Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa: Read Before You Apply

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa: Read Before You Apply - Blog about my story of visa application

The 1 December 2013 was truly the Big Day. It is not only because of may reasons, holidays, births and events on this date (try Wikipedia to know more).

On the 1 December 2013 Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa Route was introduced to the world. What is hidden behind these new immigration policy rules? What main ideas are lying on the foundation of this desire for talents?


Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa Route was designed for highly skilled individuals in digital technology (as a new, non-traditional area for such visas) and more traditional fields of science, humanities, engineering, the arts. As planned talents will enrich the United Kingdom’s knowledge economy and cultural life. Digital talents are mainly dealing with the first aspect – knowledge economy since this field generates tons of new ideas and knowledge. However, some technological companies are involved in cultural life, hence, digital is purely everywhere!

But why Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa is a good deal? In my personal opinion, and as many of my peers say, there are many obvious bonuses of this visa for non-EU citizens who want to live and work in the United Kingdom. I found at least eight of them.

1. Stop Tier 2 Slavery

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa route is truly an ideal way to  allow people to work and change employers. This is not a main topic of this visa blog but employed people who come to the United Kingdom for work as an employees of visa sponsor company are very restricted in their rights to do own business. It is reasonably and I do not blame this. However, for some people, this is quite problematic issue. For example, when a person is working for a digital company on full-time basis but want to make an independent consultancy on weekends. Exactly this situation shows when Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa is an effective solution for being employed by a company and doing own entrepreneurial projects simultaneously.

2. Poor talents allowed

This visa route has no financial restrictions to apply. It is quite rare situation since every country needs to be assure that opening its borders does not mean attracting low-income people. However, poor talented people bring completely different assets. Their knowledge and experience, charisma and readiness to risk in a new digital project – these qualities cost even more than a nice-looking bank account.

3. Easy application process

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa route has quite easy algorithm of application and detailed guidelines to make the whole process smooth. Moreover, the talents are very good experts in digital field (or, perhaps, engineering, music or biology). Hence, there is no need to employ a lawyer for complete this visa application. Everything is simple but if not – you can always ask community  about the arising questions.

4. Fast-track option

This option is a feature of the whole Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa Route for Digital Field. In other words, this option means that some talented digital guys are more required in the UK. Particularly, (1) people who will empower the North in digitalization. For sure, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland are waiting for talents more than London, (2) some business and technical skills are more needed in the UK because of skill shortage. System engineers and data scientists on senior positions are in the same shoes as C-suite business managers who have obtained experience of IPO – all of them are warmly welcomed (to know the whole list – read Guidelines on pages 8 – 9), (3) team relocation, when up to 5 people of the company are talents and want to move to the UK under this visa route.

5. World-known talents and trusted promises

The other very important feature of this visa route is diversity of talents. Sky is the limit for areas of digital field to apply for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa. However, not only established and recognized talents can apply – even young people who are starting their star-way now, are eligible. In other words, to apply for Talent visa you need to be almost Nobel Prize winner but to apply for Promise visa you need to make the first step towards your Nobel Prize :).

6. Duet of tech guys and business talents

One more important thing is that digital talent visa can be given to people with tech background and hands-on experience in business. However, mainly, in digital field this route is created for tech experts. Particularly, when reading about digital skills shortage in the UK. That is why, for the business route an applicant has to provide more reliable documents to proof his or her level of achievements.

7. Great support team for visa applications

Applying for Tier 1 Exceptional Promise Visa in 2016 I felt lack of information. I was looking for any clue and additional facts about this visa route. However, now there is plenty of opportunities to get answers to your questions if you have so. I am a big fan to write directly to the Tech City UK (visas@techcityuk.com) and Home Office (exceptionaltalentend@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk) regarding particular questions. Or you can ask me and my colleagues who are Tech Nation Visa Ambassadors. We are here to help you 🙂

8. United network of Visa Holders

Final point that brings very pleasant experience of being among the most tech talented people in the UK from the whole world! Our community has already obtained over a hundred of participants. We have regular drinks, are invited to participate in Tech City UK events and buy early-bird tickets for the most excited tech meetings of the country.

I am sure that Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa brings kind of freedom that is not guaranteed by any other type of visa. That is why I recommend to apply for it if you feel your power to be entrepreneur and make world better with technologies, living in the United Kingdom

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa application - Examples of Documents and Help

Author: Andrii Seleznov

This blog is written by Andrii Seleznov. Andrii is a Tech Nation Visa Ambassador and holder of Tier 1 Exceptional Promise visa. He is an experienced entrepreneur, professional engineer, founder and CTO at Petiole and Alumni Mentor at GIST Tech-I Competition

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