This visa route is for individuals who are leaders or future leaders in the field of science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology. There is a two-stage process to this application, an applicant would have to firstly be confirmed as a leader or potential leader in one of the above fields before making an application for a visa. Endorsements are provided by the following bodies:
- Arts Council England
- The British Academy
- The Royal Society
- The Royal Academy of Engineering
- Tech City UK
Each body has its own criteria that an individual must meet to be recognised as an exceptional talent. There are 1,000 endorsement places available each year (from 6 April one year and ending on 5 April the following year). Each body has a designated number of spaces provided to them.
Once an individual is endorsed they will then make their application to the Home Office who will look at the endorsement as well whether the individual is eligible to apply for this visa.
The candidate can make an entry clearance application or switch into this visa route from the following categories:
- Any Tier 1 route
- Any Tier 2 route
- Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange Scheme
An applicant does not to satisfy any English language criteria while applying to or switching into the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category. However, for extension in this category you are required to meet the English language requirement at Level B1.
An application under this route can be made for any length of time up to 5 ear 4 months if an entry clearance application is made and 5 years for an in country application. After 5 years under this route an Exceptional Talent migrant can apply for settlement in the UK. If for any reason the applicant is not able to apply for settlement they can apply for an extension for a maximum of 5 years.
A migrant who holds this visa can be self-employed, contracted or employed in the UK. Furthermore, they can work with any employer, in any sector and at any level. However, when applying for settlement or further leave an applicant will have to confirm that they have worked in the field that they were endorsed in.