We are Tech North

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa for Digital Technology

The Tech Nation Visa Scheme makes it possible for tech talent from around the world to come and work in the UK’s digital technology sector, and is part of Tech City UK’s mission to ensure that the UK continues to maintain its position as a globally competitive digital economy.
Tech City UK is the designated competent body for digital technology and has the ability to endorse applications for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa. If you receive an endorsement from Tech City UK, then you will be eligible to be to submit your Visa application to the Home Office.



1. Eligibility

Check your eligibility for the Tech Nation Visa Scheme by viewing our guidelines:
Eligibility Criteria

2. Timing

The application process is in 2 stages:
a) Endorsement stage – will take up to 8 weeks in total to be processed.
b) Visa application – This process can take up to 3 weeks out of country and 8 weeks in country.

3. Conditions of your visa

This visa can be granted for up to 5 years after which you will be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK.

4. Cost

£287* for stage 1 and £287* for stage 2.

*Please note that this does not include additional administrative costs such as your BRP enrolment fee and NHS surcharge.


More Information:



Application Process

Our application form for stage 1 endorsement is now online!

This is the first step in making our visa applicants’ user journeys as simple and time efficient as possible before we are able to move the entire visa application process online.
Although, at this stage, you will still need to fill out the paper based Home Office application form and submit a paper application pack, this online platform allows you to upload your supporting documents, pause and resume your application, track its progress and monitor your application status all on one site. Check it out here:
Eligibility Criteria


The Two Stage Application Process

Two Stage Application Process


Stage 1: application for endorsement

This will be your application for endorsement by Tech City UK, who will assess whether you qualify for this visa route. In order to apply you will first need to download and complete this endorsement form from the Home Office, as well as the digital technology endorsement form. Full details of what you need to submit be can be found on our Tech Nation Visa website and on the Home Office website.

You will then need to send the application pack in hard copy directly to the Home Office; instructions can be found directly on the form.

At this stage, you’ll have to wait to hear back directly from the Home Office on whether or not you have been endorsed by Tech City UK. This can take approximately 8 weeks and you’ll be informed of your application’s progress at every step.


Stage 2: application for the visa

If you have been endorsed, you are then able to apply for the Tech Nation Visa (Tier 1 Exceptional Talent). The documents you need are listed here.


If you haven’t been endorsed on this occasion you have three options:

  • You can apply for a review (in which case, we’ll reassess your application based on your feedback).
  • You can send a fresh application with new evidence
  • Or you can apply for a new visa route (please see the table at the bottom of this page for more information)


How does the new eligibility criteria help me?

Since Tech City UK became one of the Designated Competent Bodies (DCB) to the Home Office for this route in 2014, we have worked with the digital business community to ensure that this visa route reflects the needs of the sector. As a result, the following four options have been added to the eligibility criteria for candidates to ensure that the UK continues to maintain its position as a globally competitive digital powerhouse.


Fast Track Options

In addition to meeting the mandatory and qualifying criteria for the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa applicants can now benefit from new criteria, which have come into force and allow for applications to be fast-tracked. In order for applicants to benefit from these options they will need to tick the relevant box on the application form. Tech City UK will aim to provide a decision for endorsement within 18 days to the Home Office. The fast track route will apply in the following circumstances:


1: Empowering the North

You intend to make a contribution in the North of the UK (i.e. plan to work in or set up a company in one of Tech North’s seven cities: Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland or the surrounding regions). For applicants intending to work in the North, Tech City UK will work with the Tech North team to fast track the endorsement review process.

Companies in the North looking to recruit highly skilled individuals from outside the EU should make their initial enquiry via email, at visas@techcityuk.com 


2: Building UK Scale ups

You have the business or technical skills to scale businesses that are most needed in the UK technology sector. Whether it’s expertise in taking a company IPO, or individuals with very specific technical knowledge, such as development operations and cyber security, the Tech Nation Visa Scheme will provide a scale-up fast-track route that will enable rapidly growing companies to access the right talent at the right time to smooth their path to success.


3: Recruiting Teams from Overseas

You and your team of up to five individuals want to relocate to the UK. This allows for digital businesses to recruit entire teams of exceptional individuals from outside the EU who have demonstrated success. Each team member will be individually assessed and must qualify in his or hers own right. Eligibility includes but is not limited to existing teams within an international company, which have been acquired by a UK business. This is one way for UK digital businesses to attract high calibre and high performing teams that have a proven track record of creativity, collaboration and commercial vision.


Exceptional Promise Option

In line with the other Designated Competent Bodies, Tech City UK has endeavoured to open its visa scheme to applicants showing “Exceptional Promise” , who may have yet to become ‘world leaders in their field’ , but have nevertheless demonstrated the potential to do so.
Although Tech City UK still have a single set of criteria that covers all applicants whether they are considered for Exceptional Promise or Exceptional Talent, this provision will facilitate companies in recruiting the highly skilled individuals needed to fill specific talent gaps. Please note that Tech City UK experts will use their technical know-how to establish whether you meet the necessary criteria to be endorsed for Exceptional Talent or for Exceptional Promise.


Not eligible?

What if I’m not eligible?

If you’re not eligible for the Tech Nation Visa Scheme (Tier 1 Exceptional Talent), there may still be other visa routes to choose from that might be more relevant to your experience and talents. Check the table below to find out which routes are available to you.


Still unclear on where to start? Need some guidance? Email us at visas@techcityuk.com and we’ll get back to you.