This category is for people who are internationally recognised as world-leading or potential world-leading talent in the fields of science and the arts. Applications under Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) must be made from outside the UK, if you are already in the UK you cannot apply.
To apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) Visa you will not need to have a sponsor. You will however need to give evidence that you are endorsed by a designated Competent Body who are expert within your field. Currently there is a limit of 1,000 endorsements between 9 August 2011 and 5 April 2012.
Once you have obtained an endorsement from a designated competent body, as part of your visa application you will require a unique reference number issued by the Home Office. A unique reference number is only valid for 10 working days from the date of issue, it is important you apply for your visa within 10 working days of the date when the unique reference number is issued. You can only use the unique reference number for one application and it must not have been used in support of a previous application. You can request a maximum of 3 unique reference during the period 9 August 2011 and 5 April 2012.
The Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa is issued for an initial duration of three years, at the end of this period you may extend your leave to remain for a further two years.
If you live and work continuously in the UK for 5 years in this category, and if you still continue to meet the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) requirements, you can apply to settle in the UK permanently (also known as indefinite leave to remain).