Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa

This category was created to attract leaders in their field of expertise and those who have the potential to become leaders in certain disciplines – people with exceptional talent.

The disciplines covered include:

  • Maths, engineering and sciences
  • Arts and culture (also architecture and fashion design)
  • Digital technology
  • Engineering
  • Humanities and social sciences

If you wish to apply, you must obtain endorsement by one of the five designated competent bodies (“DCB”). In some disciplines, you will also need certain additional specialist bodies to undertake assessment.

Under the latest changes in January 2018, each year 2,000 endorsements can be made.

Application process

You can only apply for this visa if you live outside the EEA or Switzerland and show exceptional talent.

If you decide to follow this route, you initially need to submit an application to the Home Office for endorsement. Applicants usually receive the decision within eight weeks

If successful, you only then can apply for the actual visa within three months from receiving the endorsement letter. However, obtaining the endorsement letter does not guarantee that your visa would be awarded to you automatically!

You can bring members of your family with you if they come from a country outside the EEA or Switzerland. However, they need to apply to join you.


You would need a valid passport and travel identification, hard copy of the endorsement letter and tuberculosis test result (if you are coming from a certain country where the test is mandatory).


You can stay in the UK on this type of visa for up to five years. You can apply to extend your stay if your endorsement has not been withdrawn and you can offer evidence that you are still working in the field of your expertise. You should apply for an extension before your visa expires.

You can also apply to switch your visa if you are residing in the UK to a Tier 1, Tier 2 or a Tier 5 visa.

You can also apply for indefinite leave to remain after three years (or five years if you have been endorsed under the exceptional promise criteria).

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