UK Visas for Tech Entrepreneurs
Global Tech Connect has partnered with Tech Nation Visa to provide information and insight for tech entrepreneurs setting up companies in the UK, or their employees relocating to Britain.
Please note GTC's partnership with the Tech Nation Visa team does not increase or guarantee likelihood of endorsement for the Visa route.
You may also wish to obtain independent legal or immigration advice when setting up a company in the UK or employing staff who are not currently entitled to work in the UK. GTC can refer you to our network of legal partners on request.
Why we chose Tech Nation
Tech Nation is the 'Endorsing Body' for the Digital Technology route of the Global Talent Visa. This allows the best and brightest tech talent from across the world to live and work in the UK, whether you are from a technical or non-technical background (e.g. whether you're coming to work in the UK tech sector as a coder or in marketing, this visa could be for you).
The Tech Nation Visa is based on your own background, skills and achievements, essentially it's a visa based on merit.
You do not need to have a job offer in the UK, and even if you do, the visa is not tied to any single job or location in the UK. This means you can change jobs, start a new project or company, move about the UK, all without needing further permission.
It’s not just for employees – founders can apply too
Technical or business backgrounds are eligible
It’s available for all tech sub-sectors (i.e. fintech, AI, cyber, gaming, etc.)
The visa can be initially granted for up to 5 years, and can be extended as many times as you like
You are free to travel abroad and return to the UK
If you would like to become a permanent UK resident, this visa route can help you make that happen.
Tech Nation Visa FAQs
1. How does it work?
The Visa has two pathways; 'Exceptional Talent' - for individuals established in their career, usually holding senior roles (or their own venture) and with wider recognition from their industry peers and 'Exceptional Promise' - for individuals showing genuine promise within the technology field, usually within the first 5 years of their career either making early waves in a tech firm (or their own venture) or with a strong academic record.
If you are granted a visa for 'Exceptional Talent' you will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 3 years. If you are granted a visa for 'Exceptional Promise' you will be eligible to apply for ILR after 5 years.
2. Is there a quota?
There is no quota for this visa and no deadlines to apply - applications remain open 365 days per year from any nation across the globe. Successful applications are also able to bring their spouse and children (uncapped) with them as part of the Global Talent visa.
3. How long does it take?
The timings are usually up to 8 weeks for Endorsement application (Stage 1) and a few weeks afterward for Visa applications (Stage 2), depending on personal circumstances. Please note that you must apply for your visa within three months of receiving your endorsement letter from the Home Office otherwise it will become invalid.
4. What are the costs?
It costs £608 to apply, this cost includes £456 for your endorsement and £152 for your visa. Your partner and children will each need to pay £608 if they apply. You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge for each year of your stay – this is usually £624 per year for each person applying.
The Tech Nation Visa Eligibility Checker is a useful starting point to assess whether you meet the criteria for the Tech Nation Visa before starting an application.