Global Talent Visa

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The UK’s Global Talent visa is for individuals at both the established and early stages of the career spectrum in fields such as science, engineering, technology, art and humanities to come to the UK, without the need for a job offer.

As a more flexible immigration option than other UK work visas, it does not require sponsorship by an employer and does not place restrictions on the type of work you can do within your field.

The Global Talent visa also offers fast-tracked settlement in the UK for eligible individuals. If you meet the criteria as a talented individual, you may be eligible for UK settlement after 3 years. If you are considered a promising talent, you may be eligible after 5 years. With settlement, you are on the path to naturalise as a British citizen.

In this guide, we explain the requirements for eligibility and how to make an application to the Home Office for a Global Talent visa.

What is the Global Talent visa?

Replacing the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa in 2020, the Global Talent route was designed to attract talented and promising professionals in the fields of science, digital technology and arts and culture to work in the UK.

The requirements are notably less extensive than those of other work visas under the UK’s new points-based immigration system.

Applicants must meet a number of eligibility requirements, and in most cases will need to be endorsed, unless you have an award from any of the Home Office’s eligible prize lists, in which case you are exempt from the endorsement requirement and can apply for the visa straightaway.

Global Talent visa holders do not have to find a job to be eligible, and you have the option to take up paid employment, to work for yourself as self-employed or to become a director of a company, although any work should be within the field for which you have been endorsed. Studying is also permitted, subject to the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) conditions.

There is no minimum salary threshold or English language test for the Global Talent route, although the endorsing body may impose its own language requirement.

If you are employed and then subsequently change employers or jobs, you will not need to notify the Home Office (unlike under the skilled worker visa).

Qualifying dependants can accompany Global Talent participants, and it is possible to apply from within the UK by switching from other UK visa categories.

It is also a relatively flexible route for visa holders. Applicants can apply for visas of between one year and five years, in full-year increments. This means that while it is possible to apply to extend the visa, in most cases the individual will become eligible for UK indefinite leave to remain after a single period of leave, ie after 3 years if exceptional talent, and after 5 years if a promising talent.

For employers, the Global Talent route offers a flexible and less onerous alternative to hiring under the Skilled Worker Visa, since the Global Talent route does not require sponsorship by an employer and organisations hiring individuals under the Global Talent route will not have to pay the costs associated with sponsoring workers such as the Immigration Skills Charge.

Who is eligible for the Global Talent category?

The Global Talent route is open both to established talent – individuals who can demonstrate they are already leaders in their respective field – as well as applicants showing ‘promise’ and potential to become leaders in their field.

Professionals will be able to apply from fields including:

  • Science
  • Research
  • Digital technology
  • Arts and culture, including film and television, fashion design and architecture
  • Engineering
  • Humanities
  • Medicine 

Global Talent visa applicants must first obtain endorsement from one of six Home Office-approved endorsing bodies, before making the visa application, unless they have been awarded a prestigious prize, as listed in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes, which is considered as showing exceptional talent and therefore endorsement does not need to be sought.

If applying based on endorsement

For most applicants, the application process for the Global Talent visa is in two stages. Without a prize as listed in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes, first, you apply to be endorsed by an approved body. Only with endorsement can you proceed to apply for the actual visa from the Home Office. 

How do you get endorsed for the Global Talent visa?

The endorsing bodies are charged with assessing applications from individuals within their respective professional fields, and developing and applying sector-specific criteria and evidential requirements for applications. The relevant endorsing bodies will then make an endorsement decision based on your profile and the evidence you provide.

The five Global Talent visa endorsing bodies are:

  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Royal Society
  • The British Academy
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Arts Council England

This list of endorsing bodies is subject to ongoing review.

Each body has its own endorsement criteria and process, based in large on the following:

  • Exceptional Talent criteria: to assess individuals who can evidence they have already made a significant contribution as a leader to their field.
  • Exceptional Promise criteria: for applicants at an early stage in their careers who have shown the potential for being a future leader and making significant contributions in their field.

