The Global Visa is the UK’s new program for attracting exceptional talent into the country. As of  20 February 2020, it has replaced the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa.

With a Global Talent Visa for the UK, if you are a “leader or potential leader” in the fields of academia and research, arts and culture, and digital technology, you can work in the UK for up to five years, without a sponsor or a job offer.

You can also renew the visa as many times as you want and can change jobs without notifying the immigration authorities.

Eligibility Criteria for the Global Talent Visa for the UK

You can use a Global Talent visa to work in the UK if you’re a leader (exceptional talent) or potential leader (exceptional promise) in one of the following fields:

  • Academia or research
  • Arts and culture
  • Digital technology

Academia or research

To qualify for a UK Global Talent Visa in the fields of academia and research, you must be an exceptional talent/promise in one of these fields:

  • Science
  • Medicine
  • Engineering
  • Humanities

You must also fit into one of the following categories:

  • You have a job offer as a senior academic or researcher (e.g. a university professor) in the UK
  • You have received an individual fellowship in the UK
  • You are part of a research grant that is approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

If you do not have any of the aforementioned, you can still apply for the Global Talent Visa for the UK if your application is endorsed via peer review. In this case, someone with an eminent position and with “internationally recognised expertise” in your field must write you a letter of recommendation.

Arts and culture

To qualify for a UK Global Talent Visa in the fields of arts and culture, you must be an exceptional talent or exceptional promise on one of the following:

  • Combined arts
  • Dance
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Visual arts

Additionally, you must fit into one of the following categories:

  • In the last five years, you have worked regularly in your field and have produced work which is recognized internationally and considered “outstanding” by the Arts Council England
  • For application as a leader in your field: You can prove that your work is well known in at least 2 countries

Architecture

To qualify for a Global Talent Visa in the field of architecture, you must:

  • Have worked continuously as an architect for the last 5 years
  • Have produced work that is published internationally
  • Have produced work which the RIBA judges as ‘outstanding’

Fashion design

To qualify for a Global Talent Visa in the field of fashion design:

  • You must be considered an exceptional talent or exceptional promise in your field
  • You must have worked continuously in the field of fashion design for the last 5 years
  • You must be known as a leading figure in the industry.
  • You must have work which is sold or exhibited internationally and shown on catwalk exhibitions.
  • Your work must be recognised by leading figures in the fashion industry.

Film and television

To decide whether you qualify for a Global Talent Visa in the field of film and television (which also includes animation, post-production, animation, and visual effects),the Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) will judge whether you are a leader or exceptional talent.

Digital technology

To be considered an exceptional talent or exceptional promise in the field of digital technology, you must fit in one of the following categories:

  • You have set up or held a senior position in an innovative product-led tech company.
  • You have worked in an innovative digital field or concept.
  • You have taught, mentored, or taken part in collaborative projects to help the digital technology sector.

Additional requirements include having won awards, developed new skills (commercial or technical) during your career, or having had your research works published or endorsed by an expert.

Required Documents to Apply for the Global Talent Programme in the UK

The documents you have to submit when applying for a Global Talent Visa will depend on your field of qualification. This includes:

  • For researchers or academic leaders: A letter from the head of HR of the organisation where you will work. The letter must:
    • Include your name, position, and department
    • State that got the position after applying via an open competition, which was advertised.
    • State that you were interviewed by 4 senior academics from the organisation where you will work.
    • State that you handed in at least three references.
  • For work on a research grant: A written confirmation from the funder, stating that the fund was at least £30,000 and it will last at least 2 years.
  • For peer-reviewed endorsements: A letter from someone of eminence in your field with “internationally recognised expertise”. The letter must state:
    • How that person knows you
    • That they believe you have exceptional talent or promise
    • That you would contribute to the UK and benefit from being in the UK
  • For leaders in arts and culture:
    • Your CV
    • Three recommendation letters, which states how the writer knows you, lists your achievements and details why you would benefit from this program as well as what you can bring to the UK.
    • Up to ten pieces of evidence which attest to your achievements, such as international media recognition, international awards, international appearances, or exhibitions.
  • For leaders in digital technology:
    • Three letters of recommendation from organisations which is established in digital technology. Each of the letters must state how the person knows you, including proof of their position, showcase your achievements in digital technology, as well as state how the writer believes you are a leader or potential leader.
    • Evidence of any digital technology business which you have set up or in which you have been a senior member in the last 5 years.
    • Up to ten pieces of evidence which support your qualifications and eligibility.

How to Apply for a Global Talent Visa for the UK?

The application process for a Global Visa for the UK is divided into two parts:

  1. Applying for endorsement from an organization that is recognized as an expert in your chosen field.
  2. Applying for the Global Talent Visa.

Applying for Endorsement

You have to get an endorsement to attest to the fact that you actually are a leader or potential leader in your field. To submit your application, you must visit the Visas and Immigration website of the UK Home Office and register using your email address.

You must submit the required documents (see below) and pay the endorsement fee. If you do not have all the documents, you can close the application and restart where you left off later.

Then, depending on which field you will work in, the UK Home Office will forward your endorsement application to one of these so-called “endorsements bodies” for review.

The endorsement application can take from one to eight weeks to process, depending on which organization is reviewing your application.

Applying for the Global Talent Visa

Once you receive your endorsement, you have to apply for a UK Visa by submitting the endorsement letter and any requested supporting documents. You must apply no earlier than three months before you intend to depart for the UK. You and all your dependent family members can apply at the same time

You will usually receive your visa within three weeks.

What Is the Duration of a Global Visa?

A Global Talent Visa for the UK is valid for five years, with the possibility of renewal.  If you apply as a leader or exceptional talent, you can apply for settlement in the UK after three years of residence. If you apply as a potential leader, you can apply for settlement after five years.

Global Visa UK Fees

The overall fee for a Global Visa is £608 per person:

  • £456 for the endorsement
  • £152 for the visa (£97 if you’re from Turkey or North Macedonia)

Can I Bring My Family to the UK with a Global Talent Visa?

Yes, if you are eligible for a Global Talent Visa, you can bring your family to the UK with you, and you can all apply at the same time. This includes your spouse and any minor or dependent children. For each of your dependent family members, you have to pay an extra application fee of £608 and bring the relevant documents.

Can I Switch to a Global Talent Visa?

If you are already in the UK via one of the following visas, then you can apply to switch to a Global Talent Visa:

  • Tier 1 Visa
  • Tier 2 Visa
  • Tier 5 for temporary workers on a Government Authorised Exchange (exchange scheme for sponsored researchers)
  • Start-up visa
  • Innovator visa

Make sure your visa is still valid at the time of application. If your visa has expired you will have overstayed. If your visa is about to expire, you may not be able to wait out for your application to be processed.

If you are in the UK under another visa category, then you have to leave and apply for the visa from your home country.