Global Talent Visa


Global Talent Visa is a UK immigration route for individuals that have demonstrated competence and track record as ‘recognised leaders’ or show promise as being ‘emerging leaders’ in the field of sciences, the humanities, engineering, the arts, and technology.

The Global Talent Visa provides an opportunity for people who have proven talent in their field and are from outside the European Economic Area to live and work in the UK for up to five years.

After a five-year stay, successful applicants can subsequently apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and ultimately, British Citizenship.

Obinna Baranta

Obinna Baranta



The Global Talent Visa can offer an alternative route to the Start-up Visa or Innovator Visa.

The British government has now recognised the need for UK to be highly attractive to talented tech workers and entrepreneurs in order to remain competitive.

Thus, the Global Talent Visa route does not form part of the points-based-system, so applicants will not be required to meet any number of points to qualify.

Nominated Competent Bodies have two sets of criteria when assessing an Applicant:

  1. Exceptional Talent criteria: For applicants who have already demonstrated that they have made a significant contribution as a leader to their field;
  2. Exceptional Promise criteria: For applicants who are in the earlier stages of their careers, but have already shown the potential to make significant contributions as a future leader in their field

There are two stages to obtaining a Global Talent Visa:

  1. Endorsement, and
  2. Applying for the visa

The first step is to seek endorsement from one of the following approved bodies: The Royal Society, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, Arts Council England, Tech Nation, and UKRI-approved UK research organisation.

To stand a chance of migrating to the UK on the Global Talent Visa route, you need to be endorsed as a Leader (exceptional talent) or Emerging leader (exceptional promise) in one of the following fields:

  1. Architecture
  2. Digital Technology
  3. Engineering
  4. Fashion
  5. Film And Television
  6. Humanities
  7. Medicine
  8. Science
  9. The Arts

Each endorsement body has its prequalification criteria.
Below are some of the criteria required by each endorsing body.

Arts Council England – for arts, culture, fashion, architecture, film, and television applications

Arts Council England endorses applicants who can demonstrate traction and professionally engaged in producing excellent work of outstanding quality which has been published (other than exclusively in newspapers or magazines), performed, presented, distributed or exhibited internationally. Your activity in the field must be recent (within the last five years) and show a substantial or developing international track record (in the case of an Exceptional Promise Visa application).

For exceptional talent, to increase your chances, you may include evidence from at least two countries to support two of the following:

  1. Two or more examples of recent media recognition for your work (advertisements are not acceptable) engineering
  2. You have won or have contributed to the win of a major international prize in your field; for example, the Booker Prize or an Academy Award
  3. Proof of appearances, performances, publications, or exhibitions in the last five years in contexts which are recognised as internationally significant your field; for example, exhibiting at the Tate Modern or performing music at the O2 Centre

The proof should encompass no more than ten documents.

The British Academy – for humanities and social science applications,

The Royal Society – for natural sciences and medical science research applications, and

The Royal Academy of Engineering – for engineering applications.

A guide on the basis of the assessment process for these three endorsing bodies comprises of two stages is shown below:

Stage 1

Mandatory criteria

  1. Proof of active research activity in a relevant field (this is usually inside a university, research institute, or a company);
  2. Have a Ph.D. or equivalent research experience;
  3. Possess a dated letter of personal recommendation from a renowned person living in the UK who knows your work and your contribution to your field, and is qualified to assess your claim to be a leader in your field;

At least one of the qualifying criteria must be met.

Qualifying criteria:

  1. Be a member of your national academy or a foreign member of an academy based abroad;
  2. Have been awarded a prestigious internationally recognised prize;
  3. Been recommended, in writing, by a reputable UK organisation concerned with research in your field.

Stage 2

If you meet the requirements set out in Stage 2, the relevant endorsing body will assign an subject matter expert in your field to examine factors such as:

  • How your presence in the UK will benefit your field and wider society.
  • Your career history and international standing;
  • The strength of the supporting statements in the letter of personal recommendation, and evidence in relation to qualifying criteria;
  • Whether you have won any prestigious prizes or awards;
  • Whether you have secured generous funding for your work in the past decade;
  • Tech Nation – for digital technology applications

To qualify for endorsement for exceptional talent from a tech nation, applicants must meet one of the key criteria and two of the qualifying criteria, which are listed in the Global Talent Visa guidance.

To meet these criteria, an applicant must prove technical expertise in building, using, deploying, or exploiting a technology stack and building technical infrastructure. Similarly, business applicants need to show proven commercial, investment, or product expertise in building digital products or leading investments in significant digital product businesses.

Endorsement applications usually take around two months.

