High Potential Individual Visa UK

Those who have graduated from top-tier universities in the last 5 years may be eligible to apply for the High Potential Individual Visa in the UK. The High Potential Individual Visa can allow talented graduates to live and work in the UK without a previous job offer.

This visa can be complex, and applicants should ensure their application is pristine to avoid any issues or delays in receiving their visa. Speak to a member of our team from Total Law for assistance with your application today at +44 (0)333 305 9375.

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    What Is The UK High Potential Individual Visa?

    The UK introduced the High Potential Individual Visa in 2022 in an attempt to attract top talent from across the world to the country.

    This visa grants graduates of high-ranking universities across the world the ability to come to the UK for 2 to 3 years, where they can live and seek out career opportunities.

    To be eligible for this visa, applicants have to have graduated within the last five years with at least a bachelor’s degree or higher from a university that is rated as being top-tier among the global universities listed for their respective graduation year.

    It is much unlike other UK visas in that applicants for this visa will not have the requirement for a job offer from an employer in the UK to be able to apply.

    It is also possible for those who are High Potential individual Visa holders to switch to another visa if they acquire long-term employment in the UK. However, this is not a requirement for this visa.

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      Eligibility And Requirements Of The High Potential Individual Visa


      For an applicant to be considered eligible, they must meet the required criteria for a High Potential Individual Visa. The criteria are as follows:

      • The applicant must have graduated from one of the top-ranking world universities in the previous 5 years.
      • The applicant has graduated with a qualification from a university that is top-rated and is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in the UK, a UK postgraduate Master’s degree, a UK PhD, or other qualifications at a doctoral level.
      • The applicant has to be able to meet the relevant English language requirements. Be aware that those who come from countries with an English-speaking majority, such as the US, Canada, and so forth, will already be considered to meet this requirement.
      • The applicant must have the necessary funding to sufficiently support themselves during their time in the UK.
      • The applicant is at least 18 years of age.
      • The applicant has not been granted a Graduate Visa previously and has not been granted UK entry under the Student Doctorate Extension Scheme either.

      Applicants have to also apply to ECCTIS, formerly known as UK NARIC, to make sure that the academic qualification they have is valid and meets the criteria for qualifications relative to a High Potential Individual visa.

      It should also be noted that foreign nationals who graduated from a British university in the last 5 years will not be eligible for this visa route.

      Yet, international students already in the UK on a Student Visa may be eligible to apply for a Graduate Visa should they wish to remain in the UK. However, their eligibility will be determined based on their qualifications, even if this is the case.

      Required Documents

      When an applicant applies for a High Potential Individual Visa in the UK, they will need to submit specific relevant documentation to prove that their application is valid. The documents required are as follows:

      • A valid current passport or other travel document.
      • Any evidence that can prove you meet the necessary English language requirement (a certificate, qualification, and similar documents may be acceptable).
      • The Academic Qualification Level Statement from ECCTIS which can verify that the academic qualifications you have are valid and meet the requirements of this visa.
      • Any evidence that can help prove you have sufficient funding to finance your stay in the UK, such as bank statements.
      • A tuberculosis test result (this is only required in certain countries).

      Those who are switching to a High Potential Individual Visa from another UK visa type will need to provide their BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) as well as any other documents that can verify the individual’s UK immigration status.

      Note that any documents that are submitted that are not in English or Welsh have to be accompanied by translations conducted by a verified translator.

      The Points System

      The High Potential Individual Visa is a visa type open to applicants with qualifications from leading global universities if they have graduated in the previous five years.

      However, on top of this, applicants do have to have attained 70 points across the language and financial requirements for this visa. The points are attributed as follows:

      • Global Universities List degree requirement: worth 50 points.
      • English language requirement at a B1 level: worth 10 points.
      • Meeting the financial requirement is worth 10 points.

      Applications received by the Home Office that fall short of this total of 70 points will be refused. The Home Office will inform refused applicants of the reasoning behind the refusal when they send the decision notification letter.

      Global Universities List Requirement

      The global universities list will change every year. Below is a list of the universities on the global universities list for the 2022 academic year, based on the qualifications awarded between November 1st, 2022, and October 31st, 2023.

