UK High Potential Individual Visa
A High Potential Individual visa allows graduates of certain international universities to work in the UK for up to 3 years.
For advice and assistance with your visa application, contact Total Law today at 0333 455 3524 or use the online contact form to get in touch.
- What is the High Potential Individual Visa?
- What can I do on a High Potential Individual Visa?
- What are the Eligibility Criteria for the High Potential Individual Visa?
- What is the Required Documentation needed for the High Potential Individual Visa?
- How can I Apply for the High Potential Individual Visa If I am Outside the UK?
- How can I Apply If I am Inside the UK?
- What Are the Fees for the High Potential Individual Visa?
- How Long Does it Take for Visa Processing?
- How can Total Law help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the High Potential Individual Visa?
The High Potential Individual route allows foreign nationals who have degrees from an eligible international university on the recognized global universities list to come and work in the UK for up to two years. Those who have successfully obtained a PhD or some other doctoral-level degree may stay up to three years. After staying for three years, you will not be able to extend the visa, but you might be able to change to a Skilled Worker visa or another qualifying UK visa. To be eligible for the High Potential Individual visa, applicants must hold a PhD or equivalent doctoral-level certification from a reputable university. However, they may alternatively have completed a degree-level academic program.
Depending on your academic background, you may travel and reside in the UK for up to three years with the High Potential Individual visa without a job offer. This visa allows you to travel with your immediate family to the UK as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
It is important to note that the high potential individual visa is different from the Graduate visa. The Graduate visa immigration route is primarily for those who have successfully completed a course such as a UK bachelor’s or master’s course. Meanwhile, the High Potential Individual route is only for those who graduated outside of the UK.
What can I do on a High Potential Individual Visa?
There are certain activities and things you can do on a High Potential Individual visa, and there are restrictions on things you can do under this visa. However, under the High Potential Individual visa, you can be self-employed, work in most jobs, look for work, do voluntary work, travel abroad and return to the UK, and live in the UK with your partner and children, if they are eligible.
Under this visa, you cannot do the following:
- Apply to settle permanently in the UK
- Apply for most benefits (public funds) or the State Pension
- Extend your High Potential Individual visa
- Work as a professional sportsperson
If you want to travel and work as a sportsperson in the UK, you will need to apply for a Sportsperson visa. Since a high potential individual visa is not a route to settlement in the UK, there are other immigration routes you can take if you wish to settle permanently in the UK.
What are the Eligibility Criteria for the High Potential Individual Visa?
To qualify for the High Potential Individual visa, you must have received degrees from universities on the list of authorized world universities. You must have received the qualification within the previous five years.
Your university’s eligibility will depend on the month and year that you received your diploma. Not all global universities may be eligible for all years because the list of global universities is based on academic ranking lists for that particular year. However, the qualification you obtained must be on par with any of the following:
- A UK bachelor’s degree
- A UK postgraduate degree
- A UK Ph.D. or doctoral level qualification
To ensure that your qualification is valid and at the appropriate level, you must submit an application to Ecctis.
Other eligibility criteria you need to meet to satisfy the UK visas and immigration include:
- You must be able to prove your knowledge of English is at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. You can do this through a Secure English Language Test (SELT) or by being awarded a degree taught mainly in English. However, you may be exempted from this requirement if you are from a majority English-speaking country.
- You must meet the financial requirement to demonstrate that you can support yourself financially unless you have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months.
There are cases where you will not be allowed to apply for this visa, or else your visa will be denied. You must not apply for the High Potential Individual visa if:
- You have already been granted a Graduate visa
- You have already travelled to the UK on a Student Doctorate Extension Scheme.
- You have once applied for a High Potential Individual visa before.
What is the Required Documentation needed for the High Potential Individual Visa?
When applying for the High Potential Individual visa, specific documents must be submitted to prove your eligibility and support your applications. You will need to provide the following when you apply for a High Potential Individual Visa:
- A valid passport or other travel documents
- Proof of your knowledge of English
- A statement from Ecctis after they have checked that your qualification is eligible
- Academic Qualification Level Statement and English Language Proficiency Statement, if you have applied to Ecctis to confirm that your qualification was taught in English.