There are four routes to endorsement under the Global Talent category applicable to different roles:

  • Peer review – endorsement of applications by The British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering or The Royal Society.
  • Senior appointments – endorsement for applicants with a job offer as a professor, associate professor, reader, senior group leader or equivalent at any UK higher education institution or eligible research institute, by the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and The Royal Society.
  • Fellowships – endorsement for those with an individual fellowship (either current or held within the last 12 months), on the list approved by The British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society.
  • Endorsed funders – a new visa route for researchers who make critical contributions to work supported by grant funding from a recognised funder. Qualifying applicants will be fast tracked to the Home Office visa application stage with minimal evidential requirements, where they meet the individual eligibility criteria. UKRI will be responsible for assessing endorsed funded applications.

Global Talent visa requirements: film & television

Talented people in the areas of cinema and television who want to work in the UK may be eligible under the Global Talent visa route. The number of candidates who can be endorsed under the Global Talent route’s Film and Television subcategory is unlimited.

The Producers’ Alliance for Film and Television (PACT) will assess applicants’ eligibility for endorsement in the film, television, animation, post-production, and visual effects sectors on behalf of Arts Council England. Those who work in the animation, post-production, visual effects, and film sectors, however, will need to exhibit “extraordinary skill.” PACT does not support applications with “great promise.”

Global Talent visa requirements: architecture

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) (on behalf of Arts Council England), will determine whether applicants are industry leaders or have the potential to be leaders in their fields.

The number of candidates that can be supported under the Global Talent route’s Architecture subcategory has no cap.

To be endorsed by the Royal Institute of British Architects you will need to be professionally employed as an architect generating work of excellent quality which has been published, presented or exhibited abroad.

You must have been regularly engaged as a professional architect in the last 5 years and be able to show a substantial track record in more than one country (if applying under Exceptional Talent criteria) or a developing track record in one or more countries if applying under Exceptional Promise criteria.

Global Talent visa requirements: science, engineering, humanities & medicine

There is no limit to the number of candidates who can be endorsed under the Global Talent route’s subcategory of Science, Engineering, Humanities, and Medicine.

The Royal Society (for applications in natural and medical sciences), the Royal Academy of Engineering (for applications in engineering), the British Academy (for applications in humanities and social sciences), or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will determine whether applicants are leaders in their fields or have the potential to be leaders for science and research applications.

Whether you are applying under the Fast Track or Full Peer Review criteria will determine what requirements you must fulfil for endorsement.


Global Talent visa requirements: arts & culture

Applications in the fields of combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre, and visual arts are assessed by Arts Council England, including those working in an artistic context in galleries and museums. Applicants must be industry leaders or have the potential to be leaders.

There is no restriction on the number of candidates who can be supported under the Global Talent route’s Arts and Culture subcategory.

You must be professionally creating work of exceptional quality that has been performed, presented, distributed, or exhibited abroad in order to be eligible for an Arts and Culture endorsement from Arts Council England.

If you are applying on the basis of exceptional talent, you must have consistently worked as a professional practitioner in your area for the last five years and be able to demonstrate a significant track record in more than one nation or a developing track record in one or more countries if applying on the basis of Exceptional Promise.

Global Talent visa requirements: fashion

The British Fashion Council (BFC), on behalf of Arts Council England, will consider whether applicants are leaders in their fields currently or have the potential to become leaders.

The British Fashion Council can endorse applications from people working in the fashion design sector who play key roles in the industry.

The number of candidates that can be endorsed under the Global Talent route’s fashion sector subcategory is unlimited.

If you are applying based on Appendix Global Talent Prestigious Prizes

Following a change to the rules in March 2021, Global Talent applicants who hold one of the stated prestigious prizes are eligible to apply for a Global Talent visa without the need to obtain an endorsement. These prizes have been identified by the Global Talent endorsing bodies as demonstrating exceptional talent.

Global Talent applications are also open to individuals who hold one of the prestigious prizes as listed in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes of the Immigration Rules. These prizes have been identified by the Global Talent endorsing bodies as demonstrating exceptional talent.

