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Global Talent Visa - Digital Technology Tech Nation Endorsement - Top 10 FAQs

The Global Talent visa route is for talented and promising applicants within the fields of science, engineering, medicine, humanities, digital technology and arts and culture (including film and television, fashion design and architecture) sectors. This post will answer 10 of the most frequently asked questions about the Digital Technology route of the Global Talent visa. 

1. What is a Global Talent Visa Tech Nation endorsement?

If you wish to apply for a Global Talent visa, under the digital technology route, you must first obtain an endorsement from Tech Nation, the appropriate endorsing body for digital technology applicants.

Without this endorsement, the Home Office will refuse your visa application under the Global Talent route, unless, as set out below, you hold a top award in the field of digital technology, in which case endorsement is not required.

It is important to note that there is no longer a limit on the number of endorsements that Tech Nation can provide. Tech Nation will apply  strict criteria when determining whether you are, or have the potential to become, a world leader in the digital technology field.

2. Should I apply under Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise?

Applicants who choose to apply under the Exceptional Promise criteria are likely to be earlier in their career, typically with five years or less experience.

If you have more than five years’ experience in the tech sector, you would likely be considered under the Exceptional Talent criteria. However, Tech Nation experts will establish whether your skills and achievements meet the necessary criteria and whether you should be endorsed for Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise, though you must select which criteria you wish to be decided under in the application form.

Tech Nation will consider factors such as the length of time you have worked in the sector, internal and external reputation, and any significant contributions you have made to the field. 

3. Am I a technical or business applicant?

When applying under the Global Talent route, there are two types of applicants: technical and business.

Technical Applicants

Technical applicants must be able to demonstrate proven technical expertise in building, using, deploying or exploiting a technology stack, and building technical infrastructure.

Examples include, but are not limited to: DevOps / SysOps  engineers, principal software engineers/developers, data scientists, cybersecurity professionals and those with CTO/VP Engineering experience. Academic applicants focusing on artificial intelligence, natural language processing, machine learning and cybersecurity.

Business Applicants

Business applicants must demonstrate proven commercial, investment, or product expertise in building digital products or leading investments in significant digital product businesses. This includes senior sales experts, product managers, and C-suite executives (CEOs, CMOs, CROs).

4. What are the evidential requirements?

These will depend on whether you are applying under the Exceptional Promise, or Exceptional Talent routes.

In either case, you will have to demonstrate you meet the mandatory criterion and two of the optional criteria. Our UK Global Talent: Digital Technology page contains an overview of the specific Eligibility Criteria for Tech Nation endorsement.

With your application, you can provide up to 10 pieces of evidence, to satisfy the eligibility criteria. This evidence will vary depending on your field of specialisation, and whether you are applying under Exceptional Promise or Exceptional Talent.

There are documents which must be included in addition to the 10 pieces of evidence, including: the completed Tech Nation application form, a personal statement, a CV, evidence of any commercially successful established businesses, share ownership or businesses dissolved in the last 5 years where you have been a founder or senior executive (if applicable), and 3 letters of recommendation.

5. Can I bring my dependants?

The partners and children of Global Talent (including Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)) Migrants can apply for entry clearance, permission to stay and to settle in the UK.

You must make a valid application on the correct Dependant partner visa or Dependant child visa forms, and be granted entry clearance before you arrive in the UK.

Please read our recent post on Global Talent & Exceptional Talent Dependants for further information.

6. When can I apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain)?

You will be on a route to settlement under this visa. The qualifying period depends on whether the visa is granted under Exceptional Talent (3 years) or Exceptional Promise (5 years). You can apply for a visa of up to 5 years.

Global Talent visa holders can also combine time spent under the following visa categories: Global Talent, Innovator, Skilled Worker (including Tier 2 (General)), Tier 2 Minister of Religion, Tier 2 Sportsperson, or Tier 1 Migrant other than Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur).

7. Is there a cap on the number of Global Talent visas available?

The Global Talent category is not subject to a cap on the number of applicants.

8. How long does the Global Talent application process take?

Your Global Talent application will be a two-stage process.

Stage 1: Applying for endorsement

Stage 1 can take up to 8 weeks to be processed, and costs £456 at the time of writing.

Stage 2: Visa application

This costs £152. The Home Office will consider your immigration history and the grounds for refusal. You must not fall for refusal under the general grounds.

Your endorsement must not have been withdrawn, and Tech Nation must continue to be approved by the Home Office as an endorsing body. There are no English or Maintenance requirements. You can request permission or a period of up to 5 years.

This stage ordinarily takes 3 weeks if applying from outside the United Kingdom, and 8 weeks if applying from within the UK. You will need to check at the relevant time of applying if priority processing is available as it has not been available continuously due to COVID-19.

It is possible to apply for both Stage 1 and 2 at the same time, which may speed up the process,  but you should be wary that if Stage 1 is refused, then Stage 2 will also be refused.

9. Can I switch into the Global Talent category from within the UK?

If you are applying for permission to stay on the basis of Global Talent you must be in the UK and must not have, or have last been granted, permission as:

  • A Visitor; or
  • A Short-term Student; or
  • A Parent of a Child Student; or
  • A Seasonal Worker; or
  • A domestic worker in a private household; or
  • Outside the Immigration Rules.

If you hold leave in any of the above categories then you will be required to leave the UK and submit a Stage 2 application for the Global Talent visa from your home country. You can, however, make the Stage 1 endorsement application from within the UK.

10. Can I apply under the Fast-Track Global Talent Route?

If you hold a top award in the field of digital technology, you will be able to live and work in the UK more easily.  The Home Office published a list of prize winners who are eligible to use the Fast-Track Global Talent route. The two prizes that qualify for this are the ACM Prize in Computing, and the Turing Award, both awarded by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to Global Talent applications contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.


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