Digital technology specialists may get a decision faster if:

  • You have been accepted onto a recognised UK accelerator programme, OR
  • You are part of a senior management team that has experience in building and expanding a digital technology business, OR
  • You plan to work and live outside of Greater London

Endorsement from endorsing bodies outside of Tech Nation may also be fast-tracked if you hold a peer-reviewed fellowship or are a senior academic or senior researcher at a UK university, college, or research institute.

Within three months of receiving your endorsement letter, you will need to apply for entry clearance.

You can apply for a Global Talent Visa from either within the country or outside it.

Applications within the UK

If you are applying from within the UK, for example switching from one type of visa to a Global Talent Visa, most applications are made online.

You can apply to switch to a Global Talent visa if you’re already in the UK on one of the following visa types:

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

Applications from outside the UK

If you have permission to live in the country you are applying from for at least six months and the UK embassy or consulate in your country accepts applications for the Global Talent Visa you may apply at a local visa application centre.

To obtain a biometric residence permit, you must have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre. Ensure you collect your biometric residence permit within ten days of when you said you would arrive in the UK (even if you arrive in the country at a later date).

As part of your application, you will need to pay the healthcare surcharge.

This entry route is more attractive in that the simplification of the route (as compared to the Tier 2 Exceptional Talent Visa); this means that applicants will not have to pay an additional six months healthcare surcharge.

To make a successful application you will need to submit:

  • your endorsement letter a current passport or other valid travel documentation
  • UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may ask for other documentation. We can assist you with collating it and sending it in the correct order if required.
  • your tuberculosis test results if you come from a country where you are required to take the test

Numerous advantages are available through the Global Talent Visa, including:

  • If a company wishes to employ you, they do not have to hold a UK Sponsor Licence
  • You can work for an employer, the director of a company, or be self-employed
  • You are free to change jobs without having to tell the Home Office
  • you can apply for settlement after five years if you enter the UK on the Exceptional Promise route or three years if you gain a Global Talent Visa

If your endorsement is refused for any reason, you may be able to apply for an Endorsement Review from the relevant endorsement body.

Liberty Bridge Solicitors are law firm of immigration experts that are competent at overturning refusals on endorsements.

Our team takes the time to carefully review and compare similar cases and outcomes in relation to the reasons why your endorsement application was refused and based on that, advice you on the best action to take.

The Global Talent Visa category is highly competitive and includes a rigorous application process.

Liberty Bridge Solicitors have a solid track record of advising successful applicants looking to remain or enter the UK using the Global Talent Visa route.

We provide friendly, practical, expert legal advice and will swiftly spot any weaknesses in your application and correct them.

The major differences between the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa (ETV) and Global Talent Visa (GTV) is that GTV isn’t a part of the Points Based Immigration System and there is no cap on the number of GTV applications being accepted by the UK each year.

Compared to other visas, Global Talent Visa is very flexible and applicants can apply for any period of visa between one year and five years.

It may not be necessary for the migrant to extend their visa because settlement (indefinite leave to remain) can be acquired without extending your stay.

The Global Talent Visa rules allow the migrant to work in any kind of job within their endorsement category, for example, if you get endorsed by Tech Nation in an expert field then you can take on any job in digital technology within the same expert field.

However, it is important to bear in mind that if the migrant applies for either extension or settlement they have to show that they have earned money in the UK and that these earnings were linked to the expert field which led to their initial endorsement.

These requirements are broadly stated, and the possibility of setting up your own business provides a lot of scope and flexibility.

Our solicitors are able to help you register a business in any sector and acquire operating licences for any regulated sectors.

Unless the endorsement has been withdrawn, extension and settlement applications do not require any further endorsement from the endorsing body.

The Global Talent Visa in digital technology is open to the brightest tech talents to join and contribute to the UK’s digital technology sector.

Each applicant is expected to demonstrate to the endorsing body (Tech Nation) a successful career history as an innovator in the field of digital technology either:

  • as a recognised leader in the digital technology industry (exceptional talent)
  • as an emerging leader in the digital technology industry (exceptional promise)

Note the following text from Home Office rules:

“Tech Nation accepts applications from applicants with technical and business skills in the digital technology sector.”


Applicants who showcase exceptional technical skills with major focus on expertise in dealing with the latest technologies are welcome to apply.

Expected skillset include but are not limited to building, deploying and designing the technical infrastructure.

For business applicants, the criteria focuses on exhibiting commercial as well as investment expertise while dealing with digital products (including leading investments).

Suitable skill types are listed below. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and provides an indication of the typical applicants assessed by Tech Nation.

