Looking for clarity on the following. I have been granted a Tier 1 Visa for exceptional talent. This gives me 5 years and 4 months. Upon sending my application in for processing I indicated that my intended date of arrival was the 3rd of November 2016. Since submitting this, I have been offered work in my field and will need to arrive on the the 5th of October 2016. This will see me entering 4 weeks earlier than intended. Should I have a letter to take with me supporting this reason for earlier entry? I was given endorsement from the Arts Council of England in August of this year and am awaiting my physical visa and passport back within the next few days. Not sure where I stand on this matter with entering earlier?
You have an entry clearance starting in November, but want to arrive 4 weeks before its start date.
There are two things that factor in to this question. The first is Paragraph 30C of the Immigration Rules...
An Immigration Officer may cancel an entry clearance which is capable of having effect as leave to enter if the holder arrives in the United Kingdom before the day on which the entry clearance becomes effective or if the holder seeks to enter the United Kingdom for a purpose other than the purpose specified in the entry clearance.
...which means the IO has the option, but not the obligation, to cancel your T1 entry clearance.
The other thing that factors into the situation is more obscure. Since the IO cannot change the length of a T1 entry clearance, if you enter 4 weeks early, your leave will also expire 4 weeks early and you will become an over stayer in 5 years 3 months time. To avoid that, you will have to apply early for your ILR and at that point they will go back and see if those 4 weeks qualify as lawful residence for ILR purposes. If not you will need to apply in some other category.
Should I have a letter to take with me supporting this reason for earlier entry?
The "best practices" advice is to go back to the consulate and get them to change your entry clearance so that everything syncs up. That's the place to send your letter. Failing that advice, it's taking your chances with Paragraph 30C and a non-straight-forward case when you ultimately apply for ILR.