The Creative Worker visa allows creative professionals to temporarily work in the UK. The visa allows creative professionals to come to the UK and take up short-term employment in the field of their specialism, including arts, film and television, photography, graphic design, fashion and product design, theatre, writing and literature, music, animation, advertising and marketing, and new media.

The visa allows applicants to stay in the UK for up to 12 months, depending on their specific visa requirements. Applicants must have a job offer from a licensed sponsor in the creative field in order to apply for the Creative Worker visa.

The job must be full-time and applicants will need to demonstrate they have the necessary qualifications, experience and skills to do the job they have been offered. It is important that applicants are able to prove they are genuine creative professionals who are able to make an active contribution to the UK’s economy and culture.



Application process

Step 1: Submit an online application via the UK Visa and Immigration website. You will be asked to provide personal information, including your name, address, date of birth, and other relevant details. In addition, financial evidence in the form of proof of income and savings will be required.

Step 2: Obtain a Creative Worker Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer. This certificate, provided by the Home Office, serves as proof of sponsorship from a registered employer with the UK Visa and Immigration Service.

Step 3: Pay the applicable visa fee, which will vary based on the duration of the visa and the age of the applicant.

Step 4: Attend a biometric appointment where you will provide fingerprints and a digital photograph.

Step 5: Upon approval of your application, you will be issued a Creative Worker visa which will grant you the ability to remain in the United Kingdom for a maximum of 24 months.


How to apply for a Creative Worker visa

Here is the link to apply for a creative worker visa in the UK : GOV.UK – The best place to find government services and information (


But before you apply, check that you meet the requirements.


Eligibility requirements for a Creative Worker Visa

In order to qualify for a Temporary Work – Creative Worker Visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You have an offer of a job as a creative worker from a sponsor that holds a valid Temporary Work – Creative Worker sponsor licence (which requires a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the role you wish to undertake);
  • You will be paid the minimum salary as set by Equity, PACT or BECTU (except for models, musicians or circuses);
  • You genuinely intend, and are able, to undertake the role for which you are being sponsored and do not intend to undertake other employment;
  • You have personal savings to support yourself in the UK;
  • Your application does not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal;
  • You have provided a valid TB certificate, if required.

Fees and cost

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

The current fees are £205 for the main applicant and £327 per dependant. If you are applying from outside the UK, you will also have to pay a healthcare surcharge as part of your visa application. This currently stands at £400 per year of leave applied for, or part thereof.

Additionally, you may need to pay a priority service fee if you require faster processing. It is important to note that all applications must be accompanied by supporting documents such as passport photos and biometrics, which carry an additional cost. The exact amount will vary depending on where you are submitting your application from.

Furthermore, if you require any legal advice in relation to your application, there may also be fees involved.

Read more 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’.

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Documents you must provide

When you apply, you’ll need to provide:

  • your certificate of sponsorship reference number – your employer will give you this
  • a valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
  • evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK, for example bank statements (unless your certificate of sponsorship shows your employer can support you)
  • proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they’re applying with you
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test

You need a blank page in your passport for your visa.

You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

Sponsorship requirements

The sponsor must ensure that:
• The job offer is genuine and meets the requirements of the UKVI
• The applicant has the necessary qualifications, skills and experience for the job
• They can provide any additional evidence requested by the UKVI
• The applicant will not become a burden on public funds
• They will comply with their legal responsibilities as a sponsor
• They have provided all relevant information about the applicant to the UKVI

Additionally, the sponsor must pay the applicable fees associated with the sponsorship and provide confirmation of their compliance with relevant immigration rules and regulations.


How long does it take to get a Creative Worker visa?

Once your application has been submitted, you will receive an acknowledgment letter from the Home Office within 7-10 days. If you do not receive this letter after 10 days, you should contact the Home Office directly to check the status of your application.

Once your application has been received, it may take up to 3 months for the Home Office to review your application and make a decision. Once a decision has been made, you will be notified by post. If your application is successful, you will then be issued with a Creative Worker visa.

This visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to three years. You will be required to abide by the conditions of your visa while in the UK, including restrictions on working hours and types of employment.


Duration of Stay on a Creative Worker visa

Once approved, you can enter the UK at any time within a 3-month period. After that, you can remain in the UK for up to 12 months before having to return home or apply for an extension of your visa.
The Creative Worker visa also allows you to travel in and out of the UK multiple times during your period of stay. However, it’s important to note that you can only spend a total of 180 days in the UK each year.

Therefore, if you leave the country after 180 days, you may not be able to return until the following year.
In order to remain in the UK beyond the 12-month period, you must apply for an extension of your visa or switch to another type of visa. If you’re planning on staying longer than 12 months, it’s best to contact an immigration lawyer for advice.

Extension of the visa

If you are in the UK on a Creative Worker visa, you may be able to extend your stay for up to two years if you still meet the eligibility criteria. To apply for an extension of stay, you must submit your application before your current visa expires. You can do this either online or by post.

When submitting your application, you will need to provide evidence of your continuous residence in the UK, proof of financial resources and a valid passport or travel document. You must also provide evidence of your current work contract and salary as well as proof of your qualifications and experience relevant to the job for which you are applying.

