The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa is a popular visa route for highly skilled individuals in particular fields (approved by the Home Office, see below), who will benefit their chosen field in the United Kingdom. One of the designated fields Applicants can apply under is Digital Technology under Tech Nation. The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa is broken down in two parts and Applicants must ensure they first secure a valid endorsement from an appropriate governing body and then apply for to the Home Office for a visa.
Requirements for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa – Digital Technology
The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa comprises of two stages. The first stage involves Applicants applying for an endorsement from a Home Office approved governing body. For example, Applicant’s applying under the Digital Technology category must submit an application to Tech Nation (formerly known as Tech City). The governing body will assess the application in accordance with the Immigration Rules and Home Office Policy Guidance. The primary reason why the Home Office has entrusted the endorsement application to the appropriate governing bodies is that the governing bodies are best in place to review these applications as they are market leaders in their respective sectors. Every designated competent governing body will have its own endorsement criteria. Generally, Applicants will be required to demonstrate that they have the potential to make significant contributions in their chosen field of expertise or demonstrate that they have contributed as a market leader. In order to be granted an endorsement Applicants must be able to meet the following criteria:
- Applicants must be established/recognised as world leaders or be recognised as emerging leaders in their chosen field;
- Applicants must be internationally recognised for their skills and they must have professional standing in their chosen field; and
- Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have the necessary business and technical skills to positively contribute to their chosen field.
Applicants can only move onto the second stage of their application once they have received their endorsement letter from their Designated Competent Body. The second stage consists of Applicants applying for a visa to the UK Visas and Immigration department of the Home Office.
What are the Designated Competent Bodies for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa application?
As mentioned above, there are two stages to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent application. In order to apply for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, Applicants must first be endorsed by the relevant Designated Competent Body who will assess whether the Applicant possesses the skills, abilities and achievements that demonstrate they are a leader (for exceptional talent applications) or an emerging leader (for exceptional promise applications) in their field. Applicants must be endorsed by one of the five bodies:
- Arts Council England– for arts and culture applications;
- The British Academy– for humanities and social science applications;
- The Royal Society– for natural sciences and medical science research applications;
- The Royal Academy of Engineering– for engineering applications; and
- Tech Nation UK– for digital technology applications.
The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa is subject to a limit of 1,000 endorsements in total per year. Applicants must apply online for their endorsement.
Can I switch into a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa?
You can apply to switch into a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa if you are already in the United Kingdom with leave as a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 5 (Temporary worker – Government Authorised Exchange) on an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers) migrant. However, if you are in the United Kingdom on a visitor visa or any other visa you will have to apply for entry clearance.
How long does it take to be endorsed for my Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa application?
The standard processing times for the designated competent governing bodies is 8 weeks but it can take longer depending on the quality of the application. You may get a faster decision if you’re a digital technology specialist and you meet the requirements for an expedited decision.
How long can I stay in the UK on a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa?
Applicants can stay in the United Kingdom for up to:
- 5 years and 4 months if the application submitted from outside the United Kingdom; or
- 5 years if the application is submitted within the United Kingdom.
Applicants can choose how long they want to apply for, up to the maximum time allowed. Applicants only have to pay the healthcare surcharge for the amount of time they have chosen to stay. You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 5 years. Applicants can apply for settlement once they have been in the United Kingdom for:
- 3 years with an exceptional talent visa; or
- 5 years with an exceptional promise visa
Top 3 key considerations in Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa applications
The designated competent governing body will consider the following three points when assessing an endorsement application:
- There has to be sufficient/strong evidence of recognition for work as a leading talent or emerging leader;
- There must be evidence of independent recognition and not someone from within your current occupation i.e. awards or international recognition in magazines or journals; and
- The content in the letters of recommendation submitted with the application. The letters should tackle the exact points the Home Office are looking for.
Using Legal Representation to Prepare a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa Application
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct immigration and visa legal representative to submit a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa application.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa application meets the requirements.
Successful Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa Applications
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your Tier 1 Exceptional Talent application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to a successful Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa application. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.