Global Talent Visa

The UK has always been a world leader in the fields of sciences, the humanities, engineering, the arts, and technology.  Those who are gifted in these fields are naturally drawn to Britain, which can offer a highly educated workforce, access to Europe, and a rich intellectual and cultural life.

The Global Talent Visa provides an opportunity for people who have proven talent in their field and are from outside the European Economic Area to live and work in the UK for up to five years.  After this, successful applicants can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and ultimately, British Citizenship.

For tech start-ups, the Global Talent Visa can offer an alternative route to the Start-up Visa or Innovator Visa.  The British government has recognised that the UK must be highly attractive to talented tech workers and entrepreneurs to remain competitive. Unlike the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, there is no cap on the number of endorsements issued by each endorsing body. Further, the Global Talent Visa route does not form part of the points-based-system, so applicants will not be required to meet a certain number of points to qualify.

The Designated Competent Bodies have two sets of criteria when assessing an Applicant:

  • Exceptional Talent criteria for applicants who have already demonstrated that they have made a significant contribution as a leader to their field; and
  • Exceptional Promise criteria for applicants who may be earlier in their careers but have already shown the potential to make significant contributions as a future leader in their field

The Global Talent Visa category is extremely competitive and includes a rigorous application process.  At A Y & J Solicitors, we have a robust track record of advising successful applicants looking to remain or enter the UK using the Global Talent Visa route.  We provide friendly, practical, expert legal advice and will swiftly spot any weaknesses in your application and correct them.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for a Global Talent Visa?

There are two stages to obtaining a Global Talent Visa:

  1. Endorsement, and
  2. Applying for the visa

The first step is to seek endorsement from one of the following approved bodies: The Royal Society, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, Arts Council England, Tech Nation and UKRI-approved UK research organisation.

To have a chance of entering the UK on the Global Talent Visa route, you need to be endorsed as a leader (exceptional talent) or emerging leader (exceptional promise) in one of the following:

  • science
  • engineering
  • humanities
  • medicine
  • digital technology
  • the arts
  • fashion
  • architecture
  • film and television

Each endorsement body has differing criteria.  Below are some of the criteria required by each endorsing body.

Arts Council England – for arts, culture, fashion, architecture, film, and television applications

To qualify for endorsement, you must show you are professionally engaged in producing work of outstanding quality which has been published (other than exclusively in newspapers or magazines), performed, presented, distributed or exhibited internationally.  Your activity in the field must be recent (within the last five years) and show a substantial (or developing in the case of an Exceptional Promise Visa application) international track record.

You also need to show evidence from at least two countries to support two of the following (exceptional talent only):

  • Two or more examples of recent media recognition for your work (advertisements are not acceptable)
  • You have won or have contributed to the win of a major international prize in your field; for example, the Booker Prize or an Academy Award
  • Proof of appearances, performances, publications, or exhibitions in the last five years in contexts which are recognised as internationally significant your field; for example, exhibiting at the Tate Modern or performing music at the O2 Centre

The proof should encompass no more than ten documents.

The British Academy – for humanities and social science applications, The Royal Society – for natural sciences and medical science research applications, and The Royal Academy of Engineering – for engineering applications

The assessment process for these three endorsing bodies comprises of two stages:

Stage 1

Mandatory criteria

  • Be an active researcher in a relevant field (this is usually inside a university, research institute or a company);
  • Have a PhD or equivalent research experience;
  • Possess a dated letter of personal recommendation from a renowned person living in the UK who knows your work and your contribution to your field, and is qualified to assess your claim to be a leader in your field;

At least one of the qualifying criteria must be met.

Qualifying criteria

  • Be a member of your national academy or a foreign member of an academy based abroad;
  • Have been awarded a prestigious internationally recognised prize;
  • Been recommended, in writing, by a reputable UK organisation concerned with research in your field.

