What is a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa?
The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa is for exceptionally talented individuals in the fields of science, engineering and fashion amongst many other fields. This visa allows such individuals to live and work in the UK for up to 5 years and 4 months. After this time they can apply to settle.
Application process for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa
You can apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if you work in a qualifying field and have been endorsed as either a recognised leader (exceptional talent) or an emerging leader (exceptional promise). You must also be from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
The application process for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa contains two stages. The first stage requires you to apply to the Home Office for endorsement as a leader or an emerging leader in your particular field.
Apply for your endorsement (stage 1)
This category is for applicants who have already demonstrated that they have made a significant contribution as a leader to their field. In order to showcase this you must demonstrate a proven track record of success.
This category is for those who are proven emerging leaders. It is for applicants who may be earlier in their careers but have already shown the potential to make significant contributions as a future leader in their field. You must demonstrate growth as part of your application.
You must apply to be endorsed online. Your application will be reviewed by an organisation related to your field called a ’Designated Competent Body’.
Once you are successful you will receive an email from the Home Office with a copy of your endorsement letter. You can then move onto stage 2 of the process and apply for a visa.
It is important to note that simply by securing an endorsement you are not guaranteed a visa. Assessments for visa eligibility will be made separately and on its own grounds (see below).
Apply for your visa (stage 2)
At this stage, the Home Office will consider immigration aspects of your application including whether General Grounds for Refusal apply and if you are in the UK already, whether you can switch into Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent).
- You must submit a copy of the endorsement letter emailed to you at stage 1.
- You must apply within 3 months of gaining endorsement or else your immigration application will be refused.
- If you are already in the UK you should apply before your current leave to remain ends – ideally a month before it ends.
General Grounds for Refusal
Your application may be refused if you have been involved in criminal activity, breaching immigration laws, or deceptive activity. These grounds are automatically applied to each applicant before their application is considered.
Extend your visa
This process is similar to the initial application process. To be approved you must meet the following criteria:
• The Designated Competent Body that originally endorsed your stage 1 application has not advised the Home Office that this has been withdrawn; and
• During your most recent period of leave as a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) migrant, you have earned money in the UK as a result of employment or self employment in your field of expertise. This is the field in which the Designated Competent Body endorsed you.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
If your endorsement was given under exceptional promise criteria, you can apply for settlement once you have completed 5 years’ continuous leave in the UK in a qualifying route.
However, if your endorsement was given under the Designated Competent Bodies’ Exceptional Talent criteria you are eligible to apply for settlement after 3 years on an accelerated basis.
In both cases, leave accrued under the Tier 1 Migrant route, the Tier 2 Migrant route or the Innovator route will count towards you 3 or 5 year continuous leave.
Requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain
- You must not fall under general grounds for refusal (see above)
- You must show that since your last grant of leave in the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category you have earned in the expert field for which you were endorsed. In addition, the endorsing body must not have withdrawn their endorsement. This is proven through various documents that are dependent on the circumstance of each applicant.
- During the relevant period, you must not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 month period.
- You must show you have knowledge of the English language, either by an English language test, by being from an English speaking country or by having a degree taught in English.
- If you have worked outside of your expert field, this is allowed as long as it is an addition to your main work.
How can NA Law Solicitors help you obtain a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa?
We are a niche immigration law firm with a successful track record to prove our expertise in UK and EU migration law. We can assist with applications for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas from the very beginning (even if you do not yet have an endorsement) until the submission of your application.
Moreover, we can carry out the whole process for you, or simply help you with specific parts of the application – our aim is to simplify the process as much as possible to provide you with peace of mind.