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What is UK Tech Nation Visa and How to Apply?

The UK Tech Nation visa is specifically for those who are endorsed by the Tech Nation as a leader or a potential leader in the digital technology fields to come to work in the UK tech sector. Some of these specialisms include financial technology (‘fintech’), gaming, legal technology (‘lawtech’), robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI). The Tech Nation Visa is also known as the Global Talent Visa.

Those who are granted a Tech Nation visa can stay for up to 5 years and can further extend their stay or apply for settlement. One of the significant benefits of this visa is that Tech Nation visa holders can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK after just 3 years if they are a leader in the digital sector or 5 years if they are a potential leader. In addition, Tech Nation visa holders enjoy considerable flexibility during their time here and can:

  • Come to the UK without the need for a job offer.
  • Work as an employee, self-employed and a director of a company.
  • Change their job without permission from the Home Office.
  • Stop work without permission from the Home Office.
  • Bring their partner and children with them to the UK.
  • Travel outside and return to the UK freely during their visa period.

Note: as immigration lawyers, we cannot help you to apply for Tech Nation endorsement. Once you get the endorsement, we can help you with Tech Nation visa / Global Talent visa application.

Tech Nation visa eligibility

The key requirement of the Tech Nation visa is that applicants must be endorsed by UK Tech Nation. The UK Tech Nation is the official endorsing body that is authorised by the Home Office to assess endorsement applications under the Global Talent visa.

You must be endorsed as a leader or a potential leader with either a technical or business background in digital technology. Technical specialists include developers, engineers and data scientists. Business specialists in the area of digital technology may include those with product management, investment, or commercial expertise.

Endorsed as a leader

To gain endorsement from Tech Nation as a leader in the tech field, applicants must be able to show they have been recognised as being a leading talent in their field within the last 5 years. In addition, at least 2 of the following attributes must apply:

  • Have a record of innovation, having established or held a senior position in a product-led digital tech company.
  • Have a record of innovation, having worked in a new area of digital technology.
  • Have contributed to the field of digital tech outside of work – e.g., helping to mentor or taking part in collaborative projects.
  • Have established or worked within a product-led digital technology company, making technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contributions.
  • Have research in this sector published or endorsed by an expert.

Endorsed as a potential leader

To gain endorsement from Tech Nation as a potential leader in the tech field, applicants must be able to show they have been recognised as being a potential and up-and-coming talent within the last 5 years. In addition, at least 2 of the following attributes must apply:

  • Able to demonstrate at least one example of innovation leading to the establishment of a product-led digital technology company.
  • Able to demonstrate at least one example of innovation while working in a new digital technology field or concept.
  • Able to demonstrate at least one example of contribution to the digital technology sector outside of work.
  • Able to demonstrate at least one example of having established or worked in a product-led digital technology company and making a significant technical, commercial, or entrepreneurial contribution to the digital technology sector.
  • Able to demonstrate at least one example of research published or endorsed by an expert.

Tech Nation will consider a wide range of factors when deciding whether to endorse you as a leader or potential leader, including your career history, your recommendation letter, the evidence in support of your application, your ability to contribute to UK digital technology, your academic track record, salary levels, the commercial success of your work in this sector, plus any awards and achievements received.

In addition, Tech Nation state that if you are able to provide evidence of being accepted onto a recognised UK accelerator programme, your application will be fast-tracked.

Tech Nation visa required documents

To gain endorsement from Tech Nation, you may be asked for some or all of the following documents:

  • A completed Tech National endorsement application form1
  • CV including your publication history
  • Three letters of recommendation – these must be from different well-established organisations known to be experts in digital technology
  • Any other items of evidence up to a maximum of ten pieces in total – e.g., evidence showing you have been commercially successful in establishing tech businesses (including your most recent audited accounts, projections for the current financial year and articles of association)

Once you have secured your endorsement from Tech Nation, you will need to provide another set of documents to the Home Office to support your UK Tech Nation visa; these may include:

  • Your current valid passport
  • Your Tech Nation letter of endorsement
  • Tuberculosis test results, if required
  • Evidence of an eligible award, if required
  • A translation of any documents not written in English or Welsh

Tech Nation visa application process

The Tech Nation visa application has 2 separate stages. The first stage is to apply for an endorsement from Tech Nation. Once you have successfully secured endorsement as a leader or potential leader in the field of digital technology, you can apply for your Tech Nation Global Talent visa from the Home Office.

Application for endorsement for Global Talent visa UK with Tech Nation

This first stage of the Tech Nation visa application is also completed in two stages. First, you will need to visit the Global Talent endorsement - Stage 1 page2 on the Home Office website and complete an initial application form and pay the required fee of £456. Once this is completed, you will be forwarded to the Tech Nation website to complete the rest of the process.

On the Tech Nation website, you will be prompted to complete the endorsement application form and provide any required evidence. Based on the information and evidence provided, Tech Nation will then decide on your suitability for endorsement. If you are granted endorsement, you will receive an email from the Home Office containing your letter of endorsement. The Tech Nation visa guide states that you have 3 months from the date you receive your letter of endorsement to apply for your visa.

Please note you will not need to apply for endorsement at all if you have an eligible prize accepted by the Home Office, you have already been endorsed, or you require an extension.

Global talent visa application with Home Office

To apply for your Global Talent / Tech Nation visa, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Complete and submit the online Global Talent visa application form3- note the form you need to complete depends on whether you are outside or inside the UK.
  2. Pay the application fee of £167 and healthcare surcharge of £624 per person per year (this allows access to the National Health Service)
  3. Book and attend a biometric appointment at your nearest UKVCAS office (if inside the UK) or visa application centre (VAC) if outside the UK to have your fingerprints scanned and photo taken.
  4. Upload any documents required by the Home Office to support your application.

In most cases, you can expect to receive a decision on your visa within 3 weeks if you are outside the UK or 8 weeks if you are inside the UK when you apply.

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Reiss Edwards is a leader in UK personal and business immigration. We work with individuals from around the world and some of the most prestigious UK and international businesses for their employees' immigration matter. Our immigration lawyers can:

  • Handle your Tech Nation visa application or another Global Talent visa application after you have received endorsement from an authorised endorsement body.
  • Assist with your organisation's sponsor licence application and immigration compliance audits.
  • Handle the refusal of a Tech Nation visa.
  • Handle the application process to bring your child and partner to the UK.
  • Guide you through the process of gaining settlement and British citizenship.

References

1 Technation.io: How to apply

2 GOV.UK: Global talent endorsement

3 GOV.UK: Global talent

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