TIER 1 (Exceptional Talent)

From 9 August  2011 a new route for exceptionally talented migrants in the fields of science, arts and humanities who wish to work and eventually settle in the UK came into force.

The applicant has to show the international recognition as one of the world leaders in his field. The Art Council can also endorse applicants with exceptional promise.

Limit on Exceptional talent applications

The UK government has limited the number of applications that can be made under Tier 1 (Exceptional talent).

Every initial application must be endorsed by a 'designated competent body'.

There is a limit of 1,000 endorsements each year between 6 April and 5 April.
The endorsements will be assigned to the designated competent bodies in 2 phases: 500 will be available from 6 April to 30 September, and the second 500 from 1 October to 5 April.

Initial application

Applicants are required to score 75 points in total to successfully apply for this visa.

The points are awarded to those who are endorsed by a designated Competent Body, expert within these fields.

The endorsement should be dated no earlier than 3 months prior to application.

The role of the Competent Body is to vouch to the Home Office that in their opinion the migrant is exceptionally talented. There is no single definition of “exceptional talent” and each such Competent Body set its own criteria to select those who will qualify for endorsement as well as sets out its procedures for receiving and processing requests for endorsements.

At present there are four Competent 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

Tech City UK - for digital technology sector applications.

Eligibility and Assessment Criteria of Arts Council The British Academy, The Royal Society and The Royal Academy of Engineering and Tech City UK are given here

The Arts Council now endorses applicants with exceptional promise.

The Exceptional Talent visa is available to those applying from outside the UK. You are allowed to apply in the UK if you are here with permission to stay as a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Migrant, a Tier 2 (General) Migrant, or a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Migrant, sponsored in the Government Authorised Exchange sub-category in an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent migrants cannot switch into another category within the UK.

There are no English language or maintenance requirements for initial application under this category.


Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) migrants will be able to invite their spouse / unmarried partner / civil partner and children under 18 years of age to join them as dependants. The dependants will be given full rights to work in the UK apart from working as a Trainee Doctor. Dependants can now apply from within the UK, as long as they are not here illegally, as visitors, or on temporary admission or temporary release.

Duration of visa and settlement

First time applicants will be given 5 years and 4 months visa. 

Extension Application

Applicants are required to score 85 points in total to successfully apply for extension.

  • The applicant is economically active in their expert field as previously endorsed by a Designated Competent Body, in employment or self-employment or both; and that Designated Competent Body has not withdrawn its endorsement of the applicant – 75 points
  • Evidence to prove that the applicant speaks English to the required standard (B1) or above (please refer to the list of the Approved English Tests)– 10 points

What services can we offer?

  • We can advise on the procedure, requirements and merits of making an application to the Home Office /a British Diplomatic post.
  • We can advise and represent our clients in making representations in support of their immigration matters.
  • We can advise and represent our clients’ dependant s to seek dependant visas in line with the visa of the main applicant.
  • We can offer a Super Premium Service where the Home Office will visit the applicants in order to process the applications within 24 hours (for further leave to remain only).
  • We can lodge an appeal (in-country only) or make a request for an administrative review if the applicant`s entry clearance application is turned down for some reason.
  • We can advise in making permanent residence (ILR) applications for those who have already completed their five years residence period in the UK.

Whatever the case, we are here to help, assist, advise and represent our clients in relation to any aspect of the immigration matters of our clients.

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