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UK Global Talent Visa: What It Is for and How to Obtain It

A UK Global Talent visa is a relatively new immigration route that was introduced to compensate for shortages in highly skilled labour after Brexit.

Since then, visa requirements have changed several times, but the key feature of this immigration route remains the same: it offers flexibility and relative freedom. On a UK Global Talent visa, you can travel both inside and outside the United Kingdom. You can be on payroll or run a business as a self-employed, and bring your family with you as dependants.

Not everyone can apply for a UK Global Talent visa. You need to be able to demonstrate your professional achievements. It does not have to be something outstanding such as devising a proof of Fermat’s theorem, founding a popular social media network or painting a masterpiece that the Louvre and the Met would fight for.

Working in a particular field for a long time already makes you eligible for a UK Global Talent visa. If you have established yourself outside your home country, taken part in international conferences and exhibitions, and written articles for journals and magazines, you have all the chances to get this visa.

What Are the Benefits of Relocating to the UK?

There are several reasons why foreign specialists move to the UK. We can divide them into two groups: personal and professional. Let’s have a closer look at them. 

Safety and security Global financial hub
High living standardsGlobal scientific and research centre
Welfare Global cultural centre
Good healthcare systemStable economy
Quality education for childrenFantastic investment climate

They say that only a starving artist is a good artist. But it is hardly so; it is easier to develop your talent if you are safe and do not have to worry about paying bills.

The UK as one of the largest financial, research, and cultural centres offers:

  • Latest innovations in science, digital technologies, and arts
  • Partnerships and international ventures
  • Investments
  • Large and lucrative market.

To sum it up, a highly skilled professional will have everything to enjoy a prosperous life and endless opportunities for professional growth in the UK.

Benefits of a UK Global Talent Visa

  1. You are not tied to any British employer. You can become a freelancer and set up a company. All you are required to do is to bring value to society in the relevant field.
  2. Minimum requirements. The UK needs skilled specialists so much that it is ready to reduce its requirements for this visa compared to other visas. For example, you do not need to show you have money in a bank to support yourself in the UK. Neither do you need to take an English test or even demonstrate your education in some cases.
  3. Both renowned industry leaders and emerging talents can apply for this visa.
  4. A spouse and children can be added to a visa application as dependants.
  5. A UK Global Talent visa can be extended for five years. However, if you have integrated into British society and become fluent in English in the first three to five years in the UK, you will be able to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and then for British citizenship.

Who Can Apply for a UK Global Talent Visa?

A UK Global Talent visa is designed for emerging and established leaders in the following fields:

  • Arts and culture
  • Academia and research
  • Digital technology.


Fields that are eligible for a UK Global Talent visa

Arts and culture

Academia and research

Digital technology

United arts, dancing, literature, music, theatre, and visual arts





Computer games

Fashion Design


Cyber security

Film and television, including animation, post-production, and visual effects


Artificial Intelligence

If your field is not listed, no need to worry. Any highly skilled professional who can bring value to British society can obtain a UK Global Talent visa and relocate to the UK.

For example, if you are good at organising events such as international exhibitions and you were given credit for that by British and/or European mass media, you can apply for a UK Global Talent visa even though you cannot draw or dance.

There are two subcategories of a UK Global Talent visa: 

  • Exceptional Talent – for industry leaders recognised internationally. Applicants in this subcategory must have at least five years of experience and demonstrate outstanding achievements accepted by the Home Office and the endorsing body.
  • Exceptional Promise – for young prospective specialists who have recently started their career but already have skills and achievements in the relevant field.

Requirements for a UK Global Talent Visa

The Home Office has minimum requirements for a UK Global Talent visa. You must:

  1. Be over 18 years of age;
  2. Have a clean criminal record and be of good health;
  3. Most importantly, demonstrate talent in a particular field by winning in one of the international contests recognised in the UK or getting an endorsement letter from a relevant body;
  4. Have enough money to pay all application fees, an immigration health surcharge, and relocation costs.

Who Can Be Added to a Visa Application as a Dependant?

If you apply for a UK Global Talent visa, you can add the following people to your application as dependants:

  • Spouse or unmarried partner
  • Minor children under 18
  • Children over 18 years of age if they already live in the UK and are dependent on the main applicant.

