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An Overview of the Global Talent Visa: What You Need to Know


The UK Global Talent visa is one of several visa routes that allow for people with specialist skills or knowledge in a particular sector to come to the UK to work. It is designed to attract talented and promising individuals in the science, technology and arts sectors. If you wish to move to the UK and work in a relevant field, the Global Talent visa may be the right option for you.

As with any visa type, there are specific eligibility requirements that you must meet. You must be able to prove your talent or show that you have exceptional promise in a relevant field, which means securing an endorsement letter from a recognised body. For this reason, Global Talent visa applications can be complicated, and it is vital to understand the process thoroughly to make sure you meet any legal obligations.

In this article, the expert immigration solicitors at Latitude Law explain the key information about the UK Global Talent visa route, the requirements to meet the exceptional promise and exceptional talent criteria, and the specifics of the application process. We will also explain the role of a solicitor in supporting your application, so that you can submit your application with confidence.

An overview of the Global Talent visa

The UK’s Global Talent visa is aimed at talented individuals who are, or have the potential to be, leaders in fields like STEM, the arts, and humanities. It is open to academics, researchers, scientists, artists, engineers, and people in the digital technology sector, provided they have been endorsed by a recognised UK body in the relevant field or received an eligible award.

There are only certain bodies in each industry that can provide visa endorsements – unlike other visa categories, your employer cannot sponsor you. Bodies include Arts Council England for artists and those working in film and television, the Royal Society, for applicants who work in science or medicine, the British Academy, for humanities and social sciences, and Tech Nation for digital technology applications. Alternatively, if you have won any of the awards on the government’s list of eligible prizes, you may not require endorsement.

While this visa can be hard to secure, it has advantages over other visa routes. The Global Talent visa is initially granted for three years for exceptional talent and up to five years for exceptional promise, and can be extended beyond this period. It also provides a pathway to indefinite leave to remain in the UK and you can bring your partner and children as dependants.

Applicants do not need a job offer before they apply – only an endorsement – and Global Talent visa holders can change jobs or employers without notifying the government, which offers a certain degree of career flexibility.

As part of the application process, applicants must pay an endorsement application fee, a visa application fee and an immigration health surcharge, which entitles them to NHS services during their stay. The first application fee of £524 is paid when you apply for an endorsement, and an additional £192 is paid when you apply for your visa itself, for a total of £716.

Any dependants on your application – such as your spouse, partner or children – will also need to pay £716 each, and if you are applying on the basis of an eligible award, you will pay £716 all at once when you submit your application. As of February 2024, the health surcharge is £1,035 per person per year of your permission to stay in the UK.

The Global Talent visa is part of the UK’s points-based immigration system and represents the government’s commitment to making the UK a welcoming destination for global leaders in science, research, arts, culture, digital technology and humanities.

What are the eligibility criteria?

The main eligibility requirement for a Global Talent visa is that you are able to obtain endorsement from a professional body in a relevant industry based on your talent, achievements, awards or other evidence. Applicants must either show that they are already leaders in their field (exceptional talent) or have the potential to become leaders (exceptional promise). They should also demonstrate how they plan to contribute to their sector in the UK. This may involve collaboration with UK-based researchers, institutions, companies, or contributions to the arts and cultural sector.

Each of the industries to which the Global Talent visa applies has its own endorsing body that is responsible for assessing applicants’ potential to contribute and providing endorsements. The main endorsing bodies include:

  • The Royal Society, for science and medicine
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering, for engineering
  • The British Academy, for humanities and social sciences
  • Arts Council England, for arts and culture (including fashion, architecture, film, television, and literature)
  • Tech Nation, for digital technology
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), for endorsed funders

Exceptional talent can be demonstrated in different ways, but you will usually need to submit evidence of awards, media coverage, exhibitions, performances, publications, or patents. However, these are not the only types of evidence you can provide. The specifics will also vary depending on the sector, as each body has its own endorsement criteria that you must meet. For example:

  • Applicants in the science, engineering, humanities, and medicine sectors may need to show that they are active researchers at an academic institution or research institution and have a notable achievement, such as a significant publication, award, or grant.
  • Arts and culture applicants need to demonstrate exceptional talent or promise and may need to provide evidence of awards, media recognition, or impactful work. Applicants for endorsement in film and television can apply for exceptional talent only.
  • Applicants in the UK’s digital technology sector must prove their expertise with evidence of innovation, leadership, and impact in the tech sector, which could include successful start-ups, significant contributions to technology, or other recognitions of their talent.

Applicants are not required to demonstrate a sufficient amount of savings at the time of applying to support themselves when they arrive in the UK.

While the Global Talent visa does not typically require applicants to prove their knowledge of English when applying for the visa, you will need to meet the English language requirement if you later apply for indefinite leave to remain.

If you are unsure whether you meet the eligibility criteria or how best to provide evidence of your talent, speak to a solicitor. The team at Latitude Law can review your application at both stages, check documents for you and ensure that you have met all the requirements. This can give you the highest possible chance of success in your application.

What is the Global Talent visa application process?

The application process for the Global Talent visa involves two main stages: first, applying to the relevant endorsing body for endorsement as a leader or an emerging leader in your field; and second, applying for the visa itself. The first stage should be to review the eligibility criteria that apply to your specific case and ensure you meet them. Otherwise, your application may not be successful. If you do not meet the requirements, a different visa route may be better suited to your needs and give you a better chance of success. Speaking to a solicitor at this early stage can help you to determine the best approach and set you on the path to success.

