1. Overview

You can apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if:

  • you’ve been endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

There’s a 2-stage application process to get this visa.

You first need to apply to the Home Office for endorsement as a leader or an emerging leader in your particular field.

Then, once you have been endorsed, you can apply for the visa.

There are limited places available under this visa category, with 500 places released on both 6 April and 1 October each year.

How long it will take

After you get your endorsement, you can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Check the guide to processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.


You must pay a separate fee for the 2 stages of this process:

  • stage 1 - endorsement (£281)
  • stage 2 - visa application (see table below)

You also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

Stage 1

All main applicants must pay the £281 fee to get an endorsement when applying for the first time or switching to this visa category.

You won’t automatically get a visa if you’ve been endorsed. You won’t be reimbursed your endorsement fee if your visa application is turned down.

Stage 2

How much you pay to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa depends on your circumstances.

Who you’re applying for Stage 1 - endorsement application Stage 2 - visa application
You £281 £281
You if you’re from Turkey or Macedonia £281 £226
All dependants - £562

How long you can stay

You can stay in the UK for up to:

  • 5 years and 4 months if you apply outside the UK
  • 5 years if you apply inside the UK

You can apply to extend this visa for another 5 years.

You can choose how long you want to apply for, up to the maximum time allowed. You only have to pay the healthcare surcharge for the amount of time you choose.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

  • do voluntary work
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring family members with you

You can’t:

  • get public funds
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach