Global Talent Visa
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 on 20 February 2020.
To be considered for entry under the Global Talent visa, applicants must gain an endorsement from one of six endorsing bodies engaged by the Home Office.
If you are applying for endorsement in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, the social sciences or the humanities or for other academic and research roles, 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 non-academic 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 the Home Office Guidance for further information.
If endorsement is granted, the final immigration decision rests with the Home Office.
Researchers applying for a Global Talent visa
There are four routes for eligible academics and researchers to obtain endorsement for a Global Talent visa. The Home Office Guidance sets these out under the heading Science, engineering, humanities and medicine applicants, though a full range of academic and research disciplines are covered.
- Senior appointments – fast-track endorsement for individuals who have accepted a job as a Professor, Associate Professor, Reader, or equivalent position such as Senior Group Leader, at an approved UK higher education institution or research institute, provided certain recruitment requirements are met. This route is administered by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society.
- 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 Royal Society. The fellowship must be held currently or within the last 12 months.
- 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 eligible institutions named in Annex 2 of the Immigration Rules.
- 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.
Temporary concession for researchers working on COVID-19 - International researchers wishing to work on COVID-19 related grants can apply for a Global Talent visa under relaxed criteria until 31 January 2021. Find out more here.
Please see our applicant decision tree to identify which route may be most appropriate for you.
For the endorsed funders route, UKRI will review applications from any academic or research discipline. For the other three routes, the applicant must select the appropriate endorsing body based on their 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 in the Home Office Guidance.
What does the Global Talent visa offer?
The Global Talent visa allows successful applicants to work in the UK for up to five years without a sponsor or entry requirements such as language tests and minimum salary thresholds which apply to other UK immigration categories. Benefits include being able to change roles and employ organisations without permission from the Home Office, enter self-employment, set up a spin-out company, and earn additional income from consultancy or other sources which may or may not relate to the field of research in which the applicant was endorsed. There is no cap on the number of visas granted under this visa category and applicants can choose the length of their visa, initially up to five years with the option to renew multiple times.
In addition, the Global Talent visa comes with considerable advantages for individuals, their partners and their dependants wishing to establish a long-term connection to the UK, including a fast-track to settlement after three years for the main applicant. The visa also allows successful applicants to undertake research overseas without this counting towards the maximum time period allowed for absences in the context of applications for settlement. See Home Office Guidance for information on the rules covering dependants, extension and settlement.
How do I apply for a Global Talent visa?
There are two stages to the application: endorsement application (Stage 1) and immigration application (Stage 2). Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications must be made directly to the Home Office.
Stage 1 Endorsement application
Specific application details for each of the four endorsement routes under the Global Talent category are outlined in subsequent sections.
The endorsing body that you chose 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. Please do not contact the endorsing body to check on progress.
Stage 2 Immigration application
If your Stage 1 application is endorsed, you can apply for a visa under Stage 2 on GOV.UK. You will need to supply a copy of your endorsement letter. The endorsing bodies are not involved in Stage 2 of the process and endorsement as part of 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, for example, 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 into the Global Talent category from your current immigration category. Please note that if you have submitted a Stage 2 application, extension or settlement application, travelling outside of 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 migrant until you have made a successful Stage 2 application. For further information, please refer to the Home Office Guidance.