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A Guide to Creative Work Visas

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Are you a ‘creative’ looking to move to live and work in the UK? Are you a UK business wanting to hire a creative? In this guide our immigration solicitors look at what creative means in the context of UK immigration law and the UK creative visa options.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For advice on creative visas and immigration law call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

What is a creative?

We all have our own views on what creative means to us. When it comes to UK immigration law creative isn’t confined to your typical landscape artist or sculptor.

The Immigration Rules Appendix Temporary Work – Creative Worker state that ‘’ The temporary work - creative worker route is for a person who wants to come to the UK to work within the creative sector. A creative worker is someone who can make a unique contribution to the UK’s rich cultural life, for example, as an artist, dancer, musician or entertainer, or as a model contributing to the UK’s fashion industry’’.

If you are not sure whether you fall within the definition of ‘creative’ or if you are recruiting to fill a job and you are uncertain whether your post fills the creative criteria call the immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 for advice.

The temporary work visa creative worker route

There is a specific work visa for creatives but it is only temporary and it does not lead to settlement in the UK. However, temporary is defined in the immigration rules as a creative visa for up to twelve months. In addition, an application can be made to extend the visa up to a maximum of two years with the same employer.


Importantly, the creative visa is a sponsored route so if you are a UK employer looking to recruit a creative worker you will need a Home Office issued sponsor licence enabling you to sponsor temporary workers on the creative route. If you already have a sponsor licence to sponsor skilled worker visa applicants you will need to apply to extend the remit of your sponsor licence as a skilled worker visa sponsor licence doesn’t cover sponsorship of creative workers.

If you are a creative worker you will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must have a job as a creative worker and your UK employer must have the necessary temporary worker creative route sponsor licence and have allocated you a certificate of sponsorship for the job role you will be undertaking
  • The job meets the minimum salary threshold for the creative route. This is set by Equity, PACT or BECTU for the majority of creative worker jobs
  • The job is genuine and you intend to do the job and not take up other employment save as allowed under your visa conditions
  • You meet the financial requirement for a visa (you will need to have had at least £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 days, ending not more than 31 days before your visa application) and you don’t fall within the general grounds for refusal (for example, criminal record or poor immigration record)
  • If necessary, depending on where you are applying from, you can provide a TB certificate

Some creative workers don’t come as individuals but as a group of performers or as a band with entourages who, from the perspective of the manager, are crucial to the success of the creative. The Home Office can also issue a group certificate of sponsorship for a creative and their entourage.  The entourage can include those whose work is directly related to the employment of the creative worker (or workers) but the members of the entourage must have specialist or technical skills.

If you are unsure whether you or a potential creative employee meets the eligibility criteria for a temporary creative visa, give our Sponsorship Licence lawyers a call on 0203 959 9123.

The temporary worker visa for creatives allows the visa holder to bring family to the UK provided the family member meets the dependant visa eligibility criteria.

Our temporary worker creative visa solicitors can help you with:

  • Sponsor licence applications to sponsor temporary workers
  • Sponsor licence management
  • Temporary worker creative visa applications for individuals and groups, including entourages
  • Dependant visa applications
  • Visa extension applications
  • Visa switch applications
  • Administrative review of creative visa refusals
  • Alternative creative worker options such as the visitor visa and permissible activities or the permitted engagement route

The visitor visa for creative workers

If you are planning to come to the UK for less than six months then, depending on your nationality, you may not require a visa if the work you want to do is permitted without a work visa. If you are from a country where you need a visa to enter the UK you may find that a standard visitor visa is sufficient for your purposes. The visitor visa lasts for up to six months and your creative work may fall within ‘’permissible activities.’’

Under permissible activities for a visitor visa, you can:

  • Take part in performances as an individual or as a group
  • Engage in competitions and auditions
  • Make personal appearances
  • Take part in promotional activities
  • Take part in cultural events or festivals included on the list of permit free festivals in the appendix to the visitor visa immigration rules

If you are not sure if a visitor visa is the best creative immigration option for you call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 for guidance on creative worker visa routes.

The permitted paid engagement route

The permitted paid engagement route is very short term – it gives you entry clearance for one month. You can use this route if you are an artist, entertainer, or musician who has been invited to the UK by an agent, broadcaster or creative organisation based in the UK. The event needs to have been planned; you can't just roll up hoping that an agent will produce work for you. In addition, the creative work must be related to your expertise and skill set, whether that is as a singer, dancer or otherwise.

Contact us for advice on the best creative work visa options to meet your needs as a creative worker or the needs of your UK business.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For advice on creative work visa options and  immigration law call the immigration team at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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