Welcome to the Global Talent Visa
The Global Talent Visa (sometimes called the Tech Nation Visa, Tier 1 Visa or Exceptional Talent Visa) enables the best tech talent from around the world to work in the UK’s digital technology sector, contributing their cutting edge expertise and creative skills.
Whether you’re an experienced coder or an established tech marketeer, our top tier visa offers great flexibility and freedom. You and your family will be able to seize opportunities enriching your lives and careers, without having to regularly update your visa status.
Our Visa brochure will help you explore why the Global Talent Visa could be perfect for you, how the route works and what it means to launch your career here in the UK.
Important Update re. Tech Nation
Tech Nation has announced that it will cease its main operations and commence business wind-down from 31st March 2023.
However, until further notice, Tech Nation will continue to accept new Global Talent endorsement applications. Therefore applicants should consider the route to be open as normal and should continue to apply.
All previous endorsements issued by Tech Nation remain valid. Note that all endorsements are normally valid for 3 months, during which time you must apply for the Global Talent visa. Failure to do so will require you to apply for endorsement again. If you already hold a Global Talent Visa based on Tech Nation endorsement, your status is unaffected and your visa remains valid.
The Global Talent Visa will continue to offer a Digital Technology pathway, more information regarding the new endorsing body will be provided when available.
This notice will be updated regarding any changes or when more information is available.
The Tech Nation Visa Guide
The Tech Nation Visa Guide has been created to support the official guidance provided by the Home Office (it should be read alongside the official guidance, not as a substitute), and explores various aspects candidates should consider before beginning the application process. It covers:
- Applicant suitability
- Eligibility criteria
- The Application process
- Evidential requirements
Live and work in the UK’s thriving tech sector
With the Global Talent Visa, you have the capability to relocate with your family to live and work in the thriving UK tech sector.
A perfect blend of talent, mentorship and record-breaking investment sets the scene for your supercharged growth as part of the UK’s digital economy. With almost a third of Europe’s tech unicorns, here you’ll find the right inspiration, innovation and support to drive your career or business in the right direction.
From AI, Fintech, Deeptech all the way down to Net Zero and a whole host of sectors in between, the UK is the place to be, with talent from over 100 nationalities that have already made the move to build dream careers.
How the Global Talent Visa works
The Global Talent Visa enables the best tech talent from around the world to work in the UK’s digital technology sector, contributing cutting-edge expertise, and creativity to the ecosystem.
What sets it apart from many other visas is that it is attached to you, meaning you are not tied to a particular role, company or project, you are free to change roles and move around the tech sector on your own terms – you also do not need a job offer in order to apply.
There are two main routes that can lead you on your way to claiming the Global Talent Visa:
If you are well-established in your career (5+ years) and have a strong track record in your particular field, you should explore this pathway. You should also consider this pathway if you can demonstrate any of the following:
1) Being recognised with reputable industry awards and being asked to speak at high profile tech events
2) Being featured in well known publications, either online or in print
3) You have published open source code to a reputable platform and received significant engagement
If you are earlier in your career (5 years or less), with a strong academic record or you are making significant contributions to innovative or impactful projects either in your own tech company or as an employee, this pathway could be perfect for you. You will also need to be able to:
1) Demonstrate your potential to be a future leader
2) Demonstrate your strong contribution to a new digital field
3) Have 3 senior stakeholders within product-led digital tech who are willing to recommend you
Who can apply?
If you are a frontline technical role, such as a developer, engineer or specialise in areas such as web-analytics and information architecture. These direct tech roles and many more all fall within our criteria.
There are so many roles in the UK that aren’t specifically tech-focussed. If you’re an expert marketeer, have background in operations , love PR or have experience at c-Suite level within your tech ecosystem, this visa could be right for you.
Key benefits of the Global Talent Visa
Change your job or start up on your own without ever needing to update your immigration status
Your spouse and any children under 18 can come with you
The total cost of application is only £608 per person (+ UK healthcare surcharge)
Join our network of over 1300 visa alumni members, to share your skills
The application process
All visa applications can take a while and so it’s important you give yourself enough time to prepare your application and for it to be processed. We recommend that you give yourself up to 12-weeks to prepare your application, to ensure you have enough time to gather all of the necessary documents.
Apply for endorsement. Complete the Government application form and submit your documents to Tech Nation.
UK Home Office inform you of the outcome within 8 weeks.
Apply for the Visa. Submit proof of endorsement and all biometric information (if you’re relocating with family, you’ll upload their info here too).
