Tier 1 Global Talent visa route

If you're a researcher from outside the UK, you can apply to come to – or remain in – the UK via the Tier 1 visa route.

Who can apply for a Tier 1 visa?

There are two ways you can apply for a Tier 1 visa. How you apply depends on whether you will be a member of staff employed on the grant, or if you will hold the award.

What are the benefits of a Tier 1 visa?

A Tier 1 Global Talent visa offers you more flexibility than other UK immigration routes. You:

  • can move freely between organisations, locations and job/roles without having to tell the Home Office; with a Tier 2 visa you’re ‘tied’ to an employer/role and you often have to apply for a new visa if you change jobs
  • don't have to receive a minimum salary to be eligible
  • can apply for settlement once you’ve been in the UK for three years; if you spend time outside the UK for research purposes, you won't be penalised.

You may also be able to switch to a Tier 1 visa if you’re already in the UK on a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa.

Endorsed funder route

Wellcome is a recognised endorsed funder.

If you're applying for a Tier 1 visa via this route, you will need to have:

  • at least two years remaining on your employment contract, and
  • spend at least 50% of your working time contributing to the award.

How to apply

The endorsed funder route is administered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). You should contact UKRI for more information on the application criteria and how to apply.

Individual fellowships and personal awards route

If you're applying for a Tier 1 visa via this route, you should be an exceptionally talented or promising individual in the field of science, engineering, humanities and social sciences or the arts.

You must be able to demonstrate that you're:

  • a recognised leader in your field (Exceptional Talent)

or

  • an emerging leader in your field (Exceptional Promise).

If you hold one of the awards listed below, you're guaranteed an endorsement of your Tier 1 application (see the 'Stage 1: Endorsement' section below).

If you hold a Wellcome award that is not on this list, you can still apply for a Tier 1 visa, but your endorsement is not guaranteed.

How to apply

There is a two-stage application process.

Stage 1: Endorsement

You need to apply for endorsement via the Home Office.

Your application will be considered by one of the five recognised Designated Competent Bodies, who will decide if you have the skills, abilities and achievements to be endorsed. You can find out more about the Tier 1 visa on their websites.

The five bodies are:

Stage 2: Immigration application

Once you’ve been endorsed, you can apply to the Home Office for your visa. You must apply for the visa within three months of being endorsed.