Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa in the UK

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category of the Points Based System is directed towards individuals who are endorsed (i.e.recognised) in such fields as: science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts as:

  • An emerging leader (exceptional promise)
  • A recognised leader (exceptional talent)

The process of this type of visa is divided into two stages. Endorsement and the visa application. An endorsement must be obtained from the Home Office before an applicant can apply for a visa application. As mentioned before it is possible to choose from different fields depending on your skills.

After obtaining the endorsement from one of the endorsing bodies as a leader or an emerging leader in a particular field it is possible to apply for the visa itself.

However, the applications are limited to certain amounts depending on the sector you are skilled in.

FAQ – Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa

Can a person apply if he or she is not an exceptional talent

Yes, it is possible to apply for this visa even if the Home Office does not recognise a person as an exceptional talent. However, there must be evidence that an individual is an “emerging talent” (i.e. will be a leader in the near future).

Do I need to show any specific funds

No, there are no specific funds you must hold in your account. However, it is expected that there will be enough funds for maintenance.

Do I need to prove my English language skills

No, for the initial application and the extension you do not need to prove your language skills.

Can I apply for British citizenship

Yes, granted that person first obtains settlement (ILR) after 5 years of residence and lives in the UK for an additional 12 months.

Are dependents allowed under this route

Yes, children under 18 along with spouses (includes unmarried partners) can apply as dependents.

Where can I work with this visa

Under this visa employment, self-employment and starting a business is allowed (some minor conditions apply). There is no need to inform the Home Office of employment changes.

How long can I stay in the UK

Initial applications grant a visa for 3 years and 4 months. (if applied inside the UK the grant is for 3 years only). Extensions are possible for an additional 2 years (up to 5 years).

Are there any restrictions on this visa

There is no access to public funds and employment as a doctor or a dentist trainee and as a sportsperson is not allowed.

Is switching allowed in this category

It is possible to switch into this visa from another Tier 1 category, Tier 2 (except ICT) and Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) on an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers.

How to identify which field to be endorsed by

There are currently five categories: science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology and arts. Each category has its own requirements for people who have experience or skills in the mentioned categories.

Are there any requirements for extension

Yes, the main requirement is that the endorsing body has not withdrawn your endorsement.

Is there a limit to these visas

Yes, the current yearly limit is 1,000 applicants. This number is shared between each endorsing body. However, the limit has never been reached.

What business can I start

Your business should be connected to your category where you are reflected as a leader. If this is not followed there is a risk the endorsement could be removed.

My visa application was refused what can I do

Unfortunately, under this category there are no rights to an appeal. However, it is possible to launch an administrative review.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa

The visa is aimed at non-European citizens who are considered to have “exceptional talent” and are known as world leaders in a particular field. An application will require 75 points of the Points Based System for a successful application.

To obtain these points a person will need to receive an endorsement from a designated competent body. These “bodies” are controlled by the UK government and they are able to identify if an applicant can be classified as a world leader in a particular field.

There currently are no specifically mentioned English or maintenance requirements however, coming to the UK with an empty bank account may result in a refusal.

Upon a successful application, a visa is granted for 3 years under this category and the it is possible to extend for an additional 2 years.

Visa limitations

Under this visa a person can:

  • Work for an employer, as a director of a company or be self-employed
  • Change jobs without informing the Home Office
  • Do voluntary work
  • Travel abroad and return to the UK
  • Bring family members with you

Under this visa a person cannot:

  • Get public funds
  • Works as a doctor or dentist in training
  • Work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach


As mentioned before a person must be endorsed as a leader in one of the following categories:

  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Humanities
  • Medicine
  • Digital technology
  • The arts

The endorsement decision is reached within 8 weeks. It is possible to receive a faster decision for those who are applying within the digital technology route and one of the following applies:

  • Work or set up a company in certain cities in northern England
  • Have certain technical or business skills
  • Have a team of 5 or more people relocating to the UK

After obtaining an endorsement a letter will be sent with the necessary references to be used in the application itself


Extensions for the Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa are available if:

  • The organisation that endorsed you has not withdrawn their approval
  • Evidence can be provided that documents are provided in regard to the current field of expertise

The extension itself can be granted for an additional 2 years (possible to extend up to 5).


To apply for settlement, residence in the UK must have been at least for 5 years. Although it is possible to apply with less than 5 years which would include previously granted visas, such as Tier 1 Migrant (excluding Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur or Tier 1 Post-Study Work), or Tier 2 (excluding Tier 2 ICT holders).

Applicants must have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK, if this limit has been breached then it will no longer qualify.

An applicant will also need to pass an English language test, accepted evidence is:

  • A degree from a UK university (i.e. Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD)
  • IELTS test at B1 level

Our Approach to UK Visas

  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Step 4
  • Step 5
  • Initial Consultation
  • Document Collection
  • Document review
  • Finalisation of Immigration Matter
  • Home Office Decision