What is the UK Global Talent Visa?

The UK Global Talent Visa was created to attract leaders or potential leaders in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology, or arts and culture (this includes film and television, fashion design, and architecture).

Promising individuals in one of these areas must be recognized as such by a Home Office endorsing body. If they are successful in their application, the Global Talent independent program visa will allow them to live and work in the UK for 5 years.

The UK Global Talent visa replaces the Tier 1 UK Exceptional Talent visa.

UK Global Talent Visa Requirements

Talented individuals won’t be able to apply for the UK Global Talent visa if they haven’t applied for an endorsement first. The endorsement must be carried out by a Home Office endorsing body. It serves to prove that these talented individuals are actually leaders or potential leaders in science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology, or arts and culture.

Talented individuals must apply for the UK Global Talent visa within 3 months after the date on the endorsement letter.

UK Global Talent visa eligibility may also depend on what kind of awards the talented individual has won. Some prizes for achievements in arts and sciences make them qualify for the UK Global Talent visa without an endorsement. Check the list of eligible awards here.

English language requirement for UK Global Talent visa

Applicants for the replacement of the UK exceptional talent visa must have at least a B1 level of English (as defined in the Council of Europe’s common European framework for language and learning). 

There are several ways of meeting the English language requirement for the UK Global Talent visa route:

  • If the applicant has been in the UK with another visa that required him or her to prove their English level, the English language requirement for the UK Global Talent visa will be considered fulfilled.
  • If the applicant is a citizen of a majority-English-speaking country, such as Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, Belice, Bahamas, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United States of America.
  • If the applicant has a bachelor’s degree awarded in the UK or a degree-level qualification in a majority-English-speaking country (except for Canada) or Ireland.
  • If the applicant has passed an English language test to the B1 level up to 2 years before the date of application. Check the approved test providers here
  • If the applicant has a General Certificate of Secondary Education A level, Scottish National Qualification at level 4 or 5 or, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher, in English by a valid awarding body.

UK Global Talent visa conditions

Successful applicants for this sucessor of the UK exceptional talent visa can choose how much time they want to spend in the UK (up to 5 years on each Global Talent visa application). 

During that time, they can study under the ATAS condition and work as they wish. They can do voluntary work or be self-employed. The only restriction is that they can’t work as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach).

They can’t have access to public funds in any way. 

Global Talent visa fees

Global Talent visa fees include:

  • An application fee of £623 that can be paid in two parts: £456 when the talented individual applies for endorsement and £167 when the talented individual applies for the UK Global Talent visa.

    If the talented individual applies for the UK Global Talent visa based on an eligible prize, he or she must cover the full fee from the beginning.
  • An immigration healthcare surcharge that costs £624 per year.

These Global Talent visa fees are also required if the applicant wants to include their family members as dependants in their application.

Global Talent visa application

The Global Talent visa application process starts with the talented individual’s endorsement. Once they have an endorsement letter from an organization approved by the Home Office, they can start the Global Talent visa application process no more than 3 months after receiving the letter.

The Global Talent visa application can be done online or at a visa application center. In any case, the applicant will be required to prove their identity. Depending on the applicant’s home country and type of passport, they may need to:

  • Create a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account and scan their identity documents with the UK Immigration: ID Check app. 
  • Provide their fingerprints and photograph at a visa application center to obtain a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). The visa application center may retain the applicant’s documents while they process the application.

Required documents for Global Talent visa

  • A valid passport or other documents to prove the applicant’s identity and nationality.
  • If the applicant won an award or scholarship to study in the UK in the last year, they will be required to present written permission from the agency or government that gave it to them.
  • If the applicant won an award and the information about this is not publicly available, the Home Office will ask them for evidence of the win.
  • The applicant’s tuberculosis test results if they come from one of the following countries:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei, Burma, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Macau, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Applicants from outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland (or from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland without a biometric passport) will need a blank page in their passport to add the visa.  

Required documents that are not in English or Welsh must be translated by a professional translator or translation agency. It must be a certified translation from an entity that the Home Office can verify. For that, contact details of the person or company who translated the documents will be necessary.

UK Global Talent visa holder’s family

Applicants for the UK Global Talent visa can bring certain family members as “dependants”. These family members are:

  • Husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner who has been living with the applicant for at least 2 years.
  • Children under 18 years old, including babies who were born in the UK during the applicant’s stay.
  • Children over 18 years old if they are living in the UK with the applicant and depend financially on him or her without the usage of public funds. They must not be married or in a civil relationship, or have children of their own. 

Each family member must cover their own Global Talent visa application fees and healthcare surcharge. They will also need to provide their biometric information. 

Although they must apply separately, they must provide the main applicant’s application number so that they will be considered “dependants” of that UK Global Talent visa applicant.

Global Talent visa extension

If the UK Global Talent visa holder’s endorsement or award is not withdrawn, they can apply to extend this visa. 

In order to do this, they must show that they’ve earned money in their expert field during their stay in the UK, for example by providing payslips, personal bank or building society statements, a letter from a fully qualified chartered accountant or certified accountant who is a member of a registered body in the UK, etc.

There is no specific document that is 100% required as evidence, it depends on the visa holder’s situation and what they have access to.

It’s important to note that UK Global Talent visa holders can extend their visa for up to 5 years at a time, but they can extend it as many times as they like, provided that they still meet the requirements to stay in the UK under this visa.

It is possible for UK Global Talent visa holders to apply for a permanent stay in the UK if they’ve been working there for at least 3 years. This is called “indefinite leave to remain” and is an essential step for obtaining British citizenship in the future.

How to switch to the UK Global Talent visa from another visa

If the talented individual is in the UK with another visa and starts meeting the Global Talent visa requirements, for example if they win an award or receive an endorsement, they can apply to switch to the Global Talent visa, as long as they weren’t previously staying in the UK as:

  • A visitor (visit visa).
  • A student (short-term student visa).
  • A parent of a child student.
  • As a seasonal worker (seasonal worker visa).
  • As a domestic worker in a private household.
  • On immigration bail.
  • Outside normal immigration rules (for example, on compassionate grounds).

If that’s their case, they can leave the UK and apply for the UK Global Talent visa from abroad.

Receiving decision on Global Talent visa

Results for the talented individual’s Global Talent visa application can be delivered to the applicant within 3 weeks (if they applied from outside the UK) or 8 weeks (if they applied from inside the UK). 

There may be some delays. Applicants can check current visa decision waiting times online.

Frequently asked questions about UK Global Talent visa

  1. When should I apply for a Global Talent visa extension?
  • Anytime before the expiration of your current Global Talent visa.
  1. Can I lead a company with a UK Global Talent visa?
  • Yes, you can be any company’s director under a UK Global Talent visa.
  1. Can I change jobs while I’m in the UK with a Global Talent visa?
  • Yes, you can change jobs freely, meaning that you don’t have to inform the Home Office about it.
  1. Can I travel abroad while I’m in the UK with a Global Talent visa?
  • Yes, you can travel abroad and go back to the UK as you wish.
  1. Can I apply for the UK Global Talent visa as a researcher?
  • Yes, if you have a research grant approved by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
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