The Ballet Dancer's Visa

Cover image for The Ballet Dancer's Visa

Nick Nason is a solicitor at Edgewater Legal who regularly provide advice to clients applying under the Global Talent immigration route. Here Nick outlines how ballerinas might qualify.

If you have been recognised as an exceptionally talented ballet dancer, or a ballerina who demonstrates exceptional promise, you may be eligible to apply for a UK visa.

In order to qualify you will need to have been professionally engaged in performing outstanding ballet in at least 2 countries within the last 5 years, or show a developing track record in one country if you are at an early stage in your career.

It may also be possible to apply for the visa if you contribute to the creation and delivery of ballet productions, e.g. choreographers, programmers/promoters, directors or producers.

Visa Outline

The Global Talent visa enables you to live and work in the UK for up to 5 years – you can choose how long – and is a pathway to applying to settlement (and British citizenship after that) if you meet the requirements.

To apply for the visa you will first need to be endorsed by Arts Council England. This application is made by completing an online UK Visas and Immigration form, and then providing supporting evidence to show you meet the criteria.

If you are endorsed by the Arts Council England, you can then go on to make the visa application.

Those endorsed under the Exceptional Talent route may be entitled to apply for accelerated settlement after 3 years. Those at an early stage in their career – exceptional promise – will usually be eligible after 5 years.

The Main Criteria

To evidence you meet the criteria you will need three dated letters of recommendation, two of which should be from well-established organisations that you have worked with, acknowledged as experts within ballet, at least one of which is based in the UK.

The third letter must also be from another leading organisation within ballet, or alternatively an individual you have worked with, with recognised experience in the field.

Unless you are at an early stage of your career, you will also need to evidence two of the following three criteria

  • Two or more examples significant media recognition (individually or contribution to a group) from at least two countries
  • Winning, or significantly contributing to winning, at least one international award for excellence
  • Proof of professional performances considered internationally significant within ballet

If you are an early stage of your career, the bar is set slightly lower, but you still need to show you meet two out of the following

  • Two examples of recent media recognition for your work as an individual, or as a named member of a group or as a contributor
  • Winning, or significantly contributing to winning, or significantly contributing to being nominated or shortlisted for, or being nominated or shortlisted for, at least one international award for excellence
  • Professional performances recognised within ballet

You also have to provide your CV setting out your career to date.

What is 'significant media recognition'?

The evidence should usually be in the form of detailed independent critiques, reviews or critical evaluations of your individual work, from credible arts and culture critics in internationally recognised and well-established media outlets, in at least two countries.

The evidence can include recognised media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio or websites. If you are relying on Exceptional Talent – i.e. not at an early stage of your career – evidence from blogs and social media is not acceptable.

For Exceptional Promise, blogs can be accepted, but they must be written by credible arts and culture critics and the blogs should be prominent and sufficiently well-established and have a significant number of reviews available.

The media recognition must have been received within the last five years of the application date and must be for work that has taken place at the time of the article’s publication.

Arts Council England provides further guidance on exactly what is considered as ‘significant media recognition’, and you should review this before applying.

What counts as an international award?

The award win (or nomination if applying under Exceptional Promise) should provide significant recognition of your status as a leader (or emerging leader) within ballet. It should have been awarded in the last 5 years. There is no specific list of qualifying awards.

If you have not won (or been nominated for) an award as an individual, you can provide evidence of making a significant contribution to an award win/nomination by another individual or group you worked with instead.

If you are doing this, along with the award evidence you must include a supporting document from the individual that won (or was nominated), or from a senior person that has responsibility for the group that won and which details the significant contribution you made to the work that won the award.

What can be provided as proof of performances?

Your evidence can include programmes, adverts, posters, or listings for past events you took part in.

Video or photographs can be provided, but along with these you must at all times submit supporting information that verifies your participation and when and where the engagement took place. The guidance states that videos or photographs alone will not be acceptable.

Further information as to the kind of evidence that can be provided are set out in the Arts Council England guidance.

If you are looking for further information or assistance regarding this visa then please do not hesitate to contact us at Edgewater Legal.