The UK’s Global Talent visa route is for those who have exceptional talent, or who have the potential to thrive in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, social science, medicine, digital technology, architecture, fashion design, film & television, or arts & culture. Except for applicants who have been awarded a prestigious prize listed in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes, applicants will be required to obtain an endorsement from a relevant endorsement body before an entry clearance/leave to remain Global Talent visa application can be submitted to the Home Office.
The Global Talent visa endorsement application is known as ‘Stage 1’ of the application; once the endorsement has been approved, the visa application, known as ‘Stage 2’, can be submitted.
Although Stage 1 and Stage 2 can be submitted at the same time, it is advisable to submit Stage 2 only after the endorsement has been approved. This is because if the endorsement application is refused, then Stage 2 will automatically be refused – resulting in the loss of visa fees.
There are two types of endorsements available:
- Exceptional Talent – for people who are recognised as leaders in their field
- Exceptional Promise – for people who are recognised as having the potential to become a future leader in their field.
Identifying the relevant endorsing body
Applying for an endorsement is an essential – yet complicated – part of the journey for Global Talent visa applicants. The Home Office’s guidance on endorsing bodies and the disciplines they cover can be found here. We will take a brief look at them below:
Arts Council England
Endorsement applications in relation to arts, culture, architecture, fashion design, film and television should be submitted and assessed by Arts Council England. Arts Council England also accepts applications on behalf of the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), the British Fashion Council (BFC) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Although most disciplines accept applications under Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise, applications in the fields of film, television, animation, post-production and visual effects can only be submitted under the Exceptional Talent category.
The British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
Endorsement applications in relation to science, engineering, medicine, the social sciences or the humanities should be submitted to The British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). There are four routes for eligible academics and researchers to obtain endorsement, with the first three of these being fast-tracked:
- Academic and research posts – for individuals who have accepted an eligible position at an approved UK higher education institution (HEI) or research institute
- Individual fellowships – for talented and promising individuals who have been awarded an individual fellowship
- Endorsed funders – for researchers and specialists whose name or job title is specified in a successful substantial research grant application from an endorsed funder approved by UKRI
- Peer review – no job offer is required; an application must be submitted, and it will be assessed by experts in your field
For digital technology applications, applicants need to have either technical or business skills in the digital technology sector. Although Tech Nation has been formally acquired by Founders Forum Group, they continue to process endorsement applications while the Home Office identifies a new endorsing body to take over. Fast-track processing is also available if the applicant has been accepted onto a current or future programme at one of the recognised UK accelerator programmes.
Once you have identified the endorsing body for your field of expertise, the next step is to submit an online application for an endorsement letter – the ‘Stage 1’ application. The Home Office fee for a Stage 1 application is £456. The Stage 1 application process usually takes eight weeks; if fast-tracked, it takes around three weeks instead.
Although it will eventually be assessed by a relevant endorsing body, the Stage 1 application is initially submitted to UKVI. The application form can be accessed here. It is worth noting that applicants for an endorsement by Tech Nation must also complete the additional form found on the Tech Nation website.
Once the online application is submitted, you will be provided with instructions on how to send the supporting documents. You usually have 15 working days to provide all of the supporting documents.
Do I need to meet the English language requirement?
For the Global Talent Visa in the UK, applicants are not required to meet an English language requirement. This UK immigration category focuses primarily on the applicant’s exceptional talent or promise in specific fields such as sciences, humanities, engineering, arts, and technology.
Supporting documents required as part of an endorsement application
The required supporting documents will depend on the specific route/endorsement an applicant wishes to obtain. In general, an applicant will be required to provide:
- An up-to-date CV
- Letters of support from eminent persons or organisations based in the UK
- Up to 10 individual pieces of evidence proving your experience/expertise in the field.
Applicants are advised to check the relevant guidance published by the endorsing body in order to provide adequate supporting documents. It is important to submit all supporting documents in the correct format. Considering the complexity of filing the necessary information to assist in the assessment of the application, applicants are advised to seek legal advice.
What evidence of experience/expertise in the field should I provide?
Below we take a look at some suggestions of the evidence you should provide to prove your experience/expertise in the field:
- Arts Council England: applicants should demonstrate a substantial track record with significant contributions to their field. This could include notable performances, exhibitions or publications. In film, television, animation, post-production, and visual effects, applications are limited to the Exceptional Talent category, highlighting a need for internationally recognised achievements.
- British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI): applicants need to demonstrate significant contributions to industrial or clinical research or academia, such as prestigious publications, research grants or awards. Those applying through the Peer review route should have peer-recognised contributions, potentially without a specific job offer.