If you are the named recipient of one of the qualifying prestigious prize, you would be eligible to apply for a Global Talent visa without the need to obtain endorsement.

This means you benefit from a fast-tracked application process as you are exempt from having to secure endorsement and can proceed straight to the visa application stage.

The prize
There are no stipulations as to when you must have received the prize. This means you could rely on a prize that is recent or was awarded several years ago, provided your award has not since been withdrawn.


How to apply for a Global Talent visa

It is possible to apply for your visa before securing endorsement, however, should your endorsement not be approved, your visa application will also be refused.

If you have successfully been endorsed, you will receive an email from the Home Office with a copy of the endorsement letter, at which point you have three months to make your visa application.

If your application is refused, you may be able to request an endorsement review.

Global Talent visa applications can be made from either within the UK or outside.

If you are outside the UK, you can apply for ‘entry clearance’ at the nearest visa appointment centre in your country of residence.

If you are in the UK, you can apply online to switch to the Global Talent visa if you currently hold lawful status under any of the following visa categories:

  • Start Up
  • Innovator
  • Tier 1
  • Skilled worker, Tier 2
  • Tier 5
  • Student, Tier 4, with the exception of Short Term Student Visa

Global Talent visa requirements

The endorsement application has to satisfy the validity requirements. This includes ensuring you complete the correct application form(s), pay the correct endorsement fee and endorsement must have been secured from the relevant body in the relevant professional field.

You then need to ensure the visa application is also valid. You will need to use the correct form, pay all relevant fees including the Immigration Health Charge, submit any required biometrics, submit all required supporting documentation including the endorsement letter by a Home Office approved endorsing body.

To be granted a Global Talent visa, you have to meet the suitability requirements, and not be liable for grounds for refusal by being in breach of immigration laws or on immigration bail.

You will also have to show you meet the eligibility requirements, i.e. you will either already be internationally recognised at the highest level as a leader in your particular field or have already demonstrated exceptional promise and are likely to become leaders in their particular field.

Finally, you will have to prove you have attained the required 70 points. 


Application type

Global Talent visa: 70 points 

Global talent visa application

  • You are not relying on an endorsement as you have been awarded a prize listed in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes OR
  • You have been issued with an endorsement letter by an endorsing body AND at the time when making the application your endorsement is not older than 3 months AND your endorsement was not withdrawn by the endorsing body.

Global talent visa extension application

  • You have met the earned money requirement AND
  • If you were granted your initial application using an endorsement, has not had your endorsement withdrawn by the endorsing body OR
  • If relying on a prize and not endorsement, your prize listed in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes must not have been withdrawn

Global Talent visa supporting documents

As part of your visa application to the Home Office, you will need to submit your current passport or other valid travel documentation, your endorsement letter and if applicable the result of your tuberculosis test.

Global Talent visa processing times 

The endorsement stage typically takes a month, although digital technology applicants may be able to apply to have their endorsement fast-tracked.
Visa processing times vary depending on where you are applying from. If you are applying from outside the UK, processing currently takes 3 months or more (at the time of writing), while applications from within the UK usually take 3 months. However, it’s important to note that application processing has yet to return to pre-COVID levels, and applicants should take professional advice as to current Global Talent visa processing times when making their application, and as to whether priority processing is available.

How long does the Global Talent visa last?

Further flexibility is offered to applicants in respect of the duration of their grant of leave. Global Talent applicants can choose to apply for leave in whole year increments of up to five years. The benefit to applicants is that they will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge only for the period of leave they require, eg three years as opposed to five years.

Can you extend the Global Talent visa?

It is possible to apply to extend your visa, provided you have retained endorsement. If endorsement has been withdrawn, you will be required to make a completely new application.

Switching from Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

Existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent leave holders will be able to apply to extend their visa under the Global Talent category.

Tier 1 Exceptional talent holders will be able to apply for UK settlement without having to switch to the Global Talent category. No deadline has been specified for settlement applications to be made.