The Arts Council has been appointed as a Designated Competent Body by the Home Office and will assess applications from artists applying for Tier 1 visas to enter this country on the basis of their exceptional talent. From 1 October 2013, artists who have exceptional promise will also be able to apply for Tier 1 visas assessed by Arts Council. We will make recommendations to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI), which will remain the decision making body for the allocation of all visas, including Tier 1.

Demonstrating exceptional talent

In line with the Home Office guidance, arts applicants must demonstrate that they are exceptionally talented in their field - either as an established, world class artist or an internationally recognised expert.

Demonstrating exceptional promise

Applicants can demonstrate exceptional promise through letters of endorsement from established cultural organisations and individuals with recognised expertise. They must also provide examples of international media recognition, nominations for international awards, or appearances, performances, publications or exhibitions in internationally recognised contexts.

How to apply

To apply for a Tier 1 visa, you must apply online at

Applicants are advised to read the Criteria for endorsement: arts before submitting an application.

Assessment process

All applications will be assessed by artform and other sector specialists within the Arts Council who will review all documents submitted and judge the extent to which they provide clear evidence that the application meets the published criteria.

Following the assessment, the Arts Council will advise UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) on whether an applicant can be defined as possessing exceptional talent or promise. UKVI will then decide whether or not to grant entry to an applicant.

Applications from the film, television, animation, post production and visual effects sectors will be assessed by the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) in accordance with the process and guidance set out by the Arts Council.

Alongside Tier 1 visas, artists can also continue to apply for Tier 2 and Tier 5.


Artists approved for entry will be required to support themselves when they have entered the UK, in accordance with UKVI regulations. International artists based in England and the EU may be able to apply for funding through Grants for the arts if the work is deemed to be of benefit to other English artists or audiences.