United Kingdom – Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa

Tier1 Exceptional Talent, a new visa type for immigration in the Great Britain, was established in 2011 by UK Visa Bureau. Attempting to attract talented people and entrepreneurs working in various fields of science, art and culture all over the world, the service grants Tier1 Exceptional Talent only to recognized international organizations or at least those that have a solid knowledge potential of being recognized in the future. A key eligibility condition is a reference letter by a competent British authority.

There are no other limitations for applying for Tier1 (Exceptional Talent) except as stated above. It is not available for application from inside the county and is valid for 3 years and 4 months, subject to 2 year extension. An immigrant of 5 years residing in Britain and his family (spouse and children under 18) are entitled to apply for a residence permit. A year later a person holding a residency permit can apply for citizenship.

Tier1 Exceptional Talent applicants are selected according to a number of criteria developed by UK Visa Bureau, each bringing a certain score. For instance, a letter from a competent British authority proving the exceptional talent of the applicant brings 75 points, which is enough to obtain immigration committee’s approval.
Only 4 organizations in the UK are authorized to issue a limited number of reference letters of this kind, namely:

  1. Arts Council England (achievements in the area of art and culture) – 300 pers/year;
  2. Royal Society (achievements in the area of medical research and natural sciences) – 300 pers/year;
  3. Royal Academy of Engineering (technology accomplishments) – 200 pers/year;
  4. British Academy (achievements in liberal arts and social sciences) – 200 pers/year.

It is recommended for an applicant to receive an invitation from the corresponding authority three months before applying for a visa; however, Tier1 Exceptional Talent does not require knowledge of English or sufficient funds to support applicants and their families in Britain.
The competent British authorities have specified various requirements to evaluate the unique talent and knowledge of applicants in their areas of expertise.

Exceptional Talent

For instance, Arts Council England sets the following conditions for an applicant:
1) a person working in cinema, TV, computer graphics or animation, theatre, visual arts, music or literature
2) has to provide at least 10 documents to confirm his unique talent or international expert qualification, which might include: a publication or a program in the national media and at least one international publication, grants and awards from recognized international organizations and at least two reference letters (one international) from the most respected, professional culture organizations working in the area of application.

A person willing to receive reference letters from Royal Academy of Engineering, British Academy and Royal Society has to meet all their requirements and the key professional criteria.
Main requirements are: PhD or equivalent, scientific research conducted in the corresponding area of expertise, a reference letter from a respected British expert working in the same field.
To meet professional requirements, a candidate has to be a member of the Academy of Sciences in his own country or abroad, hold prestigious international awards in his area of expertise and be recognized by competent British experts working in the same field.
Promising talents of science and culture can apply for reference letters if they have received research grants from international or British organizations within five years before application.

Upon arrival to the Great Britain, Tier1 Exceptional Talent visa holders can work or set up businesses in their areas of expertise specified in the application forms. However, it is prohibited to work as a doctor or dentist in training, a professional athlete or a sports coach and to apply for financial aid to social services.
Tier1 Exceptional Talent immigrant has to pass identification in police upon his arrival to the United Kingdom and to abide by British law.