Common Queries about ETA and Creative Worker Visa

This guide will address some of the most commonly asked questions regarding Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETAs) and Creative Worker Visas for the United Kingdom. Whether planning a short visit or considering employment opportunities in the creative sector, this resource aims to clarify the application processes, eligibility criteria, and other essential aspects of obtaining these permits. 

Let's explore the answers to these common queries to help you confidently navigate your travel or work aspirations in the UK.

What is a Creative Worker Visa?

A Creative Worker Visa, a category of UK visa, permits professionals in the creative sector, including artists, musicians, designers, performers, and writers, to reside and work in the United Kingdom for a specified duration. This visa facilitates engagement in creative endeavours, collaboration with UK-based entities, and contribution to the nation's cultural richness. Eligibility entails showcasing relevant skills, qualifications, and experience alongside securing sponsorship from a UK-based employer or organisation. This pathway offers talented individuals an opportunity to advance their careers and contribute to the dynamic creative industries of the UK. Additionally, the visa allows for a temporary stay of up to 12 months, extendable for another 12 months, requiring applicants to obtain a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor in the UK and meet other stipulated criteria.

Who is eligible for a Creative Worker Visa?

Several factors depend on eligibility for a Creative Worker Visa in the United Kingdom. To qualify for a Creative Worker Visa, you must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Secure a job offer in the creative sector in the UK, encompassing roles like artists, musicians, actors, models, etc.
  • Demonstrate your contribution to enriching the cultural landscape of the UK or your indispensability for the continuity of a creative endeavour.
  • Obtain a certificate of sponsorship from an authorised sponsor in the UK, committing to pay you at least the minimum salary stipulated by the relevant trade union.
  • Possess adequate personal funds to sustain yourself in the UK.
  • Confirm your intention is not to settle or reside in the UK permanently.

Do I need to apply for an ETA and a Creative Worker Visa?

No, you do not need to apply for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) and a Creative Worker Visa if you intend to work as a creative professional in the UK. An ETA is typically used for short-term visits to the UK for purposes such as tourism, business meetings, or leisure and does not authorise individuals to work there. For employment in the creative sector or any other profession in the UK, you should apply for the appropriate visa, such as the Creative Worker Visa. This visaallows individuals to live and work in the UK for a specified period and is specifically designed for professionals in the creative industry. Therefore, if you intend to work as a creative worker in the UK, you should apply for a Creative Worker Visa rather than an ETA. This visa will allow you to engage in employment activities in the UK as a creative professional.

How do I apply for an ETA or a Creative Worker Visa?

The application processes for an ETA and a Creative Worker Visa differ based on the specific visa required.

  • For an ETA application, you must possess a valid passport issued by an eligible country, an active email address, and a credit or debit card for the visa fee payment. Applications can be submitted online or through the ETA app, with a typical processing time of 3 working days.

On the other hand, to apply for a Creative Worker Visa, you need to obtain a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed UK-based sponsor and satisfy additional eligibility criteria. Applications can be made online up to 3 months before the intended start date of work in the UK, with a standard processing time of 3 weeks for applicants outside the UK and 8 weeks for those within the country.