UK T1 Exceptional Talent Visa journey
This is my first post on Medium and I would like to introduce myself to my fellow readers. My name is Seema and I am a self-driven professional with a quest to learn new technologies.
I read a lot and always preferred reading from print rather than reading from the screen. However, with Medium, my choice changed. I got addicted to the simplicity of the design in Medium articles and now I start my day by reading at least one blog from Medium.
I recently moved to the UK after obtaining a UK Tier1 Exceptional Talent Visa. In this blog, I want to share my experience and journey in obtaining this visa with the readers.
The UK was the top choice among the countries I considered because of some straightforward reasons. The UK has been among the top 3 Tech advanced countries for several years. The UK, with its diversity, will also allow working with people of various cultures and ethics. Above all, I consider the UK to be a safe and peaceful country with outstanding healthcare and educational facilities.
In Tier 1 Global Talent Visa, if you have already proven yourself as a leader in your stream, be it Science, Arts, Tech, etc. you can choose the “Exceptional Talent” route and if you have the caliber to be a leader, then you can choose the “Exceptional Promise” route.
A big benefit of this visa is that you can run your own business or be self-employed or work for an Employer. As a CEO of a software services company and co-founder of a Digital Startup firm, this gave me ample opportunities to expand my business.
When I started my journey towards this visa, the first thing that I did was to read a lot of blogs. I also contacted a lot of visa consultants and solicitors who helped candidates to apply for the Visa. Although they were all very proficient in this field, I realized two things :
- No one knows your success stories, your accomplishments more than you do. Consultants and Solicitors will undoubtedly help you review that everything is in order but you need to first do a lot of homework yourself.
- If you decide to hire a consultant or solicitor, you should be prepared to spend a lot of $$$.
So I decided to try it all by myself and submitted my first application in 2018. The process and the steps were very well defined on the UK Gov website — https://www.gov.uk/global-talent and I waited eagerly for the response. I got a response well within the waiting period mentioned and my application was rejected.
I was disappointed and spent a couple of days wondering if I should try again or change my mind about hiring a solicitor or a consultant firm. After the initial disappointment, I started looking for a silver lining. I carefully read the reasons for rejection and realized that I could work on the lack of evidence mentioned by the endorsement team and start a new application.
It took me another six to seven months to rework my application. As the weekdays were always packed with a load of work at my firm, my weekends were always dedicated to preparing my documents and pieces of evidence for the Visa.
I took detailed notes of updating all the details in my LinkedIn profile and updated my CV to fit into the three-page format suggested by Tech Nation. I also visited my school, university, to collect letters from my teachers, professors, for my academic achievement. I made a checklist for myself to map the documents that I need to submit as evidence for my entrepreneur and technical contribution to different projects.
It was Feb 2020 when I was nearly ready to submit my application again, but I still had some work to do. The same month, the government announced that the Exceptional Talent Visa will be renamed Global Talent. The news made me nervous as I feared if there would be a change in the format and templates for many of the documents. I have been working on them for many months now and any change now would mean that I may need to rework again. The news said that the new change would be effective from Feb 20, 2020, and I decided to submit my application in the first week of February. I had to complete the rest of the application this week and I worked on it day and night. I submitted my application finally on Feb 7, 2020.
On Feb 14, 2020, I was having my lunch at home with my husband and saw an email notification about the Visa. I did not anticipate the decision to come so quickly as it was only a week post submission. The email was from Home Office Atlas with a confirmation of my endorsement for the “Exceptional Talent” category. There were no attachments and for a moment I was confused if it was a hoax email. I checked the email address again and also confirmed from other sites on the internet that it was indeed a genuine email.
The endorsement decision in my favor just strengthened my belief in hard work once again. As the saying goes “I am a great believer in luck, and I find, the harder I work, the more I have of it!”. Luck is when opportunities meet capabilities