What is the UK Global Talent Visa, who and how can obtain it, what benefits it gives and how it differs from other work visas, what challenges applicants may face. Immigram team answers these and many other questions.
Global Talent Visa, also known as Tech Nation Visa, Exceptional Talent (Tier 1) Visa or just Talent Visa is an immigration route for talented and promising tech professionals from around the world who want to move to the UK to live, work, succeed in their field, and subsequently become a British citizen.
The visa is intended for those who are already recognised "talents" or "promising" professionals in the fields of science, medicine, digital technology, art and culture.
Depending on the candidate's specialisation, they will need to get an endorsement from one of the endorsing bodies authorised by the British government. For digital tech specialists it is Tech Nation.
Immigram offers Global Talent Visa guidance to digital tech candidates. Take our scoring test to evaluate your chances of getting the visa and get detailed feedback from our team.
Rules for obtaining the Global Talent Visa in 2023
In 2023, visas are issued to everyone without any restrictions. In early March, Tech Nation released a statement that applications from Ukrainians and citizens of other countries who are currently in Ukraine have a priority status. The second priority is given to Russians and Belarusians, especially those who are already working in the UK technology companies and cannot get paid because of SWIFT sanctions.div
To get the Global Talent Visa, you first need to apply for an endorsement from Tech Nation and only after that –– for the visa itself.
Stage 1 – Endorsement application
The application bundle for Tech Nation should include 4 types of documents:
Read more about this stage of the application and the required documents in the article.
Immigram assists in preparing your case bundle and gathering all the necessary documents for Tech Nation.
Stage 2 – Visa application
When you receive the approval letter from Tech Nation, it’s time to apply for the visa itself. Documents you’ll need for the application:
It takes 5-8 weeks for Tech Nation to evaluate your application. Immigram clients usually receive a decision in 2-4 weeks.
If you are applying for the visa in the UK, the Home Office will make a decision within 2 weeks (as of August 2022). If you are applying for the visa outside the UK, the process takes 5-8 weeks (as of August 2022).
If you need a quicker decision, you can apply for fast-track visa services — Priority (5 working days) and Super Priority (by the end of the next working day). These services are available in some visa centres during the online application process.
Once approved by Tech Nation, the candidate has only 3 months (90 days) to apply for the Global Talent Visa itself.
Apply for the visa outside the UK
You can apply from any country in the world, but you must include a cover letter explaining why you are not applying from your home country.
Once you have collected the necessary documents, you can make an appointment at the visa centre to have your biometric information taken. After that you will receive a vignette — a temporary document in the form of a visa sticker. You will have 3 months (90 days) to enter the UK. After 90 days, the vignette becomes invalid.
Apply for the visa in the UK
You can apply for the Global Talent Visa, send your entire bundle of documents and sign up for biometrics and photos online.
Immigram helps you with the application for the Global Talent Visa as well as guides you through the whole relocation process – read more about the Dependant visa for close relatives here.
A technical candidate needs to meet 3 Tech Nation criteria — one mandatory and two optional.
Recognition as a leader
Recognition as a (potential) leader in your field. Your case itself may serve as evidence:
There are four optional criteria in general, but you will only need to prove two of them for the application.
Significant contribution to the field
Significant contribution to the field is one of the most frequently selected criteria. Evidence for this criterion includes any metrics of the project/product you have worked on that have benefited your company or the IT industry as a whole. You can also show your contribution through reference letters that mention the impact of your project/product on the company's metrics.
Innovation is the second most popular optional criterion. Tech Nation views the word “innovation” as “something new” — a new approach, a new solution, a new trend. Patents as well as an unusual approach to a project or a new solution to a problem can serve as evidence for this criterion.
Recognition for work outside the immediate occupation
Recognition for what you did outside your main job. Evidence may include:
If you have a PhD, three published scientific articles, and reference letters from academics and a supervisor, consider the criterion proven.
Assess your immigration chances with our scoring test.
The Global Talent Visa is divided into two subcategories — Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise.
The main difference is the experience and level of achievement of the candidates. Typically, candidates who apply as a “Talent” have held senior positions, managed large-scale projects, and can provide evidence of significant accomplishments in the digital field.
