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Human Resources

Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent visa is open to academics and researchers who are internationally recognised as either world leaders or potential world-leading talent in their fields. There are four routes available to applicants including fast track routes for academic appointees, holders of eligible fellowships, individuals working on successful grant applications from an endorsed funder, and a peer reviewed route for all other applicants. 

The below applicant decision tree [PDF 100KB] is to assist in identifing which route may be most appropriate.  There are further details below about each route.

Several of the Global Talent routes require support of the University.  If you wish to apply for a Global Talent visa you should speak with your line manager first, they will be able to contact HR to obtain the necessary paperwork to make an application for an endorsement.

A table detailing eligibility option for each Global Talent route



The academic and research appointment route of the Global Talent visa is for individuals who have been appointed to an academic or research position at an approved UK higher education institution (HEI) or research institute where they:

  1. have responsibility for academic, research or innovation leadership and development; or
  2. direct or lead an individual or team in:
    • a research project or programme of work; or
    • an innovation project or programme of work

The route is administered by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society.

*Applicants who do not meet the endorsement criteria*

Please note that you will not be considered eligible for the academic and research appointments route if responsibility for ‘academic, research or innovation leadership and development’ or for ‘directing or leading an individual or team in a research or innovation project or programme of work’ is not the primary function of the role you have been offered. This will include many entry level postdoctoral research positions.

In these circumstances, you may be eligible for one of the other Global Talent visa routes and are encouraged to look at all endorsement options before making an application.

How to apply

To apply for endorsement under this route, you must select the relevant ‘fast-track’ option on the Stage 1 (endorsement) application form and provide both

  • a Statement of Guarantee from the Director of Human Resources; and
  • a job description setting out the duties and responsibilities of the position.

Requests for a Statement of Guarantee must be arranged by the hiring department not the individual, they cannot be issued without confirmation that the eligibility criteria has been met. 

The statement of guarantee will be dated, signed and presented on headed paper and confirm that the recruitment process for your appointment has met the necessary criteria. 


The individual fellowship route of the Global Talent visa is for applicants who have been awarded an individual fellowship on the list approved by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society.

You can apply as either a:

  • leader in your field (called ‘exceptional talent’)
  • potential leader in your field (called ‘exceptional promise’)

Which one you are depends on the fellowship you have.

Awarding Bodies

A full list of the eligible fellowships is published by The Royal Society.  The list is dynamic; it was last updated in October 2021.

How to apply

To apply for endorsement under this route, you must select the relevant ‘fast-track’ option on the Stage 1 (endorsement) application form and provide a copy of your fellowship award letter.

If you hold one of the named fellowships in either the Exceptional Talent or Exceptional Promise category, or have held it within the past 5 years directly prior to your date of application, can be assured of fast-track endorsement.

Only those with a fellowship or grant on the approved list will be eligible for this route. Holders of other fellowships or grants not on the list may still be eligible for endorsement under the other Global Talent visa routes.


The endorsed funders route of the Global Talent visa is for researchers and specialists whose name or job title is specified in a successful grant application from an endorsed funder approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

You or the job you have been offered must be named on the grant.  The grant must also be worth a minimum of £30,000 and cover a minimum period of two years at the time of application. All roles named on the grant are eligible for this route.

Awarding Bodies

An endorsed funder is an organisation accepted by UK Research and Innovation as a prestigious funder of research and innovation. Each funder has an excellent track record of awarding funding to researchers with critical skills, following a rigorous peer review process. The full list of approved funders is publish in the Global Talent rules.

How to apply

To apply for endorsement, you must select the relevant ‘fast-track’ option on the Stage 1 (endorsement) application form and provide:

  • A copy of the grant award letter(s) that supports their work. The letter must confirm that:
    • You or your job has been named on the grant award.
    • The grant or award is worth a minimum of £30,000.
    • The grant of award covers a minimum period of 2 years.
  • A statement of guarantee from the Director of Human Resources. This letter will be provided by HR on headed paper, dated and confirm in detail that the position is eligible for the route. 

Requests for a Statement of Guarantee must be arranged by the hiring department not the individual, they cannot be issued without confirmation that the eligibility criteria has been met.  

Temporary concession for researchers working on COVID-19 grants 

Until 31 December 2021, academics and researchers wishing to work on COVID-19 related grants can apply for a Global Talent visa under relaxed criteria. The changed criteria are:

  • Research grants must have been awarded for at least 12 months or more (not two years or more).
  • Researchers must have an employment contract or hosting agreement for 12 months or more (not two years or more).
  • Applicants who are already in the UK can switch into this route from any other visa category. 


The peer review route of the Global Talent visa is for individuals who wish to be considered for endorsement by full peer review undertaken by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering or Royal Society.

Applicants can choose to be considered under ‘Exceptional Talent’ (for leaders in their field) or ‘Exceptional Promise’ (for potential leaders in their field). This route is not fast-track. Individuals can apply with or without a job offer.

The British Academy reviews applications from the humanities and social sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering covers engineering, and the Royal Society covers the natural and medical sciences.

The full list of eligible disciplines and sub-disciplines per endorsing body is available in the Home Office Guidance.

How to Apply

To apply for endorsement under this route, you must complete the full Stage 1 (endorsement) application form and submit the required supporting documents.

After you have submitted you endorsement application via the Home Office, the endorsing body to which you have applied will conduct an initial eligibility check against the relevant mandatory and qualifying eligibility criteria. Meeting these criteria does not guarantee that your application will be endorsed, only that it will be referred for further assessment.

