Eligibility

You need all of the following to be eligible for the creative category:

  • make a unique contribution to the UK labour market, for example you’re internationally renowned or are required for continuity
  • certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • be paid the minimum salary as set by Equity, PACT or BECTU (except for models, musicians or circuses)
  • enough money to support yourself in the UK - you’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless you’re exempt)

Certificate of sponsorship

You need a licensed sponsor to give you a certificate of sponsorship before you can apply to work in the UK.

A certificate of sponsorship is a reference number which holds information about the job and your personal details. It’s not an actual certificate or paper document.

Your sponsor will give you your certificate of sponsorship reference number.

They must also give you some other information to help you to apply, for example how much you’ll be paid.

Your certificate of sponsorship is valid for 3 months from the date it is assigned to you.

Changing your sponsor

You must apply again and meet all the eligibility rules if you want to change your sponsor within the same organisation or move to a new organisation.

Changing your sponsor does not change how long you can stay in the UK. You can only stay the maximum length of time allowed by this visa.

Multiple jobs when you’re a creative worker

Your sponsor can give you a certificate that covers the entire length of your stay, even if you need to perform at more than one engagement. If you’re working for more than one sponsor, you can get a certificate from each sponsor.

There cannot be a gap of more than 14 days between each job. If you leave the UK and come back, your time away will not count towards those 14 days.

Money to support yourself

You must have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself in the UK.

You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.

You’ll usually need to show proof of this when you apply, unless either:

  • you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months
  • your employer can cover your costs during your first month in the UK, up to £1,270

Your partner and children will also need to prove they can support themselves while they’re in the UK. Check how much they’ll need.

Read the guidance on financial evidence for more information about the money you need and how to prove it.

If your employer can support you instead

Your certificate of sponsorship must confirm this. Your employer will need to complete the ‘sponsor certifies maintenance’ section on your certificate. This is under ‘Additional data’.