The Exceptional Talent Visa route can be used by world leaders or potential world leaders in a number of limited industries to enter the UK. Qualifying industries include science, engineering, arts, fashion, digital technology and medicine. In order to be eligible for this visa, you must be endorsed by your industry’s Designated Competent Body.

This route differs from other work visas such as the Tier 2 Visa as it has no sponsorship requirement and applicants do not need a job offer to make their application. Successful candidates can also work in any job of their choosing but must work in their specialist field if they intend to extend their visa or apply for settlement.

How can IAS help?

Our expert team can work with you to make your Tier 1 Exceptional Talent application a success. Your personal lawyer will ensure that you are eligible before advising you on what documents you will need to provide to your designated body to receive an endorsement.

In addition, your lawyer will complete your application forms and organise your evidence before submitting your entry clearance or leave to remain application. To find out more about how you could apply for the Exceptional Talent Visa UK, call us free on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry using our online contact form.


What is an Exceptional Talent Visa?

The Exceptional Talent Visa is a high-value immigration route for leaders or emerging leaders of industry. Scientists, engineers, actors, doctors and fashion designers can enter and work in the UK with much more freedom under this route. However, the application process has much stricter requirements and a limit of 2000 visas per year.

Who can apply for an Exceptional Talent Visa UK?

You can apply either as:

  • A recognised leader in your field (Exceptional Talent)
  • A potential leader in your field (Exceptional Promise)

Both options have the same application process, you will simply need to identify which route you are applying under on your application forms.

The Exceptional Promise route is for those earlier in their careers who may not have achieved as much so far in their career but have the potential to do so in the future.

What is the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent application process?

The application process for this visa has two stages. The first is an application to your endorsing body for an endorsement. This body will be dependent on your industry. For example, Arts Council England manages the applications of actors, filmmakers and fashion designers while digital technology leaders apply through Tech Nation.

Once you have proven you meet the requirements of your Designated Competent Body, you will need to apply to the Home Office for your visa. This should be done within three months of receiving your endorsement.

Similar to the Tier 1 Investor Visa route, this application does not require you to prove your knowledge of the English language or that you have adequate maintenance funds to support yourself in the country.

What is the Exceptional Talent Visa processing time?

Visa processing times will depend on the country you are applying from. The UK government recommends that you should receive a decision within three weeks when applying from outside the UK. However, you will also need to allow several weeks for stage one of your application to be processed.

Some endorsing bodies offer accelerated or fast-track applications which could speed up the first stage of the process. These applications come with further, complex requirements individual to the competent body your application falls under.

How long does this visa last for?

You can apply for this visa for anywhere up to five years and four months, or just five years in you are applying from within the UK.

Those applying under ‘Exceptional Talent’ will be eligible to apply for settlement after three years, while those in the UK under ‘Exceptional Promise’ will need to show five years’ continuous residence to be eligible.

Can I apply for ILR from an Exceptional Talent Visa?

Those applying under ‘Exceptional Talent’ will be able to apply for ILR after three years in the UK. ‘Exceptional Promise’ migrants will need to wait for five years before they can apply.

The conditions of applying for ILR from a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa are that you must have been working in your designated field while in the UK. You will also need to prove your English language ability and pass a Life in the UK test as part of your application.

What jobs can I work while in the UK?

While this Tier 1 Visa route allows you to work in any job you see fit, you will need to show that you have worked in your field to be eligible for renewal or settlement at the end of your initial visa.

This visa affords a great opportunity for the most exceptional candidates to freely work in the UK, even in an entirely self-employed capacity.

What service does IAS offer?

We have assisted a number of clients in receiving their Tier 1 Visas in the past. With our service, you will be assigned a personal immigration lawyer who is a specialist in this type of work visa. They will advise you on the exact process to follow to ensure that your Exceptional Talent Visa has the best chance of success.

Our services include:

  • getting in touch with you in person, via phone or Skype at a suitable time for you;
  • assessing your eligibility for an Exceptional Talent Visa;
  • advising you on the necessary documents for your application for endorsement;
  • confirming your documents are sufficient for your application;
  • preparing a Letter of Representation which details your case and its merits and referencing any relevant UK immigration laws in support of your application;
  • liaising with the Home Office while your application is underway;
  • completing each part of your application form and arranging the documents for submission to the highest standard.

Contact IAS on 0333 363 8577 or enquire online to speak with an immigration lawyer about your Tier 1 Visa application now.

Our Exceptional Talent Visa Packages

Advice Package

Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals


Application Package

Designed to make your visa application as successful, smooth and stress-free as possible


Fast Track Package

Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline


Appeal Package

Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any hearings/tribunals


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