The UK Global Talent visa is an unsponsored work route for workers operating in certain professional fields. We provide specialist Home Office application support.
The UK’s Global Talent visa is for individuals at both the established and early stages of the career spectrum in fields such as science, engineering, technology, art and humanities to come to the UK, without the need for a job offer.
As a more flexible immigration option than other UK work visas, it does not require sponsorship by an employer and does not place restrictions on the type of work you can do within your field.
The Global Talent visa also offers fast-tracked settlement in the UK for eligible individuals. If you meet the criteria as a talented individual, you may be eligible for UK settlement after 3 years. If you are considered a promising talent, you may be eligible after 5 years. With settlement, you are on the path to naturalise as a British citizen.
In this guide, we explain the requirements for eligibility and how to make an application to the Home Office for a Global Talent visa.
Replacing the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa in 2020, the Global Talent route was designed to attract talented and promising professionals in the fields of science, digital technology and arts and culture to work in the UK.
Applicants must meet a number of eligibility requirements, and in most cases will need to be endorsed, unless you have an award from any of the Home Office’s eligible prize lists, in which case you are exempt from the endorsement requirement and can apply for the visa straightaway.
Global Talent visa holders do not have to find a job to be eligible, and you have the option to take up paid employment, to work for yourself as self-employed or to become a director of a company, although any work should be within the field for which you have been endorsed. Studying is also permitted, subject to the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) conditions.
There is no minimum salary threshold or English language test for the Global Talent route, although the endorsing body may impose its own language requirement.
If you are employed and then subsequently change employers or jobs, you will not need to notify the Home Office (unlike under the skilled worker visa).
Qualifying dependants can accompany Global Talent participants, and it is possible to apply from within the UK by switching from other UK visa categories.
It is also a relatively flexible route for visa holders. Applicants can apply for visas of between one year and five years, in full-year increments. This means that while it is possible to apply to extend the visa, in most cases the individual will become eligible for UK indefinite leave to remain after a single period of leave, ie after 3 years if exceptional talent, and after 5 years if a promising talent.
For employers, the Global Talent route offers a flexible and less onerous alternative to hiring under the Skilled Worker Visa, since the Global Talent route does not require sponsorship by an employer and organisations hiring individuals under the Global Talent route will not have to pay the costs associated with sponsoring workers such as the Immigration Skills Charge.
The Global Talent route is open both to established talent – individuals who can demonstrate they are already leaders in their respective field – as well as applicants showing ‘promise’ and potential to become leaders in their field.
Professionals will be able to apply from fields including:
Global Talent visa applicants must first obtain endorsement from one of six Home Office-approved endorsing bodies, before making the visa application, unless they have been awarded a prestigious prize, as listed in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes, which is considered as showing exceptional talent and therefore endorsement does not need to be sought.
For most applicants, the application process for the Global Talent visa is in two stages. Without a prize as listed in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes, first, you apply to be endorsed by an approved body. Only with endorsement can you proceed to apply for the actual visa from the Home Office.
The endorsing bodies are charged with assessing applications from individuals within their respective professional fields, and developing and applying sector-specific criteria and evidential requirements for applications. The relevant endorsing bodies will then make an endorsement decision based on your profile and the evidence you provide.
The six Global Talent visa endorsing bodies are:
This list of endorsing bodies is subject to ongoing review.
Each body has its own endorsement criteria and process, based in large on the following:
There are four routes to endorsement under the Global Talent category applicable to different roles:
Global Talent visa requirements: digital technology
Within the digital technology sector, Tech Nation is the appointed endorsing body, at least until 31 March 2023. Tech Nation announced it is closing on 31 March 2023, and details of the impact of the closure on visa endorsements have yet to be confirmed. We will update this guidance once this information has been made available.
Under current rules, there is no restriction on the number of Global Talent visas that can be issued to eligible applicants within this sector and endorsement by Tech Nation in the field of Digital Technology must either be:
Tech Nation requires proof to qualify for endorsement. For example, you should provide a CV that details your work and publishing history, as well as three letters of recommendation with your application to Tech Nation for a Digital Technology endorsement.
The letters of recommendation must come from three different, reputable organisations that are recognised as authorities in the field of digital technology. They must demonstrate how the author knows you, your successes in your profession, how the author feels that you show remarkable potential or promise and the impact you will make to the UK digital economy.
Global Talent visa requirements: film & television
Talented people in the areas of cinema and television who want to work in the UK may be eligible under the Global Talent visa route. The number of candidates who can be endorsed under the Global Talent route’s Film and Television subcategory is unlimited.
The Producers’ Alliance for Film and Television (PACT) will assess applicants’ eligibility for endorsement in the film, television, animation, post-production, and visual effects sectors on behalf of Arts Council England. Those who work in the animation, post-production, visual effects, and film sectors, however, will need to exhibit “extraordinary skill.” PACT does not support applications with “great promise.”
