[Endorsed] Exceptional Talent - Software Engineer

Hi all!

First of all I wanna thank all of you for posting your experiences here! I spent many an anxious afternoon reading posts on here before actually submitting my application and I’m glad it paid off. So I thought I would post my profile here to help anyone with a similar profile. Special shoutout to @Francisca_Chiedu, I found your comments very useful and they really helped me improve my application.

About me

I applied from inside the UK to switch from my Skilled Worker Visa (Tier 2). Originally from South America but I moved to the UK in 2019 and I’ve been working as a Software Engineer for a FAANG company in London for just under 4 years. Since last year big tech has been laying off thousands of people so I decided to apply to this visa in case I’m impacted (so far still employed, but now with the visa I’ll be able to stay in the UK if I’m laid off).

I have ~6 years of combined experience and graduated from university in Dec 2018 (worked at a few places while studying in university).

My application

My recommendation letters were as follows:

  1. Current manager (Senior Eng Manager) from FAANG, talking about achievements in my team and my work outside of normal duties (mentorship and recruitment at FAANG).
  2. Previous manager from same company (Staff Software Engineer), talking about my achievements in my my work outside of normal duties (mentorship and recruitment at FAANG).
  3. Founder of the Startup I worked for before moving to UK, talking about my work, and my achievements outside of work.

My pieces of evidence were as follows:

  1. Proof of my employment at FAANG, my latest P60 showing annual income and Statistics showing this is above the 98th percentile in UK Incomes.
  2. Evidence of recognitions from FAANG employer for impact outside of my regular work duties (mentoring interns and SWEs from underrepresented backgrounds).
  3. Evidence of recognition received for the impact of my day-to-day work at FAANG (bonuses).
  4. Descriptions of my contribution to some projects I’ve worked on at FAANG, and recognition received for this work (bonuses).
  5. Evidence of scholarships and awards received, including Linux Foundation Scholarships, Apple WWDC Scholarship and others.
  6. Evidence of open source contributions (GitHub commit history) as the web developer for a non-profit OSS project in the arts / publishing sectors.
  7. Evidence of my involvement in Mozilla Open Leaders for the OSS project above.
  8. Evidence of the grant received by the OSS project above ($200K USD), and a recommendation letter by the project coordinator of the organisation which sponsors the grant, detailing my contributions and role in receiving the grant
  9. Recommendation letter from the director of my local youth centre, where I volunteer teaching young people to code.
  10. Evidence of my programming blog on Medium, and statistics from Medium.

All of the above took place in the last 5 years and most of them included links to externally verifiable sources. I matched all of the above to either the mandatory criteria, OC2 or OC3. They were all PDFs under 3 pages, except for the recommendation letters which included the DocuSign certificate and the CVs.

My personal statement (999 words) tied all my evidences together to talk about my work with underrepresented groups in tech, how this relates to my work with open source and with social impact volunteering, my existing contributions to the UK tech industry inside and outside of my full time job.

My timeline is as follows:

  • Dec 2022 & Jan 2023: Started collecting evidences, drafting my personal statement, talking to potential recommenders, making checklists, etc.
  • February 7th: Submitted the tech nation application.
  • February 8th: 1st edit
  • February 20th (morning): 2nd edit
  • February 20th (afternoon): Received the Home Office email confirming I had been endorsed for Talent.
  • February 21st: Went for my biometrics appointment.

Now waiting for Stage 2 to be complete! I hope I get an email soon confirming a new Biometric Residence Permit. IIUC as soon I receive it I’ll be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain so I’m very excited about that.

My advice

  • Explain everything: I found this advice on this forum and I applied it as much as possible. My approach was to use Adobe Illustrator to compile the screenshots into a PDF that made sense, with footnote explanations, links to externally verifiable sources and even a glossary of every concept mentioned in the evidences. I’m glad I dabble in graphic design which helped to made sure the PDFs were as readable and simple as possible.
  • Edit edit edit! I worked with my recommenders to make sure the letters were very sharp, contained only the most important accomplishments and a few complimentary words, without much fluff or unnecessary information. All letters were all 1 page max (except for the one by the Youth Centre).
  • Put extra effort into the personal statement: I worked on my personal statement for almost two months, refining, rewriting, cutting and adding until I was happy with it. My goal was to tie in all the pieces of evidence into a narrative and a complete record of my relevant achievements. It helps to get your friends and family look at it and leave critical comments, my sister and my partner were particularly helpful here.
  • Make sure to get things DocuSigned and include the CV of the signer I got every recommendation letter DocuSigned (the three mandatory ones and the two I used for evidence.


