Exceptional Talent (Tabs)


You can apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if you’ve been endorsed in your field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts as:

  • a recognised leader (exceptional talent)
  • an emerging leader (exceptional promise)

If you currently hold a Tier 4 visa and meet the reqiurements you would need to apply for your visa from outside the UK. Applicants who currently hold one of the following valid visas may apply from within the UK: any route under Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 5 (Temporary worker - Government Authorised Exchange) on an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers


  • You can be self employed, work for an employer or be the director of a company
  • Work in any sector, however to extend your leave or apply for settlement you will need to demonstrate that you have been paid for employment in your specialist field
  • Work for any employer and change employers without approval from the Home Office
  • Take up employment at any level


There is a limit of 1000 endorsements per year (6 April one year and ending on 5 April the following year). The eligible places are released in two blocks with half of the places being released on 6 April and the second half of places being released on 30 September each year. 

Any body's remaining unused endorsements will be available between 1 October to 5 April each year.

Allocation limit

  • Arts Council England - 250 places
  • The British Academy - 150 places
  • The Royal Society - 250 places
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering - 150 places
  • Tech Nation UK - 200 places

Once the allocation has been reached this will be stated on the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) section of the gov.uk website.


The first stage of the application process is to apply for endorsement. This stage is not an immigration application and will not affect any current leave you may hold. Applicants apply to the relevant Designated Competent Body for endorsement (see below for links to the Designated Competent Bodies).

It is also possible to submit the Stage 1 and Stage 2 application at the same time. This would be useful where your current leave is due to expire and you wish to retain your current permission to live and work in the UK whilst your endorsement application is being considered.

The criteria for each Designated Competent Body is listed in Appendix L of the Immigration Rules. If you are applying under the Tech Nation UK scheme there is a separate form that includes questions specific to digitial technology applicants.

If you are successful you will receive an endorsement letter via email which will be valid for 3 months.

The cost for the endorsement is £ 287

Visa application

The cost of the visa application is currently £ 287.

Whether you apply outside or inside the UK you will also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

You must submit a copy of your endorsement letter that was emailed to you when your Stage 1 application was approved unless you have submitted Stage 1 and Stage 2 simultaneously. 

You must apply within 3 months of gaining your endorsement letter otherwise your application will be refused.

Important links