Changes made to the Exceptional Talent visa category have come into effect (10th January) meaning that Architects who can demonstrate that they are either already renowned in their field of work or that they are ‘up and coming” are now similarly eligible to apply under this route as those working in digital technology, science, engineering, humanities and the arts. Architects will similarly be endorsed by Arts Council England since they also come under ‘the arts’ remit. There are currently only 250 places reserved by Arts Council England, making applications very competitive.

Experts have welcomed the changes as there had been anxiety in the industry in the run up to Brexit as it was felt that architects would fail to meet the criteria of an alternative visa, such as the Tier 2 Work Visa.

For the time being, this route is for international migrants, however, it is believed that once the UK leaves the EU in March and EEA citizens are subjected to immigration rules, EEA national architects may also be eligible to apply averting any potential crisis in attracting talented and up and coming architects to the UK.

One of the key attractions to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route is that applicants will not need to seek a sponsor from a UK employer. This means they can switch jobs, volunteer, start a business or even freelance without informing the Government. Successful applicants will not jeopardise their immigration status either by doing so.

 There are notable key differences in criteria and eligibility. For example, budding architects at the start of their career will need to provide different documentation than those of reputable and renowned architects. Furthermore, architects must also be assessed by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Only once RIBA has approved the candidate’s application will they then be endorsed by Arts Council England.

The benefits of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa include:

  • Up to five years stay in the UK
  • Being able to bring family members (dependents) to the UK
  • Being able to travel from the UK and return again 
  • The possibility of renewing or switching visa from within the UK.

Contact Kirkpatrick Whyte if you would like to discuss your Exceptional Talent application or should you have any other UK immigration related queries. For advice and information on immigration to the UK in general, please email us at