If you come to the UK with an unmarried partner, you must prove that you have been in a relationship for more than two years and share a household.

Obtaining a UK Global Talent Visa

The standard procedure for obtaining a UK Global Talent visa can be broken down into three steps: 

  1. Get an endorsement letter from an endorsing body or an official confirmation that you won one of the contests listed on the British government website.
  2. Apply for a UK Global Talent visa with the endorsement letter or another relevant document.
  3. Travel to the UK and collect your resident card.

Proving Your Talent

According to the Home Office requirements, an applicant for a UK Global Talent visa must be “approved” by one of the authorised endorsing bodies. An endorsing body is an official organisation, university, or industry association that has enough expertise to recognise a talented professional or prospective young specialist in the corresponding field.

To get an endorsement letter, you must submit evidence of your qualification and international recognition together with your application. The list of mandatory evidence depends on the field you work in. Let’s take an architect as an example and look at the endorsement procedure step by step.

Who Can Provide an Endorsement Letter for a UK Global Talent Visa?

Professional architects apply for an endorsement to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which approves them on behalf of the Arts Council England. After you get an endorsement letter, you must register with the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

Assessment Criteria for UK Global Talent Visa Applicants

An architect is considered an industry leader if they meet the following criteria:

  • They have been successfully working in the field for the last five years;
  • Their projects are featured in the foreign press and assessed by the RIBA experts as outstanding;
  • They can prove that their works are known in at least two countries.

What Documents Must Be Submitted to an Endorsing Body?

  1. Three letters of support
    Two letters of support must come from renowned foreign industry-leading organisations. One more letter must be provided by a British expert. It can be either an organisation or a highly skilled professional.
  2. Ten proofs of appearance
    According to existing requirements, each proof of appearance must be maximum two A4 pages and issued within five years before the application. They can feature the following achievements:

    • Recognition in foreign media
    • International awards
    • Participation in international exhibitions and foreign publications.

At least two of your works should be mentioned in professional reviews on foreign TV or in any other electronic media. These projects must be highly appraised by the RIBA experts. It is better to be featured in the media of two or more countries.

To get a UK Global Talent visa, you must prove that you have received an international award in architecture or actively participated in a venture that got an award. If you apply in the Exceptional Promise subcategory, it is enough to be just nominated for an award in an important international contest.

To prove your participation in international exhibitions, you should demonstrate examples of your works and associated printed materials. International publications also count as proofs of appearance and include monographs, exhibition evidence, and articles about your works (not interviews).

How Long Does It Take to Get a UK Global Talent Visa?

The most difficult part of applying for a UK Global Talent visa is, perhaps, providing the required evidence of your talent and getting an endorsement. We recommend contacting reliable immigration advisors at the initial stage of the application process who will help you collect all the required documents and apply for a visa. Imperial & Legal’s advisors have been helping the UK Global Talent applicants since when the visa was introduced and have extensive expertise in this area. We will review your case on its merit and describe your professional achievements in a way that will increase your chances of getting an endorsement.

A well-prepared application is usually processed within eight weeks. Some endorsing bodies, like Tech Nation, offer an accelerated option for an additional fee.

With an endorsement letter in hand, you pay an application fee and an immigration health surcharge. Our advisors will then fill in an online visa application and submit it together with the required documents to the Home Office.

The Home Office processes visa applications within three weeks. If you switch to another subcategory in the UK, processing will take up to eight weeks. Applicants outside the UK need to make an appointment with a local visa centre to submit biometrics.

If your application is approved, the Home Office will stick a short-term visa in your passport. This will allow you to come to the UK within the next three months and collect a resident BRP card.

To sum up, once you prepare the documents for an endorsement letter and send your application to an endorsing body, allow up to 12 months till you can relocate to the UK.

How Much Does a UK Global Talent Visa Cost?

An application fee of £623 consists of two payments:

  • £456 – for an endorsement letter
  • £167 – for the visa application.

Additionally, applicants must pay an immigration health surcharge. It is £624 per person per year. You must pay it in full for the whole period of your stay in the UK. For example, if you want to stay in the UK for three years, you must pay £1,872. 

