Global Talent Visa (Digital)

In this video, I explore the Global Talent Visa.


This visa is for talented and promising individuals with either technical or business related skills within the digital technology sector who are looking to work in the UK. Generally, applicants under this route will either be prominent individuals, leading within their particular field, or they will be individuals who are deemed to have the potential to be the leaders of the future. In all cases, Tech Nation (a government-backed business incubator) will assess eligibility. As will be discussed in more detail below, this visa pathway can lead to settlement in the UK.


You may apply for this route as a technical applicant or a business applicant:

Technical Applicant – you must demonstrate proven technical expertise with the latest technologies in building, using, deploying or exploiting a technology stack and building technical infrastructure (Paragraph 7.6 Appendix W Immigration Rules).

Business Applicant – you must demonstrate proven commercial, investment, or product expertise in building digital products or leading investments in significant digital product businesses (Paragraph 7.6 Appendix W Immigration Rules).

Whilst not an exhaustive list, the government guidance has provided examples of the type of applicants which they are looking for in each of these categories:

Technical applicants could be:

  • DevOps/SysOps engineers
  • Principal software engineers/developers
  • Experienced data scientists/data engineers
  • Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning experts (AI, NLP, ML)
  • Cybersecurity experts
  • Hardware engineers
  • Experienced front-end developers
  • Operating systems engineers
  • Experienced video game developers
  • Experienced UX/UI designers
  • Experienced Mobile App developers
  • Experienced back end developers leading development of or contributing heavily to major new technologies or open source projects (e.g. blockchain, Scala, Golang, Elastic search etc)
  • CTO or VP engineering experience managing teams of in-house employees at a growing digital business
  • Virtual and augmented reality developers

Business applicants could be those who possess the following qualities:

  • Experience of leading substantial VC investment over £25m GBP
  • Experience as a commercial / business lead (P&L, growth, sales and distribution strategy) in a digital business
  • Experience of expanding or growing a significant product-led digital technology business
  • Sector-specific experience e.g. payment infrastructure in FinTech / international expansion in EdTech etc.
  • Solution sales experts
  • Experienced Product Manager
  • SaaS or enterprise sales leadership for digital services
  • Solution sales skills performed for a growing B2B digital business (i.e. not big-company experience)
  • Performance marketing experts, performed in house for digital businesses
  • Experienced and senior VC or PE analysts with track records of leading investments in digital businesses
  • Experience as C Suite in a SMEs + (CEO, CMO, CIO) or head of operations for a digital business

You may not apply for a Global Talent Visa if you fall within one of the following specialisms:

  • Service Delivery, Process Delivery, Outsourcing, Consultancy (technical or management), ERP Consultancy, Systems Admin and all related fields
  • Corporate roles or experience of managing large corporate teams
  • Junior investors / analysts

N.B. Business skills apply to in-house work within product-led digital technology companies, not tech-enabled or service companies such as agencies, outsourcers, marketing firms etc.

You must then choose whether you are applying as an “Exceptional Talent” or “Exceptional Promise” applicant.

Exceptional Talent – you must be an established and leading individual within your field within a proven track record of innovation in the digital technology sector (Paragraph 7.6(a) Appendix W Immigration Rules).

Exceptional Promise – you must be an individual who has been recognised as having to the potential to be a leading talent in the digital technology sector (Paragraph 7.6(a) Appendix W Immigration Rules).

You will then have to meet (as appropriate) either:

  1. One of the key “Exceptional Talent” criteria and two of the qualifying “Exceptional Talent” criteria in the table below ; or
  2. One of the key “Exceptional Promise” criteria and two of the qualifying “Exceptional Promise” criteria in the table below (Paragraph 7.6(a)(i) and (ii) Appendix W Immigration Rules).

There is no requirement for English language or maintenance funds for applicants under this route (Paragraph 3.8(a) and 3.9(a) Appendix W Immigration Rules).

Documents You Will Need

Specific Documents

You will need to provide:

  1. a completed Tech Nation Global Talent application form;
  2. a curriculum vitae outlining your career and publication history;
  3. three dated letters of recommendation signed by three different senior members of different established organisations in the digital technology sector. The signatories must be familiar with your work and your contribution to the digital technology sector, and be qualified to assess your claim to be a leader or potential leader in your field. Each letter must:
    • be written and signed by an authorised member of the organisation they represent, such as the Chief Executive, Chief Operating Officer, Finance Director or H established or businesses that have been dissolved in the last 5 years, either which must have been commercially successful or otherwise demonstrate how you meet the endorsement criteria, in which you have been a founder or senior executive, or evidence of share ownership through business in a digital technology sector company (this evidence in included in the maximum 10 documents discussed below); and
  4. evidence in relation to the relevant key and qualifying criteria listed above. This evidence must consist of no moreead of Course;
    • include details of the author’s credentials (for example, a curriculum vitae);
    • include details of how the recognised expert knows you;
    • include your achievements in your specialist field, and how, in the opinion of the recognised expert, you exhibit exceptional talent or exceptional promise;
    • include how you would benefit from living in the UK and the contribution you would make to the UK digital technology sector; and
    • include details of any future professional engagements you have in the UK, where applicable;
  5. evidence of any active businesses than 10 documents in total, and must be submitted via the Tech Nation (Global Talent) online form. Each document must be no more than 3 A4 sides in length (Paragraph 7.6(b) Appendix W Immigration Rules).

N.B. Where you are required to provide a documentation from a third party, the documentation must:

  • be dated;
  • show the organisation logo and registered address, if written on behalf of a third party organisation;
  • be signed by the third party, or an individual authorised by a third party organisation to respond on its behalf;
  • be typed, not hand-written; and
  • contain full contact details, including telephone number and email address, of the third party to allow the document to be verified if required (Paragraph 7.4 Appendix W Immigration Rules).

General Documents

You must also provide:

  • your current passport or other valid official travel document; and
  • your tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where you have to take the test.

Can I bring my family members?

You are permitted to bring your partner and any child under the age of 18 with you to the UK as a dependent on your Global Talent visa.

Application Process

STEP 1 – Obtain letters of recommendation (as specified above) and gather the remaining supporting documents required.

STEP 2 – Complete and submit your Tech Nation Global Talent Visa form to Tech Nation along with your supporting documents.

STEP 3 – Receive your endorsement letter from Tech Nation.STEP 4 – Submit your visa application to the Home Office. You should receive a decision on your visa in 3 weeks if you are applying from outside the UK.

Pathway to Permanent Residence

STAGE 1 – You can apply to stay in the UK for an initial term of 1-5 years.

STAGE 2 – You can apply to extend your visa as many times as you like and each extension can last between 1-5 years.

STAGE 3 – You can apply for Permanent Residence once you have been in the UK for:

3 years on an Exceptional Talent visa; or

5 years on an Exceptional Promise visa.

N.B. The qualifying period for a partner of a Global Talent applicant is 5 years regardless of whether the main applicant is eligible for accelerated settlement. Dependent children can qualify for settlement if both parents are settled or are applying for settlement at the same time. Dependent children can also qualify if they are applying at the same time as the main applicant, if the main applicant has sole responsibility for the child.

Visa Fees

You and any dependents will need to pay a government visa fee of £608 each. Additionally, you and any dependents will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), in the order of £400 per year per person, and a fee for registering you and your dependent’s biometric information in the order of £19.20 per person.


Appendix W Immigration Rules

Home Office Global Talent Guidance Global Talent Visa Overview