Global Talent visa requirements: architecture
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) (on behalf of Arts Council England), will determine whether applicants are industry leaders or have the potential to be leaders in their fields.
The number of candidates that can be supported under the Global Talent route’s Architecture subcategory has no cap.
To be endorsed by the Royal Institute of British Architects you will need to be professionally employed as an architect generating work of excellent quality which has been published, presented or exhibited abroad.
You must have been regularly engaged as a professional architect in the last 5 years and be able to show a substantial track record in more than one country (if applying under Exceptional Talent criteria) or a developing track record in one or more countries if applying under Exceptional Promise criteria.
Global Talent visa requirements: science, engineering, humanities & medicine
There is no limit to the number of candidates who can be endorsed under the Global Talent route’s subcategory of Science, Engineering, Humanities, and Medicine.
The Royal Society (for applications in natural and medical sciences), the Royal Academy of Engineering (for applications in engineering), the British Academy (for applications in humanities and social sciences), or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will determine whether applicants are leaders in their fields or have the potential to be leaders for science and research applications.
Whether you are applying under the Fast Track or Full Peer Review criteria will determine what requirements you must fulfil for endorsement.
Global Talent visa requirements: arts & culture
Applications in the fields of combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre, and visual arts are assessed by Arts Council England, including those working in an artistic context in galleries and museums. Applicants must be industry leaders or have the potential to be leaders.
There is no restriction on the number of candidates who can be supported under the Global Talent route’s Arts and Culture subcategory.
You must be professionally creating work of exceptional quality that has been performed, presented, distributed, or exhibited abroad in order to be eligible for an Arts and Culture endorsement from Arts Council England.
If you are applying on the basis of exceptional talent, you must have consistently worked as a professional practitioner in your area for the last five years and be able to demonstrate a significant track record in more than one nation or a developing track record in one or more countries if applying on the basis of Exceptional Promise.
Global Talent visa requirements: fashion
The British Fashion Council (BFC), on behalf of Arts Council England, will consider whether applicants are leaders in their fields currently or have the potential to become leaders.
The British Fashion Council can endorse applications from people working in the fashion design sector who play key roles in the industry.
The number of candidates that can be endorsed under the Global Talent route’s fashion sector subcategory is unlimited.
Following a change to the rules in March 2021, Global Talent applicants who hold one of the stated prestigious prizes are eligible to apply for a Global Talent visa without the need to obtain an endorsement. These prizes have been identified by the Global Talent endorsing bodies as demonstrating exceptional talent.
Global Talent applications are also open to individuals who hold one of the prestigious prizes as listed in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes of the Immigration Rules. These prizes have been identified by the Global Talent endorsing bodies as demonstrating exceptional talent.
If you are the named recipient of one of the qualifying prestigious prize, you would be eligible to apply for a Global Talent visa without the need to obtain endorsement.
This means you benefit from a fast-tracked application process as you are exempt from having to secure endorsement and can proceed straight to the visa application stage.
There are no stipulations as to when you must have received the prize. This means you could rely on a prize that is recent or was awarded several years ago, provided your award has not since been withdrawn.
It is possible to apply for your visa before securing endorsement, however, should your endorsement not be approved, your visa application will also be refused.
If you have successfully been endorsed, you will receive an email from the Home Office with a copy of the endorsement letter, at which point you have three months to make your visa application.
If your application is refused, you may be able to request an endorsement review.
Global Talent visa applications can be made from either within the UK or outside.
If you are outside the UK, you can apply for ‘entry clearance’ at the nearest visa appointment centre in your country of residence.
If you are in the UK, you can apply online to switch to the Global Talent visa if you currently hold lawful status under any of the following visa categories:
The endorsement application has to satisfy the validity requirements. This includes ensuring you complete the correct application form(s), pay the correct endorsement fee and endorsement must have been secured from the relevant body in the relevant professional field.
You then need to ensure the visa application is also valid. You will need to use the correct form, pay all relevant fees including the Immigration Health Charge, submit any required biometrics, submit all required supporting documentation including the endorsement letter by a Home Office approved endorsing body.
To be granted a Global Talent visa, you have to meet the suitability requirements, and not be liable for grounds for refusal by being in breach of immigration laws or on immigration bail.
You will also have to show you meet the eligibility requirements, i.e. you will either already be internationally recognised at the highest level as a leader in your particular field or have already demonstrated exceptional promise and are likely to become leaders in their particular field.
Finally, you will have to prove you have attained the required 70 points.
Global Talent visa: 70 points
|Global talent visa application|
|Global talent visa extension application|
As part of your visa application to the Home Office, you will need to submit your current passport or other valid travel documentation, your endorsement letter and if applicable the result of your tuberculosis test.
To apply for the Global Talent visa from either overseas or in the UK, it costs £623.
Applicants applying based on endorsement will pay this in two parts: £456 when applying for endorsement, and £167 when applying to the Home Office for the visa.
Applicants applying based on a prestigious award have to pay the full £623 with their visa application.
Dependant applications also cost £623 each.
Applicants will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge for each year of leave. The full amount needs to be paid when applying.
The endorsement stage typically takes a month, although digital technology applicants may be able to apply to have their endorsement fast-tracked.
Visa processing times vary depending on where you are applying from. If you are applying from outside the UK, processing currently takes 3 months or more (at the time of writing), while applications from within the UK usually take 3 months.
Further flexibility is offered to applicants in respect of the duration of their grant of leave. Global Talent applicants can choose to apply for leave in whole year increments of up to five years. The benefit to applicants is that they will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge only for the period of leave they require, eg three years as opposed to five years.
It is possible to apply to extend your visa, provided you have retained endorsement. If endorsement has been withdrawn, you will be required to make a completely new application.
Existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent leave holders will be able to apply to extend their visa under the Global Talent category.
Tier 1 Exceptional talent holders will be able to apply for UK settlement without having to switch to the Global Talent category. No deadline has been specified for settlement applications to be made.
Global Talent visa holders can become eligible to apply for UK settlement after either 3 or 5 years:
Global talent visa
Settlement qualifying period
|Applicants endorsed by the endorsing bodies responsible for science, engineering, humanities and medicine granted under “promise” criteria, “talent” criteria or the new endorsed funder option.||Eligible for UK settlement after 3 years|
|Digital technology and arts and culture applicants under “promise” criteria||Eligible for UK settlement after 5 years|
A further advantage of the Global Talent visa over other work visa categories is that time spent in the UK under certain other immigration categories can count towards your residence requirement for ILR.
If you have been in the UK with lawful status under any of the following visas, you are able to include that period of leave within your qualifying residence:
Allowable absences when applying for ILR
The general rule when applying for UK ILR is that you cannot have spent more than 180 days outside the UK within any 12 months during the period of qualifying residence. However, if you have a Global Talent visa, time you’ve spent outside the UK doing work related to your job may not count towards this 180-day limit. This rule applies if you were endorsed by the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, British Academy or UK Research and Innovation. It also applies if you did not need an endorsement for your visa because you had won an eligible award in the fields of science, engineering, humanities or medicine.
Researchers endorsed by the endorsing bodies responsible for science, engineering, humanities and medicine who spend time outside of the UK for research purposes will not be penalised in their settlement application for absences from the UK directly relating to their field of expertise.
Once endorsed, Global Talent visa holders would usually not need to reapply for endorsement as part of an extension or settlement application, provided the endorsement has not been withdrawn.
Yes, Global Talent visa holders can become eligible to apply for UK ILR, provided they meet all of the ILR requirements. You will not need to provide evidence of continued endorsement as part of your ILR application.
This means you will, for example, need to show you meet the residence requirement and that you have been earning money from work linked to your endorsement field during your stay in the UK. This does not mean you have to have been employed during your visa period; you will need to show you have earned money during this period but this could have been through self-employment. You also do not necessarily have to have worked for the full period of leave. You just need to show that you have earned money during this time.
Given the diversity of professions, work and working arrangements thay Global Talent visa holders are allowed to undertake, the Home Office guidance allows considerable flexibility as to the supportng documentation required to prove earnings.
The guidance states “Applicants can provide any evidence as long as it is from an independent source which can be verified if required. The Global Talent website guidance gives a list of potential forms of evidence they may choose to provide, but this is not exhaustive.” Taking professional advice will help ensure you are submitting sufficient supporting evidence for your specific circumstances.
Knowledge of Life & Language
As there is no language requirement under the Global Talent route, you will need to meet the English language requirement as part of your ILR application. The required standard is speaking and listening to at least level B1 under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
To prove your language ability, you must have either:
In addition, you will have to pass the Life in the UK test if you are aged between 18 and 64.
The Global Talent visa is a highly attractive route for workers with exceptional talent. If you are considering making an application, speak to our immigration lawyers to discuss your eligibility and discuss your application.
If applying from inside the UK, you should get a decision within 3 weeks of submitting your documentation. If you are applying from outside the UK, processing is currently taking longer than the 3 week standard.
Once endorsed, applicants have three months to apply to the Home Office for permission to enter the UK or remain under a new grant of leave.
Global Talent applicants will be permitted to bring dependants who qualify under the UK immigration rules.
You do not necessarily need a job or to be sponsored by an employer to qualify for the Global Talent visa. You will, however, need to meet the criteria of the endorsing body relevant to your professional field to demonstrate your exceptional talent or promise.
The Global Talent visa opened in February 2020 as part of the UK Government's drive to attract global best talent to Britain.
Yes, with a Global Talent visa, you can work in the UK in the fields of arts, sciences or digital technology without having to be sponsored by an employers.