Getting endorsed as an Exceptional Talent in your field and getting the Visa can be a very stressful process. I got an email from someone a while ago telling me that his application got rejected because of his recommendation letter was not submitted on a letter headed paper. Something as simple as that can get your application rejected. Remember that besides the work that goes into gathering your documents to prove you are a world leading exceptional talent, there is also a monetary aspect to the application.
As of the date I am writing this post, the stage 1 – endorsement fee is £456 which is non-refundable if your application is not successful. So, you want to try as much as possible to ensure that you get your documents right before you send it over to the UK for assessment.
I have broken and explained the key most important things that your KEY recommendation letters and other letters must contain to be in right standing with your competent body (Tech Nation in the case of Tech applicants) For the people who don’t know what the Exceptional Talent Visa is, it is a Visa scheme created by the UK Government to attract and retain exceptionally Talented individuals from around the world in different fields so that they can come live, work and create amazing things in the UK to boost the UK economy and the world at large.
You can read my well detailed blogpost on “How I Got and How To Get A UK Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa Endorsement” and see if you can apply as well to get up to 5 years stay in the UK with possibility of applying for residency.
3 Key Things Your Recommendation Letters for Exceptional Talent Visa Must Contain:
1. Letterhead Paper.
This is a no-brainier. The purpose of having your recommendation letters on a letter-headed paper is to show the genuity of the document and also show the company or person who’s writing the letter for you is reputable. Letterheads always have key information about a company such as their phone numbers, address, website, email and logo. These are very important as they make it easy for the examiner to check the company out to see if they are “solid” enough to recommend you.
I remember when I was about to get letters from companies who would recommend me, the CEO sent me the letter in a raw PDF file with no letterhead and this was my KEY recommendation letter. I had to message him back to kindly place the letter on a letter headed paper, he came back to me saying they haven’t created one for their company because they hardly make use of it. Being a designer, I volunteered to create one for their company because I knew the importance of ensuring the letter is on a letter-headed paper.
The companies and experts you will be getting your letters from are very busy and they can make the smallest excuse that can hold your “destiny” back, you have to be vocal and tell them why it is important that the letter comes on a letter headed paper and be willing to go the extra mile for them because let’s face it – you need them more than they need you at this point.
2. Signature, Email, Phone Number.
The signature is also a key aspect of a recommendation letter. It seals it and makes it official. I want to assume that you already know that your letter should be written by an author who is authorised by the company and holds a key position within the company. The official Home Office guide states that they should ideally be Chief Executive, Chief Operating Officer, Finance Director or Head of Course and that the more reputable the author, the stronger the letter will be considered.
Try as much as possible to have your referees include their signature, email address, phone number and date to the letter. All these things make your letter solid and makes for easy reach-out or contacting of the referee if the examiner chooses to.
Sometimes, your referees might be overseas and you will not be able to get a physical letter with penned signature. These things happens, when I was applying for my endorsement, I was in Nigeria and 100% of my referees were outside of Nigeria – so, some of them had to sign it digitally for me while some printed it off and signed it physically and then scanned it to me.
Do whatever it takes to ensure that your letters are signed, it makes it solid and saves you time of having to re-submit your documents (this is if the chance to re-submit is even offered)
3. CV or LinkedIn Profile of Author.
Remember that the KEY recommendation letters has to be from senior members of two different established organizations in the digital technology sector which could be institutions or companies with a well established national or international reputation and recognized expertise in your field. (for Tech Nation applicants) This means that the authors of the letter need to be reputable within the industry, to further prove this you are required to submit their credentials alongside their provided recommendation letter.
(This is not for all your recommendation letters within your application, this is for the two(2) KEY mandatory recommendation letters). Ensure you add a copy of their CV/ Resume or LinkedIn profile to the application to avoid having your application delayed. When I was applying, my 2 KEY recommendation letters came from a CEO of a Tech firm and my Professor in my previous University. For the CEO, I provided a print-out of his LinkedIn profile and for the professor, I provided a copy of his CV. This is very important for your KEY recommendation letters.
I hope these points helps and guides you through your application so you don’t make simple mistakes that can jeopardize your application. Don’t waste time, energy, resources and money just to find out you could have avoided a simple mistake like this like the other guy who mailed me did. All the very best in your application!
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