You will need to provide a letter of personal recommendation from an eminent person, resident in the UK, who is familiar with your work. The letter should include:

  • how the eminent person knows you;
  • details of your achievements in your field;
  • how, in the opinion of the eminent person, you exhibit Exceptional Talent/Exceptional Promise;
  • how you would benefit from living in the UK; and
  • the contribution you would make to UK research excellence and to wider society.

If you are making an Exceptional Talent application you will also need to provide a letter of recommendation from a senior member of a reputable UK organisation concerned with your field of study. HR will be able to provide you with a letter from the Principal if necessary.

All letter must be as detailed as possible and should be signed and dated. They should also include the full contact details of the author including personal email address and direct telephone number so that personal contact can be made if necessary.

Letters of recommendation should be written specifically for this purpose and include the information detailed above. The letter should not be a general all-purpose reference letter.

  • Exceptional Talent applicants will only be eligible to apply if they meet all the mandatory eligibility criteria and at least one of the qualifying eligibility criteria.
  • Exceptional Promise applicants will only be eligible to apply if they meet all the mandatory eligibility criteria. Details of the criteria are available from the Royal Society.

 You can find out more about the criteria for peer review route on the Royal Society's Global Talent webpages.

The Global Talent visa offers many benefits over the Skilled Worker visa including:

  • Greater flexibility in your employment. With a Global Talent Visa you can freely move between institutions, locations, jobs/roles. By contrast, a Skilled Worker visa ‘ties’ you to a particular employer and job role, requiring you in most cases to apply for a new visa if you move jobs.
  • Greater flexibility to undertake collaborations within the UK.
  • Your choice in visa length (from one year to five years) with the option to retain this visa category indefinitely.
  • An application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)/ settlement can be made after 3 years, which will exempt you from the requirement to hold a visa to work in the UK. 
  • There are no English language or maintenance requirements under this route. 

Application processing times will depend on where you are making your application, processing times can take up to 8 weeks.  You have three months in which to make use of your CoS, please allow yourself enough time to ensure you make your application befoe your start date.

You will also need to ensure that you have your visa and travel arrangements made before your start date.  It is advisable that you do not make your travel arrangements until after you have secured your visa. 

You will not be able to travel to the UK, or if you are in the UK, commence employment before you have your visa. If you experience problems or delays that will affect your arrival in the UK, please contact your HR team. 

The University strongly recommends against booking travel to the UK before your visa is issued 

Visa holders must travel to the UK as soon as possible after the start date of their visa vignette and before the end of the 30 day validity period. If for any reason you cannot travel within this period you will need to apply, and pay, for a replacement vignette before entering the UK.

There are a number of important task that you must attend to after you arrive in the UK. These should be your priority if you have any problems please contact HR.

Conducting a Right to Work check with the University before you start work.

The University must check the right to work of all new employees before they commence employment.  You will need to present your vignette and Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to your employing department or Human Resources (HR) to evidence of your right to work in the UK. This must be done before you can commence work.

You should make sure that you arrive in the UK to give you enough time to collect your BRP before you commence work so that both documents can be checked before your first day. 

If your BRP is delayed then you may be able to start work after a right to work check on your entry clearance vignette.  However, you must undertake another right to work check once you have collected your BRP.  This will need to be done before your vignette expires.

We are also required by the Home Office to hold evidence of the date on which you entered the UK as part of our record-keeping responsibilities. Usually, your vignette will be date stamped upon arrival. In the absence of an entry stamp – for example, if you entered through Ireland or another part of the Common Travel Area, or through an 'eGate' – other evidence, such as the boarding card or travel itinerary will need to be presented to the employing department or HR when the right to work check is being completed.

Collect your Biometric Residence Permit

If you have applied for a visa for six months or more you must collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within 10 days of your arrival in the UK, or before your vignette expires, whichever is sooner.

The location of where to collect your BRP will be noted on the Home Office letter which confirmed your application was granted. It will usually be the closest Post Office to your normal place of work.

Occasionally a BRP is not ready for collection on the stated date and you will need to return a day or two later to collect the BRP. If a BRP is still not available for collection you can report this to the Home Office to receive further instruction but you should also inform your employing department and HR.

BRPs should be carefully checked when they are picked up as any errors in details or dates will need to be corrected.

Further information can be found in the Home Office guidance on Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs).

Police Registration

You may be required to register with the police on your arrival in the UK.  This must be done within 7 days of your arrival in the UK. If police registration is required this will have been stated in the Home Office letter which confirmed your application was granted. More information on where to register is available on the Metropolitan Police’s website.

You can apply to switch to a Global Talent visa if you are already in the UK on a different Tier 1 visa or a Tier 2 visa. If you are on a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa on an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers you can also apply to switch. 

Information on switching to the Global Talent visa can be found on GOV.UK.

Yes. Any time spent outside the UK for the purpose of research does not count towards the 180 day annual limit for absences in the context of applying for settlement.

Your CoS is only valid for one use. If your visa application is rejected you cannot use the same CoS again. The Home Office will provide with the reason for rejection, please contact your local HR team with the reason for rejection so that we can discuss the next steps for your employment at Queen Mary. 

When you apply for your endorsement, you’ll need to pay the endorsement fee of £456.

The visa application fee is £152.

If you’re including your partner or children in your application, they’ll each need to pay £608.

You also need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your visa application. This is usually £624 per year for each person applying. Check how much you’ll need to pay.

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