Bishop & Sewell

What is it?

The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa is designed to enable those who are endorsed as a recognised or emerging leader in the field to come to the UK.

What are the main requirements?

In order to qualify for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa the applicant must first apply to one of the designated bodies for endorsement as a leader or emerging leader in the field of science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts.

2000 places are available each year under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category with the Home Office releasing 1000 places on 6 April and 1 October.

How long can I stay and what are the conditions of my stay?

Applicants can apply to come to the UK for an initial period of up to five years and four months. Those who are eligible to switch into this category from inside the UK will be granted an initial period of leave of up to five years.

Applicants can apply to extend their stay in the UK for a further five years providing they continue to meet the requirements of the scheme.

During their stay in the UK, applicants can work for any employer, work as a director of a company or be self-employed. Applicants are able to change jobs without notifying the Home Office and can carry out voluntary work. Applicants cannot access public funds, work as a doctor or dentist in training or work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.

When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (otherwise known as ‘Settlement’)?

An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made once an applicant has held Tier 1 Exceptional Talent status for a period of at least five* years. In order to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, an applicant must demonstrate that:

  • they have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK and during this time have not breached any UK immigration laws;
  •  they have been absent from the UK for no more than 180 days in any 12 month period throughout the five years relied on for the application, and;
  • they have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test.

*Applicants who were initially granted leave under the exceptional talent, rather than exceptional promise, criteria are able to apply to settle on an accelerated basis after three years.

How we can help?

The requirements of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa are highly prescriptive and the Home Office routinely refuse applications that do not fully comply with the Immigration Rules and guidance. Our highly experienced team of immigration lawyers will assist in preparing and submitting your application to achieve the best possible outcome. They will also fully advise on the requirements to be satisfied for extension, settlement and British nationality applications.

If you’d like to discuss matters further, please email our Immigration team on or complete the online enquiry form on this page.

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