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The Global Talent Visa is the UK’s new programme for attracting exceptional talent into the country. Previously known as the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa, the Global Talent visa is for highly skilled migrants who are recognised as a leader (i.e. an Exceptional Talent) or an emerging leader (i.e. an Exceptional Promise) in their field.

It is a flexible visa that, unlike other UK work visas, is exempt from criteria such as sponsorship, maintenance, and English language. The key advantage of the Global Talent Visa is that it allows visa holders to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after only a minimum of three years.

There are key steps and set processes to follow to secure Global Talent visas for individuals. With our dedicated team of specialist and experienced immigration lawyers, Ward Hadaway has advised on over 100 applications for both Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise across many sectors including technology, engineering, science and arts and culture. We can support and guide you through the process which can be complex and confusing to navigate.

Stage 1 of the visa application: Eligibility

To be eligible for the Global Talent Visa, migrants must first be endorsed by one of the approved endorsing bodies who assess applications in different fields of expertise. Each endorsing body stipulates specific criteria that a business or organisation must fulfil in order to receive endorsement as being an Exceptional Talent or having Exceptional Promise.

The fields of expertise and endorsing bodies are:

  • Digital technology – Tech Nation
  • Arts and culture – Arts Council England
  • Science and medicine – The Royal Society
  • Engineering – The Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Humanities – The British Academy

Higher education and research applicants may also be eligible if they have received a successful grant application from an endorsed funder approved by UK Research and Innovation. There is also a fast-track route for those who have received a “prestigious prize” as defined by the Home Office.

Stage 2 of the visa application: Applying online

Once you have been endorsed as a business or organisation, you will move onto stage 2 of the application process. This is where you have to make your Global Talent Visa application via the Gov.UK website. Our specialist immigration lawyers can support an applicant through the application to ensure the information provided is done so correctly and in a legally compliant manner.

Free visa guidelines resource

We have recently launched a dedicated visa guidelines hub which is full of clear, useful guidance to help those wishing to live, work and recruit into the UK navigate the complex legal territory that is immigration law.

Applying for a visa is a complex process. On this dedicated website, our immigration experts have cut through the mountains of regulation. We present clear answers to the frequently asked questions of those who want to move to the UK to work or study, and of businesses wishing to recruit individuals from overseas.


For details in relation to certain immigration applications, please click here.

Case Studies

Case study 1

Who was the applicant

Sanjeev Kumar is an experienced senior digital executive who worked for a globally renowned automotive company in Japan leading their global digital transformation program. Sanjeev obtained a Global Talent endorsement from Tech Nation to come to the UK to start his own tech business. He reached out to us for his stage 2 Global Talent visa after his deep research and assessment. We helped him and his dependants (wife and children) to obtain visas so that they could all relocate to the UK.

 How did we help?

Sanjeev reached out to us with an ask of filing the visa application within a week’s time and with fully guided support because he had strict timelines within which he needed to relocate to the UK and was in need of absolute success but he had limited awareness of the UK visa process.

Achieving short turnaround times without any compromise on the quality of our advice and assistance is one of our strengths, and we quickly and efficiently helped Sanjeev through the stage 2 visa application process, which can be particularly tricky to navigate when applying with dependants.

We understood Sanjeev’s background, expectations, and plan over several online meetings and then proposed the option that suited his circumstances best. We provided clear guidance on the various supporting documents Sanjeev needed to provide with his application and ensured that included all the information and were in the format required by UVKI. This included carrying out a full review of the documents and providing advice on the strict rules around translations and checking the translated copies.

Filling the application form for the first time can be challenging, so we extended step by step support to Sanjeev in relation to his visa application form and the three separate PBS dependant application forms, which included a comprehensive review and answering all questions before submission.

As Sanjeev was applying during the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we also gave advice on the status of visa application centres and provided him with updates as the situation changed to help progress his application as quickly as possible.

Due to our high levels of support, all four applications were submitted within just three days of us being instructed.

The result

We successfully helped Sanjeev secure a Global Talent visa for Sanjeev and his three family members in record time:

  1. We submitted the application within 3 working days of being instructed;
  2. Sanjeev and his family attended their biometric appointment just 2 days later; and
  3. The visas were granted 7 working days later.

