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High Potential Individual Visa

The High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa is designed for individuals abroad with a degree from a prestigious international university who seek to move to the UK for work. Contact our immigration solicitors for a free consultation at +44 (0) 1293 522 275 or fill out our form to discuss your UK High Potential Individual visa application.

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November 10, 2023

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The High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa is designed for foreign nationals who have recently obtained an academic qualification at the degree level from a leading international university and wish to come to the UK for employment or job-seeking purposes. If you are contemplating the High Potential Individual Visa, it is essential to take note of the following:

  • A job offer is not a requirement for application.
  • Applications can be submitted from within or outside the UK.
  • Academic qualifications acquired from UK universities are not considered eligible.
  • If you possess or are on the verge of completing a degree-level qualification or higher in the UK, you may want to explore the graduate visa or skilled worker visa as viable alternatives.

The High Potential Individual scheme was implemented on 30 May 2022 to encourage individuals with exceptional abilities to address the considerable demand for skilled workers in the UK.

UK High Potential Individual Visa Requirements

To be eligible for the UK High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa, prospective applicants must satisfy specific criteria. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the requirements:

  • Educational Qualification:
    • Possess a qualification equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, UK postgraduate degree, or UK PhD or doctorate.
    • The degree must be obtained from an eligible university outside the UK.
    • The qualification should have been gained within the last 5 years.
  • English Language Proficiency:
    • Meet the English language requirement of at least level B1.
    • Options to fulfil this requirement include passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) at CEFR Level B1 or above in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
    • Alternatively, applicants can present a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, acquired from a UK educational establishment started before the age of 18.
    • A degree-level qualification taught in English, equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD, is also acceptable.
    • Applicants from exempt English-speaking countries are eligible.
  • Financial Capacity:
    • Demonstrate sufficient personal savings to support oneself while in the UK.
    • The current financial requirement is £1,270 or more.
    • Applicants must have held the required funds for at least 28 days before the date of application.
    • Individuals already in the UK for 12 months or more are exempt from meeting the support funds requirement.
  • Ineligibility Criteria:
    • Applicants cannot apply if they were previously granted an HPI visa (only one application is allowed under this scheme).
    • Previous holders of a Graduate visa are ineligible.
    • Individuals who have spent time in the UK as a Doctorate Extension Scheme student are not eligible.
  • High Potential Individual Visa University List:
    • Qualifying universities for the HPI visa must be outside the UK.
    • Applicants need to submit their qualification for verification by Ecctis, ensuring it meets or exceeds the standard of a UK bachelor’s or UK postgraduate degree.
    • The government publishes an annual list of the top 50 non-UK universities eligible for the HPI visa.
Qualifying universities for HPI VisaCountry of University
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)USA
Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)Hong Kong
Columbia UniversityUSA
Cornell UniversityUSA
Duke UniversityUSA
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL Switzerland)Switzerland
ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)Switzerland
Harvard UniversityUSA
Johns Hopkins UniversityUSA
Karolinska InstituteSweden
Kyoto UniversityJapan
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)USA
McGill UniversityCanada
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)Singapore
National University of SingaporeSingapore
New York University (NYU)USA
Northwestern UniversityUSA
Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research UniversityFrance
Peking UniversityChina
Princeton UniversityUSA
Stanford UniversityUSA
Tsinghua UniversityChina
University of British ColumbiaCanada
University of California, BerkeleyUSA
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)USA
University of California, San DiegoUSA
University of Chicago USUSA
University of Hong KongHong Kong
University of MelbourneAustralia
University of Michigan-Ann ArborUSA
University of Munich (LMU Munich)Germany
University of PennsylvaniaUSA
University of Texas at AustinUSA
University of TokyoJapan
University of TorontoCanada
University of WashingtonUSA
Yale UniversityUSA

It is crucial to consult the official High Potential Individual Visa UK universities list on the Home Office website before applying, considering the appropriate university list for the year of graduation.

High Potential Individual Visa required document checklist

Ensuring a successful High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa application necessitates meticulous documentation. Here is an expanded breakdown of the documents requested by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI):

  • Academic Qualification Confirmation:
    • A statement from Ecctis verifying the eligibility of your qualification for the HPI visa scheme (an Academic Qualification Level Statement).
  • English Language Proficiency:
    • Proof of meeting the English language requirement:
      • A pass certificate for a Secure English Language Test (SELT) English language qualification at CEFR Level B1 or above.
      • Evidence of possessing a degree or higher qualification taught in English.
  • Financial Capacity:
    • A bank statement demonstrating that you have maintained a minimum of £1,270 in savings for at least 28 days before the application.
  • Identification:
    • Passport for verification of identity.
  • Immigration Status:
    • Biometric residence permit (BRP) or alternative evidence of your immigration status, especially if you are already in the UK.
  • Family Relationship Documentation:
    • Evidence of your relationship to your dependent partner or children if they are accompanying you in the application.
  • Health Screening (if applicable):
    • Tuberculosis (TB) test results, particularly if you are from a country listed by the UKVI.

Please note that this document checklist is not exhaustive, and the required documents may vary based on individual circumstances.

How to Apply for a UK High Potential Individual Visa

Applying for a UK High Potential Individual Visa involves a series of steps:

  1. Qualification Validation:
    • Apply to Ecctis to validate the eligibility of your qualification.
  2. Online Application:
    • Complete and submit the HPI application form online.
  3. Fee Payment:
    • Pay the required application fees.
  4. Biometric Appointment:
    • Book an appointment with a UKVCAS service point (if inside the UK) or a Visa Application Centre (VAC) if outside the UK to provide biometrics. Alternatively, use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.
  5. Document Submission:
    • Upload the necessary documents to UKVI.
  6. Biometric Verification:
    • Attend the biometric appointment to provide fingerprints and other required biometric information.

In most cases, a decision on your HPI visa application is expected within 3 weeks.

Duration of High Potential Individual Visa

The High Potential Individual Visa permits a stay in the UK for up to 2 or 3 years, depending on the qualification level. PhD or other doctoral-level qualification holders can stay for up to 3 years, while other degree holders are allowed up to 2 years. Unfortunately, this visa category cannot be extended beyond the initial granted period.

Should you wish to extend your stay, applying to switch to a different visa type, such as the Skilled Worker visa, becomes necessary.

High Potential Individual Visa Dependants

Holders of the High Potential Individual Visa have the option to bring their dependants to the UK. Eligible dependants include:

  • Husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner (with a prerequisite of a minimum 2-year relationship for unmarried partners).
  • Children under 18 or those over 18 who are still financially dependent on you.

Dependants need to apply separately, pay the application fee, provide biometrics, and fulfil all requirements for entry or stay in the UK. Additionally, they must present evidence of sufficient support funds, which are as follows:

  • £285 for your partner.
  • £315 for one child.
  • £200 for each additional child.

High Potential Individual Visa to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

While the High Potential Individual visa does not offer a direct route to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), several options are available for those seeking permanent residency in the UK. Visa holders may consider switching to a Family Visa (e.g. Spouse visa), Global Talent Visa, or an Innovator Visa. Depending on the chosen visa, an application for ILR can be made after 2, 3, or 5 years of continuous residence in the UK. Once ILR is granted and held for 1 year, eligibility to apply for UK citizenship is established.

For expert assistance with any work or business visa application, including the Start-up Visa, Scale-up Visa, Global Mobility Business Visa, Graduate Trainee Visa, or the UK Skilled Worker Visa, we are well-equipped to provide guidance. If you have inquiries about the new High Potential Individual Visa or Global Talent Visa, consult with our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation at +44 (0) 1293 522 275 or via email at

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