      • California Institute of Technology (Caltech): USA.
      • Chinese University of Hong Kong: Hong Kong.
      • Columbia University: USA.
      • Cornell University: USA.
      • Duke University: USA.
      • Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL Switzerland): Switzerland.
      • ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology): Switzerland.
      • Harvard University: USA.
      • John Hopkins University: USA.
      • Karolinska Institute: Sweden.
      • Kyoto University: Japan.
      • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): USA.
      • McGill University: Canada.
      • Nanyang Technological University (NTU): Singapore.
      • National University of Singapore: Singapore.
      • New York University: USA.
      • Northwestern University: USA.
      • Paris Sciences et Lettres: PSL Research University: France.
      • Peking University: China.
      • Princeton University: USA.
      • Stanford University: USA.
      • Technical University of Munich: Germany.
      • Tsinghua University: China.
      • University of British Columbia: Canada.
      • University of California, Berkeley: USA.
      • University of California, Los Angeles: USA.
      • University of California, San Diego: USA.
      • University of Chicago: USA.
      • University of Hong Kong: Hong Kong.
      • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: USA.
      • University of Melbourne: Australia.
      • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor: USA.
      • University of Pennsylvania: USA.
      • University of Queensland (UQ): Australia.
      • University of Texas at Austin: USA.
      • University of Tokyo: Japan.
      • University of Toronto: Canada.
      • University of Washington: USA.
      • Yale University: USA.
      • Zhejiang University: China.

      The institution that granted the applicant’s degree must appear on the Global Universities List in respect of the date when the applicant acquired their degree. This list is compiled on an annual basis and can be found on the UK government website.

      Application Fees

      Those applying for the High Potential Individual Visa will need to pay certain fees associated with the visa. When applying, applicants will need to pay the following fees:

      • The ECCTIS certification check. This costs £210 if applying from outside of the UK or £252 if applying from inside the UK.
      • The High Potential Individual Visa Application Fee. This costs £715.
      • The Immigration Health Surcharge. This comes at a fee of £624 per year spent in the UK.

      As well as the fees that are associated with the application, those applying for this visa will also need to ensure they have a particular amount of money to be able to fund their UK stay.

      Typically, applicants will be required to have at least £1,270 in cash funds available in their bank to be considered financially stable enough to support themselves. Yet, this is not set in stone, and the amount required may change depending on the personal circumstances of each applicant.

      High Potential Individual Visa Step-By-Step Application Process

      Those who wish to apply for the HPI visa will first need to collect the documents necessary for their application. The documents can differ depending on the specific circumstances of the individual.

      Applicants should be aware that there is a different process for those who are already in the UK and are switching to this visa from another UK visa.

      Applicants must apply for this visa within 5 years of having been awarded a qualification from an eligible university.

      When applying, the applicant must provide proof of their identity as well as the application and their supporting documents. How the applicant proves their identity will depend on the type of passport they have and where they are from (where they have residence).

      Applicants will have to do one of the two following options to prove their identity:

      • The applicant will have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a relevant visa application centre to obtain a BRP (biometric residence permit).
      • The applicant will have to use the UK Immigration: ID Check application to scan their ID documents. They will also need to create and/or sign into the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) account to do so.

      The applicant will be informed of which of these two options they need to do when they apply for the visa.

      If the applicant requires an appointment, they should expect the following:

      • The visa application centre may need to keep hold of the applicant’s passport and documents while the application is processed.
      • The applicant may need to travel to their nearest visa application centre, which may be in a different country.

      To apply for the visa, the applicant can apply online via the UK government website. Once the application has been started, it can be saved and completed later.

      Applicants can include their eligible dependents (including spouses, partners, and unmarried children under the age of 18) on their application if they wish for these dependents to join them while they are in the UK.

      Once the online application has been submitted, they will be asked to submit all the necessary supporting documentation as well as provide their biometric information, including fingerprints and photographs.

      Biometric information will be taken at a visa application centre, which will create a BRP that will be received upon entry into the UK if successful.

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        The Typical Application Processing Time

        A majority of applications for a UK visa will be processed within a 3-week period if they are submitted from outside of the UK.

        Those who are inside the UK and wish to switch from a different visa to a High Potential Individual visa may be expected to wait 8 weeks for the application to process.

        All applicants should make sure that the application and supporting documents submitted are as true and accurate as possible. Any issues with a visa application can cause the processing time to increase.

        This is why it is advisable to speak to an immigration lawyer before proceeding.

        At Total Law, our immigration lawyers are experts on HPI visas and can help you ensure that you have a successful application by assisting with your application, helping you collect documents, and advising on any issues. Give us a call at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to speak to one of our team members for a successful and smooth application process.