The documents required vary from case to case, but they include:

  • CV
  • Three dated letters of recommendation signed by three different senior members of different established organisations in the digital technology sector. These members should have some exposure to your skillsets in order for them to write the letter of recommendation

As applicable:

  • Evidence of one or more examples of innovation in the field of digital technology
  • Evidence of any active businesses established or businesses that have been dissolved in the last five years, which must have been commercially successful or otherwise demonstrate how the applicant meets the endorsement criteria
  • Evidence that the applicant has demonstrated exceptional ability in the field by making academic contributions through research published or otherwise endorsed by a research supervisor or other expert.
  • Proof of recognition for work outside the applicant’s immediate occupation that has contributed to the advancement of the sector (they must have a proven history/record that does not simply include the regular day to day responsibilities but proves that the applicant has made a significant contribution towards the advancement of the related industry). For eg: mentoring in the technological field through the educational establishment, or any structured mentoring programmes, or open-source code sharing to give back to the tech community through various code sharing platforms that have attracted reuse, or publication of op-ed articles in reputed sources.
  • Evidence that the applicant has made significant technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions in the digital technology sector as either a founder, senior executive, or employee of a product-led digital technology company. Such evidence should show tangible significance – for example, revenue increase, breaking into new markets or segments, savings for customers, etc.
  • Evidence that the applicant has undergone continuous learning/mastery of new digital skills (commercial or technical) throughout their career. Such evidence should show courses and certificates in the last five years of career, with each course/certificate requiring a minimum of 20 hours.

Applicants are expected to possess 3 dated recommendation letters, each of the letter should be duly attested by 3 different members of a well-established organization that has a proven track record of contributing in the growth of the digital technology industry.

Note: The members should be a senior or veteran of the skillset that you possess, in order to add credibility to your recommendation letter.

The letters should at least:

  1. include details of the author’s credentials (for example, a curriculum vitae)
  2. include the applicant’s achievements in the specialist field, and how, in the opinion of the recognised expert, the applicant exhibits exceptional talent or exceptional promise
  3. include details of how the recognised expert knows the applicant
  4. include how the applicant would benefit from living in the UK and the contribution they would make to the UK digital technology sector
  5. include details of any future professional engagements the applicant has in the UK, where applicable.

Let’s imagine a candidate, Mr. Joe Bloggs, who has circa 8 years of Machine learning experience.

Generally, anyone with five or less than five year’s working experience is considered to rank as an ‘exceptional promise’.

This candidate will be qualified to apply for the exceptional talent visa.

To succeed in ‘exceptional talent’ category, Joe would at least have to meet 2 qualifying criteria.

Criteria 1: Significant contribution

Joe should have worked for a multinational company in data science roles for the last 4 years, and he is now able to show significant contribution through high-impact projects and products he has led and contributed to.

Thus, Joe aims to provide evidence for qualifying criteria 1 in the above table.

The CEO of his company has written a letter – stating the facts that Joe’s work has earned the company five million dollars in income.

The letter should also highlight the significant or substantial positive  impact that Joe’s work has made to cost optimisation.

Other options for someone to show significant contributions include:

  • Starting or contributing to open source projects in a way that has been acknowledged by peers as advancing the field; For example, this can be demonstrated by a GitHub profile that can serve as a proof of your coding skills
  • Should be an individual that has a proven track record of contributing in the success of a core product in a startup while working as the chief engineer or senior staff. A letter from the company owner and/or other related documentation that highlights your contribution in the design and success of the product will be welcome. Also, this document is a proof of your personal contribution and not the company as a whole.

Criteria 2: Recognised leading talent

Joe may have published several articles over the course of the past two years on ‘Python programming for Machine Learning’ through a well-known publisher which were well-reviewed. He will be required to provide evidence of this using the link to the articles on Medium, and its reviews by other industry experts and audience. Note – this criterion also can be fulfilled if the candidate has published material in a professional or major trade publication.

Alternatively, any candidate who has led the growth of a product-led digital technology company or product, as evidenced by a letter from a leading industry expert describing your work, or as evidenced by news clippings, lines of code, or similar evidence of their choice, also will meet this criterion

Criteria 3: Continuous learning

Joe has done eight certificates over the last five years, in AI, Machine Learning and Deep learning from reputed training providers, each requiring at least 20 hours to complete, and would use these certificates as part of the evidence.

Candidates with the below pieces of evidence also qualify for these criteria:

  • Impressive portfolio on internationally recognised platforms like Github or Stack Overflow.
  • Track record highlighting the growth of the technical and commercial skills of the applicant. This can include recognised courses, projects completed or any other activity that proves the progression of the candidate.
  • Evidence showcasing that the candidate is up-to-date with the latest technologies in his sector (can include documentation of a talk in a recognised public platform).
  • Experience (or proof) of knowledge of Agile or Scrum methodologies and a keen interest towards learning new technologies

Criteria 4: Academic contributions

Joe and his research team may have been working with a local university, and he has written a joint publication in a reputed academic journal. Joe will be expected to provide details of this publication as evidence.