Stage 2

If you meet the requirements set out in Stage 1, the relevant endorsing body will assign an expert in your field to examine factors such as:

  • Your career history and international standing;
  • The strength of the supporting statements in the letter of personal recommendation, and evidence in relation to qualifying criteria;
  • Whether you have won any prestigious prizes or awards;
  • Whether you have secured generous funding for your work in the past decade;
  • How your presence in the UK will benefit your field and wider society.

Tech Nation – for digital technology applications

To qualify for endorsement for exceptional talent from tech nation, applicants must meet one of the key criteria and two of the qualifying criteria, which are listed in the Global Talent Visa guidance.

In meeting these criteria, technical applicants must demonstrate proven technical expertise in building, using, deploying or exploiting a technology stack and building technical infrastructure. Business applicants need to show proven commercial, investment or product expertise in building digital products or leading investments in significant digital product businesses.

Endorsement applications usually take around two months.  If you are a digital technology specialist, you may get a decision faster if:

  • You have been accepted onto a recognised UK accelerator programme, OR
  • You are part of a senior management team that has experience in building and expanding a digital technology business, OR
  • You plan to work and live outside of Greater London

Applications for endorsement from endorsing bodies outside of Tech Nation may also be fast-tracked if you hold a peer-reviewed fellowship or are a senior academic or senior researcher at a UK university, college, or research institute.

Once you have received your endorsement letter, you will need to apply for entry clearance.  You will need to do this within three months of receiving your endorsement.

Do you need help with Global Talent Visa?

How do I apply for a Global Talent Visa?

You can apply for a Global Talent Visa from either within the country or outside it.

Applications within the UK

If you are applying from within the UK, for example switching from one type of visa to a Global Talent Visa, most applications are made online.

You can apply to switch to a Global Talent visa if you’re already in the UK on one of the following visa types:

  • Tier 1
  • Tier 2
  • Tier 5 (Temporary worker – Government Authorised Exchange) on an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers 

Applications from outside the UK

It may be possible to apply at a visa application centre if the UK embassy or consulate in your country accepts applications for the Global Talent Visa and you have permission to live in the country you are applying from for at least six months (for example, you have tenure at a University).

To obtain a biometric residence permit, you must have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre.  Make sure you collect your biometric residence permit within ten days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you arrive in the country at a later date).

As part of your application, you will need to pay the healthcare surcharge.

The entry route is also made more attractive in that the simplification of the route (as compared to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa) means that applicants will not have to pay an additional six months healthcare surcharge.

What documentation do I need to provide when applying for a Global Talent Visa?

To make a successful application you will need to submit:

  • your endorsement letter
  • a current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • your tuberculosis test results if you come from a country where you are required to take the test

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may ask for other documentation.  If so, we can assist you with collating it and sending it in the correct order.

What are the advantages of a Global Talent Visa?

Numerous advantages are available through the Global Talent Visa, including:

  • you can work for an employer, the director of a company, or be self-employed
  • if a company wishes to employ you, they do not have to hold a UK Sponsor Licence
  • you can apply for settlement after five years if you enter the UK on the Exceptional Promise route or three years if you gain an Global Talent Visa.
  • You are free to change jobs without having to tell the Home Office

What should I do if my Global Talent Endorsement is refused?

If your endorsement is refused, you may be able to apply for an Endorsement Review from the relevant endorsement body.  At A Y & J Solicitors, we are experts at overturning refusals on endorsements.  Our team will take the time to carefully examine the reasons your endorsement application was refused and advise you on the best action to take.


You can bring dependent family members with you to the UK. Dependent family members are defined as your spouse or civil partner and any children aged under 18 years. If you have a child whilst you are in the UK, you can apply for settlement for them.

If you can show that the body which endorsed you has not withdrawn their approval and you are continuing to work in your field, you can extend your Global Talent Visa for up to five years.

Our lawyers will advise you throughout your application, extension, and settlement process to ensure you have the best chance of success and the process runs smoothly.

The Global Talent Visa provides an excellent opportunity to further your career in the UK.  Contact the immigration law professionals at A Y & J Solicitors today to begin your application.  You can reach us at +44 20 7404 7933 or email us at [email protected]

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