UK Home Office inform you of your application outcome within 3 weeks.
You’ll be in great company…
Currently there are over 2500 Global Talent Visa holders working in over 900 UK tech businesses. We feel that all of their skills, cultures and experiences are something to celebrate, which is why we established our visa alumni programme.
Whether you’re looking to network for opportunities or friendships, our alumni programme is open to anyone who holds the Global Talent Visa from as soon as you arrive in the UK.
Founder & Data Scientist, Sarah C Gall Ltd.
“The UK’s digital tech ecosystem is very strong. Groups that I am a proud member of, like the Tech Nation Alumni Network, Women Who Code, and Women in Data, all provide networking opportunities and mentoring from a highly diverse community. This has made me feel supported and connected with others in the tech industry even during a global pandemic and I look forward to being able to pursue an additional venture of tech entrepreneurship in the UK. All of this is only possible through the Global Talent visa.”
Beginning your Visa journey
We know that relocating to a new country is a daunting task. Making sure you take the time to explore all UK visa options, to find the right route for you is exceptionally important.
As Tech Nation can’t always comment on certain aspects of your application journey, we’ve teamed up with our Alumni ambassadors, like Peace, to ensure there is support in place for key decisions you’ll need to make in the journey.
We’ll take you through how the visa works, who it’s for and how to apply. If it’s the right route for you, you can then access our Visa Toolkit, to support you through the application.
Head of Growth, Seedstars
“The Global Talent Visa was my gateway to limitless potential and one of the best communities of people on the planet. Being on this visa allowed me to join incredible initiatives and start my own projects without restrictions in a country where it will be truly valued. I’ve spoken to hundreds of candidates in the past three years and here is my advice: Change your perspective from “Why could I be refused” to “Why should I be endorsed” and I promise that you will give it your best shot.”
Hear what visa alumni Slaviana has to say about her application experience for the Global Talent Visa:
Is the Global Talent Visa right for you?
If you believe the Global Talent Visa could be the right option for you, now is the time to explore some more resources, and get all the information you need to get started on your application.
A great place to start would be our application toolkit.
Supporting organisations’ growth ambitions
UK employers believe the Global Talent Visa is a powerful tool, unlocking access to the very best tech sector talent from across the globe.
Find out more about how this visa can support your organisations’ growth ambitions. Discover more with our employers’ guidance here.
“The location of our birth determines so much of our future, the Thrive Programme is one way to help create a level playing field with opportunities for global tech talent. It will also help us attract and support great global tech talent to BenevolentAI and the UK, to contribute to our creative thinking and build globally accessible innovation and tech.”
Trecilla Lobo, SVP People at BenevolentAI
Frequently asked questions
Am I eligible to apply for the Tech Nation Visa?
Tech Nation cannot advise whether you are eligible to apply. Our Readiness Checker tool may assist with your consideration of whether the Global Talent Visa is right for you. Completing the Readiness Checker will have no impact on your actual endorsement application.
I am currently in the UK on a different visa, can I switch to the Global Talent visa?
You can switch to the Global Talent visa whilst in the UK on another visa, however you cannot apply to switch if you’re currently in the UK in one of the following circumstances:
- on a visit visa
- on a short-term student visa
- on a Parent of a Child Student visa
- on a seasonal worker visa
- on a domestic worker in a private household visa
- on immigration bail
- you were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, for example on compassionate grounds
You must leave the UK and apply for a Global Talent visa from abroad if you’re in one of these categories.
All information on switching to the Global Talent visa can be found on the Home Office website.
How many Visas are available?
The Global Talent visa does not have a limit or any other restriction on the number of visas available.
When do Visa applications open and close?
Whilst the formal process runs between April to April each year, there is no open or close date regarding applications for the Global Talent visa.
Are there are any documents that can help with my application?
Yes, all applicants should carefully review the official Guidance from Home Office for the Global Talent visa, as well as Tech Nation’s Guide on our website.
Do I need a job offer to be eligible?
No, you don’t. However, you will need to include a definite plan of what you’ll be doing once you are in the UK and how you intend to contribute to the growth of the UK’s digital economy.
As part of your application form, you will be asked to submit a personal statement of up to 1000 words in length which can include details on how you intend to contribute to the growth of the UK’s digital economy, and this will play an important role in the assessment of your application.
Can I be endorsed for Exceptional Promise if I apply to the Tech Nation Visa via the Exceptional Talent route?
