The UK Border Agency has made a series of announcements and reminders for people applying for visas to visit or work in the country.

It is reminding applicants that their online visa application form is only valid for 30 days from the date when they start the application process online. ‘We cannot accept online visa application forms that are older than this,’ a spokesman said.

‘You must ensure that you prepare your documents, pay your visa application fee and book an appointment before this deadline. If you try to submit an application that is more than 30 days old, you will be asked to make another application and start the process again,’ he added.

UKBA also announced that the new Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) category of the UK's points based system is now open for applications. The new category is for people who are internationally recognized as world leading or potential world leading talent in the fields of science and the arts.

Applications under Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) must be made from abroad. You cannot apply if you are already in the UK.

UKBA has also published new versions of the application form and policy guidance for Tier 1 (Post-study work) of the points based system. And it reminded trainee doctors on a Foundation Programme with permission to stay in the UK under Tier 4, that they can now switch into Tier 1 (Post-study work) up to one month before the date when their programme ends. This change has also been reflected in the policy guidance for Tier 2.

A statement of changes to the Immigration Rules has been laid in Parliament. This statement sets out more details of how the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) category will operate.

The agency’s website has been updated with revised policy guidance, the criteria to be applied by designated competent bodies, and the code of practice for the designated competent bodies.