What are the skill categories that fall under Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa and the procedure to extend the visa?


The United Kingdom immigration process is based on laws that have been passed over the last few decades. These laws, while some directly and some indirectly related to immigration, serve as definitions for procedures and regulations that the government has to abide by. The ‘Home Office’, headed by the Secretary of State, is the regulatory body of the UK government responsible for handling immigration related cases related to all individuals, whether they are foreigners or UK nationals. A document known as a ‘visa’ is granted to any individual who has been granted permission to enter or leave the country. For convenience, the visa has been divided into four types i.e. Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5 with each type dealing with a different type of case depending on the reason the individual wants to come to the UK. For example, the Tier 4 visa exists for individuals who wish to enter the UK for study purposes; the Tier 5 visa exists for individuals who wish to enter the country for visit purposes, the Tier 1 investor immigration to UK exists for people who wish to settle by investing in the country and so on. Furthermore, these visa types are further broken down into categories depending on the reason the applicant wishes to apply on.

The Immigration Rules of the UK is a document that defines rules and procedures for each visa type (Tier 2 visa, Tier 4 student visa, investor immigration to UK etc.) based off of laws related to immigration currently in effect. The Home Office is obligated to abide by the laws defined in the Immigration Rules as a breach would null the decision taken on any immigration related matter.

The ‘Points Based System’ is a measuring system for visa cases where points are secured each time a requirement of the visa application is met. The points needed vary depending on the visa category the applicant is applying on. Such as, a person applying to visit the UK for tourism purposes will need to qualify for a different set of points than a person who wishes to enter the country for study purposes. The following article explains the UK Tier 1 visa requirements by explaining the Tier 1 exceptional talent category and how requirements can be met for Tier 1 visa application in this category.

The Tier 1 visa is divided into 5 categories i.e. The Exceptional Talent category, the Entrepreneur category, the UK Investment Immigration Program category, the General category and the Graduate Entrepreneur category.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Category

The Tier 1 visa application for Exceptional Talent category requires 75 points to qualify for the visa. This can be gained by securing endorsements from UK bodies that confirm your exceptional abilities in the eyes of the government (giving you 75 points) and proving your English language skills (giving you 10 points).

Different bodies covering different fields exist that grant endorsements depending on the nature of the work of the applicant. These bodies, such as the Arts Council England or the Royal Academy of Engineering, cover the fields of arts and sciences and act as the competent bodies to decide which applicant is more deserving of the endorsement based on his/her talent and merit.

For applicants applying on this category whose work falls on the category of arts, significant evidence must be submitted of work that has been distributed internationally. Not more than 10 documents that reflect the merits of the artist can be submitted which includes any acclaimed awards or recognition or reviews from a major news publication or news organization.

For artists whose work is related to film, post production, the visual effects industry, animation or television, a different kind of criteria holds. Individuals from any one of this category must have been nominated for a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award, a BAFTA or an Emmy award within the last five years preceding the time the application is being submitted. However, if the applicant has received any of these awards, no time limit exists.

Artists need to submit at least two endorsements when making their visa application on this category. One, from a body domestic to the United Kingdom, and the other that holds national or international recognition. These bodies must hold a significant reputation in the fields of arts and the letter the applicant submits on behalf of these organizations must be addressed by an official who is authorized to do so such as the Chief Executive, the Chairman or an Art Director. The letter must follow the below given format addressing and explaining his/her credentials such as:

  • Address how he/she is familiar with the applicant.
  • Give details regarding the applicant’s merits and past achievements.
  • Elaborate how the applicant’s stay in the UK benefit the country and how he/she can contribute his/her work to the development of the UK culturally.
  • Include the signature and contact details of the person writing the endorsement letter.

As for person whose work falls within the category of science and technology, and the person who is renowned within his/her study of work or promises exceptional work in future is applicable to apply on the exceptional talent category. Other than promises exceptional work in your field, at least one of the following UK Tier 1 visa requirements must also be fulfill:

  • The applicant must be a part of the national organization that relates to the field of the applicant. The applicant can also be a member of any foreign organization (of a country that he/she is not a national) of such nature which includes any UK based academies.
  • It is required for the applicant to be awarded a prestigious and renowned award in the field of study of the applicant. The prize must be internationally recognized.
  • The applicant needs to submit a letter of recommendation from a UK based institute where the institute relates directly to the field of work the applicant is involved in. Also, the person writing the letter must hold a significant post in the institute such as being addressed by a Chief Executive, Chairperson or a Vice Chancellor where the document is written on official paper.