Applying for endorsement via Exceptional Talent does not preclude you from endorsement under Exceptional Promise should you meet the necessary criteria; likewise, applying under the Exceptional Promise route does not preclude you from endorsement for Exceptional Talent.
In all cases, Tech Nation will establish whether you meet the necessary criteria to be endorsed for Exceptional Talent or for Exceptional Promise.
Please note that the qualifying period for Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) depends on whether your visa is granted under either the criteria for Exceptional Talent (three years required) or Exceptional Promise (five years required). Therefore, if your application is endorsed under a different route than you applied (Talent or Promise), it will affect your qualifying period for Settlement. Further information can be found in the official Guidance for the Global Talent visa on the Home Office website.
Can I apply for endorsement a second time to switch my existing Global Talent visa from Exceptional Promise to Exceptional Talent?
No, you are not permitted to apply for endorsement again under a different category (Talent or Promise) if you have already been endorsed and granted leave to remain for the Global Talent visa route. Tech Nation is unable to advise further regarding matters of immigration, as such we recommend reading the official guidance or seeking professional advice.
Can Tech Nation advise me on my application or my supporting documents prior to submission?
No, we are unable to review your documents prior to submission. Please ensure that you carefully read the official Guidance from Home Office for the Global Talent visa, as well as Tech Nation’s Guide. Sending your application to Tech Nation before submission will not increase your chances of endorsement and may delay your application being processed.
What types of roles are eligible for Tech Nation Visa?
Both Technical and Business type roles are eligible for the Tech Nation Visa. There are no formal restrictions regarding role types or specialisms, partly due to the fast-changing nature of the technology sector. However, within our guide, you will find a list of example roles that are considered suitable and unsuitable for this visa route.
What type of evidence should I submit to meet the Eligibility Criteria?
Potential applicants should to refer to the Guide for the Tech Nation Visa, in particular the sections on Eligibility Criteria and Examples of Evidence, and consider whether and how they meet these criteria. Tech Nation cannot provide advice beyond the information contained in the Guide or Official Guidance.
What types of recommendation letters should I provide?
Please refer to the Guide for Tech Nation Visa for more information on what to include in the Letters of Recommendation. These letters should be as detailed as possible with regard to your skills/work/achievements, how you are known to your referee, and why your referees believe you meet the criteria for Exceptional Talent / Promise. Please ensure that your Letters of Recommendation are in line with format and required contents stated the guidance.
Where do I send my application?
The application process for Stage 1 is completely online, you do not need to physically post any documents. To submit your application, you must first apply to the Home Office for endorsement by Tech Nation. Once you have completed this Home Office application, you must then complete a Tech Nation Visa application form. You can save and return to your application at any time before submitting. After submitting you will not be able to amend or provide additional documents.
At this stage, you will have to wait to hear directly from the Home Office on whether you have been endorsed by Tech Nation. Tech Nation cannot advise on your application status.
How long can I work on my application?
In order for your Stage 1 application to be valid you must submit your Tech Nation application form no more than 15 working days after you submitted your Home Office application. Failure to submit your Tech Nation application form will result in your application being rejected as invalid.
How do I track the progress of my application?
You will receive an update from the Home Office on when your payment has been processed and again when Tech Nation has been notified of your application. Tech Nation will not provide you with an update directly as all correspondence must go via the Home Office.
What happens to my data?
Application data received by Tech Nation will remain strictly private and confidential, and is stored and processed on Tech Nation’s secure application system. Data will only be accessible to the Home Office, Tech Nation and the independent assessment panel. In accordance with Home Office instructions, Tech Nation will store your data for up to 6 years, after which it will be permanently deleted. You should only share data if you have permission to do so, Tech Nation cannot advise regarding NDA’s or whether you should share any particular data.
Can I apply for Settlement in the UK (also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain)?
You may be eligible for Settlement under this visa route. The qualifying period depends on whether your visa is granted under the criteria for either Exceptional Talent (3 years) or Exceptional Promise (5 years).
Can I bring my family with me to the UK?
Dependants are allowed to join you in the UK subject to requirements.
Does the Tech Nation Visa have any restrictions based on nationality?
There are currently no nationality-based restrictions for the Tech Nation Visa. More information is available on the Home Office website.
Where can I get more information?
You should read the official guidance prior to making an application.
Your next steps…
If you believe the Global Talent Visa is right for you, it’s time to start preparing to submit your application. The best place to begin? Our Visa application toolkit of course. The toolkit will provide you with the tools, tips and guidance you need to create a great application.