Tier 1 Exceptional Talent is for those who can make a difference!

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent is for those who can make a difference!Apparently, the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route is for highly skilled migrants in the fields of humanities, science, engineering, the arts and digital technology, who have the potential to enrich the UK’s knowledge economy and cultural life. Keeping in view the skill level and qualifications of such exceptional migrants there are very few restrictions on their economic activity in the UK. Accordingly, if one qualifies under the Tier 1 exceptional talent route then he/she can work and change employers and also do work as self-employed. Moreover, there is no need for further authorisation or sponsor for employment in a particular post.

How to Get the British Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa?

An applicant may qualify under Tier 1 exceptional talent route if the applicant is already internationally recognised as having made significant contributions as a leader in his/her field. And also if the applicant has already demonstrated the potential to contribute significantly as a future leader in his/her field of interest. The Annex A of Tier 1 exceptional talent guidance provides the details of the eligibility criteria that an applicant needs to meet.

Duration of Leave in the UK under Tier 1 Exceptional Talent

You can choose how much leave to apply for, up to a maximum of 5 years (5 years 4 months if obtaining Entry Clearance) in each grant. You can subsequently apply to extend your leave if you require further limited leave in the United Kingdom. There is no maximum limit on the time you can spend in the UK in this category. Extension applications can be made while you are still in the UK, or alternatively if you need to travel, they can be submitted overseas in any country as long as you have authority to be living in that country (and have been given authority to live there for more than 6 months).

What work can I do under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)?

You can:

  • work as self employed/contracted/employed;
  • work in any sector**
  • work for any employer and move between employers without any additional approval from the Home Office
  • take up employment at any level**

You cannot:

  • work as a Doctor or Dentist in Training; or
  • as a professional sportsperson/sports coach.

** Please note that to extend your leave, or apply for settlement, you will need to demonstrate that you have been paid for employment in your specialist field

Can I apply for leave if I am already in the UK?

You can switch into Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) if you have leave in the following categories:

  • Any Tier 1 route;
  • Any Tier 2 route; or
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker), if you have been sponsored in the Government Authorised Exchange sub-category in an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers

If you hold leave in any other category, you should leave the UK and apply for entry clearance.

Premium Service for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent in the UK

You cannot submit an application for endorsement (stage 1 application) at a Premium Service Centre (PSC). You can submit your leave application (stage 2) at a PSC, but should only do so if you have already received your endorsement (stage 1) decision. See Timing your stage 1 application for further details. Applications to extend your Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) leave or to apply for settlement may be also be submitted at a PSC.

Priority Service Tier 1 Exceptional Talent from Outside the UK

You cannot submit an application for endorsement (stage 1 application) in person. You may be able to submit your entry clearance application (stage 2) using a priority service or super priority service, depending on options available in the country where you apply. More details of the available options in each country are available at www.gov.uk/find-a-visa-application-centre. You should only apply for stage 2 if you have already received your endorsement (stage 1) decision. See Timing your stage 2 application for further details. Applications to extend your Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) leave may also be submitted via premium services where applicable.

Can Dependants Accompany the Main Applicant?

Yes. The dependants can accompany the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Main Applicant if they meet the relevant eligibility requirements.

Can I travel while my application is outstanding?

You may travel while your application for endorsement (stage 1 application) is outstanding. You are not required to submit your passport at this stage. If you have submitted a leave application (stage 2) while you are in the United Kingdom, you cannot travel outside of the United Kingdom while your application is under consideration.

Can I study?

Yes, but you may need to need to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. Further details are available later in this document: see Annex B.

Can I claim public funds e.g. child/housing benefit?

Most migrants are unable to claim public funds. There are some exceptions. Further details are available here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-funds–2/publicfunds.

Do I have to demonstrate a minimum level of English to apply?

There is no requirement to speak English at either the initial stage or when applying for an extension of limited leave to remain. You will need to demonstrate your level of English to qualify for settlement.