Where the above mentioned conditions were of a nature that only one of them needed to be fulfilled, the below mentioned requirements must all be addressed if the person wishes to apply on this category:

  • The applicant must be an active researcher in his/her field in an organization that is well reputed which can be a university, a relevant industry or a research institute.
  • The applicant must hold a relevant PhD degree or research work that equals a PhD.
  • A person who holds nationality of the United Kingdom, and is a significant figure who can attest to the applicant’s merits and personally recommend him/her as a future leader or figure in the field of science. This recommendation must be addressed with the Tier 1 application of the applicant. Furthermore, the letter must be dated and must address the applicant’s past contributions in his/her field of work.
  • The applicant’s career must still be at an early stage.
  • From the date of the application being submitted, the applicant must have held an award or a Research Fellowship based in UK in the last five years. The fellowship can also be international if not of UK. Or, the applicant must be involved in advanced research in his/her own field where the deciding factor of this work is an established body of an equal standing.

Extension on the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Category Visa

If the applicant is applying on an extension, the application for this extension must also include a document showing a service contract between the applicant and the institution he/she was employed in along with details regarding the research or field of work he/she was involved in. It must also include an official document that contains the organization’s letterhead acknowledging that the applicant earned money by working as expert in his/her field.

If the applicant is an employee or acting as the director of a company, at least one of the following details must also be included:

  • A salary slip which is stamped and holds the signature of the employer of the applicant. Furthermore, in the condition that the applicant cannot provide a salary slip as the payments were given to the applicant through an online transaction, proof must still be provided. This can be done by asking the employer to put his/her signature on a printout of the slip and stamp it. If this cannot be done, a letter must be submitted with the official letterhead of the company the applicant was employed in, detailing information regarding the salary and a signature and stamp of the employer.
  • The applicant must provide personal bank statements on documents that are officially used by the bank to show bank statements. Furthermore, in the scenario that the bank statements are softcopies, a confirmation letter from the bank must be provided accompanying the bank statements that confirm that the bank statement is genuine. It must hold the stamp of the bank to confirm the letter’s authencity. Also, this stamp must be on every page of the bank statement and letter.
  • The applicant must submit divided vouchers of the company that detail the amount that was paid to him/her from the company’s profits. These payments should reflect the net dividend paid that was paid and the company’s grossing.
  • The applicant must also provide proof that he/she paid tax by submitting an official tax document from the HMRC. In the case the tax was deducted from the employee’s salary and the employer was responsible for paying taxes, the employer’s tax document of the HMRC must be submitted or information if the tax has to be paid in a coming date.

To elaborate, one of the below given documents can be considered tax documents:

  • A document that the HMRC has issue to the applicant detailing the required tax has been paid based on the applicant’s earnings or will be paid on a coming date. Such as, a tax demand or a tax refund letter.
  • The employer issues a document detailing it as a return submitted to the HMRC, on behalf of tax paid of its employees, or tax that will be paid on the coming tax date. The document can be such as a P60.
  • A document that has been stamped, approved, or registered by the HMRC on behalf of an individual or a running business or company that shows tax paid, or will be paid.

In the condition that the applicant is self employed, and has structured his/her earnings in a manner of a company, the below given documents must be showed:

  • A letter must be issued by the applicant’s accountant that bear’s his/her signature along with the document being addressed on an official letterhead representing the accountant. It must break down the tax that was paid on the earnings including details of salaries, tax credits, dividends, payment transaction dates and profits earned. Furthermore, these accountants must certified by a relevant UK regulatory body or qualified chartered accountants. Or, the accountant must be at least a member of an established UK body that is registered in the country.
  • The company’s account details must be disclosed fully reflecting all transactions throughout the required disclosure period along with declaring profits and losses on the document. Furthermore, the balance sheet produced by the company must bear the signature of the company’s director and reflect all the necessary requirements of the relevant UK regulatory bodies. It is necessary that these documents reflect the net profit that was earned over the period.