What is the Global Talent Visa?
The Global Talent Visa is open to applicants aged over 18 years of age who can demonstrate exceptional talent or promise in one of the following sectors: science, research, engineering, humanities, social science, medicine, architecture, digital technology, arts and culture, fashion, film and television.
The visa applies to those with existing exceptional talent, or those who have demonstrable promise and are likely to become future leaders in their chosen fields.
The UK Global Talent Visa replaced the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent Visa) and there have been a number of changes to the visa process. This includes more flexibility in the way the system is structured as well as removing the cap on applications.
The application is in two parts. First, the applicant must apply for endorsement from a relevant industry organisation. The second part is the application to enter or stay in the UK.
The visa can be used as part of the route towards settlement and British citizenship.
Who can apply for the Global Talent Visa?
The Global Talent Visa is a broad-ranging visa that allows highly talented individuals to come to the UK in order to make a contribution within their chosen industry.
As a points-based immigration category, it is essential to demonstrate that applicants meet the eligibility criteria.
It is necessary to score 70 points in order to be eligible. These points can be obtained through the following methods:
- You have been issued with an endorsement letter from an endorsing body
- The date of application is not longer than 3 months after the date on the endorsement letter
- The endorsement has not been withdrawn by the relevant body
Alternatively, applicants who are applying for a Global Talent Visa extension should demonstrate:
- They have not had their endorsement withdrawn
- They have met the ‘earned money’ requirement
In either case, meeting the above circumstances will enable the applicant to obtain the necessary 70 points.
What are the endorsement requirements?
Receiving an endorsement from an approved endorsing body is one of the most difficult elements of the Global Talent Visa application.
There are seven organisations eligible to provide endorsement to potential visa applicants. These include:
- Arts Council England (for applications within the arts, culture, fashion, film and television sectors)
- The British Academy (for humanities and social science applications)
- The Royal Academy of Engineering (for engineering applications)
- The Royal Society (for applications within the natural sciences or medical science research field)
- UK Research and Innovation (for broader science and research applications)
- Tech Nation (for applications within the digital technology sphere)
There is an associated fee involved in applying to the endorsing body (£456). Each endorsing body has different criteria. All applicants must apply on the Gov.uk website at the Apply for Global Talent Endorsement – Stage 1 page.
Before submitting an application for endorsement, it is essential to fully understand the requirements of each body and demonstrate how you meet these.
Because there is a wide range of categories eligible under this visa, it is not possible to list them all here. You should use the Global Talent guidance to find further information related to your individual circumstances.
As there are two parts to the Global Talent Visa, the documents you need to submit will depend on which part of the application you are completing.
For the first part, as it relates to the endorsement requirement, you should consult the relevant body to identify the documents they are looking for.
There are significant evidential requirements involved, including providing proof of industry track record, as well as letters of recommendation, potential awards, media recognition, sales (where relevant), publishing history, proof of significant career history, etc.
You should provide documents that demonstrate your talent or eligibility based on work completed by you in the past five years.
As part of the visa application, you should provide the following documents:
- Valid passport or travel document
- Clear tuberculosis test results (where relevant)
If you have been awarded an award or scholarship to study in the UK in the last year, you should obtain written permission from the agency or government that issued the award.
How to apply for the Global Talent Visa
How you apply will depend on whether you are inside or outside the UK.
If you are outside the UK, you must first obtain an endorsement to prove that you are a leader or potential leader in your field. This is an important step in the process and you cannot complete the visa application without this endorsement.
Ensure that you have all the relevant documents to submit with your application and that you are prepared to pay the relevant fees and surcharges.
Once you have completed the online application, you will be required to submit your biometric information. This could be at a visa application centre, or alternatively, via a smartphone app.
If you intend to bring eligible dependents, they will have to apply separately (using your application number).
Fees and waiting time
The cost of applying for the Global Talent Visa is £152. If you are submitting an application with a dependent partner or children, there is a charge of £608 for each person.
There is also an immigration healthcare surcharge involved with this visa, costing approximately £624 per year.
There is also a requirement to pay the endorsement application fee which currently costs £456.
According to the Home Office, the estimated waiting time to receive a decision on your application is three weeks, but this may take longer.
If you have a family member who needs to attend a visa application centre, if your supporting documents need to be verified, if you are required to attend an interview, or if you have a criminal conviction or other concerning circumstances, you will likely be waiting longer.
In some cases, you will be able to pay for a faster decision. When the decision is made, you will receive an official email or letter outlining further details and the next steps.
How to extend or switch to the Global Talent Visa
If you are eligible, you may be able to extend your visa. It is essential that your relevant endorsing body has not withdrawn its approval and that you can show you have earned money since you came to the UK.
If you applied under the previous Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa, you can apply to extend under the Global Talent Visa.
This visa is issued for five years and you can apply to renew it as many times as you wish. This visa can provide a route towards settlement and British citizenship.
After three or five years, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
Some categories of existing visa will allow you to switch to the Global Talent Visa. If you have a dependent partner or child, they will need to apply separately.
In order to switch to this category, you must be present in the UK and be able to prove that you are a leader or future leader in one of the relevant disciplines.
The fields are limited to academia or research, arts and culture, or digital technology.
If the following circumstances apply to your case, you cannot apply to switch to this visa:
- If you hold a visitor, short-term student, parent of a child student, season worker, or domestic worker in a private household visa
- If you are on immigration bail
- If you have permission to stay outside the immigration rules (e.g., on compassion leave)
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Proving your eligibility for the Global Talent Visa is dependent on a number of factors. You should satisfy one of the endorsing bodies that you have a proven track record in your industry, or alternatively, that you have the potential to become a leader in your field. If you obtain this endorsement, you may then submit a visa application for this category.
The evidence you provide will depend on the endorsing body. This could include letters of recommendation from industry experts, employment contracts, evidence of your work with a business, media recognition, awards or other endorsements.
There is no minimum English language level requirement for this visa. Similarly, when extending the visa, it is not necessary to show proficiency in the English language.
However, if the applicant intends to apply for indefinite leave to remain, there is a requirement to hold a certain standard of English language skills.
If granted, it is possible to stay in the UK for between one and five years. The advantage of the Global Talent Visa is that it can be renewed multiple times.