Tech City UK Blog

Following this morning’s breakfast event at Digital Catapult, Tech City UK reveals that it has now received 257 applications for the Tech Nation Visa Scheme with 181 (76%) endorsements.


  257 applications received since April 2014

181 (76%) applicants gained endorsement from Tech City UK (20 currently pending)

  1/3 applications received are from female entrepreneurs

  Truly global representation (country of origin) in applicants (42% APAC, 28% EMEA, 24% North America)




The Tech Nation Visa Scheme makes it possible for tech talent from around the world to come and work in the UK’s digital technology sector, and is part of Tech City UK’s mission to ensure that the UK continues to maintain its position as a globally competitive digital economy.

Tech City UK is the designated competent body for digital technology and has the ability to endorse applications for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa. If you receive an endorsement from Tech City UK, then you will be eligible to submit your visa application to the Home Office.

Our Information Booklet



Eligibility criteria changes, which went live on November 19 2015, have made a positive impact on application rate. 257 applications have been received since then, with 181 of these having been endorsed so far. One third of these applications were made by female entrepreneurs and the applicants truly represent the global desire to work in the UK’s leading tech ecosystem (42% APAC, 28% from EMEA, 24% North America).

The Tech Nation Visa Scheme can be life changing for individuals but also for companies such as Magic Pony Technology – recently acquired by Twitter for around $150m – which hired Wenzhe Shi (one of its first employees) through the Tech Nation Visa Scheme.

Computer vision research expert (now within Twitter Cortex VX), Wenzhi Shi, commented: “Getting the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa was one of the best decisions I have made. It definitely opens up many opportunities for you compared to other visa categories. Freedom to work in any job you want can really release your full potential. I also have to mention that Tech City UK is very helpful during the process. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them.”


Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK, added: “Tech startups are international, borderless and have an insatiable need for talent. The Tech Nation Visa Scheme is a great example of government stepping in to give Britain’s digital economy – which is growing 32% faster than the wider UK economy – a head start when it comes to competing on the world stage. It is encouraging to see that the criteria changes have seen an uplift in applications, as the scheme is set to become ever more important in the near future”


Tech City UK will aim to provide a decision for endorsement within 18 days to the Home Office. The fast track route will apply in the following circumstances:


  • Empowering the North
  • Building UK scale ups
  • Recruiting teams (up to five individuals) from overseas

There is also an Exceptional promise option (applicants are able to demonstrate the potential to become world leaders in their field).


For more detail on any of these circumstances or criteria, please visit the dedicated web page.



Summary of application process:


  1. Eligibility
    Check your eligibility for the Tech Nation Visa Scheme by viewing our guidelines


    2. Timing
    The application process is in 2 stages:
  • a) Endorsement stage – will take up to 8 weeks in total to be processed.
  • b) Visa application – This process can take up to 3 weeks out of country and 8 weeks in country.


  1. Conditions of your visa
    This visa can be granted for up to 5 years after which you will be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK.


  1. Cost
    £287* for stage 1 and £287* for stage 2.


*Please note that this does not include additional administrative costs such as your BRP enrolment fee and NHS surcharge.