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Tech Nation Visa

The Tech Nation Visa, also known as the Global Talent visa, Tier 1 visa or Exceptional Talent visa, allows Nigerians with a background in the technology sector to live and work in the UK for up to five years.

If you would like to apply for a Tech Nation visa or simply want to learn if this type of visa is suitable for you, contact IAS today, online or on +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929. You can also visit us at our office in Lagos, Nigeria.

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    Need Advice or Assistance with Obtaining a Tech Nation Visa?

    We are a team of qualified lawyers with lots of experience in guiding Nigerian citizens through each stage of the Tech Nation visa application. Get in touch today and let us handle all the complexities and make your application process as stress-free as possible.

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    Eligibility

    You do not need the offer of a job from a UK-based employer to be eligible for a Tech Nation visa and there are no language or minimum salary eligibility requirements.

    However, to be eligible for this type of visa, you must be recognised as either an exceptional talent or have what is considered exceptional promise in a tech-related field.

    In particular, to be eligible for a Tech Nation visa, you will have to show that you have a background in:

    • Technology: for example, you will have a history of working as a software developer, engineer or data scientist
    • Business: for example, you can show that you have a background in the commercial, investment or digital enterprise sectors

    If you can prove that you have won a technology-related award in Nigeria that is recognised by the British Home Office, you will not need to meet the eligibility criteria outlined above and can apply for the visa directly on the Home Office website.

    Exceptional Talent

    If you have worked in the tech sector for the past five or more years and can show that you have a proven track record in your particular field, this pathway to a Tech Nation visa is the one for you.

    To be considered an exceptional talent, you must:

    • Have been recognised with a reputable industry award(s).
    • Have been invited to speak at high-profile tech events
    • Have featured in well-known publications, both online and in print
    • Have published open-source computer code to a reputable platform

    Exceptional Potential

    If you have just embarked on your tech career (i.e. you have worked in the field for less than five years) and can demonstrate that you have a strong academic record or you have been involved in important work in the tech sector, either in your own company or as an employee, you should pursue this pathway when applying for a Tech Nation visa.

    To be eligible for a Tech Nation visa using this pathway, you must:

    • Demonstrate your potential to be a future leader in the tech sector
    • Demonstrate your strong contribution to the digital or technology field
    • Have three senior stakeholders who work in product-led digital tech who are willing to provide you with letters of recommendation

    Benefits

    The Tech Nation visa allows Nigerian nationals to live and work in the UK for up to five years.

    In addition, as a Tech Nation visa holder, you can:

    • Be an employee, self-employed or the director of a company
    • Change or quit your job without informing the Home Office
    • Bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they meet certain eligibility criteria
    • Freely travel overseas and return to the UK

    If you wish to stay in the UK beyond the date of your visa’s expiry you can renew your visa as many times as you like.

    However, you’ll have to meet the eligibility criteria set out by the Home Office for extending your stay in the UK.

    Permanent Settlement

    One of the major benefits of the Tech Nation visa is that it allows you to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) after:

    • Three years if you’re applying as a leader.
    • Five years if you’re applying as a potential leader.

    How to Apply

    The Tech Nation visa application process is a two-stage one. The two stages are:

    • Stage one: endorsement application
    • Stage two: visa application

    However, it should be noted that you will not need to obtain an endorsement if you can show that you are the recipient of a recognised technology award.

    In this case, you can bypass the endorsement stage and apply directly for the Tech Nation visa on the Home Office website.

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      Stage One: The Endorsement

      The endorsement application process allows you to prove that you are a leader or potential leader in the technology sector in Nigeria.

      You will need to submit two applications as part of the endorsement process: one to the company Tech Nation and another to the UK Home Office.

      At the time you apply for your Home Office endorsement, you will have to pay a fee of £456.

      As part of your endorsement application to Tech Nation, you will have to submit a series of documents (see next section).

      Required Documents

      Overview

      Your endorsement application form should be submitted on the Tech Nation website and must be accompanied by the following documents:

      • A personal statement (maximum 1000 words in length), which has been written by you and which explains how you can contribute to the UK’s digital technology sector. Your CV with any career and publication history indicated. It must be typed up and can be up to three sides of A4 paper in length.
      • Three letters of recommendation from well-established individuals who are acknowledged as experts in the digital technology field. These individuals must have first-hand knowledge of your work over a minimum of 12 months.
      • Proof of your connection to a technology business if you’ve been a founder or senior executive in the last five years.
      • At least two unique documents that demonstrate that you are recognised as either a leading talent or potential talent in the tech sector.
      • At least four unique documents that show that you have any two of the other necessary skills outlined in the eligibility criteria. You cannot use the same piece of evidence for more than one criterion.

      Tech Nation will assess your application in around eight weeks. However, if your application falls into the category ‘Fast Track’, you may receive an endorsement decision in three weeks.

      Applicants can only move on to stage two once they have completed stage one.

