Tech Experts: How to Apply under Tier 1 Exceptional Talent
There are three main steps to follow when applying for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa as a leader or potential leader in the digital technology sector:
- You must first apply to the Home Office for endorsement by Tech Nation. The Home Office will inform Tech Nation when you have completed this step;
- You must complete the Tech Nation Visa application form and provide a number of documents as evidence of your eligibility. If your application meets the criteria, it will be endorsed by Tech Nation and recommended to the Home Office for approval;
- Once your Tech Nation application is endorsed, you must apply for the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. You should submit your letter of endorsement as part of your application. You must apply for your visa within three months of receiving your letter of endorsement from Tech Nation.
You can do each of these three steps at the same time. For example, you can apply to the Home Office for endorsement by Tech Nation and at the same time you can begin completing the Tech Nation application form.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa: Endorsement by Tech Nation
Tech Nation have provided Guidance which is helpful for examples of the types of business or technical roles which could fall within this category, examples of the types of evidence which could be provided and further explanation of the key and qualifying criteria, as set out below.
You must satisfy one of the following key criteria:
- Have a proven track record of innovation in the digital technology sector as a director / founder of a digital technology sector company or an employee working in a new digital field or concept that must be clearly evidenced (e.g. patent application);
- Proof of recognition for work outside the applicant’s immediate occupation that has contributed to the advancement of the sector (e.g. evidence that they have gone beyond their day to day profession to engage in an activity that contributes to the advancement of the sector).
You must satisfy at least two of the following qualifying criteria:
- Have made significant technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions in the digital technology sector as either a founder, entrepreneur or employee of a digital technology company;
- Have been recognised as a leading talent in the digital technology sector;
- Have undergone continuous learning / mastery of new digital skills (commercial or technical) throughout their career;
- Have demonstrated exceptional ability in the field by making academic contributions through research published or otherwise endorsed by a research supervisor or other expert.
The key and qualifying criteria are very similar to above under exceptional promise. The main difference is that you do not have to show that you are already a leader in the industry but you have the potential to be. The main differences are:
- Rather than showing you have a ‘proven track record of innovation’, you should provide two or more examples of innovation.
- You need to be recognised as having the potential to be a leading talent in the digital technology sector;
- Rather than having demonstrated exceptional ability in the field, you should provide two or more examples of exceptional ability.
Both Tech Nation and the Home Office require specific evidence to provided in support of an application. The evidence required is limited in size, and you should ensure that all of your evidence meets the requirements as specified.
You should prepare a personal statement which explain your plans in the UK and the contribution that you will make to the UK digital technology sector. While the guidance says the statement can be up to 7000 characters, the form itself only allows for 1000 words.
You should provide a detailed CV, covering all of your work and other relevant experience. The CV can only be 2 A4 sides.
You must provide two letters of recommendation which should be on headed paper written in support of the application signed by two different senior members of different established organisations in the digital technology sector, who are familiar with the your work and contribution to the digital technology sector, and are qualified to assess the your claim to be a world leader or potential world leader in this field.
You are also allowed an additional 10 documents to submit with the application, but these documents are also restricted to being 2 A4 sides. The Tech Nation guidance provides examples of evidence which can be submitted to show each key and qualifying criteria. The evidence will also vary depending on whether you have a more technical role or a business role with a company in the digital technology sector.
For example, in business roles, evidence of any active businesses established or businesses that have been dissolved in the last five years in which the your has been a director, founder or entrepreneur, or evidence of share ownership through business in a digital technology sector company must be provided.
If your role is more technical, you could provide evidence of your product in the market, or contribution to lines of code.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa: Application to Home Office
If your application is endorsed by Tech Nation you will then need to complete the Home Office’s application form. There are two forms, one for if you are applying from outside the UK and one for if you are applying from within the UK. You will need to submit your letter of endorsement from Tech Nation.
The application to the Home Office should be made within 3 months after your endorsement from Tech Nation.
Contact Our Immigration Barristers & Lawyers
For expert advice in relation to an application under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route, contact our business immigration barristers & lawyers in London on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.