Candidates with the following evidence will also qualify for this criterion:

  • Evidence of awards received for outstanding applied for work, supported by excellent academic achievement (a first-class degree or distinction);
  • A letter received as a support from a recognised research supervisor. Also, this is different from the 3 recommendation letters stated above and must be from an industry expert who isn’t the same individual who has signed the recommendation letter.
  • Evidence of an award that has been granted by an organisation of similar standing and distinction to the Royal Society in the UK, as well as the selection criteria for this award.
  • What are the key criteria and what are the options I have? Also can you walk through some practical examples?

Candidates have to satisfy at least one of the key criteria.

Criteria 1: Innovation

Mr. James has a joint patent published and can provide details and links to Google Patents with a verifiable ID.

Candidates with the following also qualify for these criteria:

  • Proof highlighting the development and innovative side of the candidate which can be a well-known product in the market
  • Proof of the business you own along with a well-documented set of audited accounts as well as the financial projections of the ongoing year
  • Documentation of the contract of employment that includes your salary details as well as bonus, equity, and history of all earnings
  • Proof of local, national, or international sales you have made with a well-documented presentation of your distribution and sales channels

Criteria 2: Recognition for work outside immediate occupation

Mr. James is very active on GitHub with contributions to a popular open-source collaborative project related to Machine learning and can provide details of this project as evidence.

Other relevant evidence includes:

  1. Stack Overflow profile showing the significant contribution to discussions around code
  2. A link to one or more videos of talks or conferences that have had a significant viewership;
  3. A publishing that proves your skillset as a thought leader in the digital sector (it can be an op-ed or news articles.
  4. Evidence of mentorship: This exemplifies your achievements as a teacher, mentor and trainer. You should have done mentorship within a recognised program that alone can justify your mentorship abilities.

Once approved, Global Talent visa applicants can stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years. Thereafter, you can apply for an extension as many times as you wish to. Moreover, you also have the option to apply for ILR.

Global Talent Visa holders can apply for an extension if:

  • The organisation that endorsed you hasn’t withdrawn its approval
  • You have been made fortunes in your field of expertise during your last period of leave in the UK. Refer guidance notes here:

Note: You are advised to apply for an extension before your current visa expires.

Yes, as a Global Talent Visa holder, you have the right to bring your dependants to the UK.

A dependant can be any of the following:

  1. your partner (spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner)
  2. your child under 18
  3. for individuals over 18 years of age, he/she should be currently residing in the UK

Obtaining this visa involves two stages:

  • Stage 1: Apply either to the Home Office or the endorsement body (depending on the field) for endorsement.

Then, if the application is successful:

  • Stage 2: Apply to the UKVI/Home Office for the visa.

Liberty Bridge Solicitors can help you through the entire process.

  1. Endorsement: The application for endorsement usually takes up to eight weeks to be processed.


  1. The visa: The application for visa can take up to three weeks if you are applying from outside the UK and up to eight weeks if you are applying from within the UK.

In certain circumstances, digital technology applicants have the option of applying for their endorsement application to be expedited.

In some cases priority applications may be possible for visa applications, in such cases the applicant does not have to wait for the endorsement to be granted before they apply for the visa – although they run a risk, because if the endorsement application is refused, then of course, the visa application will be refused as well.

Outlined below is a breakdown of the Global Talent Visa application fees:

Who you’re applying for Stage 1 –  application for endorsement Stage 2 –
Visa application (from either inside or outside the UK)
If you are not from Turkey or Macedonia £456 Initial application: £152

Subsequent application: £608

If you are from Turkey or Macedonia £456 Initial application: £97

Subsequent application: £553

Dependants £608 per dependant (in all cases)
NB: applicants also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is £624 per year per person OR £470 per year per child under 18 years old

The first step is to apply online for an endorsement.

You will need to apply for a Tech Nation Visa endorsement prior to applying for a Global Talent Visa endorsement in the digital technology sector,

Once successful, you will get an email from the Home Office with an attached copy of the endorsement letter, thereafter, you can proceed with your Visa Application.

If your application is refused you can request an endorsement review.

Note: You should apply for your visa within three months of receiving your letter of endorsement.

You can bring dependent family members with you to the UK. If you have a child whilst you are in the UK, you can apply for settlement for them.

Dependent family members are defined as your spouse or civil partner and any children aged under 18 years.

If you can show that the body which endorsed you has not withdrawn their endorsement and that you are currently active in your field, you can extend your Global Talent Visa for up to five years.

Our lawyers will advise you throughout your application, extension, and settlement process to ensure you have the best chance of success and the process runs smoothly.

The Global Talent Visa provides an excellent opportunity to further your career in the UK.

Contact the immigration law professionals at Liberty Bridge Solicitors today to begin your application.

You can reach us at
+44 020 45166347 or
email us at

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