In January 2021 I got a Tier 1 Exceptional Tech Talent Visa in the UK! 🇬🇧
I feel immensely lucky and grateful as this type of visa gives a lot of freedom:
- you can create and run your own startups in the UK!
- you can work for any employer or to be self-employed
- 3 years to ILR (settlement/greencard) instead of 5
This wouldn't be possible without huge support of many inspiring people around - I can't thank them enough!
I decided to share this because a lot of amazing people:
- simply don't know about this opportunity
- think the chances are low
- think the application process is too intricate to even try
It’d be great to see people who could actually make the world a better place (I mean you!) having more freedom to do so!
There are a lot of factors to consider, everything depends on a person, but this is a super simplified version of the deal. Hopefully this could help you with the decision:
£4.5kto solicitors +
£1.5kto applications (super rough numbers)
Note: solicitors could be cheaper if you do everything yourself and just asking them to check, also they could be much more expensive as market changes a lot (these are numbers for 2019).
- 1-2 months of your time (e.g. collect 6-7 cover letters, etc)
- Freedom: indepencence from employer, create your company or do nothing
- ILR 2 years faster, citizenship >1 year faster (in case of
- Title: probably negligible, but gives some networking opportunities, e.g. you can join certain communities and meet exciting people (but not a deal breaker)
Note: you can even apply while outside the UK!
On a high level, the process looks like this:
- Prepare a package of documents containing all evidence items you're a talent (e.g. a proven leader in the digital technology sector). Basically it's all awards that you have along with cover letters from different people you worked with, news coverage, etc.
Note: it's easier to create this package with good solicitors as they know all the current guidelines and which aspects emphasise. For me it took almost a year of procrastination, but I believe it can be done within a month or two, if you prioritise it.
- Stage 1: submit this package to the designated body for endorsement (UK government chooses a company that will be deciding if you're good enough for that visa). In the digital technology sector it is Tech Nation.
At this stage it could be 3 outcomes:
Exceptional talent- the best option, you get all the freedom, also you can get ILR after 3 years and citizenship after 5.
Exceptional promise- you get all the freedom, but ILR after 5 years and citizenship after 6 (same as on Tier 2 general).
- None of the above
I was lucky and got
talentfrom Tech Nation within two weeks after applying (in December 2020). It could take much longer, but I've got friends who got it literally next day!
If you got
promiseor rejection you can still appeal. Tech Nation provides detailed feedback why they made a particular decision. Having good solicitors in this case is really helpful.
- Stage 2: once approved, apply for a new BRP. There will be some background check, biometric appointment, but in general the process is fairly straightforward.
I'm super happy to share contacts of solicitors I know, these are the people I know and had experience with:
- Helen Smith - Helen was incredibly helpful with the application, explaining a lot of details and preparing package. I was procrastinating a lot - I had different priorities at a time, and was working basically on two jobs simultaneously, I almost had no energy left for the visa - but Helen pushed me through to success! So I can't thank her enough, she's a star! (linkedin)
- Nelli Shevchenko - Nelli was extremely helpful creating my initial package of documents while working in the North Star Law and gave a lot of useful advice, so I can strongly recommend her! (linkedin)
- North Star Law - I did my stage 1 with them, started with Nelli, and then continued with Helen. Nelli and Helen both left the company already to create their own businesses, etc, but I think it's a great option!
- Immigram - My friends doing their immigration platform, I know a lot of people who got their visa with Immigram. They publish a lot of news and memes out there (insta, relo.kat) and organise amazing networking events!
- Sterling Law - I have a friend who used to work there, so I just wanted to share this option too, but I personally don't know much about them.
It's really good this opportunity exists! I was very lucky to know about this at the right time and get the visa. I want to increase awareness about it as much as possible and help other people to succeed! If you know anyone who this could be helpful for, please share it with them.
A huge kudos to my friend Yana (@vcwannabe) for inspiring me to do this visa, introducing to Nelli, and pushing me through when I was procrastinating!
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, I'll be super excited to share my experience with you and help as much as I can!
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