Does the route lead to settlement?

Yes. However, the qualifying period depends on whether you are granted under either the exceptional talent (3 years) or exceptional promise (5 years) criteria. The period must be continuous though some absences are allowed. This means that it is possible to apply for settlement without extending limited leave, in a number of circumstances. Further details are available later in this policy document: see Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) applications. Please note, the qualifying period for any PBS Dependant Partner is 5 years, regardless of whether the main applicant is eligible for accelerated settlement. Dependent children can qualify for settlement if both parents are settled or applying for settlement at the same time, or at the same time as the main applicant if the main applicant has sole responsibility for them

What is the Application Process for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent

Applying for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa is a two-stage process.

Stage 1: Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Endorsement

Stage 1 assesses the skills, abilities and achievements and enables the Designated Competent Bodies to decide whether an applicant gets an endorsement for further progress in the application.

Although Stage 1 applications are submitted to the Home Office; however, these are not immigration applications. As such, Stage 1 applications do not affect any current leave that an applicant holds in any way.

Stage 1 is submitted online. It can be submitted from wherever an applicant is in the world. However, an applicant needs to send the supporting evidence to the UK for consideration. Moreover, the fee for an application for endorsement for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) is £456.00.

Stage 2: Application for Leave to Enter or Remain in the UK

If an applicant gets an endorsement by a Designated Competent Body, then can apply for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa for leave to enter or remain in the UK. This is Stage 2 of the process, which is undertaken solely by the Home Office and assesses immigration matters only.

If an applicant is outside then a majority of applicants needs to apply online. However, application inside the UK needs to apply for leave to remain application.

Can apply for Each Stage Separately or at the Same time

There are separate fees for each stage. Perhaps, it is expedient if an applicant check whether he/she is successful at stage 1 before applying stage 2. However, an applicant can also apply for stage 1 and stage 2 at the same time if he/she wishes to do so. Please note that stage 1 applications are only submitted by post and cannot be accepted at a Premium Service Centre or visa application centre outside of the UK.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Extention Applications

If an applicant is applying for an extension of Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) leave which he/she already holds, then an applicant only needs to make a single application. Certainly, the applicant does not need to obtain a new endorsement. However, the applicant needs to pay the full Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) fee in a single payment.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Extension Statistics: Main Applicants

During 2013-17, a total of 536 extensions and leave to remain decisions made under Tier 1 Exceptional Talent immigration route relating to the Main Applicants. And also, 499 extensions granted and 37 main applicants refused under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent. Moreover, 10 years average Tier 1 Exceptional Talent refusal rate is 6.90%.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Extensions 2013-17

Year Decisions Grants Rejections Refusal Rate
2013 13 10 3 23.08%
2014 26 21 5 19.23%
2015 63 61 2 3.17%
2016 186 173 13 6.99%
2017 248 234 14 5.65%
Total 536 499 37 6.90%

Dependants: Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Extensions 2011-17

During 2011-17, a total of 345 extensions and leave to remain decisions made under Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route relating to the Dependants Applicants i.e. spouse/civil partner and children under 18 years of age. And also, 334 extensions granted and 11 main applicants refused under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent migrant route. Moreover, 10 years average Tier 1 Exceptional Talent extension refusal rate is 3.33% for dependant applicants.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Dependants Extensions 2011-17

Year Decisions Grants Rejections Refusal Rate
2011 1 1 0 0.00%
2012 0 0 0 N/A
2013 21 16 5 23.81%
2014 19 17 2 10.53%
2015 39 38 1 2.56%
2016 106 105 1 0.94%
2017 159 157 2 1.26%
Total 345 334 11 3.19%

Settlement Application after 3 or 5 year

A Tier 1 Exceptional Talent migrant can also make an application for settlement once he/she has been in the UK continuously for either 3 or 5 years, depending on whether the migrant was endorsed under exceptional talent or exceptional promise criteria.

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