My Exceptional Talent Application

Hi everyone!

I wrote this summary to share my successful Tech Nation Global Talent Visa experience with everyone, as reading this forum was so helpful to me when preparing my own application. I am a final-year DPhil (PhD) student at the University of Oxford specializing in Artificial Intelligence (AI). I first came to Oxford in 2017 on a Tier 4 Student visa for my MSc, and then switched to another Tier 4 visa in 2018 for my DPhil. Last March, I was endorsed for the Tech Nation Global Talent visa under the Exceptional Talent category, and received my visa shortly after.

My Application

When preparing my application, the first question in my mind was whether I should apply for Exceptional Talent or Promise. At first, I was hesitant to apply for Talent, as I do not have 5 years of work experience. However, I eventually convinced myself to try, as (i) the benefit of expedited settlement outweighed the risk of rejection in my view, and (ii) I felt that I had sufficient evidence to argue for an Exceptional Talent visa.

For stage 1, I selected the following 2 optional criteria:

  • OC2. Proof of recognition for work beyond the applicant’s occupation that contributes to the advancement of the field

  • OC4. Exceptional ability in the field by academic contributions through research published or endorsed by an expert.

I then provided the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Personal Statement outlining my last 5 years in the UK and my goals going forward
  • Letters of recommendation from my DPhil supervisor, my College principal at Oxford, and the lead technical advisor at a company I currently work for part-time.


Mandatory criterion (Recognised talent):

  1. Description of my part-time work (AI model development, research) and proof of well-paid employment (payslips) with comparative metrics.

  2. Award letters for my DPhil scholarships offered by the University of Oxford.

  3. Regional media appearances and publications about my research (international television appearance in Arabic on a TV show with 1million+ followers, along with certified translation and video transcript)

  4. Internationally recognised paper award: Marco Cadoli Best Student Paper Runner-Up Award at KR 2020 (a top-tier academic conference)

OC2 (Recognition beyond occupation):

  1. Evidence of research leadership role at the Oxford Artificial Intelligence society (OxAI), in which our research secured a significant computational grant from Google Research Credits.

  2. Department teaching award letter from the University of Oxford, along with a summary of my teaching experience. (Note: this teaching was taken on entirely voluntarily, and I made this clear in my application)

  3. Reviewer invitation emails/certificates from five top-tier AI conferences, demonstrating my contribution to the area beyond my research.

OC4 (Academic contributions)

  1. A spotlight NeurIPS publication with a description of its impact (appearance in a prominent library in the field) and prestige of the conference (conference rank, acceptance rate).

  2. An IJCAI publication with a description of its impact (cited and included in a modern textbook on graph representation learning) and prestige of the conference (low acceptance rate, conference rank)

  3. Award letter for the Graduate Scholarship from Jesus College for exceptional academic performance during my DPhil.


  • Document preparation time: 3 weeks (almost full-time work)

  • Stage 1 application decision: 3 weeks

  • Stage 2 application decision (no priority used): 7 days (biometric appointment within 3 days of online application).

Final Thoughts

This application was very time-consuming, but ultimately highly rewarding and life-changing. I am very grateful to this forum for shedding light on the process and making it a little less stressful. I hope my experience helps you with your applications, and I wish you all the best of luck! :slight_smile:


Thanks for sharing, congratulation.