The UK Global Talent Visa is a specialized immigration route designed for individuals with exceptional talent or promises in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology, and arts and culture (including film, television, fashion, and architecture). This visa category offers a pathway for skilled professionals from around the world, including Nigerians, to live and work in the United Kingdom.
The Global Talent Visa is especially appealing because it does not require applicants to have a job offer or a sponsoring employer. Instead, they must be endorsed by a recognized UK body, which will assess their skills and achievements. Furthermore, the visa does not impose restrictions on the type of work individuals can engage in, and it allows them to change jobs without needing to update their visas. Successful applicants can also bring their family members to the UK.
The application process for the Global Talent Visa involves two main stages: endorsement and visa application. Here is a step-by-step guide for Nigerians to apply for the UK Global Talent Visa:
1. Determine eligibility:
To be eligible for this visa, applicants must be recognized as either a leader (exceptional talent) or an emerging leader (exceptional promise) in their field. Applicants must also prove that they have the skills, experience, and knowledge necessary to contribute to the UK’s knowledge economy and cultural life.
2. Choose an endorsing body:
Depending on the applicant’s field of expertise, they must seek endorsement from a designated UK body. These bodies include The Royal Society, The Royal Academy of Engineering, The British Academy, UK Research and Innovation, Tech Nation, and Arts Council England.
3. Prepare the endorsement application:
Applicants must gather the necessary documents to support their application, such as a curriculum vitae (CV), letters of recommendation, and evidence of their achievements. They should also prepare a personal statement outlining their career plans and how they intend to contribute to the UK in their chosen field.
4. Apply for endorsement:
Nigerians can apply for endorsement online through the UK Home Office website. They must complete an online form, pay the endorsement application fee (£456), and submit their supporting documents electronically. The endorsing body will then review their application and decide whether to endorse them within eight weeks.
5. Receive endorsement decision:
If the endorsing body approves the application, the applicant will receive an endorsement letter with a unique reference number. This letter is valid for three months, during which time the applicant must submit their visa application.
6. Prepare visa application:
Nigerians must gather the required documents for their visa application, such as a valid passport, endorsement letter, evidence of maintenance funds, and any necessary tuberculosis test results.
7. Apply for the visa:
Nigerians can apply for the Global Talent Visa online. They must complete an online form, pay the visa application fee (£152), and book an appointment at a UK visa application centre in Nigeria. At the appointment, applicants will submit their bio-metric information and supporting documents.
8. Receive visa decision:
Visa processing times may vary, but most decisions are made within three weeks after the bio-metric appointment. If the application is successful, the applicant will receive a vignette (sticker) in their passport, granting them permission to enter the UK.
9. Travel to the UK:
Upon arrival in the UK, Nigerians with a Global Talent Visa must collect their biometric residence permit within ten days. They can then start working in their field of expertise and enjoy the benefits of living and working in the UK.
For Academics and Researchers:
There are four routes for eligible academics and researchers to obtain endorsement for a Global Talent visa. These include:
- Individual fellowships
- Endorsed funders
- Peer review
- Academic and research appointments.
For the endorsed funders route, UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) will review applications from any academic or research discipline. For the other three routes, you must select the appropriate endorsing body based on your field of research.
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 on GOV.UK.