        Extending The Visa

        High Potential Individual Visas are valid for 2 to 3 years. The period the visa is valid for will be dependent on the academic qualifications that are awarded to the applicant.

        Those who have a Bachelor’s or Post-Graduate degree (or equivalent) obtain an HPI visa that will last 2 years. However, those who are awarded a PhD or higher get an HPI that is valid for 3 years.

        HPI holders cannot extend their visas. Yet, it is still possible for these individuals to switch to another UK visa if they meet the eligibility requirements to do so.

        For example, if an HPI visa holder manages to obtain full-time work in the UK with an eligible UK business, it may be possible for the individual to obtain a UK Skilled Worker visa, although this does depend on the specific work that the applicant will be doing and the employer also being eligible to hire a Skilled Worker

        Benefits And Restrictions Whilst On A UK High Potential Individual Visa


        There are many benefits to entering the UK on a High Potential Individual Visa. However, there are also some restrictions; applicants must understand what these are before applying.

        While in the UK with a High Potential Individual visa, applicants are allowed to do the following permitted activities:

        • Work in the UK legally.
        • Seek out employment in the UK.
        • Work in the UK as a self-employed individual.
        • Engage in volunteer work.
        • Travel in and out of the UK freely.
        • Study. This is only allowed if the course of study is not eligible for a Student Visa.

        Yet, while an individual is in the UK on a High Potential Individual Visa, they will not be permitted to do the following activities:

        • Apply for any public funding or receive a state pension.
        • Work in the UK as a professional sportsperson.
        • Extend their visa.
        • Apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) or any other route to settlement in the UK.

        HPI Visas & Settlement In The UK

        High Potential Individual visas do not provide a direct route to Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK; however, there are options available for those who wish to stay in the UK permanently.

        In the majority of cases, those on this visa will be able to switch to a visa that qualifies for ILR while they are in the UK. However, be sure to apply before your current visa expires.

        High-Potential Individual Visa holders can switch to Family Visas, Global Talents Visas, or Innovator Visas. It may also be possible to switch to a Skilled Worker Visa depending on the skillset and work of the individual, as well as having acquired sponsorship from a verified employer.

        Depending on the type of visa that an applicant secured, they may be able to apply for ILR after 2, 3, or 5 years in the UK, provided they have resided in the UK continuously for this period.

        After a year of Indefinite Leave to Remain, the individual will then be able to apply for UK citizenship.

        Be aware that the time spent in the UK on a High Potential Individual Visa will not contribute to ILR on a long-term residence basis.

        Bringing Dependents

        When you are entering the UK with an HPI visa, your partner and children can apply to join you in the UK as dependents if they are eligible.

        If your dependent family members have successful applications, then their visas will typically end on the same date as yours does.

        A dependent will be considered to be any of the following:

        • A husband, wife, civil, or unmarried partner.
        • The child who is under the age of 18, including children born in the UK during the primary applicants stay in the country.
        • A child over the age of 18 who is currently in the UK as a dependent.

        Applicants need to provide evidence of the familial relationship to the dependents upon application.

        A dependent partner must be able to prove one of the following statements when applying:

        • The applicant and their partner are in a marriage or civil partnership that is legally recognised in the UK.
        • The applicant and their partner have been living together in a relationship for a minimum of 2 years upon applying.

        A dependent child will need to fit the following criteria:

        • The child must live with the applicant unless they are living away from home in full-time education, such as for university or at a boarding school.
        • The child must not be in a civil partnership or married.

        The applicant will also need to provide evidence of address, which can be done via the following documents:

        • A bank statement.
        • A driving licence.
        • Credit card bills.
        • NHS registration documents.
        • An official letter from the child’s college or university.

        Applicants with dependents will need to have additional funds to support their family in the UK.

        • Your partner required £285.
        • One child required £315.
        • Each additional child will require £200.

        Additionally, applicants will need to remember that each family member will need to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge.

        Our Immigration Team Can Help

        The High Potential Individual HPI Visa for the UK is a fantastic visa option if you are a skilled individual who has recently graduated from a top-tier university. To apply for an HPI visa, however, you must meet multiple eligibility criteria and ensure that you have the relevant documents ready.

        The visa process can be complex, and this is why you can benefit from talking to a skilled immigration lawyer. A member of our team at Total Law can help you complete your application for this visa to ensure there are no errors and, thus, a smooth application process. To find out how we can help you, give us a call today at +44 (0)333 305 9375.

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