Athletes, Coaches and Officials looking to head to the UK to take part in the 2012 London Olympics’ test events may apply for an Olympic/Paralympic Games visit visa now and take advantage of the scheme by obtaining a visa valid for almost two years. The UK Border Agency has confirmed that the Olympic/Paralympic Games visit visa will be valid from the date of issue until 8 November 2012 (date of expiry for the Olympic accreditation card).
So what is the Olympic/Paralympic Games Visit Visa?
This type of visa is available to all potential Olympic or Paralympic Games’ Family Members (including athletes, coaches, technical officials, rights holding broadcasters and sponsors) who have been identified by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
The UK Border Agency and LOCOG have worked in participation and enumerated the criteria for Olympic/Paralympic related purpose eligibility.
Non-Visa nationals will be able to make an application to the British High Commission/British Consulate posts overseas for a visa to enter the UK and take part in a specific Olympic or Paralympic Games related activity
Individuals should take note that the conditions of this visa are the same as a long-term multiple-entry visit visa i.e. the maximum period that a visa holder may remain in the UK during any given time is six months. The new visa will cost the same as a six month visit visa having multiple-entry validity.
The following category of people may apply for a visa, for example:-
• Individuals who have meetings with LOCOG;
• Individuals who will be coming to participate in UK based training camps as part of a national team;
• Individuals who will be participating in individual sport Olympic/Paralympic test events.
We strongly suggest that to avoid any possible refusal, every individual applying under this category must submit a pre-agreed template letter with their application even if their activities in the UK are Olympic or Paralympic related. Additionally, LOCOG has confirmed that it will allow only those individuals who have applied for and successfully received an official written invitation from them to apply and visit the UK for this purpose
The following activities have been accepted as Olympic or Paralympic sports. Please note that this list is exhaustive and an individual cannot apply for this type of visa based on any activity which is outside this list.
Aquatics (Diving, Swimming, Synchronised Swimming and Water Polo), Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Canoe / Kayak (Sprint and Slalom), Cycling (BMX, Mountain Bike, Road and Track Cycling), Equestrian (Dressage, Eventing and Jumping), Fencing, Football, Gymnastics (Artistic, Rhythmic and Trampoline), Handball, Hockey, Judo, Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball (Beach and Indoor) and Wrestling (Greco-Roman and Freestyle).
Archery, Athletics, Boccia, Cycling, Equestrian, Football (5 and 7 aside), Goalball, Judo, Powerlifting, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Fencing, Wheelchair Rugby and Wheelchair Tennis.
Can dependants join?
The Olympic/Paralympic Games visit visa is only for Games Family Members whose applications are supported by LOCOG. Unfortunately, dependants of Games Family Members are not eligible to apply for this visa. They may, however, be able to enter the UK under a different category independent of the visa holder.
Changing immigration status from within the UK.
It is worth noting that it is not possible to switch (change immigration status from within the UK) from the Olympic/Paralympic Games visit visa to another visa category.