Solicitor Cho's Blog

Solicitor-Advocate by day, Entrepreneur (co-Founder of Lawxero) by night and weekends. This blog contains 'everyday' law for all - Hurrah!

 Tier 1 Exceptional Talent/ Promise - The Artist formerly known as ...  [24 APR 2015]

Just before Christmas last year, I was approached by a very humble artist who was looking for ways to continue pursuing their art in England. This soon-to-be world renowned artist in the visual arts field wanted to apply for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent.

We started with their CV of course. Then all press clippings, awards, exhibition promotions, letters of reference from university tutors, gallery owners, art agents, buyers, critics, collectors...   I mean, to cut a long story short, the artist was properly endorsed by the Arts Council andwas later granted entry clearance for the fullest possible period of 5 years and 4 months. You could say, we have achieved the best possible case scenario under this route. The whole process took 3 months.

While wading through this less known route into the UK for those creatively skilled, I have discovered the following 'Fun Facts' which may be of interest to those of you who are likewise thinking about spreading your artistic wings in and around the world based in the UK:

  1. The Arts Council, along with the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, British Academy, and Tech City UK, were allocated 250 applications to be endorsed by them between 6 April 2015 - 5 April 2016;
  2. Not all of 250 can be allocated at once. Up to 125 can be allocated between 6 April 2015 - 30 September 2015, then the remaining unused endorsements may be used from 1 October 2015 - 5 April 2016. 
  3. The Arts Council's most recent statics on how many had applied and achieved success is from December 2013. On it, it shows that 100 applicants applied for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent, and only 37 were granted the endorsement letter (37% success). On the other hand, there were 2 applications received for Tier 1 Exceptional Promise endorsement and of these 1 was granted the endorsement (ironically, 50% success). Since these figures from December 2013 are the latest proffered by the Arts Council itself, I am not sure exactly how many more were granted but you could certainly add 1 more to the Exceptional Promise which I had obtained for my client.  
  4. Once you go through Stage 1 of the visa by obtaining your endorsement letter, you could then apply for your leave to remain or if you are outside the UK, then for entry clearance, which is the Stage 2.
  5. And here comes the BIG BONUS!!! For entry clearance, there is no specific requirement to prove maintenance OR the English Language Requirement. And of course your family members can come with you.
  6. And the benefits don't stop there. You could be granted up to 5 years and 4 months stay in total (Entry Clearance);
  7. After 5 years of residence under this visa, with up to 6 months stay outside the UK in each of the 5 years, then you could get to the Indefinite Leave to Remain.


The only other type of visa which affords as much benefits and exemptions is the Tier 1 Investor visa which also exempts its applicants from English Language Test and maintenance requirement. Despite these enormous benefits to be had, the statistics thus far tell me that far too many of the potential Exceptional Talents and Promises are perhaps being too modest about their own reputation and are holding themselves back from attempting an application under this route. (I mean, only 3 applications from Exceptional Promise so far? - Come on.)

It is nice to see that international and national renown, and their artistry is considered to be as valuable as £2 mill. or more of investment into the country.

I would quite curious to see who would be brave enough to attempt these visas and really test their artistic profile. I would totally encourage it.  

Click here for a link to the Arts Council's Endorsement Criteria. Further details relating to your particular case, feel free to contact me. After all, I did contribute to the success statistics! :D  

P.S. I have made a Freedom of Information request to the Arts Council for information on an updated application and endorsement statistics today. Will post once I hear further.