TechNation VisaTier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa

The Change from “Exceptional Talent Visa” to “Global Talent Visa” 2020 Update

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Credit: RawPixel

I first heard about the introduction of the “Global Talent Visa” in early February and to be very honest, when I heard about it – I was scared because the source I read it from said it would be replacing the “Exceptional Talent Visa”. 

I wasn’t scared for myself but scared and felt bad for future applicants because I thought the UK Government was scrapping the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa but as I read and dug deep into the news, I found out that the Global Talent Visa was in no way scrapping the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa, it was only a re-brand on the name and some other key updates / changes.

This gave me some sort of relief.

I got the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa way back 2017 and I have since moved to the UK to continue my life as a business tech entrepreneur.

I got endorsed as an exceptional talent under the Digital Technology field and I have since been creating content just like this to help spread the word about the visa and help future candidates / applicants.

The Talent visa is not only for Tech people though, people in science, fashion, arts, humanities, engineering, arts & culture, researchers and more are also eligible to apply and get the visa.

What the UK Government did is to give the power of endorsement for this visa into the hands of “competent bodies” who then review applicants and then advise the UK Government (Home Office) if they believe a candidate should be given the visa or not.

The endorsing bodies are:

  • The Royal Society, for science and medicine applicants
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering, for engineering applicants
  • The British Academy, for humanities applicants
  • Tech Nation, for digital technology applicants
  • Arts Council England, for arts and culture applicants
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), for research applicants

The visa is valid for up to 5 years, enabling you to work, change employers, or be self-employed, without the need for further authorisation. The Talent can be extended to your immediate family members and after the initial visa period, you can either apply for an extension or permanent settlement in the UK.

To get a Global Talent visa, you need to apply to be endorsed by the competent bodies as:

  • as a leader (exceptional talent) i.e someone who has years of experience within their chosen field,
  • as an emerging leader (exceptional promise) i.e someone who is at their early stages of their career or field,
  • under the UK Research and Innovation endorsed funder option.

The change from the name “Exceptional Talent Visa” to “Global Talent Visa” came as a result of the UK exiting the European Union.

The Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, said: “The UK has a proud history of scientific discovery, but to lead the field and face the challenges of the future we need to continue to invest in talent and cutting-edge research.

“That is why as we leave the EU I want to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world, and stand ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality.”

To be candid, The expansion and change of the name is being introduced specifically to make provisions for the science and research sector, while continuing to be open to talented and promising applicants within the digital technology and arts and culture (which includes those within film and television, fashion design and architecture) sectors.

So, do not fear – The Exceptional Talent Visa is still the same as the Global Talent visa with just a few favorable adjustments.

So what has changed with the re-branding?

As well as now being open to those within the science and research sector, other changes being implemented for the new Global Talent Visa route are as follows:

  • No More Cap: Unlike the Exceptional Talent Visa, the Global Talent visa route will have no cap on the number of people able to come to the UK, demonstrating the government’s commitment to supporting top talent. Previously there was a 2000 annual limit on visas available.

Funny thing is that when I applied and got my visa way back in 2017, there were only 1000 annual limits per year, this meant about 200 slots per field. So, the tech field could only endorse 200 people. I was one of those 200 people!

Now, there is no more cap!

This is great news.

  • Choose the length of visa, up to 5 years: The visa will be granted for 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 years for applications made inside or outside the UK. Applicants will be able to choose how much leave, in whole years, up to a maximum of 5 years they wish to be granted in a single application.

This means that Global Talent applicants who only wish to come to the UK for 2 years in this category will not need to pay the maximum 5-year Immigration Health Surcharge payment.

Previously, there wasn’t a choice in the amount of years you can get – everyone got 5 years or 5 years, 4 months if you apply outside the UK like I did.

  • Removal of Additional 4-Month Period: As stated above, previously applications made from outside the UK carried an additional 4 months leave, increasing the cost for applicants of certain charges such as the NHS surcharge. Previous changes to how the qualifying period for settlement is calculated made the additional 4-month period obsolete.
  • The Name Change: This was one of the most confusing one for me. The question begged “now that it is no more exceptional talent visa, does that mean its for everyone?”

Although the word ‘exceptional’ has been dropped, the visa route continues to be for ‘highly-skilled’ entrepreneurs and employees. The Global Talent visa should not be considered for general employment.

Candidates and applicants still need to show that they are highly skilled and have the potential to add value to the UK economy.


Just like the previous Exceptional Talent visa, applicants to the Global Talent visa must be endorsed by an organisation designated by the Home Office as a “competent body” and these bodies will review all applicants and then send recommendations back to the Home Office, if the applicant should be given the visa or not.

Tech Nation remains the endorsing body responsible for processing endorsement applications for the digital technology sector.

The endorsing bodies are:

  • The Royal Society, for science and medicine applicants
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering, for engineering applicants
  • The British Academy, for humanities applicants
  • Tech Nation, for digital technology applicants
  • Arts Council England, for arts and culture applicants
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), for research applicants

Endorsements continue to be valid for 3 months from date of issue.

What about current applicants?

There is expected to be very little impact for existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent applicants or visa visa holders:

  • The online application process remains exactly the same, as do the fees involved.
  • If you have obtained a Tier 1 (Exceptional Endorsement), but not made an application for the Visa at the point the route changes, you can still use your Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) endorsement to apply for Global Talent leave (you won’t need to get a new endorsement). Endorsement Letters are valid for 3 months from the date of issue, so you must apply for leave before your endorsement expires as you would have.
  • If you are already a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) applicant and you want to extend your leave, you can under Global Talent (the requirements are essentially the same, just the name of your visa would change).
  • If you are already a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) applicant and you want to apply for settlement, you can apply for settlement as a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) migrant (you won’t need to switch into Global Talent first).

In Conclusion.

Even though I loved the name “Exceptional Talent” visa, it is time to say goodbye to that name but the title still remains the same because in order to the Global Talent Visa, you still have to follow the same rules, show the same types of evidences and documents and most importantly show that you are highly skilled in your field and can add value to the UK economy.

If you are thinking of applying to the Global Talent Visa under digital technology and require some guidance or support, be sure to send me an email , I will love to hear about your case and offer my advice and consultation.

PS: I am not a solicitor or lawyer – so I don’t advice on immigration matters, I only cover the stage 1 endorsement stage which has nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with how you potray yourself as a talented person whose work will add value to the UK.

Disclaimer: The information contained on these pages is for general use only and is not a substitute for speaking to a licensed immigration consultant and should not be relied upon as case specific advice in any form whatsoever. It does not constitute formal legal advice or give rise to any rep-client relationship. The Presidential Hustle disclaims any and all liability resulting from reliance upon this general information.


Tags : global visa talent eligibiltyglobal visa talent home officeglobal visa talent tier 1global visa talent ukglobal visa talent vs exceptional talent visa
Daniel Damilola Nejo

The author Daniel Damilola Nejo

Daniel is a content creator, web and graphic designer, digital marketer and musician endorsed by the UK Government as a “World Leading Exceptional Talent in Digital Technology”.

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Henry Frith

Great post! and incredible blog! Very helpful post! I must say. Simple & interesting. Wonderful work!