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Exceptional Talent

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Frequently Asked Questions

How much leave will I be granted?

You can choose how much leave to apply for, up to a maximum of 5 years (5 years 4 months if obtaining Entry Clearance) in each grant.

 You can subsequently apply to extend your leave if you require further limited leave in the United Kingdom.  There is no maximum limit on the time you can spend in the UK in this category.

Extension applications can be made while you are still in the UK, or alternatively if you need to travel, they can be submitted overseas in any country as long as you have authority to be living in that country (and have been given authority to live there for more than 6 months).

What work can I do under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)?

You can:

  • work as self employed/contracted/employed;

  • work in any sector**

  • work for any employer and move between employers without any additional approval from the Home Office

  • take up employment at any level.**

You cannot:

  • work as a Doctor or Dentist in Training; or

  • as a professional sportsperson/sports coach. 

** Please note that to extend your leave,or apply for settlement,you will need to demonstrate that you have been paid for employment in your specialist field.

Can I apply for leave if I am already in the UK?

You can switch into Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) if you have leave in the following categories:

  • Any Tier 1 route;

  • Any Tier 2 route; or 

  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker), if you have been sponsored in the Government Authorised Exchange sub-category in an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers

If you hold leave in any other category, you should leave the UK and apply for entry clearance. 

Can I make my Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) application in person at a Premium Service Centre in the United Kingdom?

You cannot submit an application for endorsement (stage 1 application) at a Premium Service Centre (PSC).

You can submit your leave application (stage 2) at a PSC,but should only do so if you have already received your endorsement (stage 1) decision. 

Applications to extend your Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) leave or to apply for settlement can be also be submitted at PSC

Can I make a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) entry clearance application using a priority service outside of the United Kingdom?

You cannot submit an application for endorsement (stage 1 application) in person.

You may be able to submit your entry clearance application (stage 2) using a priority service or super priority service, 
depending on options available in the country where you apply.  More details of the available options in each country are available at

You should only apply for stage 2 if you have already received your endorsement (stage 1) decision. 

Applications to extend your Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) leave may also be submitted via premium services where applicable.

Are dependants allowed?

Yes.  Your dependants can accompany you if they meet the relevant requirements.  Further details are available here: 

Can I travel while my application is outstanding?

You may travel while your application for endorsement(stage 1 application)is outstanding.  You are not required to submit your passport at this stage.  

If you have submitted a leave application(stage 2) while you are in the United Kingdom,you cannot travel outside of the United Kingdom while your application is under consideration.

Can I study?

Yes, but you may need to need to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.

Can I claim public fundse.g. child/housing benefit?

Most migrants are unable to claim public funds.  There are some exceptions.  Further details are available here:

Do I have to demonstrate a minimum level of English to apply?

There is no requirement to speak English at either the initial stage or when applying for an extension of limited leave to 
remain.You will need to demonstrate your level of English to qualify for settlement.

Does the route lead to settlement?

Yes.  The qualifying period is a continuous five years, though some absences are allowed.  This means that it is possible to 
apply for settlement without extending limited leave, if you are granted 5 years on your initial application and meet the 
settlement rules.  

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