If you are successful in extending your stay, you will be granted leave for a further period of two years, at which point you will need to renew your visa. This process is known as “switching” visas. To switch to a longer-term visa, you must meet the relevant criteria and have enough funds available to support yourself during your stay in the UK.

Finally, it is important to note that there are certain restrictions on the length of time you can stay in the UK on a Creative Worker visa. For example, if you have been working in the UK on this visa for four years or more, you will not be able to extend your stay any further.

Alternative visa options

If you are looking for an alternative to the Creative Worker visa, there are a few options available. For example, you could apply for a Skilled Worker Visa or a Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

The Skilled Worker Visa is designed for those who want to come to the UK for a job that is not available for British or EEA citizens. The minimum requirements for this visa include having a valid job offer from an employer registered with the Home Office, a valid certificate of sponsorship and passing the necessary language tests.

The Youth Mobility Scheme visa is designed for young people from participating countries and territories who want to experience life in the UK for up to two years. Eligible countries and territories include Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Applicants must be aged 18-30 and have enough money to support themselves while they’re in the UK.

In addition to these visas, you may also be able to apply for an Ancestry visa or an Innovator visa. Both of these visas are designed to attract talented entrepreneurs and investors to the UK.

Dependents on the Creative Worker visa

If you are coming to the UK on a Creative Worker visa, you can also bring family members with you. These family members may include your spouse, partner and children under the age of 18.

In order to be able to bring your dependents with you, they must meet the following requirements:
• Your dependents must be legally married to you or in a civil partnership that is recognised in the UK
• Your dependents must not have been living in the UK for more than 6 months before your arrival
• Your dependents must not intend to take paid employment or self-employment in the UK
• Your dependents must provide evidence that they can support themselves financially during their stay in the UK
• Your dependents must show that they have adequate medical insurance

Your dependents must make a separate application for their visa. They will be required to provide evidence of their relationship with you and evidence of their financial circumstances.

Once your dependents have applied for their visa, it will be processed in the same way as your own visa application. If their visa is approved, they will be granted leave to enter the UK at the same time as you and can stay in the UK for up to 5 years. After this period, they may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK.

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Spouses and dependants

If you are a Creative Worker visa holder, your spouse or partner may be able to accompany you to the UK. To do so, they must apply for a dependent visa.

Your dependants will be eligible to work or study in the UK as long as your Creative Worker visa remains valid. However, they will not be able to access public funds (including social security and benefits) during their stay in the UK.

To be eligible to accompany you on your Creative Worker visa, your partner must meet certain criteria. This includes demonstrating that you are legally married or in a civil partnership and that you can adequately support them during their stay in the UK. Your dependant must also not have any previous immigration violations and must meet the required English language requirement.


Application process for dependants

If you are a dependent of the primary Creative Worker visa applicant, such as a partner or child, you can apply for a dependent visa at the same time as the primary visa applicant.

To do so, you will need to fill out a separate application form and provide supporting documentation including a valid passport and evidence of your relationship with the primary applicant. The same eligibility criteria as the main applicant will apply to dependants, so they must also demonstrate they meet the requirements for the visa, such as the minimum level of income or maintenance funds.

Once all the required documents have been submitted, your application will be considered by UK Visas and Immigration, and if approved, you will be issued a Creative Worker visa valid for the same period of time as the main applicant’s visa. Dependents will not be able to work on their own right on this visa, but may be able to accompany the primary visa holder to their place of employment.


Restrictions and limitations

The Creative Worker visa has certain restrictions and limitations in place. First and foremost, the holder of this visa is not allowed to stay in the UK for more than 24 months, regardless of the length of their visa. They are also not allowed to take up permanent employment or reside in the UK permanently. A

In terms of travel, the Creative Worker visa holder is only allowed to enter the UK through designated ports. Furthermore, they are only allowed to leave the UK after they have provided evidence of their visa expiry date, or they may be required to leave at the end of their authorised stay period.

Finally, the Creative Worker visa holder is expected to comply with all UK immigration laws and policies and provide any requested documentation and/or information if requested by an Immigration Officer. Failure to do so could result in deportation, as well as a fine or imprisonment.

Settlement on the Creative Worker visa

The Creative Worker visa is a temporary visa and it does not lead to settlement. This means that once the visa expires, you must leave the UK unless you apply for another visa.

You are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after you have spent 5 years in the UK on the Creative Worker visa. To be eligible for ILR you must meet the specified criteria including having sufficient knowledge of language and life in the UK.

You are also eligible for settlement if you have been in the UK for 10 years continuously. However, this is only applicable if you had limited leave to remain at the start of your stay in the UK and not on a Creative Worker visa.

In some cases, you may be able to apply for British Citizenship if you meet the requirements. To be eligible for British Citizenship you must have resided in the UK for 5 years with ILR or 10 years with limited leave. You must also meet other requirements such as good character and no criminal convictions.

Settlement on the Creative Worker visa can be a lengthy process and requires careful planning in order to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria and are able to successfully apply for ILR or British Citizenship. It is advisable to seek legal advice if you have any questions regarding settlement on the Creative Worker visa.


How we can help?

CGM App is an end-to-end immigration app, designed to make the immigration and global mobility process more seamless and compliant; specifically for expats, sponsoring companies, and immigration consultants globally.

Visit for more information.

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