If you determine that the Global Talent visa is the right option (and you have not received an eligible award), the first step of the application process is to apply to the body that represents your industry to seek an endorsement letter. This is submitted to the Home Office, which means that you can apply online and have your documents sent to the relevant body on your behalf.

The body in question will assess your achievements, any recognition you have received for your work, and your potential to contribute to the UK sector you want to work in. You will need to create a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your talent or promise, and it is useful to understand what types of evidence can be used in order to create a persuasive application. As we have discussed above, each body has its own endorsement criteria and may require different supporting documents before it will provide an endorsement for your visa application.

You must gather evidence of your exceptional talent or promise, such as awards, publications, letters of recommendation, and proof of work experience. Consider consulting with a legal expert or solicitor specialising in UK immigration to ensure your documentation and application align with the requirements, such as a member of the Latitude Law team.

When you have gathered your evidence and filled out your application form, you will submit this to the relevant endorsing body and pay the first part of the application fee. Each body has its own application portal and guidelines that you must follow, so it is sensible to review these beforehand. From there, you must wait for a decision, which you will usually receive within eight weeks of submitting your application.

Once you receive your endorsement, you can complete the Global Talent visa application form online through the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) website. Pay the visa application fee (or the remaining balance) and the healthcare surcharge. You will also need to provide your fingerprints and a photograph at a visa application centre. You will be given an opportunity to find your nearest visa appointment centre and book an appointment during the application process.

When you have submitted the supporting documents you need to provide, you must wait for a decision. This usually takes up to three weeks, although it can be longer if the Home Office determines that they require more information from you.

In some cases, you can pay for a faster decision, but it is always best to prepare your application as early as possible. If you make mistakes, or if your application is rejected because it is not filled out correctly, this can create significant delays to the application process. As such, you must take care with your application and prepare it thoroughly.

If your application is successful, you will be granted permission to enter or stay in the UK. You may need to collect your biometric residence permit, or you may be issued with digital immigration status. Once obtained, you can begin working or researching in the UK. If your visa includes dependents, they will also receive permission to come to the UK. The visa will remain valid for up to five years and can be extended at a later date.

Under a Global Talent visa, you can change jobs without informing the Home Office, which means you will have more freedom when you arrive in the UK than you would under other visa routes. However, you must take care to understand the restrictions and obligations you must follow under this visa, to make sure you maintain compliance with the Home Office Immigration Rules at all times. This is crucial if you eventually intend to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, which is also known as ‘settlement’, which is possible when you come to the UK under the Global Talent visa route.

Consulting with a solicitor or an expert in the field can significantly enhance your chances of success. If you have questions about whether this is the right visa route for you, or if you need support in preparing your application, get in touch with our team. There are many useful services a solicitor can provide in relation to a Global Talent visa application.

Why do I need to work with a solicitor?

An expert immigration solicitor from Latitude Law can provide valuable assistance throughout the Global Talent visa application process. With their strong knowledge of UK immigration law, our solicitors can make your application as strong as possible and ensure it adheres to all the relevant requirements.

There are several ways our solicitors can help. We can assess your background, qualifications, and achievements to determine if you meet the stringent criteria for the Global Talent visa. This includes evaluating whether you have a realistic chance of being endorsed by the relevant endorsing body based on our experience with the eligibility requirements. If this route seems unsuitable for you, we can advise you on visa routes that might better meet your needs.

If the Global Talent visa seems suitable, our solicitors can guide you through the endorsement process. We will help you to understand the specific requirements of the endorsing body relevant to your field and help you to identify the kinds of evidence that will effectively demonstrate your exceptional talent or promise.

Once you receive your endorsement letter, we can help you to prepare your visa application and check to make sure that all necessary documentation is complete, accurate, and presented in a manner that highlights your strengths. This can include advice on how to effectively showcase your achievements, contributions to your field, and potential to contribute to the UK sector. We have a wealth of experience in proving that clients meet the exceptional talent and exceptional promise criteria, so we are well-placed to support your application.

If your case involves complex issues, such as previous immigration history issues or clarifying how your achievements meet the endorsement criteria, our solicitors can provide tailored advice and help you to overcome potential obstacles that arise. It can also be complicated to switch from another visa category, which is another area where our team can help. If there are potential grounds for refusal that need to be addressed, we can identify these and advise you on the actions you can take to resolve these potential issues.

For applicants who plan to bring family members to the UK, the process can be more complicated and often requires more evidence. Latitude Law can offer advice on the application process for dependents, including any additional documentation and financial requirements, to help you approach the processes without any additional stress.

In the event that your application is refused, our solicitors can advise you on the options that are still available. This can include applying for a review of the decision or re-applying with additional evidence. It may also include applying under a different visa category, which may be more suitable if you do not meet the Global Talent visa requirements. We can help you understand why your application was refused and what steps can be taken to address the issues, including if you are denied a Global Talent visa endorsement before you have made your full application.

Hiring a solicitor can significantly increase the likelihood of a successful outcome, by ensuring you navigate the complexities of the Global Talent visa process efficiently and effectively. If your situation is not straightforward, you are unsure about how to present your achievements most effectively, or you simply want the reassurance that your application is being handled by an expert, get in touch with an expert visa solicitor today.

For help from our expert team, call us on 0044 161 234 6800 (Manchester) or 0044 207 046 7185 (London), or use our online enquiry form to request a call back.