According to Tech Nation, if a specialist has worked in the field for more than 5 years, they cannot apply as an Exceptional Promise. However, a candidate with less experience may apply for any of the subcategories.
The level of evidence for “Promise” and “Talent” is also different. While Promise can provide one piece of evidence for the selected criteria, Talent candidates must attach several pieces of evidence.
The subcategory of the Global Talent Visa also determines when its holders may apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain; British Permanent Residence): 3 years for Exceptional Talent and 5 years for Exceptional Promise.
Learn more about the subcategories of the Global Talent Visa in our article.
Software engineers, founders, investors, UX designers and many other professionals can apply for the Tech Nation Visa. Specialties can be divided into two categories — technical and non-technical (business). The main requirement is to work for a product-led digital company in any IT sector.
Business candidates must demonstrate experience in creating digital products or investing in recognised digital product-led companies.
Examples of non-technical occupations (business):
Technical candidates should demonstrate experience in working with/creating the latest technologies, use or operate digital products.
Examples of technical occupations:
Take our scoring test to find out your chances of becoming a Global Talent Visa holder.
The application for Tech Nation includes 4 types of documents. Let's look at each of them.
The personal statement should be no longer than 1000 words. It should be complementary to your case and explain what you plan to contribute to the UK IT sector.
According to Tech Nation guidelines, you should answer the following questions in the personal statement:
While Tech Nation recommends answering these questions, we suggest a more creative approach. In your Personal Statement, explain why you are a (potential) leader in your field, convince Tech Nation experts that you fit the Global Talent Visa criteria perfectly, and show specific examples (metrics) of your achievements. Also, make sure to describe the documents you attach to your case — why you attached them and what criterion each one proves.
For example, "My online course was taken by over 500 people" or "Thanks to my product, the company's revenue has increased fivefold".
Tech Nation recommends that CVs should be up to 3 pages, but it can be longer. The CV should include a detailed description of your career, publications, and media mentions. Don't forget to add links to your projects, open source screenshots, and photos of you speaking at conferences.
Here’s what to include in your CV:
What should not be included in a CV:
In other words, your CV should be designed for Tech Nation’s endorsement, not for a job interview.
Tech Nation requires applicants to attach 3 reference letters. We advise you to attach at least 4-5 letters in case any of them are rejected during the evaluation process. For instance, this can happen if Tech Nation does not view your referee as an expert in the field or for some other reason.
Who can be a referee
The main advice is to choose a referee with whom you have a good relationship. At the same time, the letters should be signed by recognised experts in your field. The person should be familiar with your work and hold a senior position.
Letters cannot be written by your relatives, friends, or people who work for you.
What to write about in reference letters
Each letter must:
The letter should also be typed, dated, and signed by the referee or company representative.
10 pieces of evidence
These documents should also confirm that you meet the requirements. If you have given specific examples or metrics in your personal statement or recommendation letters and CV, these documents must support them. These could be excerpts from performance reviews, job offers, payrolls, investment deals, internal awards and so on.
Read our article to learn more about the necessary documents for the application.
The Global Talent Visa offers many benefits. It is valid for up to 5 years, enabling its holder to:
There are also other benefits:
Essentially, Global Talent Visa holders have all the same rights as UK citizens.
Read more about the Global Talent Visa benefits here.
To apply for the Global Talent Visa, you will need to pay a fee — £623 per person. It includes the endorsement application fee (£456) and the visa application fee (£167).
If you intend to bring close relatives with you, you must also pay £623 for each person.
You will also need to pay a Healthcare Surcharge for yourself and your family members — £624 for each year of your visa. For example, for a 5-year visa for one person you would have to pay £3.120.
Read our blog to find out if you can get a discount on the Healthcare Surcharge.
You may also need to pay £19.20 to have your biometric information taken.
The Global Talent Visa is issued for up to 5 years. The candidate themself chooses the duration of the visa — from 1 to 5 years.
The visa can be extended an unlimited number of times. You will not need to get approval from Tech Nation again, but you will need to provide evidence that you have earned money in the UK working in your field of expertise. There is no minimum income requirement.