying to extend.
If you intend to stay with the same sponsor, you may extend for:
- 12 months
- The time listed on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days
- The time required to extend your stay to a maximum of 24 months
Or whichever event is the shorter.
If you wish to change sponsor, you may extend for:
- The time on your certificate plus 14 additional days
- The time you need to extend the stay to a total of 12 months
Switching to this visa
Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to switch to the Creative Worker route.
If the following situations apply to your case, you may be eligible to apply to switch to this visa:
- You are currently in the UK on a Standard Visitor Visa or Permitted Paid Engagement
- You have been undertaking certain eligible activities within the creative sector
- You received a Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer prior to arriving in the UK
However, if you availed of the Creative Worker Visa concession, you will not be eligible to enter the UK.
After you switch, you may stay for a maximum of 12 months.
Can you bring dependents on this visa?
Yes, it is possible for visa holders to bring their dependents with them to the UK.
Your partner and children may join you by submitting separate applications.
A dependent partner or child can include one of the following:
- Your husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner
- Your child aged under 18 years old
- Your child aged over 18 years old (if they are your dependent)
You must demonstrate that you are in a committed relationship with your partner (if unmarried), including cohabiting for the two years prior to your application.
If your dependent child is aged over 16 years, they must live with you (unless at school), must not be married, and they must depend on you for financial support.
How much does the visa cost?
The visa application fee is £244 for the main applicant and any dependents.
The cost is the same whether you apply from inside the UK or outside.
As the primary applicant, you may be eligible for a £55 discount if you are from one of the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, or Turkey.
A condition of the Creative Worker Visa is that you have sufficient finances to maintain yourself. This means you must have at least £1,270 available to you in the 28 days preceding your visa application.
Your dependent partner and child will need to demonstrate that they have adequate finances to support themselves while living with you in the UK.
They should demonstrate that they have:
- £285 for your partner/ spouse
- £315 for the first dependent child
- £200 for each additional child
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You can apply for a UK Creative Worker Visa in the UK if you are an eligible creative worker. Here are the steps to applying:
- You must obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK-based employer
- Your UK-based sponsor must hold a valid sponsor licence
- After you obtain your certificate (a unique identifying number) you should gather your supporting documents to demonstrate your eligibility for the role
- You must meet minimum financial requirements (£945) and also pay the application fee (£244) and healthcare surcharge (£624 per year)
- Finally, you should submit your application online at the uk website
The Tier 5 Creative and Sporting Visa route was cancelled by the UK government in 2020 and replaced with the Temporary Work – Creative Worker Visa.
The visa now only covers creative workers. A new route has replaced the sportsperson route (International Sportsperson Visa).
The temporary work visas are designed to be a flexible and often less expensive option for international workers to come to the UK for a time-limited period to perform a specific function.
If you are an international model who wants to work in the UK, you will likely need to apply for a visa, even if you are undertaking short-term work.
An exception is if you were an EU or EEA citizen who applied for settled or pre-settled status prior to 30th June 2021.
Below are the steps involved in models obtaining a visa to work in the UK:
- To work in the UK, models must obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship from an eligible UK employer. This employer must hold a valid sponsor licence
- Models are required to have evidence of a pre-booked engagement when applying for their visa. This must be at least be paid at the rate of the national minimum wage
- The sponsor must assess the model against the four categories of model
- The model will be required to submit different information depending on their role categorisation
- Models must demonstrate that they can meet six eligibility criteria (outlined below) by scoring at least 65% across the criteria
- A panel will be required to endorse a model who does not fall into one of the four model categories
- The model may submit their visa application online under the Temporary Work – Creative Worker Visa route and wait for a decision from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) or under the Permitted Paid Engagement route
The four categories of model under UK immigration rules include:
- Top models
- Commercial models
- Models required for continuity
- New faces
The six eligibility criteria models will be judged against include:
- BFC or BFMA recognised agency
- Previously issued a Certificate of Sponsorship
- Pre-booked engagement or offer of work
- Experience of walking on an international circuit
- Demonstrable earning power
- Recognised test, casting, or interview
Further information can be found on the British Fashion Council’s visa guide page.