Global Talent Visa

A UK immigration category for talented and promising individuals in specific sectors wishing to work in the UK

The Global Talent visa is a UK immigration category for talented and promising individuals in specific sectors wishing to work in the UK. It replaced the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa in February 2020.

This information is here to help you make a Global Talent visa application in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, the social sciences and the humanities. Please refer to the UK Home Office Guidance and Global Talent Immigration Rules for information on gaining endorsement in the fields of arts and culture and digital technology under Arts Council England and Tech Nation.

Global Talent visa: overview

To be considered for entry under the Global Talent visa, applicants must normally* seek endorsement from one of six endorsing bodies engaged by the UK Home Office.

If you are applying for endorsement in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, the social sciences or the humanities, the Home Office will refer your application to the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) which will make an endorsement decision based on the evidence you provide.

If you are applying for endorsement in the fields of arts and culture and digital technology, your application will be referred to Arts Council England or Tech Nation, which follow separate endorsement criteria. Please see Appendix Global Talent of the Immigration Rules and the guidance on GOV.UK for further information.

If endorsement is granted, the final immigration decision rests with the Home Office.

*Holders of certain prestigious prizes can apply for a visa without going through the initial endorsement stage. The list of eligible awards and further information is available on GOV.UK.

Researchers seeking endorsement for a Global Talent visa

There are four routes for eligible academics and researchers to obtain endorsement for a Global Talent visa:

1) Academic and research appointments – fast-track endorsement for individuals who have accepted an eligible position at an approved UK higher education institution or research institute with responsibility either for academic, research or innovation leadership and development, or for directing or leading an individual or team research or innovation project or programme of work. This route is administered by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society.

2) Individual fellowships – fast-track endorsement for individuals who have been awarded an individual fellowship on the list approved by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society. The fellowship must be held currently or within the last five years.

3) Endorsed funders – fast-track endorsement for researchers and specialists whose name or job title is specified in a successful grant application from an endorsed funder approved by UKRI. In order to be eligible, researchers must be hosted or employed by an eligible institution approved by UKRI.

*Temporary concession for researchers working on COVID-19 grants*
International academics and researchers wishing to work on COVID-19 related research grants can apply for a Global Talent visa via the endorsed funder route under relaxed criteria until 31 December 2021. Find out more.

4) Peer review – standard endorsement for individuals who submit an application for full peer review by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering or Royal Society.

Our applicant decision tree will help you identify which route may be most appropriate for you. We recommend you read the full guidance for each route before applying.

For the endorsed funders route, UKRI will review applications from any academic or research discipline. For the other three routes, you must select the appropriate endorsing body based on your field of research.

The British Academy reviews applications from the humanities and social sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering covers engineering, and the Royal Society covers the natural and medical sciences.

The full list of eligible disciplines and sub-disciplines per endorsing body is available on GOV.UK.

For queries, please see frequently asked questions or email cbba@thebritishacademy.ac.uk.

This guidance was last updated on 6 October 2021

What does the Global Talent visa offer?

The Global Talent visa allows you to work in the UK on a flexible basis with fewer restrictions and costs than other immigration categories.

Freedom to switch jobs and grow your career

Unlike the UK’s main Skilled Worker visa, Global Talent is an unsponsored immigration category. This means you have the flexibility to change roles or employers, enter self-employment, set up a spin-out company and/or earn money from other sources such as consultancy without seeking permission from the Home Office.

Recognition that research and innovation is global

The Global Talent visa allows you to travel anywhere in the world for research purposes without it counting towards the maximum time period for absences from the UK if you choose to apply for settlement*.

Make a home in the UK

The Global Talent visa comes with considerable advantages if you wish to establish a long-term connection to the UK. This includes a fast-track to settlement after three years for the main visa holder and (if applicable) the opportunity for close family members** to work in the UK.

Fast endorsement process

For the fast-track endorsement routes, the endorsing bodies usually return a decision to the Home Office within 14 working days. See ‘How do I apply for a Global Talent visa?’ for more information.

Lower visa fees

Excluding the UK Immigration Health Surcharge, the standard fee for a five-year Global Talent visa is £608, compared to £1,220-£1,408 for the Skilled Worker visa. The Global Talent visa is also exempt from employer sponsorship costs, including the UK Immigration Skills Charge, and is unique in allowing applicants to choose the length of their visa, initially up to five years.

*The maximum time period for settlement-related absences is 180 days in any consecutive 12-month period. See Appendix Continuous Residence of the Immigration Rules.

**Close family means partners and dependants.

See Appendix Global Talent of the Immigration Rules for information on the rules covering family, extension and settlement.

Page last updated: 6 October 2021

How do I apply for a Global Talent visa?

The application form for the Global Talent visa can be found at GOV.UK. Before applying please ensure that you have read carefully the guidance on these pages as well as Appendix Global Talent of the Immigration Rules and the guidance on GOV.UK.

For applicants requiring endorsement from one of the endorsing bodies, there are two stages to the application process: endorsement application (Stage 1) and immigration application (Stage 2). Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications must be made directly to the Home Office.

There is a single GOV.UK link for the Stage 1 application form regardless of your current residence. For Stage 2, there are two different forms depending on whether you are applying within the UK or from outside the UK.

Stage one: Endorsement application

Specific application details for each of the four endorsement routes under the Global Talent category are outlined on these pages.

The endorsing body that you choose will send its endorsement decision to the Home Office. You will then be notified by the Home Office about the outcome of your endorsement application. You should not contact the endorsing body to check on progress as we will not be able to assist you.

Please note that if you hold an eligible prestigious prize, you do not need to complete Stage 1.

Stage two: Immigration application

If your Stage 1 application is endorsed or you hold an eligible prestigious prize, you can apply for a visa under Stage 2 on GOV.UK. If you are applying with an endorsement, there is no requirement within the Immigration Rules to provide a copy of your endorsement letter when you apply for Stage 2. However, it may speed up the consideration of your visa application if you do so.

The endorsing bodies are not involved in Stage 2 of the process and gaining endorsement in Stage 1 is not of itself decisive as to whether a Global Talent visa will be issued.

In Stage 2, 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 are eligible to switch to the Global Talent visa from your current immigration category. Additionally, if you are applying on the basis of a prestigious prize, the Home Office will confirm that the prize you named on the application form is eligible and has not been withdrawn or suspended by the awarding body.

If you have submitted a Stage 2 application, extension or settlement application, travelling outside the Common Travel Area will mean your application is withdrawn automatically.

You are not able to live and work in the UK as a Global Talent visa holder until you have made a successful Stage 2 application. For further information, please refer to the guidance on GOV.UK.

Page last updated: 6 October 2021

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