Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa

For individuals that are considered to be a world-leading talent, or a potential world-leading talent, in the areas such as the arts, sciences, humanities and medicine, there exists a particular class of visa that enables them to live and work in the UK. Candidates who fall into this category can apply for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa if they meet the required criteria, with a limited number of these types of visa being granted every year.

With UK Visas and Immigration operating strict requirements for those seeking to apply, and the limited number of visas available in this category, instructing an experienced Immigration Solicitor can be vitally important in ensuring your application is successful. Wilford Smith's Immigration Lawyers, with a broad-ranging and detailed knowledge of the UK immigration system, are excellently placed to help rising stars and established leaders apply their skills in their chosen field within the UK.

What is a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa?

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas exist to allow the UK Government to continue to bring in and nurture the talents of exceptional individuals from across a range of industries and professions. These visas are available to those working in the following sectors:

  • Science
  • Humanities
  • Engineering
  • Medicine
  • Digital technologies
  • Arts

Successful applicants will not be subject to economic restrictions that normally apply to those from outside the UK, enabling them to carry out paid work, voluntary work, take up self-employment and change jobs without being required to notify the Home Office. Holding a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa also enables individuals to travel abroad and return to the UK, with these privileges also being afforded to family members. A points-based system is used to assess the suitability of applicants, with points awarded depending on different attributes demonstrated by each candidate.

What are the requirements for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa?

Applicants must first be endorsed by a Designated Competent Body (DCB), which have responsibility for advising the Home Office as to whether the candidate meets their eligibility criteria and has reached the appropriate level in their field to be endorsed as an Exceptional Talent. Once you have applied for endorsement it will normally take around eight weeks for a decision to be made on your eligibility.

The recognised DCBs are:

  • Arts Council England, which deals with arts and culture applications
  • The British Academy, which deals with humanities and social science applications
  • The Royal Society, which deals with natural science and medical science research applications
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering, which deals with engineering applications
  • Tech City UK, which deals with digital technologies applications

While each DCB has its own set of eligibility criteria, there exist mandatory criteria that apply to all applicants seeking endorsement. Individuals must be active in research in their chosen field, in most cases within a university, research institute or within a recognised industry. They must hold a PhD or be able to demonstrate equivalent research experience, and provide a letter of recommendation from a UK resident familiar with their research work and knowledge of their field. In addition to these requirements, applicants must also be able to evidence one of the following:

  • They are a member of a national academic association
  • They have been awarded a globally recognised prestigious prize
  • They have a letter of recommendation from a reputable UK-based organisation concerned, connected to or interested in their research work written by a Chief Executive, Vice-Chancellor or other senior executive

Once you have received an endorsement, this is submitted along with additional information as part of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa application.

How can an Immigration Lawyer support you in your application for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa?

Having the support and guidance of an experienced Immigration Solicitor can be fundamental in ensuring that your application for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa is as strong as it possibly can be. Wilford Smith's team of Immigration Lawyers, based throughout the country and serving clients across England and Wales, can provide guidance and reassurance throughout this process. We will work hand-in-hand with you to establish your eligibility and to make sure you receive an official recommendation, ensuring that all relevant requirements are fulfilled. We can also provide you with a full document check before sending your completed application.

Contact our Immigration Solicitors in Sheffield

Wilford Smith's teams of experienced Immigration Lawyers are based in Sheffield and advise clients throughout England and Wales. Find out more information on our fees here. Contact us today on 0808 164 1349 to find out how we can help.


Upload a File

File(s) size limit is 20MB.


Sign up for our monthly newsletters for the latest news & articles
At Wilford Smith we are invested in your success. Our team will get to know you, your family, your business, and your market sector. To us, you and needs are unique. You can be confident that by instructing us, we will take care of all your legal matters throughout your lifetime, providing creative solutions and protecting your best interests.



  • Meadowhall Business Park
  • S9 2EQ
  • Tel: 0808 164 4106
  • Fax: 0844 225 0572


  • Smithy House 22 Westgate,
  • Rotherham S60 1AP
  • Tel: 0808 164 4106
  • Fax: 0844 225 0572


  • 20 Old Bailey
  • LondonEC4M 7AN
  • By appointment only
Copyright ©2024 Wilford Smith, All rights reserved.
2024 Wilford Smith is the trading name of WS Strategic Ltd. a limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 07777022. Registered office – Meadowhall Business Park, Sheffield S9 2EQ. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA Registration Number 640898.