Tier 1 Global (Exceptional) Talent Visa Applications

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Global Talent Visa

The expansion of the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route was introduced specifically to make provisions for the science and research sector. The route continues to be open to talented and promising applicants within the digital technology and arts and culture which includes those within film and television sectors as a Global Talent visa.

As well as now being open to those within the science and research sector, other changes being implemented for the new Global Talent route are as follows:

No cap: Unlike its predecessor, the Global Talent visa route has no cap on the number of people able to come to the UK, demonstrating the government’s commitment to supporting top talent. The 2000 annual limit which was imposed under the Exceptional Talent has been removed.

Choose the length of visa, up to 5 years: The visa under the Global Talent route is granted for 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 years for applications made inside or outside the UK.  Applicants will be able to choose how much leave, in whole years, up to a maximum of 5 years they wish to be granted in a single application.  Previously applications made from outside the UK carried an additional 4 months leave, increasing the cost for applicants of certain charges such as the NHS surcharge. Previous changes to how the qualifying period for settlement is calculated made the additional 4-month period obsolete. 

The name: Although the word ‘exceptional’ has been dropped, the visa route continues to be for ‘highly-skilled’ entrepreneurs and employees. Just as previously, the Global Talent visa should not be considered for general employment.

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You can be endorsed in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, humanities, digital technology, the arts and culture (including film and television, fashion design and architecture).  

The relevant Home Office approved endorsing bodies are:

  • The Royal Society – for natural and medical science applications
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering – for engineering applications
  • The British Academy – for humanities and social science applications
  • Arts Council England – for arts, culture, fashion, architecture, film and television applications
  • Tech Nation– for digital technology applications
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – for science and research applications 


Under the terms of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement, non-UK nationals from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland remain eligible to work in the UK without a visa for the duration of the transition period which is scheduled to end on 31 December 2020. Different immigration arrangements are expected to be put in place after this date and applicants are advised to check gov.uk and/or contact us for updates.

The Global Talent visa replaced the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa category on 20 February 2020. For applicants endorsed under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent/Promise) and for those granted visa under this category before 20 February 2020 transitional arrangements are into place.


If you are still waiting on your endorsement decision under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category, and this is successful, then you will be able to use this in support of an application for a Global Talent visa after 20th February 2020. If you have already used an endorsement letter and submitted an application under Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route before 20th February 2020, then your Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa will still be granted. You will be able to apply for an extension or indefinite leave to remain under the Global Talent category.


We invite potential candidates to call and/or email us for an initial eligibility assessment. Our immigration lawyers who specialise in the area of Exceptional/Global Talent and Promise will assess how you meet the criteria. We provide specialised initial assessment of eligibility in line with the individual applicant’s skills, experience, qualifications and experience.


The Exceptional Promise sub-route is intended for applicants who have demonstrated potential to contribute significantly as future leaders in their respective industries/disciplines.

Applicants who choose to apply under this part of the route will typically be individuals towards the start of their career and on a steep career trajectory.

You can apply to switch to a Global Talent visa if you are already in the UK on a different Tier 1 visa or a Tier 2 visa. If you are applying in the research sector and you are in the UK on a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa on an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers you can also apply to switch.

Note: Applicants are advised that in light of the current restrictions on travelling inside and outside the UK imposed as a result of the global spread of COVID-19, it is possible to switch within country in certain circumstances, even though you would normally be required to leave the UK and apply from your country of nationality/residence. The measure announced by the Government on 24 March 2020, refers to applications submitted by 31 May 2020(subject to review).

Your dependants (e.g. spouse/partner and children under the age of 18 years old) can join you in the UK under the Global Talent route. Before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, they will need to spend a continuous period of 5 years in the UK. This is in line with dependants of visa holders under other UK immigration routes.

Global Talent Migrant - Eligibility -Digital Technology

Global Talent criteria have been relaxed for tech start ups to enable the most bright and talented tech professionals to set up in the UK. The application will need to be endorsed initially by Tech Nation, a company that assists the Home Office in assessing applications from Tech specialists. The advantage of applying for a Global Talent visa is that it enables a non-EEA migrant to come to the UK and work either in an employed position (the job does not need to be on the Shortage of Occupations list and there are no salary restrictions) or be self-employed.  To qualify for a Global Talent visa you will need to be endorsed either as a leader in your field or demonstrate exceptional promise.

To get a Global Talent visa, you need to be endorsed as a leader (exceptional/global talent) or emerging leader (exceptional /global promise). If you qualify, the route allows you to work and change employers, or to be self-employed, without the need for further authorisation or to be sponsored for employment in a specific post.  There is no maximum limit on the time you can spend in the UK in this category however you may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK after three (3) years of residence under the Global Talent route.

Digital Technology Applicants -Frequently Asked Questions

Each application for endorsement is assessed by an independent panel of experts at Tech Nation. At Osbourne Pinner we advise on the eligibility of individual applicants in accordance with the Endorsement Criteria. We conduct an initial assessment eligibility and advise on the likelihood to meet the criteria and advise you on prospects of success in an endorsement application.

