How Long Can You Stay in the UK on a Creative Worker Visa?

Visa To UK

Formerly known as the Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting Visa before being split into two separate visas in 2022, the Creative Worker visa is a type of temporary worker visa that allows people who work in the performing arts and so-called “creative industries” to live and work in the UK for a maximum of 12 months, or the length of their work contract plus 28 days. You cannot apply for a work visa in the UK without having a job offer from an approved sponsor. 

While you can extend most visas, you can only extend the Creative Worker visa up to a maximum of 24 months. After this date, you will be required to leave the UK with any family members you have brought with you, or switch to a different visa if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Let’s look at it in more detail.

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Who Is Eligible for a Creative Worker Visa?

There are a number of strict eligibility requirements for the
Creative Worker visa that each candidate must meet in order to be approved for the Creative Worker visa. 

These requirements are:

  • You must have a job offer from a valid sponsor
  • You must provide a certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • You must prove your skills are unique and will contribute to the UK economy
  • Your prospective employer must show they will pay you a minimum wage according to industry standards
  • You or your employer must prove you have sufficient funds to support your first month in the UK, and any dependants you bring with you

If you meet these requirements, you will be able to obtain a Creative Worker visa, however, the term “creative worker” can be open to interpretation to an extent, as the government does not outline the exact job titles that can apply to be a Creative Worker. Examples given by the government include:

  • Actors
  • Dancers
  • Musicians
  • Models
  • Film crews
  • Circus performers
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Can a Family Member Sponsor a Creative Worker Visa?

For UK work visas, a family member cannot sponsor you to come to the UK to work, unless their familial connection to you has no bearing on the job offer, and they simply meet all of the sponsorship requirements. To become a sponsor, a business must apply to the Home Office for a sponsorship licence, meet the eligibility requirements and pay the application fee.

Sponsors must:

  • Pay the application fee
  • Prove they have a department to oversee foreign employees and their immigration paperwork
  • Undergo a background check to ensure they or their company have not committed any serious crimes, financial crimes or immigration crimes

The sponsorship licence is valid for up to 4 years although it can be revoked at any point if it is deemed that the business no longer meets the eligibility requirements. It will be reviewed every year or if any changes are made regarding their foreign employees. 

English Pound Notes

How Much Does the Creative Worker Visa Cost?

To get a Creative Worker visa, you have to pay the application cost of £259, the immigration health surcharge of £624 and show that you have at least £1,270 in your account to cover your costs for your first month in the UK. Therefore, in total, you’ll need £2,153 available to you in order to apply for the Creative Worker visa. 

The immigration health surcharge is a fee that has been introduced for foreign nationals in the UK to cover the costs of their healthcare, as they will be entitled to use free NHS services in the same way British Nationals do. Even if you have your own private insurance, you must pay the fee, and this will not be refunded if you don’t use any NHS services. 

You are allowed to bring close family members with you, such as your partner or children under 18, however, they must also pay the immigration surcharge and demonstrate they have sufficient funds to cover their first month or that you are able to cover their costs. If you do not have sufficient funds to cover your or your dependants living costs, your employer can cover them for you. However, they must state that they will provide enough money to cover you and your dependants living costs as soon as you arrive in the UK on the certificate of sponsorship.

Applicants who are covering their own costs must keep the sum of at least £1,270 in their bank account for 28 consecutive days in the 31-day period before their application to demonstrate that it is their own money and will remain accessible once they are present in the UK. This is colloquially known as the 28-day rule. 

If you’re switching to a Creative Worker visa from a different one and are already residing in the UK, or are extending your Creative Worker visa whilst in the UK, you do not have to show sufficient funds to cover your living costs. 

How Long Does it Take to Get the Creative Worker Visa?

Once your application is finished and the fees are paid, the time the Home Office has to respond differs depending on where you apply from. If you apply from outside of the UK, it will take up to 3 weeks to receive your acceptance or rejection letter, and if you apply from within the UK, it will take up to 8 weeks. However, you can only apply from within the UK if you’re extending or changing your visa.  

Flag Of UK

Does the Creative Worker Visa Lead to Residency in the UK?

The terminology regarding staying in the UK can be relatively confusing. If you have permission to stay and work in the UK for a specific length of time, this is considered temporary residency. If you have been given Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) this is often referred to as
permanent residency or settlement. Permanent residency, or ILR, is not the same as British Citizenship.

You can only apply to remain in the UK as a permanent resident once you have been living in the UK on a valid visa for at least 5 years. So, as a Creative Worker visa is temporary and can only be extended up to a maximum of 24 months, you cannot apply for ILR after having lived in the UK on a Creative Worker visa. 

When Can You Apply for British Citizenship? 

You can apply for British Citizenship once you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years and have had ILR status for at least 12 months. Although you have permission to leave and return to the United Kingdom as you please once you have settled status, if you gain British Citizenship, you will be able to apply for a British passport as well as vote in parliamentary elections. 

Having a British passport does not affect your rights within the UK, however, it may enable you to travel to more countries around the world without needing a visa, depending on what country your previous passport was from.

Need Help with Your Application?

Visa applications can be confusing processes with many different documents required to prove various aspects of your and your family’s lives. But you don’t need to go it alone. 

Synergy Immigration Solutions has a team of visa experts on hand to help you through the whole process. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get your visa for the UK.

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