Global Talent route

How to apply for the Global Talent visa route if you want to work in the UK in a specific sector such as science, engineering, humanities, medicine, technology or arts and culture.

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Overview

The Global Talent Visa is available for people who require a visa to work in the UK and are internationally recognised as leaders or potential leaders in science and the arts.

It’s a points-based visa but the full 70 points are gained from holding an endorsement.

You can apply for a visa for up to 5 years.

To apply, you must:

  • demonstrate that you have ‘exceptional talent’ or ‘exceptional promise’ in your chosen field; and
  • be endorsed by an approved endorsing body prior to making the visa application

It’s a very flexible visa, which:

  • allows work, self-employment and study
  • doesn’t require sponsorship from an employer
  • allows dependants to apply at the same time or to join you later
  • isn’t linked to a specific employer/role (unless applying under the Academic and Researcher pathway)
  • can be extended without limit as long as your endorsement hasn’t been withdrawn and you can show that you’ve earned money in your expert field
  • can lead to settlement (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK after 3 years if you were granted the visa based on ‘exceptional talent’ or after 5 years if based on ‘exceptional promise’

This route is more suitable if you’re a PhD level graduate, and could be an option for the future rather than immediately after graduation.

Always check the latest relevant government visa guidance before applying, as immigration rules are subject to frequent changes.


Visa eligibility requirements

If you’re applying for entry clearance or leave to remain, you must score 70 points.

If you’re applying for entry clearance you’ll score the 70 points if:

  • you’ve been issued with an endorsement letter by an endorsing body which is no older than 3 months and has not been withdrawn by the endorsing body; or
  • you’re applying on the basis that you’ve been awarded a Prestigious Prize/Award

If you’re applying for leave to remain to extend the visa you’ll score the 70 points if:

  • you’ve earned money in the field you’ve been endorsed; and
  • you have not had your initial endorsement or prize withdrawn

You must provide an endorsement letter or evidence of a prestigious award with your application.

In addition, you must provide:

  • a valid passport or other valid identity document
  • TB test results (if applicable)
  • sponsor consent letter (if you’ve received official sponsorship to study in the UK within the last 12 Months - e.g. money to cover fees and living costs from a government or international financial sponsorship agency)

How to obtain endorsement

Before the visa application is considered by UKVI you must be endorsed by the relevant endorsing body for your field.

Your application for endorsement will be assessed on whether you have:

  • Exceptional talent - you have already demonstrated that you have made a significant contribution as a leader to your field.
  • Exceptional promise - you may be at an early stage in your career and have already shown the potential to make significant contributions as a future leader in your field.

You can also apply based on whether you have won a prestigious award or prize

Eligibility criteria vary for the different endorsing bodies. Separate provisions are set out for:

Pathways to endorsement

The following endorsing bodies have been given authority to assess your eligibility for this route and issue endorsements:

The endorsing bodies will assess your eligibility based on your profile and the evidence you provide. Please contact the relevant endorsing body for more information about their endorsement application process and requirements.

There are four potential pathways through which a Global Talent endorsement can be gained:

  • Senior academic and research appointments
  • Individual fellowships
  • Endorsed funder (UKRI approved)
  • Peer review

Senior academic and research appointments

This is a fast-track endorsement for individuals who have accepted a position at an approved UK Higher Education institution or research institute with responsibility either for:

  • academic, research or innovation leadership and development; or
  • directing or leading an individual or team in a research or innovation project or programme of work

Typical roles include but are not limited to Professor, Associate Professor (Reader or Senior Lecturer) or Senior Group Leader, but it will depend on the role and job description. Check with the Human Resources department at the University to see if the role meets the criteria for Global Talent.

Before you apply for the visa, you need a Statement of Guarantee from the employer which confirms:

  • The job was advertised and an open competition was held, or where it was not, an explanation as to why.
  • You have accepted the job offer.
  • The job title and department in which the applicant will be based.
  • At least two references were received.
  • A minimum of three academic representatives from the employing institution were part of the interview panel.
  • At least one of the experts from the applicant’s field was part of the interview panel, or at least one relevant expert, independent of the employing institution, was consulted before the job offer was made.

You must apply for the visa within 3 months of endorsement. You’ll be applying on the basis of Exceptional Talent.

This route is not usually suitable for an initial post-doctoral research position (e.g.  Research Associate), but could be something to consider for the future.

This route is administered by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society who will issue the endorsement to you.