- Your biometric residence permit (BRP) or online proof of your immigration status if you switch from another visa to this visa.
- Proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they are applying with you.
- Tuberculosis test results if required.
- A certified translation of documents that are not in either English or Welsh.
How can I Apply for the High Potential Individual Visa If I am Outside the UK?
If you are outside the UK, you must apply online for the High Potential Individual visa. You will have to prove your identity or provide identification documentation as part of the application procedure.
You will be required to:
- Have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (to receive a biometric residence permit)
- Use the ”UK Immigration: ID Check” app to scan your identity document
When you apply, you will be guided on the step to take. However, you may have to attend an appointment at the visa application centre because they may need to keep your passport and documents while processing your application.
How can I Apply If I am Inside the UK?
If you already have a visa for another type of entry into the UK, you might be able to change to a High Potential Individual visa. You need to submit your application online to do this.
Your spouse or kids must also submit a separate application to change their visa. They can apply either at the same time as you or whenever their existing visa expires.
Note that if you are currently in the UK on any of the following visas, you cannot apply to transfer to a High Potential Individual visa:
- Visit visa
- Short-term student visa
- Graduate visa
- Parent of a Child Student visa
- Seasonal worker visa
- Domestic worker in a private household visa
Also, you cannot apply for a High Potential Individual visa if you are in the UK on immigration bail or were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, such as on compassionate grounds. If any of these applies to you, you must leave the UK before applying for a High Potential Individual visa from abroad.
What Are the Fees for the High Potential Individual Visa?
When applying for a High Potential Individual visa, you must pay some fees for your application to be considered. You will need to pay the following fees as part of the High Potential Individual visa:
- High Potential Individual visa fee: £715
- Ecctis qualification verification: £210 (£252 if applying from inside the UK)
- Immigration health surcharge fee: £624
You must also ensure that you meet the financial criteria of having £1,270 in cash to maintain yourself while in the UK to receive entrance clearance. To qualify for a visa, you must have had the money on hand for a minimum of 28 days straight, with 28 days occurring within the previous 31 days.
Unless you have been in the UK for at least 12 months with a valid visa, you will often need to demonstrate that you fulfil the financial criterion when you apply. If your partner and kids are travelling with you, they must demonstrate that they may be able to support themselves while in the UK.
How Long Does it Take for Visa Processing?
Once your application has been received, you should expect a decision on your application within three weeks if you apply from outside the UK.
However, if you apply from inside the UK, you will get a decision within eight weeks.
There are cases where your application may take longer than usual. Still, you may be contacted if your supporting documents need to be verified, if you need to attend an interview, or in case of any personal circumstances like a criminal conviction.
How can Total Law help?
Total Law’s excellent immigration lawyers are vastly experienced in dealing with high potential individual visas and provide advice and support to make your application process smooth.
Our immigration lawyers will help you determine that you meet the eligibility criteria for high potential individual visas and will advise you on which supporting documentation you should have. In addition, years of experience with this process have made us aware of the common mistakes that applicant make that causes application refusal. Therefore, we will help you avoid these errors to ensure that your application is consistent and readily accepted.
If you have had a previous refusal, Total Law can help you file an appeal or walk you through the re-application process to ensure you get accepted. So contact us today at 0333 455 3524 to start your journey towards a successful UK visa application.
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Frequently Asked Questions
You will receive an email or letter containing the outcome of your application after it has been processed. If your application is accepted, you will get one of the following:
- A vignette, a sticker placed on your passport (if you gave your biometric information at a visa application centre).
- Online access to information about your immigration status (if you used the smartphone app to prove your identity).
After arriving in the UK, you must also obtain a biometric residence permit if you have a vignette in your passport. You must collect this before the vignette sticker expires or within ten days of your arrival in the UK.
Yes, you can. The high potential individual visa allows you to travel with your immediate family or dependants (partner and dependent child) to the UK as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.