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Endorsements in Immigration Applications

Which routes require endorsement? 

The Innovator, Start-up, and Global Talent categories have a pre-assessment before the Home Office even considers an application for a visa or further leave to remain.  All three of these visa categories are found in Appendix W to the Immigration Rules – the Appendix for Workers.  

Who makes endorsement decisions?

Innovator and Start-up

In the Innovator and Start-up categories, the endorsing bodies are private businesses, and additionally universities for Start-up applications.

We have previously published summaries of the endorsing bodies, here

The endorsing bodies are a more diverse list than when the Innovator and Start-up categories were opened in March 2019, so while initially there was some concern the route would only be for technology companies, now there is no business area which is not capable of being endorsed. 

In the new Global Talent categories, the endorsing bodies depend on whether you are seeking endorsement in the field of:

  • Arts and Culture; 
  • Architecture; 
  • Fashion; 
  • Film and Television; 
  • Digital Technology; or 
  • Science, Engineering, Humanities and Medicine. 

The relevant endorsing bodies are:

  • • The Royal Society;
  • • The Royal Academy of Engineering;
  • •The British Academy;
  • • UK Research and Innovation;

What is required? 

Innovator and Start-up

Each endorsing body has its own process, but the overarching things they assess are whether your business idea is ‘innovative, viable and scalable’.  How exactly you prove this to them does depend on their process – they have discretion to take matters they deem relevant into account.  

It is important to consider the expertise of endorsing bodies and what support they will offer, as they remain important to Innovator and Start-up migrants throughout the duration of a migrant’s leave.  Endorsing bodies are required to check in at regular intervals and also must support an application for indefinite leave to remain by an Innovator. 

Global Talent

This route replaced the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) routes in February 2020, and retains the option for endorsement as a world leader in one’s field, or someone with the potential to become a world leader.  

The exact requirements relate to the area of expertise and whether the endorsement application is for Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise. For example, an exceptionally promising artist must provide three strong reference letters and must additionally show: 

1) At least 2 examples of recent UK or international media recognition for the applicant’s work in the field of arts and culture, online or in print such as features, articles and/or reviews from national publications or broadcasting companies in one or more countries, one of which can be the applicant’s country of residence. Media recognition can include the applicant’s own work as an individual or as a contributor to work attributed to a group or other individual.

2) Proof of having:

  • won; or
  • been nominated/shortlisted for; or
  • made a significant and direct contribution to winning or having been nominated/shortlisted for;

at least 1 international or national award for excellence. For example, the Booker Prize, a Grammy Award; or domestic awards in another country, for example a Tony Award.

3) Proof of appearances, performances, publications or exhibitions in contexts which are internationally recognised in the applicant’s field or evidence of international distribution and audiences for the applicant’s work.

For other categories, there are of course similarly specific requirements. 

Can I still apply even if visa application centres are shut? 

Yes – this is not a visa application so you do not need to enrol biometrics for an application to be processed.

Endorsements are valid for three months, so the current coronavirus restrictions may have lessened during this time, and it is only the visa application which must be submitted within three months of the endorsement – the visa does not need to be granted within those three months. 

Contact our Business Immigration Barristers

For advice and assistance with applying for endorsement as an Innovator, Start-up migrant or in the Global Talent category, contact our business immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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