Tier 1 Exceptional Talent

Applicants for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa must be 'established as, or demonstrate potential to become, a world-leading artist and/or an internationally recognised expert in their field within the arts'.

The visa is for leaders or emerging leaders in:

  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Humanities
  • Medicine
  • Digital technology
  • The arts

Applying is a two stage process that requires an endorsement from a recognised body (as listed below), followed by a Home Office application for the visa.


You will need to obtain an endorsement from one of the following bodies:

  • Arts Council England
  • British Academy 
  • Royal Academy of Engineering 
  • Royal Society 
  • Tech City UK 

In order to apply for endorsements you will need to complete the application for endorsement form, in addition to the relevant form for the field in which you are applying.

Eligibility criteria and required documentation for the different endorsement bodies can be found here.

You will receive a decision on your application within eight weeks.

Please note: An endorsement does not guarantee that you will be issued a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa. This decision is made by the Home Office when you submit your visa application

There is a limit to 1,000 endorsements each year.

500 endorsements will be issued between 6 April 2016 and 30 September 2016. The remaining 500 endorsements will be issued between 1 October 2016 and 5 April 2017.

Applying for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent

How to apply

Before applying you should read the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Policy Guidance carefully.

Applications must be submitted within three months of receiving the endorsement, by completing the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent on-line application form.

It is not possible to apply to switch into this visa from within the UK if you hold a Tier 4 student visa. Tier 4 visa holders are required to return to their home country to make the application from there.

Applicants can only switch into this visa in the UK if they currently hold a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) visa.

Required documentation

  • passport/ID card
  • two passport photographs
  • a printed copy of your endorsement letter
  • tuberculosis test (if you are from a country that requires this)

Additional guidance can be found on the Home Office website.


It is possible to bring your dependent(s) with you to the UK on a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa.

Length of leave

The initial visa will be issued for 5 years and 4 months. There is an option to extend the visa after this point.


Applying for the endorsement – £281

Making the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent application – £281

Croatian Applicants

If you are a Croatian national, if you receive an endorsement, you do not need to apply for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa. Instead you will need to apply for a blue registration certificate.


Student Support Office

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Home Office