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 Global Talent Visas

Global Talent Visas

This guide covers the UK’s Global Talent Visa, detailing its application process, eligibility, costs, and its potential for permanent UK settlement.


The Global Talent visa is designed for talented and promising individuals with exceptional talent or promise in specific sectors wishing to come and work in the UK. The sectors covered under this visa include science, engineering, humanities, social science, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture. A global talent visa offers the individual a greater deal of flexibility that other UK work visas; it does not require sponsorship from an employer, it allows the visa holder to work in an employed or self-employed category and there is no minimum income threshold to be met.

Eligibility and requirements

To qualify for a Global Talent visa, an individual must be normally endorsed by one of the UK’s recognised bodies relevant to their field. This endorsing body validates that the individual is a recognised leader (exceptional talent) or an emerging leader (exceptional promise) in their respective sector. Beyond the endorsement, applicants may need to meet additional criteria, including demonstrating they have earned money in the UK during their last period of permission when applying to extend their stay or apply for indefinite leave to remain.

The main endorsing bodies are:

Endorsing Body Area of Expertise
The British Academy Social sciences and humanities
The Royal Society Natural and medical sciences
The Royal Academy of Engineering Engineering
Arts Council England (and associated bodies) Arts and culture, including
– Combined arts
– Fashion design (considered by the British Fashion Council)
– Architecture (considered by the Royal Institute of British Architects)
– Animation, film, post-production, television and visual effects (considered by the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television – only available for exceptional talent applications)
Tech Nation Digital technology
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Science, engineering, humanities and medicine (when applying under the endorsed funder route)

There are different routes to endorsement, including:

  1. Academic and research appointment – a fast track endorsement process for applicants with an eligible academic or research position at an approved UK higher education institution or research institute, which is a part of the global talent visa route.
  2. Individual fellowship – a fast track endorsement process for applicants who have been awarded an individual fellowship on a list approved by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society, making them eligible for the global talent visa under the fast track route.
  3. Endorsed funder – for researchers and specialists whose name or job title is specified in a successful grant application from an endorsed funder approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI);
  4. Full peer review – applicants prepare a portfolio of supporting documents for assessment by an endorsing body in the field of science, engineering, humanities, social science or medicine as evidence that they have been recognised as an exceptional talent or as having exceptional talent in their field of expertise.

There are also the endorsement routes supported by the Arts Council and Tech nation. Lastly, there is an exception to the rule of needing an endorsement. An applicant who has been awarded a prestigious prize from a Home Office approved list is automatically considered to be exceptionally talented. Such prize holders can therefore proceed to apply for a Global Talent visa without first obtaining an endorsement.

Global talent visa application process

For most individuals, applying for a Global Talent visa is a two-step process requiring thorough preparation and careful attention to detail:

Step 1 – Endorsement application

This initial endorsement stage involves validating the applicant’s eligibility for the visa. The applicant must secure an endorsement from an appropriate endorsing body recognised in the UK in their field of expertise. Each endorsing body has its own set of criteria which vary depending on whether the applicant is applying for recognition in the exceptional talent or exceptional promise category. In most cases, the endorsement application will involve the applicant preparing a portfolio of supporting documents showcasing their experience in order to demonstrate they are either world leaders or potential world leaders in their chosen field.

The processing times vary depending on the endorsement body but are typically in the region of 6-8 weeks.

Step 2 – Visa application

Whilst it is possible to submit simultaneous endorsement and visa applications, it is often best to apply for an endorsement in the first instance; the visa application will be automatically refused if the endorsement application is unsuccessful.

Once an endorsement is secured, the endorsement letter is valid for three months. An applicant needs to make their visa application within this time period. Failure to do so will mean having to reapply for an endorsement in order to make a successful global talent visa application.

The global talent visa application process involves filling out an application form and submitting it along with the necessary supporting documents, which typically includes proof of the endorsement.

In terms of costs, applicants must be prepared to pay an endorsement fee, visa application fee and the immigration healthcare surcharge. While the exact costs can vary, it’s important to be aware of the potential expenses involved in the process.

The processing time for the Global Talent visa usually ranges between 3 to 8 weeks, depending on whether the applicant is applying from the UK or overseas. There is also the possibility of applying for the priority processing of the visa application (subject to availability) for an additional fee which can reduce the visa decision making time.

Common mistakes that can hinder the application process include inaccuracies or inconsistencies in the application form, inadequate or incorrect supporting documentation, and failing to meet the endorsement criteria.

How long can I remain in the UK on a Global Talent visa?

The Global Talent visa is very flexible. When applying for the Global Talent visa, an applicant will select how many years permission they want. This can be anything between 1 and 5 years (granted in yearly increments). How long an applicant applies for will depend on a number of factors, including how many years residence they need to qualify for settlement, the cost of the immigration health surcharge or how long they intend to remain in the UK. There is no upper limit on how long someone can remain in the UK on a global talent visa and therefore the applicant is open to apply to extend their visa prior to its expiry (provided they meet the criteria for an extension of stay).

On extension, applicants will need to show that their endorsement has not been withdrawn by the endorsing body, their endorsing body continues to be approved by the Home Office and that they have earned money in the UK from their endorsed talent during their last period of permission to stay in the UK.

Is the Global Talent Visa a route to settlement?

The Global Talent visa is a route to settlement in the UK. The length of time that someone will need to spend the UK as a global talent migrant before qualifying for indefinite leave to remain will depend on their endorsing body and whether they have been endorsed under the exceptional talent or exceptional promise category. The typical length of qualifying residence is between three and five years.

Can I bring my dependants?

Yes, Global Talent migrants can be accompanied or joined by their eligible dependants i.e. their spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner and children under the age of 18. Dependants are granted leave in line with the main applicant.

Dependant partners are also eligible to apply for settlement, but will have to spend a continuous 5 year period of residence in the UK as dependants in order to qualify. For dependant children to qualify for settlement, usually their other parent must also be being granted settlement at the same time.

The role of immigration solicitors

Global talent visa applications involve complex immigration laws, extensive documentation, and stringent eligibility requirements. Moreover, the landscape of UK immigration law is dynamic and often subject to changes, making it difficult for individuals to keep up.

We can provide invaluable support in tackling these challenges. With our expert knowledge of immigration laws and procedures with the various endorsing bodies, we have helped many clients through the global talent endorsement process.

The services we offer include, but are not limited to, advising on eligibility criteria for endorsement under the global talent visa category, guiding clients through the visa application process, preparing and reviewing necessary documentation in line with the UK immigration rules. Given our breadth of experience, we can also advise on alternative visa routes where the Global Talent visa is unsuitable.

Harper Macleod and immigration: why choose us?

At Harper Macleod, we understand that every client’s needs are unique. Therefore, we adopt a tailored approach to provide legal services that best suit the individual needs of our clients. We understand the anxieties and uncertainties involved in the immigration process and strive to provide empathetic and supportive assistance to our clients.

Our team comprises specialist immigration solicitors who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. Our expertise in dealing with complex immigration cases makes us a reliable partner in your global talent migration journey.


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Call us for free on 0330 159 5555 or complete our online form below to submit your enquiry or arrange a call back.

Speak to us today on 0330 159 5555

Get in touch


Get in touch

Call us for free on 0330 159 5555 or complete our online form below to submit your enquiry or arrange a call back.