Route 4 of the Global Talent visa is for individuals who wish to be considered for endorsement by peer review undertaken by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering or the Royal Society.
Applicants can choose to be considered under ‘exceptional talent’ (for leaders in their field) or ‘exceptional promise’ (for potential leaders in their field). This route is not fast-track. You can apply with or without a job offer.
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.
To apply for endorsement under this route, you must complete the full Stage 1 (endorsement) application form and submit the required supporting documents.
After you have submitted your Stage 1 (endorsement) application via the Home Office, the endorsing body to which you have applied will conduct an initial eligibility check against the relevant mandatory and qualifying eligibility criteria. Meeting these criteria does not guarantee that your application will be endorsed, only that it will be referred for further assessment.
Under exceptional talent, you will only be eligible to apply if you meet all the mandatory eligibility criteria and at least one of the qualifying eligibility criteria. Under exceptional promise, you will only be eligible to apply if you meet all the mandatory eligibility criteria. The requirements are set out below.
Exceptional talent (leader)
Qualifying criteria (you must meet one or more of the following)
Exceptional promise (potential leader)
If you meet the initial eligibility criteria, your application will be peer reviewed by experts in your field who will look at the strength of the evidence to determine whether your application demonstrates exceptional talent or exceptional promise. We will assess you solely on the evidence you provide as part of your application.
Peer reviewers will be asked if there are any conflicts of interest and, if these exist, another reviewer will be asked to comment instead. As each application is assessed independently by relevant experts, the endorsing bodies cannot advise on the likelihood that your application will be endorsed.
The peer review assessment will consider the following criteria.
For exceptional talent (leader):
For exceptional promise (potential leader):
For both exceptional talent (leader) and exceptional promise (potential leader):
In order for your Stage 1 application to be considered for standard endorsement through full peer review, you must submit the following documents as part of your application to the Home Office:
Please note that the endorsement application form asks you to provide details of your qualifications, significant papers/prizes, etc. You should not provide copies of these documents with your application unless these specifically demonstrate that you meet the qualifying criteria.
The British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society reserve the right to determine at their own discretion whether organisations or individuals are well established and widely acknowledged as possessing expertise in your field.
Mandatory letter of personal recommendation (exceptional talent/exceptional promise)
The mandatory letter of personal recommendation should be from an eminent person resident in the UK with internationally recognised expertise in your field. The person must be:
We have the right to refuse your application or request more information via the Home Office if evidence is not provided that the author of the mandatory letter is a credible referee. This could significantly delay your application. The letter should include:
Please ensure that the letter is as detailed as possible.
The letter should be signed and dated. It should also include the full contact details of the author including personal email address and direct telephone number so that personal contact can be made if necessary.
Letters of recommendation should be written specifically for this purpose and include the information detailed above. The letter should not be a general all-purpose reference letter. Copies of employment contracts are not sufficient as they will not contain all of the required information.
Qualifying letter of personal recommendation (exceptional talent)
The qualifying letter of recommendation (for exceptional talent only) should be from a reputable UK organisation concerned with research in your field. The letter must be written by an authorised senior member of the organisation, such as a Chief Executive, Vice-Chancellor, Director of Human Resources, or similar. This is not an exhaustive list but the more reputable the author the stronger we consider the letter of recommendation to be.
Acceptable organisations are those that are widely acknowledged as possessing expertise in your field. They should be familiar with your work and able to recommend you with confidence.
The letter should be signed and dated and written on official headed paper. It should also include full contact details including an email address and telephone number so that contact can be made if necessary.
Letters of recommendation should be written specifically for this purpose and include the information detailed above. The letter should not be a general all-purpose reference letter.
Page last updated: 6 October 2021