The High Potential Individual visa is dedicated to attracting graduates from leading non-UK universities who have the potential to work in fields such as science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The aim of this route is to cement the UK’s reputation as a hub for technological advancement by attracting some of the best and brightest from across the world.


One of the most attractive elements of the High Potential Individual (HPI) visa is the fact that it allows international graduates to work in the UK without even needing a job offer. It therefore offers an excellent opportunity for international graduates.


To be eligible for this route, applicants must have either a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree qualification from one of the top global universities outside the UK. This list is published in the Global Universities List by the Home Office.  It is compiled annually and consists of institutions that are included on an annual top 50 universities list. You can view that list here.


How long can I stay?


Permission to remain in the UK will be granted for a period of 2 years for applicants who hold a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s or Master’s level degree. This is increased to 3 years where the applicant holds a qualification equivalent to a UK PhD.


Once in the UK, the applicants will be able to freely look for jobs and work for UK companies. Although this route does not lead to settlement, applicants will be able to switch to other types of visas which lead to settlement. This includes the skilled worker visa, scale-up visas and others.


In addition, the applicants will also be able to bring their spouse and dependent children with them. Keep reading to learn more about this.


How to apply for a High Potential Individual Visa?


Like other visas, the HPI visa must be applied for online. However, the way you apply varies depending on whether you are outside the UK or inside the UK.


Applying from outside the UK


In order to be eligible for applying for a HPI visa, you must apply within five years of being awarded a qualification from one of the universities on the eligibility list.


You must also prove your identity and provide supporting documents as part of your application. This will vary based your type of passport and where you are from. Some applicants will have to go to a visa application centre to get a biometric residence permit, while others will be able to use the UK Immigration: ID Check app.


When you apply, it will be made clear what you need to do. Following these steps, it will usually take under 3 weeks for you to get a decision.


Happy two international students. Graduation Student Commencement University Certificate Success Degree Concept.


Switching to a High Potential Individual Visa


It may be possible for you to switch to a HPI visa if you’re in the UK and on a different type of visa. However, you cannot apply to switch to this visa if you are in the UK on the following visas:


  • Visit visa
  • Short-term student visa
  • Graduate visa
  • Parent of a Child Student visa
  • Seasonal worker visa
  • Domestic worker in a private household visa
  • On immigration bail
  • Because you were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, for example on compassionate grounds


In order to apply for a HPI visa, you must leave the UK if you are on one of the above visas.  You must also ensure that you apply before the expiry of your current visa.


Like when you are applying from outside the UK, you must also provide a range of documents such as:

  • a valid passport or other travel document that shows your identity and nationality
  • proof of your knowledge of English


You must also pay for Ecctis to check that your qualification is valid. Ecctis will send you a statement once they have checked your qualification which you will also need to provide as part of your application.


Finally, depending on our circumstances you may also need to provide:


  • Your biometric residence permit (BRP) or online proof of your immigration status
  • Proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they are applying with you
  • And your tuberculosis test results if you are from a listed country. See here.


Like if you were applying from outside the UK, you also need to prove your identity if you are switching to a HPI visa.


Following the submission of your application, you will usually receive a decision with 8 weeks.


Can my partner and children come?


Smiling young family sitting in leaves


If your partner and children are eligible, they can also apply to join you or stay in the UK as your dependants.


A dependent partner may be your spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner. A dependent children may be your child under 18 or your child over 18 if they are currently in the UK as your dependent.


You must however need to prove the following for your partner and/or child respectively




  • You are in a civil partnership/marriage which is recognised in the UK
  • Or, you have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply


For your child:


  • live with you, unless they’re living away from home in full-time education – for example, at boarding school or university
  • not be married or in a civil partnership
  • You’ll need to provide evidence of their address, such as:
  • a bank statement
  • credit card bills
  • driving licence
  • NHS registration document
  • an official letter from their university or college


How much does a High Potential Individual Visa cost?


The fee for the HPI visa application is £822. You will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge of £624 for each year you are in the UK. This healthcare surcharge is set to increase to £1035 from 2024.


If you get a job in the public health and care sector sector after you pay the healthcare surcharge then you may be able to get a refund.


Finally, if you have been in the UK for less than one year, you will need to show that you have at least £1270 available unless you are exempt. If you have a partner and/or children, they will also need to prove they can support themselves in the UK.


If you are looking to apply for a High Potential Individual Visa, don’t hesitate. Contact Lisa’s Law today!


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