  • I couldn’t put company letterheads on my FAANG recommendation letters because the company didn’t allow it. I’m glad I received an endorsement even though this is mentioned as important in the guide.
  • I found out Medium blogs are discouraged only AFTER applying, so I’m glad I was endorsed in spite of this. Thankfully that was not an important part of my application or my recommendation letter.
  • My work in open source is available on GitHub and has a few stars and forks, but the OSS project itself relates more to arts / publishing / social impact than it does “product-led technology”. I was worried this would count against my applciation but thankfully I was still endorsed.

Thanks again for your work on this forum!

Feel free to put in any questions in the comments and wish me luck for stage 2!


congratulations. gLad you found my input useful. I believe your opensource input must have helped.


@yeshellohi you got exceltional talent or promise?

Exceptional Talent (I thought it was a long shot and I might receive Promise instead, but I got Talent which I’m very happy about since it saves me 1 year on my ILR application)

1 Like

@yeshellohi, can you drop link to the docusign and please if you can explain more details how you went through it.

Hi! Not entirely sure what you mean, but I just signed up for a free trial of https://www.docusign.co.uk, uploaded the recommendation letters PDFs, and sent signing requests to the recommenders. I then attached the certificate of completion as an extra page in the PDFs I uploaded.

1 Like

@yeshellohi Will the recommenders also create an account on https://www.docusign.co.uk/ before they will be able to sign? I am asking because why would you send a recommendation letter back to your recommenders when they were the ones who sent you the letter in the first place? Am I missing something?

I don’t think they need to create an account, they will just get a link via email to sign. Of course they send the letters in the first place, but it’s you who requests the digital signature, and you upload the PDF they sent (that’s just how DocuSign works)

HUGE congrats!!! I just submitted mine yesterday and nervously awaiting. Quick questions:

  1. After submitting your TN application did you need to do anything? Triple checking I don’t
  2. What you do you mean by edit?
  • February 8th: 1st edit
  • February 20th (morning): 2nd edit

I don’t think I did anything else (other than pay the endorsement fee on Gov.uk and such but that happened before I submitted, IIRC)

When you go to Log in - Tech Nation Visa Application and click on the “list view” icon in the top right hand corner, it shows “Last edited”, which I assume it’s some internal count that someone at Tech Nation has looked at your application and added some notes to it perhaps. If you search “edits” in this forum you’ll find lots of speculation about what they represent exactly :slight_smile:

1 Like

Did you get any refund on IHS as you had the skilled worker visa?

If so, help me with the process please!

Congrats on your endorsement, and thanks for sharing!

Regarding Docusign, the guide states:

  • Letters of recommendation can be created using a digital signature service (such as DocuSign or similar service), enabling the inclusion of the document log file that clearly indicates the letter’s author and signature originated from a different IP address to the applicant. Letters must uploaded on Tech Nation’s Application Platform.

Which sounds as if you need to supply a log file that proves that the envelope for signing was not created by the applicant (you), but I understand that in your case you were the initiator, can you explain please how is that acceptable for the application? Did you provide the log files?

You can download the log file from DocuSign after the recommender has signed it (it’s just a extra PDF page), it shows the different IP of the signature requester (you) and the IP of the signer (recommender). I did append the log file to the PDFs.

1 Like

Not yet, I did my biometrics still waiting for a response for Stage 2.

If I understand correctly, the refund goes to the entity that sponsored the visa. So if its sponsored by the company that employs you, the refund will go to them and not you.

I submitted my application last week Wednesday.
How do i no when my application is being reviewd

Hey, one question here! where did u position your scholarship? is it MC or can I position to OC2 too?