Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa

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)

You must also be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

Application process

There’s a 2-stage application process to get this visa.

You first need to apply to the Home Office for endorsement as a leader or an emerging leader in your particular field.

Then, once you have been endorsed, you can apply for the visa.

There are 2,000 places available under this visa category between 6 April to 5 April of the following year.

How long it will take

After you get your endorsement, the earliest you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you travel.

Example:You can apply from 16 March if you plan to travel on 15 June.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

Check the guide to processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.


You must pay a separate fee for the 2 stages of this process:

  • stage 1 – endorsement (£456)
  • stage 2 – visa application (see table below)

You also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

Stage 1

All main applicants must pay the £456 fee to get an endorsement when applying for the first time or switching to this visa category.

You will not automatically get a visa if you’ve been endorsed. You will not be reimbursed your endorsement fee if your visa application is turned down.

Stage 2

How much you pay to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa depends on your circumstances.

Who you’re applying for Stage 1 – endorsement application Stage 2 – visa application
You £456 £152
You if you’re from Turkey or Macedonia £456 £97
All dependants £608

How long you can stay

You can stay in the UK for up to:

  • 5 years and 4 months if you apply outside the UK
  • 5 years if you apply inside the UK

You can choose how long you want to apply for, up to the maximum time allowed. You only have to pay the healthcare surcharge for the amount of time you choose to stay.

You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 5 years.

You can apply for settlement once you’ve been in the UK for:

  • 3 years with an exceptional talent visa
  • 5 years with an exceptional promise visa

What you can and can not do

You can:

  • work – for an employer, as a director of a company or be self-employed
  • change jobs without telling the Home Office
  • do voluntary work
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family memberswith you

You can not:

  • get public funds
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach


To get a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa, you need to be endorsed as a leader (exceptional talent) or emerging leader (exceptional promise) in one of the following:

  • science
  • engineering
  • humanities
  • medicine
  • digital technology
  • the arts
  • fashion

Read the eligibility and assessment criteria.

How to get endorsed

You can apply online.

If you’re a digital technology specialist you’ll also need to apply for a Tech Nation Visa Scheme endorsement.

How long it takes

You’ll usually get a decision within 8 weeks.

You may get a faster decision if you’re a digital technology specialist and one of the following applies:

  • you’ve been accepted onto a recognised UK accelerator programme
  • you’re part of a senior management team that has experience in building and expanding a digital technology business
  • you plan to work and live outside of Greater London

You may also get a faster decision if you either:

  • hold an approved peer-reviewed fellowship
  • are a senior academic or senior researcher at a UK university, college or research institute – check with your employer whether your role is eligible

Read the full guidance for more information about getting a faster decision.

What happens next

If you’re successful you’ll receive an email from the Home Office with a copy of your endorsement letter. You’ll need these for your visa application.

You will not automatically get a visa if you’ve been endorsed. If your application is turned down you can request an endorsement review.

You must apply for your visa within 3 months of receiving your letter of endorsement from the Home Office.

Documents you must provide

When you apply for your visa you’ll need to provide:

You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.

You need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

Read the guide for a list of documents you can provide.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.