- Tech Nation: applications should show a proven track record in tech, such as successful startups, innovative projects or leadership roles in tech companies. Participation in recognised UK accelerator programmes is a plus and can lead to fast-track processing.
What is the criteria for a fast-tracked application?
The Global Talent Visa in the UK offers a fast-track application process for certain applicants who meet specific criteria. This fast-track process allows for quicker endorsement decisions, reducing waiting times significantly. Here’s an overview of the criteria for a fast-tracked application:
- Tech Nation Accelerator Programme: candidates who have been accepted into a recognised UK accelerator programme can apply for fast-track endorsement. This is particularly relevant for digital technology applicants. They must provide evidence of acceptance into such programmes.
- Prestigious prizes or awards: individuals who have received internationally recognised prizes or awards in their field may be eligible for fast-tracking. This could include major awards like the Nobel Prize, Oscars, BAFTA awards or Turing Award, among others.
- Exceptional talent endorsement: applicants applying under the ‘exceptional talent’ route, particularly in the fields of arts, culture and digital technology, might be eligible for fast-tracking if they have demonstrated extraordinary achievements recognised at an international level.
- Endorsed funder applicants (UKRI route): for the UK Research and Innovation endorsed funder route, applicants with a job offer or fellowship from an approved UKRI-endorsed funding competition can have their applications fast-tracked. The UKRI will review applications from any academic or research discipline.
Applicants must provide robust evidence supporting their eligibility for fast-tracking. The appropriate endorsing body has the discretion to determine if the achievements qualify for the fast-track route. Fast-tracking focuses on the endorsement process and does not necessarily speed up the overall visa insurance timeline.
If the endorsement application is refused
You have 28 days from the date of the refusal email to submit an application for an endorsement review – this application is free. You should only apply for an endorsement review if you believe an incorrect decision has been made. It usually takes 28 days to process an endorsement review. The application form for an endorsement review can be found here.
Requirements for an endorsement to remain valid
The period of grant for a Global Talent Visa can range from one to five years. There is no limit on how long Global Talent visa holders can stay in the UK; however, before your visa expires you will need to apply to extend your visa or (for Talent, not Promise applicants) to settle if you wish to remain in the UK.
When making an extension application, the applicant is no longer required to obtain a fresh endorsement – as long as the endorsement that was obtained has not been withdrawn, and the endorsing body continues to be approved by the Home Office. The same applies to settlement applications under the Global Talent route – no fresh endorsement is required. When applying to extend or settle, all applicants must show evidence that they have earned money in their professional field during their last period of granted leave.
What does the Global Talent Visa offer?
The Global Talent Visa offers a unique pathway for highly skilled individuals to work in the UK in fields like academia, research, digital technology, arts, and culture. Key features of this visa include:
- Flexibility: it allows individuals to work without being tied to a specific employer or job offer.
- Pathway to settlement: it leads to settlement after three years for those considered under the Exceptional Talent category or five years for the Exceptional Promise category.
- Long-term stay: holders can live and work in the UK for up to five years at a time, with an option to renew.
- Endorsement-based: applicants must be endorsed as leaders or potential leaders in their respective fields by approved endorsing bodies.
- No English language requirement: unlike many other visa categories, it does not require an English language proficiency test.
Can I bring my family with me to the UK on a Global Talent Visa?
The Global Talent Visa holder can bring your family members with you to the UK. This includes your spouse or partner and any children under the age of 18. Your family members will need to apply for visas as your dependents, and they will generally have the same period of stay as granted to you under your Global Talent Visa. This provision allows families to stay together during the duration of your stay in the UK.
How much does a Global Talent Visa cost?
The total cost for a Global Talent Visa is £608. This fee is split across two stages of the application process: £456 for the Stage 1 endorsement application and £152 for the Stage 2 visa application.
If you are applying based on an eligible award and can therefore bypass the endorsement stage, the full £608 is paid when applying for the visa. Additional costs may include the healthcare surcharge and fees for any dependents accompanying you to the UK.
What if I already have a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) endorsement?
If you already have an endorsement under the previous Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route and are currently working in the UK in your specialised field, you can apply to extend your stay under the Global Talent visa category.
Provided your existing endorsement has not been withdrawn, you won’t need to submit a new endorsement application. However, you will need to demonstrate that during your last grant of leave, you’ve earned money in the UK linked to your expert field. There’s no specified minimum level of earning for this requirement; any verifiable evidence from an independent source is acceptable.