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Research and Innovation Talent Visa

Research and Innovation Talent Visa

The British Academy is a Designated Competent Body for the Research and Innovation Talent Visa under the Home Office Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa Route. The Research and Innovation Talent Visa enables individuals from outside the European Economic Area with exceptional talent and promise in the fields of social science, the humanities, engineering, science and medicine, to live and work in the UK.

The Research and Innovation Talent Visa offers many benefits for exceptional researchers. Compared with holders of other visas, those researchers who use this route have greater flexibility both before they come to the UK and in the choices they can make about their work once they are here. Visa holders are able to more easily change roles or earn additional income from other sources, and have also greater flexibility to travel overseas.

As a Designated Competent Body, the British Academy advises the Home Office whether an individual who makes an application for a Research and Innovation Talent Visa is demonstrably ‘exceptionally talented’ or has ‘exceptional promise’. If an endorsement is granted, the final immigration decision rests with the Home Office. This document provides an overview of the process. Further information is available in the Frequently Asked Questions available for download here.

In addition to the standard route for endorsement, the British Academy operates two accelerated processes: for recipients of specific peer-reviewed fellowships and for appointments to senior academic and research positions at UK higher education institutions. Further information about the accelerated processes is available in the guidance for applicants.

Other Designated Competent Bodies for the Research and Innovation Talent Visa under the Home Office Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa Route include:

-          The Royal Society – for natural and medical science applications

-          The Royal Academy of Engineering – for engineering applications

Under the Home Office Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa Route, Designated Competent Bodies include also:

-          The Arts Council– for arts and culture applications

-          Tech City  – for digital technology applications

Further details about the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa Route, as well as the criteria and application processes for each of the Designated Competent Bodies, can be found on the Home Office website.

As of 11 January 2018, holders of Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas are eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain after three years. Visa holders through the ‘Exceptional Promise’ stream are eligible after five years.

Case studies

Professor Rebecca Ruth Gould

The British Academy endorsed Professor Gould’s Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) application in 2017.

Professor Gould is a US citizen and a scholar of comparative literatures, translation studies and the languages of the Caucasus and the Islamic world. Having previously taught at Columbia University and Yale-NUS College in Singapore, she applied for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa to enable her to continue her career in the UK.

Professor Gould is considered a specialist in languages and cultures little known in the UK, and brings with her a wealth of expertise in the burgeoning field of comparative literature. Having secured a Tier 1 visa (following an endorsement from the British Academy, via the Exceptional Promise route), she is now a Professor and Professorial Research Fellow of the Islamic World and Comparative Literature at the University of Birmingham. The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa has been very beneficial to Professor Gould’s career as a researcher, enabling her to accept a role at a world leading university that is defined by her vision and her research.

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