Visa Information, Visa Requirements, Visa Application Guidelines, Immigration Rules and Inquiry

Working in UK - Exceptional Talent Visa (Tier 1)

UK Exceptional Talent Visa
You can apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if:
  • you’ve been endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

There’s a 2-stage application process to get this visa.

You first need to apply to the Home Office for endorsement as a leader or an emerging leader in your particular field.

Then, once you have been endorsed, you can apply for the visa.

NOTE: There are limited places available under this visa category, with 500 places released on both 6 April and 1 October each year.

How long it will take
After you get your endorsement, you can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

You must pay a separate fee for the 2 stages of this process:
  • stage 1 - endorsement (£281)
  • stage 2 - visa application (see table below)
You also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. 

Stage 1
All main applicants must pay the £281 fee to get an endorsement when applying for the first time or switching to this visa category.

NOTE: You won’t automatically get a visa if you’ve been endorsed. You won’t be reimbursed your endorsement fee if your visa application is turned down.

Stage 2
How much you pay to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa depends on your circumstances.
Who you’re applying for Stage 1 - endorsement application Stage 2 - visa application
You £281 £281
You if you’re from Turkey or Macedonia £281 £226
All dependants - £562

How long you can stay
You can stay in the UK for up to:
  • 5 years and 4 months if you apply outside the UK
  • 5 years if you apply inside the UK
You can apply to extend this visa for another 5 years.

You can choose how long you want to apply for, up to the maximum time allowed. You only have to pay the healthcare surcharge for the amount of time you choose.

What you can and cannot do
You can:
  • do voluntary work
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family members with you
You can’t:
  • get public funds
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach


To get a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa, you need to be endorsed as a leader or emerging leader in:
  • science
  • engineering
  • humanities
  • medicine
  • digital technology
  • the arts

Your application for endorsement is considered by:
  • Arts Council England
  • British Academy
  • Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Royal Society
  • Tech City UK

How to get endorsed
You need to apply for endorsement using 2 forms.

Download and fill in the application for endorsement form (HERE) and the additional form for your field (HERE).

Read the detailed guidance on filling in the application for endorsement form and the additional guidance for applicants in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, medicine and digital technology. (HERE)

What happens next
If you’re successful you’ll receive an email from the Home Office with a copy of your endorsement letter. You’ll need these for your visa application.

You’ll usually get a decision on your endorsement application within 8 weeks.

You won’t automatically get a visa if you’ve been endorsed. If your application is turned down you can request an endorsement review.

NOTE: You must apply for your visa within 3 months of receiving your letter of endorsement from the Home Office.

Documents you must provide

When you apply for your visa you’ll need to provide:
  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • a passport-sized colour photograph
  • a printed copy of your endorsement letter
  • your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
You need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.

NOTE: You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

How to Apply

You have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. 

You must complete your visa application by 5 July if you’ve already paid the immigration health surcharge or you might have to pay it twice. You’ll get a refund for your first payment.

Applying outside the UK
You must apply online for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa (unless you’re applying from North Korea).

You need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to get a biometric residence permit) as part of your application.

You have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK (even if you actually arrive at a later date).

Applying in the UK
You can only switch to this visa if you’re already in the UK. You can apply to extend your existing visa from inside or outside the UK.

How long it takes
You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

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