Obtaining an Indefinite Leave to Remain and British Citizenship

An Exceptional Talent visa holder can apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), or settlement, after three years of staying in the country. If you are a Promising Talent, you can get an ILR after five years of staying in the UK.

Indefinite Leave to Remain applicants must have a good knowledge of English and pass a test to prove it. They also need to pass the Life in the UK test.

To obtain British citizenship, you must spend five years in the UK, including a year or more as a settled person. Therefore, recognised industry leaders can get a British passport in five years and Exceptional Promise talents in six years.

What To Do If You Do Not Get Endorsed?

Imperial & Legal’s experienced advisors will talk to you to assess your chances of getting a UK Global Talent visa and advise what should be done in your case.

If you have applied for a visa yourself and got a refusal, you have three solutions:

  1. Contact qualified specialists if you do not agree with the decision of your endorsing body.
    Experienced advisors will prepare a new application with all the requirements in mind to make sure it is successful this time.
  2. Change a subcategory, Exceptional Talent to Exceptional Promise. However, it is only possible if you work in the field for a relatively short period and already have some impressive achievements as a young professional. 
  3. Apply for a different visa, for example, a business or worker visa.

Imperial & Legal’s advisors are here to help you no matter what your circumstances are. Our team will save you energy, time, and money.

FAQs about UK Global Talent Visa

What are the requirements for letters of support?

It depends on the industry. There are, however, some common requirements:

  • It must be printed on official letterhead with a company logo, and dated;
  • It must not be more than three A4 pages (excluding company information and endorser’s contact details);
  • It must include the endorser’s contact details: corresponding address, phone number, email, and link to a social media profile;
  • It must be wet-signed by the endorser;
  • If your endorser is a person, not an organisation, they should attach their CV proving that their expertise is genuine;
  • Letters that are not written in English must be translated and notarised.

When is a letter of endorsement not required?

Recipients of prestigious international awards and awards listed on the British government website can apply for a Global Talent visa without going through the initial endorsement stage.

If we go back to our architecture, an applicant will be able to skip the endorsement if they got one of the following awards:

  1. The Pritzker Architecture Prize – a prestigious award that is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture;
  2. The Royal Gold Medal – another prestigious prize that is granted by the Royal Institute of British Architects, the endorsing body for architects.

A writer needs to win the Man Booker Prize. Even if you get shortlisted, it will significantly increase your sales worldwide.

To recap, only the most significant awards that publish information about their winners on their official websites can replace an endorsement letter.

What documents do I need to send to the Home Office together with my application?

Together with your visa application, you must submit the following documents:

  1. Valid passport or another ID with personal and nationality information. It must have at least one blank page for a visa. This is required of all non-Schengen citizens and the EEA and Swiss citizens who do not have biometric passports with electronic chips.
  2. Negative tuberculosis test results (check the requirements).

    You may also need some additional documents:

  3. If you received a grant or scholarship to study in the UK in the previous year, you must provide written consent from the agent or government organisation that granted you that opportunity. They must confirm that you can apply for a UK Global Talent visa.
  4. You need to prepare and send the evidence of the award you received if it is recognised by the British government and:
  • It allows you to skip the endorsement stage;
  • The Home Office cannot find publicly available information about it (official website, etc.).

Documents that are not in English must be translated and notarised.

Are there any hidden issues behind the seemingly easy-to-get facade of a UK Global Talent visa?

Applicants don’t need to evidence their financial state or their language skills or find an employer with a sponsorship licence. But there is the other side of the coin. Let’s imagine you arrive in the UK, what’s now? You need to find accommodation that you can afford, a nursery or school for children if any, open a bank account, etc. Why are we talking about it?

  • You should not think that it will be cheaper to relocate to the UK on a UK Global Talent visa than on a UK Skilled Worker visa just because there are no maintenance requirements. While a migrant has a sponsor and can benefit from their support, a solopreneur must rely on themselves.
  • If you have an immigration advisor, make sure they provide not just a visa but also relocation support. Imperial & Legal adopts a comprehensive approach: our advisors will help you prepare the required documents and apply for a visa and later find a school or nursery for your children.

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