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Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

For high-achievers in the fields of science, arts, engineering, architecture, digital technology and others.

It also covers those who aren’t experienced yet but show exceptional promise. This visa allows to work in the UK or set up a business, It also leads to settlement after 3 or 5 years. This category can be an answer to a pressing question of Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer migrants on how they could achieve a permanent residency status in the UK.

Every initial application must be endorsed by a ‘designated competent body’. There is a limit of 2,000 endorsements per UK financial year. It is usually divided in 2 parts, some are given in the 1st half of UK tax year and the other half in the next half. Endorsements can be from the following designated bodies: Royal Society, Arts Council England, British Academy and Royal Academy of Engineering, Tech Nation.

Initial applications have 2 stages: endorsement by a Designated Competent Body as above and then a visa application based on that endorsement.

Each designated body has its own criteria for endorsement and evidence they require. They are the ones you need to ’impress’ with your talent or promise. UK Government visa officers cannot judge whether a migrant is distinguished in the field of, say, engineering or film, or fashion design. They rely on a designated body to do so.

If endorsement is granted (based on the talent but also within the allocated limit), it will be either Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise.

Once you have an endorsement, you have to apply for a visa within 3 months. You can apply from outside the UK or can switch inside the UK from permitted categories, such as Tier 2. This can be useful if you are keen to change from Tier 2 ICT (which doesn’t lead to ILR), especially IT workers who may secure endorsement from Tech Nation. Those on Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) can also switch if they obtain a relevant endorsement.

The visa can be granted from 1 to 5 years, as requested by the applicant.

Extensions have only 1 stage: applying for a visa. You have to show some work or business experience in your field, as per the initial endorsement. You don’t need another endorsement.

Duration of extension can be again from 1 to 5 years, as requested by the applicant. You may not need an extension, though, if you requested a visa for 3 – 5 years from the beginning.

If you were granted this visa based on endorsement of the Exceptional Talent type, you can qualify for ILR after 3 years in the UK. The 3 years can be in this category or can even be combined with some other categories, such as Tier 2 General (but not ICT).

If you were granted this visa based on endorsement of the Exceptional Promise type, you can qualify for ILR after 5 years in the UK.  ‘Your’ 5 years can be in this category or can be combined with some other categories, such as Tier 2 General (but not ICT). If you happened to have lived in the UK legally for 10 years – on any visas – you could qualify for ILR 10 years residence, we have a section on it here.

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