Sanjeev will be relocating from Japan to the UK shortly where he will be continuing his exceptional work in the digital technology sector and we will be working together in the future to support his new business venture.

Some kind words

“I would like to thank Flora from the bottom of my heart in making the complicated UK Global Talent visa application process simple and successful for me and my family. Her approach in taking time to understand my situation and then guiding me in a personalised way was the key to the success of my application. She was extremely accommodating and would always make time in her busy schedule if I needed a quick video call about any queries I had (and I had many honestly!). She was very responsive and proactive which is evidenced by the fact I obtained my visa in such a short time period. I cannot thank her and her team enough.”

Case study 2

Who was the applicant?

The applicant was a senior member of a multi-national IT company living and working in London.  Having obtained endorsement by Tech Nation for the Global Talent visa, he required assistance with the stage 2 visa application to move from a sponsored Tier 2 General visa, to the Global Talent visa.

How did we help?

The applicant was applying for the new visa along with their dependants.  We provided a comprehensive letter of advice setting out the eligibility criteria for the visa and the application process as well as template application forms for completion.  We advised on the required supporting documents, including those specifically required for dependants over the age of 16.  As well as reviewing and amending the application forms and documentation prior to submission, we provided a letter of support as the legal representative.

The application process was unfortunately delayed due to UKVI’s response to the covid19 pandemic and as new processes and procedures were introduced by UKVI after submission of the applications, we guided the applicant through these and advised on the most appropriate steps for their personal circumstances.

The result

Once the UKVI application process was complete, including enrolling biometric details for the applicants, all of the visas were smoothly and quickly processed and successfully granted.

Some kind words

“I would like to personally thank Flora and her team for the help and support given through this process, particularly during the excruciating wait for the visa caused by the covid19 pandemic and UKVI delays.  I will be delighted to refer Ward Hadaway to contacts who are in need of help with their visas and look forward to continuing to work together on other matters in the future.”

Case study 3

Who was the applicant?

We have recently assisted a Serbian national with their application for endorsement for the Global Talent visa (formerly known as the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa). This individual established a FinTech start-up in Serbia specialising in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and having gained potential investors in the UK, wanted to relocate here.

How did we help?

We conducted an initial review of the applicant’s profile and identified the most suitable Key and Qualifying Criteria for their application.  We proceeded to advise them on the potential supporting documents that they could submit with their endorsement application which included:

  • For Key Criteria 1 – company incorporation documents in both Serbia and the UK and evidence of their potential investment funds;
  • For Qualifying Criteria 1 – a letter from their co-founder in Serbia and letters of support from existing customers;
  • For Qualifying Criteria 2 – a letter from the UK Department of International Trade and evidence of public speaking events participated in; and
  • For Qualifying Criteria 4 – evidence of published journal articles and a letter of support from their research supervisor.

In addition we reviewed and re-drafted the three letters of recommendation to highlight their achievements to date as well as the benefits that they would bring to the tech sector in the UK through their skills, experience and start-up and worked with them to complete their personal statement and CV to ensure consistency across the application.

The result

As a result, they were successfully endorsed under the Exceptional Talent criteria meaning that they are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in just three years.  Following receipt of their endorsement, we prepared and submitted their visa application which was granted swiftly.

Contact a specialist

Flora Mewies

Partner | Employment & Head of Immigration

+44 (0) 330 137 3156

+44 (0) 752 522 5480

Email Flora Mewies

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Roisin Patton

Partner | Employment

+44 (0) 330 137 3187

+44 (0) 783 488 9938

Email Roisin Patton

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Gillian Burns

Managing Associate | Employment

+44 (0) 330 137 3152

+44 (0)773 846 2372

Email Gillian Burns

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Natalie Payne

Associate | Employment

+44 (0) 330 137 3174

+44 (0) 7725 757 256

Email Natalie Payne

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Isabelle Cernis

Solicitor | Employment

+44 (0) 330 137 3170

+44 (0) 791 257 8938

Email Isabelle

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