The Tech Nation visa was introduced on 12 November 2015 following a change to the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category for digital tech.

The Tech Nation visa scheme is an evolution of the dedicated route for helping businesses operating within the digital technology sector to attract and secure world-class talent from outside the EU. It may be a viable solution to hiring needs for tech companies which wish to grow their UK business and require a tech team to complete a UK project or for those which require a particular tech expert. In addition, there is a fast track process available for digital businesses in the seven cities under the Tech North remit (Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland).

To obtain a Tech Nation visa, those applying need to secure an endorsement from Tech City UK and it is the applicant who needs to apply for the endorsement and meet the criteria.

Applicants must meet one of the mandatory criteria and two of the qualifying criteria set out in the Immigration Rules ahead of applying for entry to the UK in this category.

The mandatory criteria are:

  • a proven track record of innovation in the digital technology sector; and
  • recognition for work outside the applicant’s immediate occupation that has contributed to the advancement of their sector.  

The qualifying criteria are:

  • significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions in the digital technology sector as either a director, founder, or employee of a digital technology sector company;
  • recognition as a world leader;
  • continuous learning; and
  • exceptional ability through academic research.