Applying for endorsement via Global Talent does not preclude you from endorsement under Global Promise should you meet the necessary criteria; likewise, applying under the Global Promise route does not preclude you from endorsement for Global Talent.

In all cases, Tech Nation experts will establish whether you meet the necessary criteria to be endorsed for Global Talent or for Global Promise.

Both Technical and Business type roles are eligible for the Tech Nation Visa. There are no formal restrictions regarding role types or specialisms, partly due to the fast-changing nature of the technology sector. Detailed advice will be provided on the roles that are considered suitable for this visa route and whether you can be considered within the scope of Digital Technology applicants.

To get a Global Talent visa, you need to be endorsed as a leader (exceptional/global talent) or emerging leader (exceptional /global promise). If you qualify, the route allows you to work and change employers, or to be self-employed, without the need for further authorisation or to be sponsored for employment in a specific post.  There is no maximum limit on the time you can spend in the UK in this category however you may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK after three (3) years of residence under the Global Talent route.

Tech Nation continues to process Stage 1 endorsement applications for Global Talent Visas as normal.

Endorsements are usually valid for up to 3 months. Advice from the Home Office is that if your endorsement from Tech Nation has expired because you have not been able to travel to the UK you may still be eligible for a visa.

You should make your application as planned and should your endorsement expire before you can travel, the Home Office will consider all Stage 2 applications on a case by case basis.

When determining whether to endorse an application, Tech Nation will not consider an applicant’s immigration status or ability to travel. They assess the effectiveness of the applicant’s plans in the UK.

Global Talent Migrant - Eligibility – Science and Research

A new Global Talent visa category has been introduced for talented or promising individuals who are active researchers or specialists in the fields of science, engineering, humanities and medicine.

The existing Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) endorsement options from the approved endorsing bodies (the Royal Society, the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Arts Council England and Tech Nation) remain the same. A new endorsement route has been added, overseen by UK Research and innovation (UKRI) for eligible researchers and specialists (including post-doctoral positions and specialist technical staff).

The number of fellowships eligible for a fast track endorsement is also to be increased. Other key differences are: – Those endorsed by the Royal Society, the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering or UKRI will able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (i.e. settlement) after spending a continuous period of 3 years in the UK (including those currently on the Tier 1 Exceptional Promise route) –

Absences from the UK taken for the purposes of research will not be counted towards the absence limit for settlement.

Stage One: You must apply for an endorsement from one of the approved endorsing bodies (listed above)

How do I get the endorsement?

You can either qualify for a fast track endorsement or submit a full peer review application with one of the endorsing bodies. UKRI only offers a fast track route.

The endorsement options are:

  •  Senior appointments – individuals appointed to eligible senior academic or research positions at a UK university or research institution can qualify for a fast track endorsement if they can provide a Statement of Guarantee, which confirms their recruitment process met specific criteria. This is the same process as under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route.
  •  Fellowship holders – those who have been awarded an individual fellowship on the list approved by the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society can qualify for fast track endorsement. The fellowship must be held currently or within the last 12 months.
  • Endorsed funders (UKRI) – fast track endorsement for researchers and specialists whose name or job title is specified in a successful grant application from a recognised funder. This includes European Union Horizon 2020 programmes, Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK.
  • Peer review – standard endorsement for individuals who submit a successful application for review by The British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering or The Royal Society (depending on their field of expertise).

Who is eligible for the new, UKRI endorsed funder route?

You may qualify for this fast track endorsement if your name or job title are part of a successful grant application from a recognised funder and you have a job offer from a UK university or research institution (subject to additional criteria).

Science and Research Applicants - Frequently Asked Questions

No, you don’t necessarily need a job offer. The Global Talent visa allows you to work and change employers, or to be self-employed, without the need for further authorisation or to be employed a specific post. For specific application details for each of the four endorsement routes under the Global Talent category, please contact us.

The Home Office advises that stage one of the application process (i.e. the application for endorsement) for the Global Talent visa can take up to eight weeks from the time the Home Office receives your application. Within these eight weeks, the relevant endorsing body will have up to 25 working days to review your application. For applications eligible for the accelerated process for specific peer-reviewed fellowships (route two) or senior academic or research appointments (route one), the endorsing bodies will make a recommendation on endorsement to the Home Office within 14 working days.

Yes. Any time spent outside the UK for the purpose of research does NOT count towards the 180 day annual limit for absences in the context of applying for settlement.

Why use Osbourne Pinner for your Global Talent Visa?

  • Extraordinarily high success rate for Stage 1, endorsement & Stage 2 of immigration application.
  • We will assess your CV & LinkedIn profile during the free initial consultation to advise you fully on the eligibility requirements of the Stage 1, i.e. endorsement
  • We provide unsurpassed immigration services in an exceptionally professional and efficient manner.
  • Many applicants face difficulties in understanding the application process or providing the required documentation.
  • Our team can provide you with all the support and guidance you need to make an application under the Global Talent and Promise route. With our experienced solicitors, who believe in generating positive results for our clients, you have a better chance of a successful application.



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