Visit the UK on a High Potential Individual Visa

With a High Potential Individual (HPI) visa, you can live and work in the UK for at least 2 years if you have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university outside the UK within the last 5 years.

If you have been awarded a PhD or other doctoral qualification, you can stay in the UK for 3 years. However, you cannot apply for this visa if you have already been granted a Graduate visa or if you came to the UK as a Doctorate Extension Scheme student. Further study on a High Potential Individual visa is only permitted if your course is not eligible for a Student Visa

A High Potential Individual visa allows you to do voluntary and paid work in most jobs, and to become self-employed. You may also travel overseas and return to the UK whilst on the visa and bring your partner and children to the UK with you if they are eligible.

Limitations of the HPI visa

UK High Potential Individual visa eligibility requirements

To be eligible to apply for the High Potential Individual visa, you must also meet certain other requirements. These include, but may not be limited to showing:

  • That you have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university outside the UK within the last 5 years
    • You can check the list of eligible universities here 
  • That Ecctis has reviewed your qualification and confirmed that it is at least equivalent to a bachelor’s, postgraduate, or PhD or doctorate degree awarded by a UK institution.
  • That you have at least £1,270 in your bank account to support yourself whilst in the UK
    • These savings need to be available for at least 28 days in a row within 31 days of applying for this visa
  • An identity document that shows your nationality (e.g. a passport)
  • Evidence of your relationship with any dependants (partner and/or children) you want to bring with you
    • Any dependants will also need to lodge their own application in order to come to the UK with you
  • Your tuberculosis test results (if you are from a country where you have to take one)
  • A certified translation of your documents if they are not in English or Welsh
  • That you can speak, write, read, and write English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale, unless you are from one of the following:
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Australia
    • The Bahamas
    • Barbados
    • Belize
    • any of the British Overseas Territories
    • Canada
    • Dominica
    • Grenada
    • Guyana
    • Jamaica
    • Malta
    • New Zealand
    • St Kitts and Nevis
    • St Lucia
    • St Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • USA

NB: You do not need to have a job offer in order to apply for a High Potential Individual Visa. You can only apply for this visa once.

UK High Potential Individual Visa application process

Applications for the High Potential Individual visa can be made from inside or outside the UK. 

If you are applying to switch to this visa whilst in the UK, you are not allowed to leave the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) until you are notified of the outcome of your application. 

If you apply for a High Potential Individual visa from outside the UK, you’ll usually receive a decision within 3 weeks. If you apply from within the UK, receiving a decision may take up to 8 weeks.

UK High Potential Individual Visa costs

In addition to the visa fee, you will also have to pay a healthcare surcharge when you submit your application. The standard surcharge is payable for each year that the visa will be valid for. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be entitled to some of this money back. For example, individuals who get a job in the NHS may be able to apply for a refund of the healthcare surcharge.

You should also note that you will be charged a fee for the qualifications check by Ecctis, which will be at least £210.

If you’re unsure if this visa is right for you or how to apply, or have any other questions, you can seek advice from one of our qualified migration agents below.

Neveen Galal

Neveen is a UK Immigration Solicitor with over 20 years experience in UK Immigration Law. She represents corporate and individual clients seeking assistance with any visa category to the UK. Neveen is a graduate of Westminster University, from which she was awarded the 2021 Westminster Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award.

Neveen’s rapid career trajectory saw her progress at pace from paralegal to Head of Department level, and then to earning a place on her firm’s Board of Directors by the age of 28. This achievement was recognised by Who’s Who placing her in their directory of ‘Britain’s Business Elite’ in 2008. Neveen then went on to establish her own boutique Immigration Law Firm in the City of London in 2015. She also co-founded the Hexagon Legal Network in 2017.

Neveen is passionate about all aspects of UK immigration law, and is committed to providing bespoke residence and citizenship solutions to citizens across the globe that wish to relocate to the UK. Neveen’s immigration advisory services are predominately geared towards highly skilled workers and companies wishing to have a UK presence, however she and her team of experienced immigration advisors can also assist with partner-based applications, student visas and all other personal and business immigration matters.

If you would like to discuss your UK immigration matter or have any questions about your options for immigrating to the UK, you can book a consultation here.