Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa

UK Immigration Solicitors are a team of exceptionally talented solicitors who specialise in immigration law, so we fully understand the attraction of coming to the UK as talented individual. We want to help you secure your visa and bring your talents to the UK, so we are here to discuss your application and support you in submitting it.

UK immigration rules are complex and the ever-changing UK laws, so enlisting the services of a fully qualified law firm can help to ensure success on the first application and throughout the process of an ‘Exceptional Talent’ application.

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Why choose UK Immigration Solicitors?

  • Expert legal advice: over 50 years of combined expertise from an award winning solicitors firm;
  • Individual Service: professional legal advice tailored to your specific needs, no matter where you are in the world;
  • Affordable: fixed payment plan with no hidden extra fees;
  • Peace of mind: all of our solicitors are qualified UK immigration solicitors and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority;
  • Confidence: we are proud members of Immigration Law Practitioners Association.

A general overview and eligibility guide is given below as a simple introduction to Approved Destination that applies to all Chinese Citizens, but to find out how they apply to your personal situation call us for a Free initial assessment, with no obligation.


You can apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if you’ve been endorsed in your field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts as:

  • a recognised leader (exceptional talent)
  • an emerging leader (exceptional promise)

You must also be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

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Application process

There’s a 2-stage application process to get this visa.

  1. You first need to apply to the Home Office for endorsement as a leader or an emerging leader in your particular field.
  2. Then, once you have been endorsed, you can apply for the visa.

There are limited places available under this visa category, with 500 places released on both 6 April and 1 October each year.

How long it will take

After you get your endorsement, the earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you travel.


You must pay a separate fee for the 2 stages of this process:

stage 1 – endorsement (£287)

stage 2 – visa application

You also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.


Stage 1

All main applicants must pay the £287 fee to get an endorsement when applying for the first time or switching to this visa category.

You won’t automatically get a visa if you’ve been endorsed. You won’t be reimbursed your endorsement fee if your visa application is turned down.

Stage 2

How much you pay to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa depends on your circumstances.

How long you can stay

You can stay in the UK for up to:

  • 5 years and 4 months if you apply outside the UK
  • 5 years if you apply inside the UK

You can choose how long you want to apply for, up to the maximum time allowed. You can apply to extend this visa for another 5 years or you can apply for settlement once you’ve been in the UK for 5 years.

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What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • work – for an employer, as a director of a company or be self-employed
  • change jobs without telling the Home Office
  • do voluntary work
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family members with you

You can’t:

  • get public funds
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach


To get a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa, you need to be endorsed as a leader (exceptional talent) or emerging leader (exceptional promise) in one of the following:

  • science
  • engineering
  • humanities
  • medicine
  • digital technology
  • the arts

How to get endorsed

Download and fill in the application form to apply for endorsement – you’ll also need to use an online service if you’re a digital technology specialist.

You’ll usually get a decision within 8 weeks. You may get a faster decision if you’re a digital technology specialist and one of the following applies:

  • you’ll work in, or set up a company in, certain cities in northern England;
  • you have certain technical or business skills;
  • you’re in a team of 5 or more people relocating to the UK.

You may also get a faster decision if you hold an approved peer-reviewed fellowship.

What happens next

If you are successful you will receive an email from the Home Office with a copy of your endorsement letter. You’ll need these for your visa application.

You will not automatically get a visa if you’ve been endorsed. If your application is turned down, you can request an endorsement review.

You must apply for your visa within 3 months of receiving your letter of endorsement from the Home Office.

UK Immigration Solicitors are able to support and represent you wherever you are in the world and our expert team of solicitors always treat each application as a unique. The lengthy process of the Exceptional Talent visa requires detailed documentation, and we can guide you through the process.

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