      The Recommendation Letter

      Each person who writes a recommendation letter for you must submit it in typed form and the individual providing the recommendation must:

      • Be a senior member of their company or organisation
      • Be familiar with your work (typically have worked with you for at least 12 months)

      Each recommendation letter must also:

      • Be about your Tech Nation visa application: you cannot use a letter that was written for another reason
      • Explain how the individual knows the applicant and clearly state the relationship with the applicant
      • Outline the applicant’s achievements in a relevant field
      • Explain how the individual considers the applicant to possess exceptional talent or promise in the tech or a related sector
      • Explain how the applicant can be expected to make a significant contribution to the UK’s digital economy

      In addition, the recommendation letter must be:

      • Up to three single sides of A4 paper, which doesn’t include an outline of the recommender’s credentials and contact information.
      • Be signed by the individual or by someone on behalf of the company or organisation that is providing the recommendation letter.
      • Include a telephone number, email address and the organisation’s logo and registered address
      • Be accompanied by the individual’s CV or other proof of the individual’s credentials and qualifications.

      Duplicates & Templates

      Recommendation letters that are considered to be duplicates or templates or closely match the contents of evidence submitted by another applicant to the Tech Nation endorsement scheme, may be considered fraudulent and rejected.

      Deadline

      You must submit your endorsement application to Tech Nation no more than 15 working days after you have submitted your Home Office endorsement application.

      Failure to file your endorsement application within this time limit will result in your application being rejected.

      If you have extensive knowledge in the tech sector, speak to us about applying for a tech nation visa. Contact Us

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        Stage Two: Visa Application

        Overview

        You can apply for the Tech Nation visa at the same time as you apply for your endorsement or once you have received your endorsement.

        If you’re already in the UK and your permission to stay in the country is about to expire, applying for a Tech Nation visa allows you to extend your stay until your case has been decided.

        As part of the application process, you will be asked to submit a series of documents (see the Required Documents section).

        When assessing your application, the Home Office will consider immigration aspects such as general grounds for refusing you a visa and will also assess, if you are already in the UK on a visa, whether you are eligible to switch to a Tech Nation visa.

        Timeline

        You must apply for a Tech Nation visa within three months of receiving your endorsement.

        You will usually receive your visa application decision within three weeks if you’re in the UK and eight weeks if you reside outside the UK at the time of your application.

        Required Documents

        You will need to supply the Home Office with the following documents as part of your application:

        • A valid passport or other valid ID document that allows you to prove your identity (Note: your passport should have a blank page for the visa)
        • Your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you are required to take a test
        • If you’ve had an award or scholarship to study in the UK in the last year, you will need to provide written permission to apply from the agency or government that granted the award
        • If you’ve won an award that makes you eligible for a Tech Nation Visa, the Home Office will look at publicly available information to confirm you are indeed the recipient of the award. However, if this information is not publicly available, you’ll be asked to provide written evidence of the award

        You should note that if the documents you provide are not in either English or Welsh, you will need to provide certified translations of the documents.

        Application Tip

        The evidence you supply as part of your application should consist of no more than ten documents in total, and each piece of evidence or proof should be no more than three sides of A4 in length.

        Each document represents a single piece of evidence. You should use each piece of evidence to outline only the most important aspects of your career history and qualifications.

        The evidence you provide should describe any commercially successful businesses you have been involved with over the last five years where you have been a founder or held a senior executive position.

        Biometric Registration

        As part of the application process, you will need to have your biometric information recorded.

        You can do this in two ways:

        • Visit a visa application centre to have your fingerprints and photograph taken and obtain a biometric residence permit
        • Use the UK Immigration: ID Check application to scan and upload your identity document(s). To do this you will have to sign into your UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account. If you don’t have an account, you should create one

        If you’re in Nigeria at the time of your application, you can visit a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to have your fingerprints scanned and a photograph of your face taken.

        Visa application centres can be found in Abuja, Lagos Ikeja, and Lagos Victoria Island.

        Our expert lawyers are on hand to lend you their expertise in all things visa application, from Nigeria to the UK. Contact Us

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          Cost

          If your Tech Nation application is based on an endorsement, you’ll pay a total fee of £623 in two parts:

          • £456 when you apply for the endorsement
          • £167 when you apply for the Tech Nation visa itself

          If your application is based on an eligible award rather than an endorsement, then you must pay the full £623 when you submit your visa application.

          If you include your partner or children in your Tech Nation visa application, they will each need to pay £623, too.

          An Immigration Health Charge of £624 for each year of your visa’s validity also applies.

          If you apply for both the endorsement and a Tech Nation visa at the same time and your endorsement is subsequently rejected, your visa application will be rejected and your visa application fee will be reimbursed.

          How Can IAS Help?

          As a Nigerian citizen, you may be eligible to live and work in the UK as a technology expert.

          If you need help applying for a Tech Nation visa or simply want to learn more about the benefits of holding the visa, IAS is here to help.

          We are an experienced team of immigration lawyers with lots of expertise in guiding Nigerian citizens in their application for a Tech Nation visa.

          To learn more about how IAS can help with your Tech Nation Visa application give our team a call on +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929. Or submit an online query.

          You can also visit us in person at our office in Lagos, Nigeria or contact us via our website.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    No. Internet links to the required documents are not acceptable and if you submit such links, your application will be rejected.

                    Yes, you may be able to apply to change or switch to a Global Talent visa if you’re already in the UK on a different type of visa.

                    You should note that your partner and children will need to apply separately to switch their visas. They can either apply when you do or wait until their current visas expire.

                    Yes. If you believe that the refusal is due to a mistake that has been made, you can ask the Home Office to review your endorsement application.

                    You have 28 days from the day you receive your rejection to file an appeal.

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