For more information, visit GOV.UK senior Academic or Research Roles.

Individual fellowships

This is a fast-track process for individuals who have been awarded an individual fellowship on the list approved by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society.

The list is divided into Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise eligible fellowships.

The fellowship must be held currently or within the last 12 months. If you hold a fellowship you can apply for an endorsement using the fellowship award letter.

For more information, visit: GOV.UK: Individual Fellowship.

Endorsed Funder (UKRI approved)

This is a fast-track endorsement for researchers and specialists whose name or job title is specified in a successful grant application from an endorsed funder approved by UKRI.

To be eligible you must:

  • be hosted or employed by an eligible institution approved by UKRI
  • have at  least 2 years remaining on your employment contract or hosting agreement (in some cases where a research project has already started you may still be able to get endorsed by UKRI)

You must also provide written confirmation from the endorsed funder which shows the award is:

  • worth at least £30,000 and covers a minimum of 2 year funded by an award  or one-off grant that was won in open competition
  • or attributed to a large institutional and a renewable award that is subject to periodic peer review

You should provide a dedicated declaration from the Director of Human Resources (or equivalent) at the UKRI-approved research organisation, which confirms the following:

    • You are very important for executing the award or grant.
    • At least 50% of your time will have to be spent working on the grant or award by the endorsed funder (Principal Investigators and co-investigators can aggregate time spent on multiple eligible awards or grants to demonstrate this requirement).
    • You  have accepted the job offer or hosting agreement.
    • The department and the job title in which you’ll be assigned.
    • Details of the recruitment process where you were not named on the grant application.

For more information, visit: GOV.UK: Endorsed Funder (UKRI approved).

Peer review

This is the standard endorsement for individuals who submit an application for full peer review by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering or Royal Society.

To evidence exceptional talent under full peer review you must:

  • be an active researcher in an approved field (e.g. related to a university, research institute or directly in the industry); and
  • have a PhD or equivalent research experience (including industrial or clinical research); and
  • meet one of the following requirements:
    • be a member of the national academy or a foreign member of an academy of any other country
    • have won an award, a prestigious internationally acclaimed prize
    • provide a letter of recommendation from a senior member of a known and recognised UK organisation concerned with research in your field.

To evidence exceptional promise under full peer review, you must:

  • be currently active in research in a relevant field, typically in a university, research institute or in the industry
  • have a PhD or equivalent research experience (including industrial or clinical research)
  • be at the beginning or in the early stages of your career
  • have been awarded, or should have held a prestigious UK based research fellowship for the last 5 years; or
    • an international fellowship; or
    • an advanced post judged by the endorsing body to be equivalent to such a fellowship

To apply for full peer review endorsement, you must provide:

  • A CV outlining your career and publication history.
  • A letter of personal recommendation from a UK based eminent personality which includes:
    • how the author is connected to you
    • your achievements and glories in the relevant field
    • how the author considers and concludes you show exceptional talent or promise.
    • the contribution that you would make to UK research excellence and wider society

For further information about eligibility criteria contact the relevant endorsing body.


Apply for endorsement

You can apply for endorsement separately or at the same time as your visa application, but your visa will not be considered until the endorsement is granted. The only benefit of applying at the same time would be if you’re applying in the UK and your current visa is due to expire shortly.

In all cases, the endorsement:

  • costs £456
  • is non-refundable
  • can be applied for inside or outside of the UK

You will also pay a further visa application fee of £152 when making the visa application.

Apply for endorsement If your application for endorsement is refused, you can seek a review of the endorsement


Apply for the visa

If you’re applying outside the UK, visa processing time is up to 3 weeks. If you’re applying inside the UK it can take up to 8 weeks.

You can also switch from a Student Visa to Global Talent inside the UK.

You cannot switch to this visa if you’re in the UK and:

Visa fees

It will cost £608 in total. 

  • £456 for endorsement
  • £152 for visa
  • £608 if applying on the basis of holding eligible prize/award
  • £608 for a dependents visa application
  • There is also a separate Immigration Healthcare Charge of £624 per year, paid upfront

You must apply online using the relevant link below:

Apply from outside the UK

Apply from inside the UK (if you’re extending your current visa)

Apply from inside the UK (if you’re switching to a different visa)


Further support and guidance

We can’t offer 1:1 visa eligibility advice or support with this type of application, only general information. See the 'Find an Immigration Adviser' information below should you require further advice or support with the application.

You should always check the latest official Government guidance before making an application.

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