The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa allows you entry to the UK if you are internationally recognised as a world leader in the arts and sciences or possess potential world-leading talent in the arts or sciences. It is extremely difficult to qualify for such a visa. There is an annual cap of 1,000 on the number of Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas that can be issued. In order to qualify, Exceptionally Talented individuals must be sponsored by a “Designated Competent Body”, which will be a UK national society for the arts or sciences. It will be tough but, if you are recognised internationally for your work and can speak English well, the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa may be the right visa for you.

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa replaced the Tier 1 (General) Highly Skilled Migrant Visa on 6 April 2011. It is much harder to come under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. If you are a highly skilled individual who would probably have qualified under the old Tier 1 (General) visa but do not qualify under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa scheme, your best option is most likely to apply for a Tier 2 visa for Skilled Workers. You can only do this with a job offer.

Points Requirement for Initial Applications

As part of the UK’s points based system a score of 75 must be attained under the Tier 1 (Exceptional) Talent Visa scheme. Unlike other schemes, the 75 points are scored under only one requirement: You need official endorsement by a Designated Competent Body.

Endorsed by a Designated Competent Body

Points Requirement for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa Extensions

If you already hold an Exceptional Talent Visa and wish to extend your stay in the UK, you must also score 75 points but under different criteria:
You are economically active in the same field for which you were originally endorsed by the Designated Competent Body. This can either be in employment, self-employment, or both. The Designated Competent Body must not have revoked its endorsement.

To prove that you have been economically active, you must supply certain documentation. This includes:
  • payslips if you are a salaried employee; or
  • if self-employed, you must show a letter from your accountant to show that your company is actively trading in the UK

English Language Requirements for Extension Applicants

Unlike initial applicants, Exceptional Talent extension applicants must score 10 points for English Language ability:

  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country.
  • you have passed a recognised English Language test to at least CEFR level B1.
  • you hold a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to at least a UK bachelor’s degree.