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Tier 1 - Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise

The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent and Tier 1 Exceptional Promise visa routes are available to individuals working in qualifying fields who have been endorsed as a recognised leader in their field (for exceptional talent) or as an emerging leader in their field (for exceptional promise).

To succeed, applicants must be economically active in their chosen field, and this must be certified by a Designated Competent Body. There are a number of Designated Competent Bodies available, depending on the particular expertise of the individual, and include the following:

  • The Royal Society
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering
  • The British Academy
  • Arts Council England
  • PACT
  • British Fashion Council
  • Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Tech Nation

There are 2,000 places available under this visa category per year, making competition fierce.

An individual granted the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK after 3 years, whilst an individual granted the Exceptional Promise visa can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years, subject to satisfying a number of requirements.

Individuals in the UK on an Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise visa can work for an employer, work as a director of a company or be self-employed. Individuals under this route are not required to notify the Home Office of any changes of employment.

Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise migrants can apply to bring their dependent family members with them to the UK.

Our blog article contains helpful information about the general requirements of this visa category.

You can also click here to read more about changes to this category in relation to tech talent.

If you are interested in field-specific requirements, you may find our articles on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and architects helpful.

We have extensive experience in assisting with applications for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and Tier 1 (Exceptional Promise) visas. Please contact us for assistance with your application - we can assess your eligibility and advise if you qualify.

 

 

Our Experts

Alina Fosh

Alina Fosh

Solicitor in our General Immigration team, with broad experience in all matters relating to private client immigration

 

 

Isobel Neilson

Isobel Neilson

Solicitor in our General Immigration team, with specialist knowledge of personal immigration matters

 

 

Kate Hollyer

Kate Hollyer

Solicitor in our General Immigration team, specialising in private client immigration

 

 

 

FAQs

Can I apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa?

If you are a non-EEA national and a recognised leader in your field of expertise, you can seek entry into the UK on a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.

Can I apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Promise) visa?

If you are a non-EEA national and an emerging leader in your field of expertise, you can seek entry into the UK on a Tier 1 (Exceptional Promise) visa.

Does it matter what field my work is in?

Yes, in order to obtain endorsement as either a leader or an emerging leader in your field, your primary work focus must be in one of the following fields:

  • Science and medicine;
  • Engineering or architecture;
  • Humanities
  • Digital technology;
  • Arts and culture;
  • Fashion, film or television.

Do I need endorsement to apply for a Tier 1(Exceptional Talent) or (Exceptional Promise) visa?

Endorsement is a mandatory stage in the application process. Most people apply for endorsement first to avoid having their visa application refused, however you can apply for endorsement at the same time as a visa if you wish.

How do I obtain an endorsement for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) or (Exceptional Promise) visa?

Specific endorsements from Designated Competent Bodies can be applied for online. The current list of competent bodies includes the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Academy, Tech Nation, Arts Council England, British Fashion Council, Royal Institute of British Architects, and Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television.

When can I apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) or (Exceptional Promise) visa?

Once you have obtained your endorsement from a recognised body, you should submit an application no earlier than 3 months before your travel.

How long is the visa application process for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) or (Exceptional Promise) visa?

You should expect to get a decision on your application within 8 weeks, but you should allow additional time if you have a complex immigration history or there are other background factors which could make your application more complicated. There are faster options available to technology specialists in accelerator programmes, senior academics or holders of approved peer-reviewed fellowships.

Can I switch to a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) or (Exceptional Promise) if I am already in the UK?

You can switch to these categories if you hold (or were last granted) a visa in one of the following categories:

  • Tier 1;
  • Tier 2;
  • Tier 5 (Temporary worker - Government Authorised Exchange) on an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers.

Can my family come to the UK with me if I am granted a Tier 1(Exceptional Talent) or (Exceptional Promise) visa?

Your spouse (durable partner) and your children can apply to travel with you, or join you at a later date, subject to requirements. 

How long can I stay in the UK with Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) or (Exceptional Promise)?

When applying for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) or (Exceptional Promise) status you can choose how long your visa will initially be valid for, but your overall stay in these categories cannot be longer than 5 years and 4 months (if you apply from outside the UK) or 5 years (if you apply from within the UK). After this period you can extend or apply for settlement.

Can I work and study in the UK on a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) or (Exceptional Promise) visa?

You will be able to work without restriction in the UK, including as a self-employed person. Study is permitted, subject to requirements.

Can I and my family apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if I am granted a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)?

If you have been granted a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa and your family are in the UK as your dependants you will be able to apply for permanent status (known as Indefinite Leave to Remain) after 3 years of continuous residence, subject to additional requirements.

Can I and my family apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain if I am granted a Tier 1 (Exceptional Promise) visa?

If you have been granted a Tier 1 (Exceptional Promise) visa and your family are in the UK as your dependants you will be able to apply for permanent status in the UK (known as Indefinite Leave to Remain) after 5 years of holding visas in one or more of the qualifying categories subject to additional requirements.

If you have any queries relating to the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) or (Exceptional Promise) visa routes, including how to obtain endorsement, how to extend your visa or apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, please contact a member of our team.

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