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 Tier 1 Exceptional 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 Tier 1 Exceptional 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. Therefore, of the 2000 Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas granted each year, 200 of the first 1000 are reserved for the tech industry. The rest are unallocated and are available to any Designated Competent Body once their allocated places have been used.
The Designated Competent Bodies have two sets of criteria when assessing an Applicant:
The Tier 1 Exceptional 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 Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route. We provide friendly, practical, expert legal advice and will swiftly spot any weaknesses in your application and correct them.
There are two stages to obtaining a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent 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 and Tech Nation.
To have a chance of entering the UK on the Exceptional Talent Visa route, you need to be endorsed as a leader (exceptional talent) or emerging leader (exceptional promise) in one of the following:
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):
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:
At least one of the qualifying criteria must be met.
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:
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 Tier 1 Exceptional 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:
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.
You can apply for a Tier 1 Exceptional 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 Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, most applications are made online.
You can apply to switch to a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if you’re already in the UK on one of the following visa types:
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 Tier 1 Exceptional 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.
To make a successful application you will need to submit:
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.
Numerous advantages are available through the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, including:
If your visa application is refused, you may be able to apply for an Administrative Review. At A Y & J Solicitors, we are experts at bringing Administrative Reviews. Our team will take the time to carefully examine the reasons your 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 Tier 1 Exceptional 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 Tier 1 Exceptional 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].
A Y & J Solicitors helped me successfully apply for my Tier 1 Exceptional Promise visa. Thank you so much for your help! I can’t thank you enough.
This is the second time I have applied for a visa and Ms Diana and her colleague Charlotte has got us through it effortlessly though the UKVI behaved as usual characteristically floating on its whims and fancies. Repeated words of comfort from both of them led us sail through the troubled times without a glitch. Really appreciate their professional and calculative approach in securing me and my family an approved visa extension. Wish them all success in future….
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent/promise is one of the most lucrative UK immigration categories in today’s date. This visa category allows you to work or run a business, NO investment required, NO sponsorship required.
You can bring your spouse and children under 18 years old as your dependents
Most importantly, you could qualify for settlement / Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in 3 / 5 years. Tier Exceptional Visa is open to those applicants who are considered to be exceptionally talented individuals outside of the EEA, in fields of science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology. There is set policy guidance for this visa category and we have mastered this policy guidance word by word.
If you are interested and wish to get your Tier 1 exceptional talent/promise visa, send us your CV. The contact details are at the bottom of this video. Please quote, ‘I want Tier 1 Visa’ in the subject line to get your FREE assessment.