About UK Global Talent Visa

The UK Global Talent Visa (formerly called the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa) is a special visa to allow highly skilled tech talent to apply for the right to live and work in the UK for up to five years. It is a two stage process where the application must be endorsed by an endorsing body as an exceptionally talented leader in tech or emerging leader in tech by meeting the strict criteria set by the endorsing body before they can apply for the Global Talent Visa.

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There are 6 endorsing bodies that can determine whether an applicant is a leader or emerging leader.
The endorsing bodies are:

Tech Nation

for digital technology (also known as #TechNationVisa)

The Royal Society

for science and medicine

The Royal Academy of Engineering

for engineering

The British Academy

for humanities

Arts Council England

for arts and culture, fashion, architecture and film and tv


for academic researchers

*Please note that according to the Tech Nation website, Tech Nation has been formally acquired by Founders Forum Group. Tech Nation, under the FF Group umbrella, will continue to process the Global Talent Visa for the Home Office and applicants can continue to apply as normal with applications in process unaffected, while the Home Office identifies a ​​new endorsing body to take over from Tech Nation.

Benefits of the UK Global Talent Visa

The benefits of the Global Talent Visa in Digital Technology is that it provides a successful applicant:

  1. Freedom and flexibility
  2. To live and work in the UK for up to five years
  3. To apply for indefinite leave to remain visa and British Citizenship
  4. To bring their dependants with them
  5. The right to register a UK Ltd company
  6. Work for a tech company without the need for a company sponsorship

Applicants must meet the strict criteria set by the endorsing body for endorsement before they can apply for the Global Talent Visa. Here are the Stage 1 endorsement eligibility guidelines:

An applicant can be endorsed as a leader in tech or as an emerging leader in tech. They can apply for one out of 2 categories:

Exceptional Talent

More than 5 years experience in tech i.e. A leader in tech

Exceptional Promise

Less than 5 years experience in tech but can have had a longer career in another type of work i.e an emerging leader in tech


Technical or Business Skill

The Stage 1 Global Talent Visa endorsement allows applicants with technical or business skills to apply for the endorsement. Technical applicants must show they have proven technical expertise with the latest digital technologies in building, using, deploying or exploiting a technology stack and building technical infrastructure. Business applicants are those with commercial, investment, or product expertise in building digital products or leading investments in significant digital product businesses. Technical skills include but are not limited to engineering, developers, cybersecurity, machine learning, AI, coding, architects and devops. Business skills include but are not limited to product managers, investors, digital marketing, sales, business development and operations. If you do not fall within these skills, it’s not to say you aren’t eligible because the tech industry moves so quickly that new jobs and new skills are constantly being created.


The guidelines are very specific in that consultants or those who have founded or working in agencies are not eligible to apply. The criteria is also very strict in that examples must be from when applicants are or were employees, founders or senior executives of product led digital technology companies. If applicants haven’t worked for any product led digital tech companies i.e. that build digital tech products to sell to customers, then it would be difficult to meet the criteria. Also, the guidelines provide that those with Business skills apply to in-house work within product-led digital technology companies, not tech-enabled or service companies such as agencies, outsourcers, marketing firms etc.

Product Led Digital Technology Company

The “digital technology sector” or “product-led digital technology companies” are defined as businesses that provide a proprietary digital technical service/product/platform/hardware as their primary revenue source. The creation of software, processing/storage of data, or the creation/application of technical computing hardware is often a central aspect of their business model.

Your questions answered

Common questions

15 documents must be submitted consisting of:

  • Your CV;
  • Personal Statement; and
  • 3 letters of recommendations by experts in your field.
  • The remaining 10 documents consist of fulfilling the Mandatory and Optional criteria.

Mandatory Criteria – There is only one Mandatory Criteria.

Leadership  – An applicant must show national or international leadership or potential leadership in their field.

If you are well-established in your career (5+ years) and have a strong track record in your particular field, you should explore this pathway. You should also consider this pathway if you can demonstrate any of the following:

  1. Being recognised with reputable industry awards and being asked to speak at high profile tech events 

  2. Being featured in well known publications, either online or in print or

  3. You have published open source code to a reputable platform and received significant engagement

Any activity you are providing as evidence of recognition should have occurred within the past 5 years.

If you are earlier in your career (5 years or less), with a strong academic record or you are making significant contributions to innovative or impactful projects either in your own tech company or as an employee, this pathway could be perfect for you. You will also need to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate your potential to be a future leader 

  2. Demonstrate your strong contribution to a new digital field

  3. Have 3 senior stakeholders within product-led digital tech who are willing to recommend you

A ‘leader’ of exceptional talent (or promise) must show extraordinary ability by sustained (or emerging) national or international recognition. The individual will be able to demonstrate a level of expertise (or emerging expertise) which places them at the forefront of their respective field in the digital technology sector.

Here is my blog on the Leadership criteria.


You should provide at least 3 examples of leadership in the table. What 3 examples could you provide?

Optional Criteria – There are four Optional Criteria. They are:

  1. Proven track record of innovation or examples of innovation

  2. Proof of recognition beyond your work that advances the digital technology sector

  3. Significant commercial, technical or entrepreneurial contributions to the field as a founder, senior executive or an employee of a product led digital technology company

  4. Academic contributions

An applicant must only select 2 out of 4 optional criteria and documents must not overlap. Applicants must use different documentation for different criteria and while the guidelines provide that an applicant must have at least 2 unique pieces of evidence per criteria, my advice is to provide at least 3 unique pieces of evidence to increase your chances.

The Stage 1 endorsement decision can take up to 8 weeks.  

The endorsing body must decide at least 80% of cases within 25 working days (approximately 5 weeks) and 100% of cases within eight weeks. 

On average, decisions take approximately 3-4 weeks.

Once an applicant is successful in their Stage 1 endorsement application, they can apply for the Stage 2 visa application. I do not assist with Stage 2.

The fees are paid in 2 parts:

Stage 1 – £456 for an application for Stage 1 endorsement. 

Stage 2 – £167 for an application for Stage 2 plus biometrics fee. Applicants must also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of their Stage 2 application – this is usually £624 per year for each person applying. There may also be a requirement for a Tuberculosis test.

The endorsement rate is only 54%. It is very important for applicants to spend time to prepare their documents showcasing and highlighting their achievements in the digital technology sector over the last 5 years. My success rate is 90%.

Below is a table of the breakdown of the endorsement rate per country with the average being 54%. This means that only 1 in 2 applications are successful.

Yes, an applicant has 25 calendar days to appeal the decision. They cannot add new evidence but can only reiterate the evidence already submitted in their application. There is no fee to appeal.  

A new assessor will be allocated to their application where it will be reassessed and they have 25 calendar days to respond to the appeal. If the decision is unsuccessful again, the applicant cannot appeal again. They can take the feedback and use that feedback to either reapply or seek other visa routes.  

I have reviewed a lot of feedback from Tech Nation Visa assessors and understand how confusing their feedback can be and why applicants weren’t successful. I have advocated for many unsuccessful applicants and have been successful in their appeal. More information here.

UK Global Talent Visa

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