Since receiving my UK Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa in Digital and Technology in July 2016, I have been contacted by people from around the world showing amazing support and asking questions about their applications.
I love listening to their stories and why they want to apply to settle in the UK.
To help with making the process easier and less daunting, I would like to share some common questions that I am often asked about my experience and my answers after being through the process and speaking with other applicants.
And don’t worry, it is a common theme for applicants from outside the UK and within the UK that the process, the application and the words “world leading talent” are daunting.
Hopefully these FAQs will ease your concerns, allow you to focus on your achievements in digital and tech and help you to confidently start your application to apply for the Tech Nation Exceptional Talent endorsement and visa in Digital and Tech. These FAQs are about my experience and not endorsed by Tech City or the Home Office. For more information a link to their guidelines can be found here.
1.Do I apply under an exceptional talent or exceptional promise category?
This is a very common question. The guidelines are clearer now since I applied however, after having a look at all your evidence, decide which category you think you fall under and ensure your application is consistent with either an exceptional talent or exceptional promise.
Throughout my FAQs, I use exceptional talent. However, it can be exceptional promise too.
2. How do I know what pieces of evidence I should submit?
Look at the application in it’s entirety and work your way through all the Mandatory and Qualifying criteria. Look at all your evidence for all the criteria and decide which criteria puts you in the strongest light.
3. I have more than 2 pages as part of my evidence that I want to submit. Shall I submit it anyway?
There is a strict 2 page limit per document. I went over the 2 page limit and the Home Office emailed me to give me an opportunity to re-submit my documents. Note that emails from the Home Office may go into your junk/spam inbox so check all inboxes regularly.
4. How long does the endorsement process usually take?
Depending on whether you apply under the fast track option or the regular route, it can take up to 8 weeks. I applied under the fast track route as I intended to base myself in Manchester. My application stayed in the Home Office for one week before it was sent to Tech City for endorsement. This included the time the Home Office reviewed my application and requested that I re-submit my documents due to my exceeding the 2 page limit. After the 18 (working) day fast track endorsement period at Tech City, my application was returned to the Home Office for another week before I received an email from the Home Office stating that Tech City endorsed my application and that it was successful.
5. Which is harder, the application for endorsement or the visa application?
In my experience, the application for the endorsement was more challenging because of the amount of evidence and documents I needed to gather, sift through and decide which ones to use and which ones to leave out. Recommendation letters of support also took time because my experts were busy so for me, it took me about 2.5 months to gather all my documents, submit it to the Home Office and receive the endorsement.
To quicken the process, I have crafted 2 templates that will make it quicker and easier for you to write your personal statement and help your expert write their letter of recommendation for you.
The application for the visa was a formality for me and after passing the criminal record check, submitting my passport and biometrics at the post office, my visa process was very quick i.e. about 2 weeks.
6. I already have a current visa but I want to switch to the Exceptional Talent visa. When should I apply?
Seek legal advice to discuss your options and start the application process as soon as possible. This is because gathering documents, evidence and requesting letters of recommendations takes time.
I have a firm of solicitors that I can highly recommend to you if you need to discuss your application. Email me at email@example.com for your referral.
7. I am afraid of the words “world leading talent”. I don’t see myself as a world leading talent. Should I still apply?
No one ever believes that they are a world leading talent. Focus on your specific achievements which has led you to where your career in digital tech is now and how you and your specific skills will add value to the UK digital and tech sector. Ask for legal advice if you aren’t sure to check your application and documents.
8. What is the benefit of applying for the Exceptional Talent Visa as opposed to other visas?
In my experience, I had the option of applying via a spousal visa route, renewing my Entrepreneur’s visa or applying under the exceptional talent visa. The Exceptional Talent Visa route was the best option for me because it gave me a potential 5 years to remain in the UK to continue to work on my business. It also helped with any contracts I would negotiate for my business because it gave me a certainty of term i.e. 5 years. The other visas had a shorter time period or dependant on a personal situation which I preferred not to rely on for my business.
*It has just been announced on 15 November 2017 that the number of Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visas to be granted has doubled from 200 to 400 per year! Read more here.
The exceptional talent visa route also gave me the confidence to continue to work on my business, to continue to add value to the UK digital and tech community and be part of an emerging industry that will help push the UK to compete globally.
9. What kind of experts are they looking for? Are my experts good enough?
Your experts should be senior leaders in your field who can vouch for your skills, convince and explain why they think you are exceptionally talented and why you should be endorsed by Tech City. More information can be found in the guidelines.
10. When should I write my personal statement?
In my experience, I found it easier to write my personal statement after I gathered all my documents and decided which Mandatory and which Qualifying criteria I would submit my application under.
After collating all the documents, I was able to write my personal statement in a logical, consistent and structured manner because I was clear in the direction of my application for endorsement.
I understand it is overwhelming. When I started my application for the endorsement, my biggest problem was starting the personal statement and asking my experts to write a recommendation for me.
To save you the same frustrations of staring into a blank page not knowing where to start or what to write, I have templates that you can use to help you get started.
My templates for the personal statement and letter of recommendation will make it easier for you to know what Tech City wants and will help you draft the documents in the right way. It will also save your experts their precious time in writing your letter of recommendation.
Not only will you receive my templates, you will also receive a video explaining how to complete the templates.
And as a special gift just for you, I will also give you a BONUS guide that will give you suggestions on the wording to use, what you shouldn’t do and a list of potential experts you can ask to write your recommendation. This BONUS guide is only available if you use my templates. It won’t be publicly available in any of my blogs.
My templates have also been reviewed and approved by a UK solicitor.
To learn how you can save your own time, frustrations and how your experts can save their time, click the button below to access my templates.
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*This blog is not legal advice but explains how I went through the process. My FAQs are not endorsed by Tech City or the Home Office. If you require legal advice, I would be happy to refer you to a fantastic immigration lawyer in the UK. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for your referral. Unfortunately I cannot provide legal advice or review your application and documents but I will refer you.