How long to become a British citizen through Tier 1 Visa Exceptional Talent?

Eligibility for ILR with Global Talent Visa

Global Talent Visa (Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa) is a direct way to become a British citizen. In other words, it provides a fast-track option to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and get the British passport after three years of life and work in the UK. But for some cases, the period is five years.

What is the difference? And what to do if you switch from Tier 2 General Visa? In this case, you have already lived and worked in the UK for years. How to count the duration of stay for then?

When will you become a British citizen with Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa?

The official Home Office Guidance is clear on the point about indefinite leave to remain (ILR). If you get an Endorsement as an Exceptional Talent, then you must apply after three years. If you are an Exceptional Promise, then you have to apply after five years of Global Talent Visa.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa (Global Talent Visa) is one of the fastest ways to become a British citizen. Photo credit: Calum Lewis
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa (Global Talent Visa) is one of the fastest ways to become a British citizen and have tea at 5 o’clock :). Photo credit: Calum Lewis

Hence, the duration is one of the differences between these two visas. Moreover, it significantly influences on the cost of your visa and plans.

Additionally, I must clarify one more point.

Please, do not mix ILR and an idea to become a British citizen. This is not the same at all! ILR means that you are still a citizen of your country. However, you can stay in the UK as long as you want. But to become a British citizen means you will get second passport. Also, you will get all rights and responsibilities.

Importantly, that both of these statuses require money investments. And even passing extra exams! We will speak about this point below.

ILR for Global Talent Visa and switch from Tier 2

Sometimes it happens that people apply for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa when having Tier 2 General Visa. In other words, they have an employer who purchased them a visa.

Let’s say, this person lives in the UK for eight years. Does (s)he need to forget about her life, switching a visa?

The short answer is NO. A nice thing about Global Talent Visa route: when you will get your visa, the duration will be discounted. Hence, you may get your ILR almost straightforward. Particularly, if you live for eight years in the UK, like a person from our example.

The logic of this process is very simple: if a person has lived and worked with Tier 2 General Visa for 10 years. Does this mean that after an Endorsement either for Exceptional Promise or Exceptional Talent this person will have a right to apply for ILR? Yes, it does.

In other words, this simply means that previous Tier 2 experience counts.

For legal reference, please, read this statement of the Home Office Guidelines: “…main applicants endorsed by one of the four Science bodies qualify for accelerated settlement in 3 years”.

Hence, the duration of your stay is counted from the moment you are endorsed. But if you have lived in the UK before, then it will be acceptable too.

By the way, for Tier 4 visa recipients this principle is not relevant.

Become a British citizen with Global Talent Visa

Technically, you cannot become a British citizen simply having Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa. Firstly, you must get ILR, then – live in the UK for a year. Only after completing these steps, you are allowed to become a British citizen. Just make the first attempt :).

The procedure to become a British citizen, having ILR, is explained here. It includes five aspects.

5 Years in the UK

You need to prove you were in the UK exactly 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application.

This means that you should not have:

  • spent more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
  • spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
  • broken any UK immigration laws (for example living illegally in the UK)

Your English

You must prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic. For example, a proof of your knowledge is an English qualification at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level. Or if you have a degree taught or researched in English.

Also, a person does not need to prove your knowledge of English if (s)he originates from any of the countries on the list. Particularly, it includes

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Ireland (for citizenship only)
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

Also, citizens of St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia as well as St Vincent and the Grenadines do not need to prove their English.

Life in the UK Test

You have to pass the life in the UK test. It costs £50. This test requires to answer 24 questions in 45 minutes. All questions are about British traditions and customs.

To become a British citizen after having your Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa and Indefinite Leave to Remain, you must pass the Life in The UK test. Photo Credit: Bruno Martins

Future plans

You have to intend to continue living in the UK. There is no particular proof of this. However, you must honestly answer this question.

Your responsible behaviour

In general, you have to be of good character. It is possible to write a book on this point :). Currently, you can read the naturalisation guidance.

I just want to refer the only paragraph of this document:

To be of good character you should have shown respect for the rights and freedoms of the UK, observe its laws and fulfilled your duties and obligations as a resident of the UK. Checks will be carried out to ensure that the information you give is correct

Home Office Naturalisation Booklet

Legal Support to Become a British Citizen

However, if you need to get qualified advice by solicitors – please, feel free to contact A Y & J Solicitors. They worked with Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa applicants and now continue to work with Global Talent Visa applicants.

Talent Visa Help has been created for informational purpose and is not an official guidance for Global Talent Visa (Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa) application.

Talent Visa Help should not be used as a substitute for the official Tech Nation Guideline or Home Office Guideline. Talent Visa Help is NOT linked either with Tech Nation or Home Office. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the texts belong solely to the authors at Talent Visa Help. The contents of Talent Visa Help do not constitute legal advice and authors accept no liability for the accuracy of information provided. Applicants should always consult the official governmental guidance and seek professional immigration advice where appropriate.

For additional assistance, please, contact

Author: Andrii Seleznov

This blog is written by Andrii Seleznov. Andrii is a holder of Tier 1 Exceptional Promise visa. He is an experienced entrepreneur, professional engineer, founder and CTO at Petiole and Alumni Mentor at GIST Tech-I Competition

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