May 11, 2021

U.K. Immigration Update: Fast-Track Visas Unveiled for 'Best and Brightest' Talent

Following an adjustment to immigration rules announced by the Home Office on 5 May 2021, if you’re the recipient of an elite award, you may now be eligible to bypass part of the existing immigration process and access a fast-track route into the U.K.

What Is the Existing Process?

As a leader or potential leader in arts and culture, academia, research or digital technology, under the U.K.’s post-Brexit points-based immigration system, you can apply for a Global Talent visa to live and work in the U.K. for five-year periods. This route requires a successful application to one of the six endorsing bodies with responsibility over your field (Arts Council England, the British Academy, Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, Tech Nation and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)). However, if you hold a prize from a certain category of prestigious awards, you can now bypass the endorsement stage of the Global Talent visa route and go directly to the visa stage, moving towards a single and more streamlined application.

Who Can Use the New Fast-Track Route?

As part of the government’s effort to attract the ‘best and brightest’ talent from around the world to the U.K, international recipients of specific coveted awards will be eligible for this fast track. We break down the qualifying awards by category below.


  • BRIT Awards
    • International Female
    • International Male
  • Grammy – Lifetime Achievement Award
  • ICMA
    • Artist of the Year
    • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • MOBO – Best International Act
  • Olivier Award – Outstanding Achievement in Music
  • Wihuri Sibelius Prize
  • WOMEX – Artistic Award

Theatre, Film and TV

  • Academy Awards
    • Actor in a Leading Role
    • Actress in a Leading Role
    • Cinematography
    • Directing
    • Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
    • Writing (Original Screenplay)
    • Best Film Actor
    • Best Film Actress
    • Film Director
  • Golden Globes
    • Best Actor in a Motion Picture
    • Best Actor in a TV Motion Picture
    • Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy
    • Best Actress in a Motion Picture
    • Best Actress in a TV Motion Picture
    • Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy
    • Best Director of a Motion Picture
    • Best Screenplay of a Motion Picture
    • Best TV Actor Drama
    • Best TV Actor in a Musical/Comedy
    • Best TV Actress Drama
    • Best TV Actress in a Musical/Comedy
    • Carol Burnett Award
    • Cecil B. deMille Award
  • Olivier Awards
    • Best Actor
    • Best Actress
    • Best Director
    • Best Theatre Choreographer
  • Tony Awards
    • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
    • Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
    • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
    • Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
    • Best Direction of a Play
    • Best Direction of a Musical
    • Best Choreography
    • Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

Arts & Literature

  • Bessie – Outstanding Performer
  • Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards
    • Best Male
    • Best Female
  • Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize
  • CFDA Fashion Award
    • Accessories Designer of the Year
    • Designer of the Year
    • Outstanding Achievement
  • Holberg Prize
  • Hugo Boss Prize
  • Nobel Prize – Literature
  • Olivier Awards
    • Best Play Author
    • Outstanding Achievement in Dance
    • Outstanding Achievement in Opera
  • Tony Award – Best Play Author

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths

  • ACM Prize in Computing
  • Balzan Prize
  • Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering
  • Fields Medal
  • Fyssen International Prize
  • Millennium Technology Prize
  • Nobel Prize
    • Chemistry
    • Economic Science
    • Physics
    • Medicine
  • Pritzker Architecture Prize
  • Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering
  • Royal Gold Medal
  • Turing Award

The list of qualifying awards will be kept under review by the Home Office and the six professional bodies.


It remains to be seen how this new type of application will work in practice. Keep watch for any updates on our U.K. Immigration Insights page as the realities of this fast-track route become apparent.

If you require any assistance, or have any questions regarding your visa application, please get in touch with the Faegre Drinker immigration and global mobility team.

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