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 is a 2 stage application process to get this visa.

You’ll 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 (£437)
  • stage 2 - visa application (see table)

Stage 1

All main applicants must pay the £437 fee to get an endorsement when you’re 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 £437 £437
You if you’re from Turkey or Macedonia £437 £382
All dependants - £874

How long you can stay

You can stay in the UK for:

  • 5 years and 4 months if you apply outside the UK
  • 5 years if you switch to this visa inside the UK
  • 5 more years if you extend this visa

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