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.
The route is proving to be extremely popular, with record numbers of Global Talent visas issued in the third quarter of 2021. In this guide, we explain the requirements for eligibility and how to make an application to the Home Office for a Global Talent visa.
What is the 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.
Who is eligible for the Global Talent category?
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:
- Digital technology
- Arts and culture, including film and television, fashion design and architecture
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.
Applying for a Global Talent visa?
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.
How do you get endorsed for the Global Talent visa?
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:
- UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
- Royal Society
- The British Academy
- The Royal Academy of Engineering
- Tech Nation
- Arts Council England
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:
- Exceptional Talent criteria: to assess individuals who can evidence they have already made a significant contribution as a leader to their field.
- Exceptional Promise criteria: for applicants at an early stage in their careers who have shown the potential for being a future leader and making significant contributions in their field.
There are four routes to endorsement under the Global Talent category applicable to different roles:
- Peer review – endorsement of applications by The British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering or The Royal Society.
- Senior appointments – endorsement for applicants with a job offer as a professor, associate professor, reader, senior group leader or equivalent at any UK higher education institution or eligible research institute, by the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and The Royal Society.
- Fellowships – endorsement for those with an individual fellowship (either current or held within the last 12 months), on the list approved by The British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society.
- Endorsed funders – a new visa route for researchers who make critical contributions to work supported by grant funding from a recognised funder. Qualifying applicants will be fast tracked to the Home Office visa application stage with minimal evidential requirements, where they meet the individual eligibility criteria. UKRI will be responsible for assessing endorsed funded applications.
Appendix Global Talent Prestigious Prizes
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.
How to apply for a Global Talent visa
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:
- Start Up
- Tier 1
- Skilled worker, Tier 2
- Tier 5
- Student, Tier 4, with the exception of Short Term Student Visa
Global Talent visa requirements
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.
|Application type||Global Talent visa: 70 points|
|Global talent visa application||
|Global talent visa extension application||
Global Talent visa supporting documents
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.
How much is the Global Talent visa application fee?
It costs £608 for the Global Talent Visa application.
For endorsement applicants, this is payable in two parts: £456 when you apply for endorsement and £152 when you apply for the visa.
If applying on the basis of an eligible award, the full £608 is payable when you make the visa application.
It costs an additional £608 for each dependants applying for a visa.
An automatic discount of £55 will be applied to your visa application fee if you are a national of one of the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.
Dependants are not eligible for the discounted rate, this is only available to the primary visa holder.
Applications will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, of £624 per year for adults, and £470 per year for children. The full amount needs to be paid when applying.
Global Talent visa processing times
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 can take around a month while applications from within the UK usually take longer at around 8-10 weeks. However, it’s important to note that application processing has yet to return to pre-COVID levels, and applicants should take professional advice as to current Global Talent visa processing times when making their application, and as to whether priority processing is available.
How long does the Global Talent visa last?
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.
Can you extend the Global Talent visa?
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.
Switching from Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
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.
Does the Global Talent visa lead to settlement?
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|
To be eligible for ILR, you will need to meet all of the ILR requirements.
This means you will, for example, need to show you have been earning money from work linked to your endorsement field during your stay in the UK.
You will also need to meet the English language requirement as part of your ILR application.
In a significant concession, 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.
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.
Global Talent Visa FAQs
When can you apply for the Global Talent visa?
Applicants can make Global Talent applications from 20th February 2020.
How long do Global Talent visa applications take?
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. The Home Office expects visa processing for applications made outside the UK to take up to three weeks.
Can you bring dependants under the Global Talent category?
Global Talent applicants will be permitted to bring dependants who qualify under the UK immigration rules.
Do I need job to be eligible for the Global Talent visa?
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.
Last updated: 25 November 2021