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UK High Potential Individual Visa

The High Potential Individual (HPI) visa is for foreign nationals with an overseas degree-level academic qualification recently gained from a top international university who wish to come to the UK to work or look for work.

Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form to discuss your UK High Potential Individual visa application.

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The High Potential Individual (HPI) visa is for foreign nationals who recently gained an overseas degree-level academic qualification from a top international university to come to the UK to work or look for work. If you are considering the High Potential Individual visa, it is important to note:

  • You do not require a job offer to apply.
  • It is possible to apply within or outside the UK.
  • Degree-level qualifications gained from UK universities do not qualify.
  • If you have or are just about to complete a degree level qualification or higher in the UK, consider the graduate visa or skilled worker visa as an alternative.

The High Potential Individual scheme was put in place on 30 May 2022 to encourage individuals with high levels of ability to meet the significant demand for skilled workers in the UK.

UK High Potential Individual visa requirements

To qualify for UK High Potential Individual visa you must have been awarded an overseas degree qualification in the last 5 years from a top global university recognised by the Home Office. Below are the detailed HPI visa eligibility criteria:

  • Have a qualification equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, UK postgraduate degree, or UK Ph.D. or doctorate from an eligible university (only universities outside of the UK are eligible under this scheme) gained in the last 5 years.
  • Meet the English language requirement: at least level B1
  • Have enough personal savings to support yourself while in the UK (this requirement does not apply if you have already been in the UK for 1 year or more).

It is important to note that you cannot apply for an HPI visa UK if:

  • You were previously granted an HPI visa (you can only apply once under this scheme)
  • You were previously granted a Graduate visa
  • You have already spent time in the UK as a Doctorate Extension Scheme student

High Potential Individual visa university list

Applicants for the High Potential Individual visa must have been awarded an overseas degree-level academic qualification during the 5 years before the date of their application. Your qualification must also meet or exceed the standard of a UK bachelor’s or UK postgraduate degree, according to Ecctis. You will need to submit an application to Ecctis and pay a fee to have your qualification checked before you can apply for your visa. Qualifications gained from a UK university do not qualify for the HPI visa.

The High Potential Individual visa university list is published by the government and is updated each year. The list contains the top 50 non-UK universities. Here is the latest qualifying universities list in 2021 for UK High Potential Individual visa.

Please note: It is important to refer to the official High Potential Individual visa UK universities list found here on the Home Office website before you apply. You will also need to use the appropriate university list for the year in which you graduated.

Qualifying universities for HPI visa

Country of University

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

USA

Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

Hong Kong

Columbia University

USA

Cornell University

USA

Duke University

USA

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL Switzerland)

Switzerland

ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)

Switzerland

Harvard University

USA

Johns 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 (NYU)

USA

Northwestern University

USA

Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University

France

Peking University

China

Princeton University

USA

Stanford University

USA

Tsinghua University

China

University of British Columbia

Canada

University of California, Berkeley

USA

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

USA

University of California, San Diego

USA

University of Chicago US

USA

University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

University of Melbourne

Australia

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

USA

University of Munich (LMU Munich)

Germany

University of Pennsylvania

USA

University of Texas at Austin

USA

University of Tokyo

Japan

University of Toronto

Canada

University of Washington

USA

Yale University

USA


High Potential Individual Visa English language requirement

To meet the HPI visa English language requirement, applicants must either:

  • Pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) English language qualification at CEFR Level B1 or above in speaking, listening, reading, and writing
  • Have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, from an educational establishment in the UK that you started when under the age of 18
  • Have a degree-level qualification taught in English – this must be equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D., or
  • Be from an exempt English-speaking country1.

High Potential Individual visa financial requirement

HPI visa applicants must have sufficient funds to support themselves while in the UK. The current requirement is £1,270 or more and must have been held by the applicant for at least 28-days before the date of application. If you are already in the UK and have been here for 12 months or more, you will not be required to meet the support funds requirement.

High Potential Individual visa required document checklist

To make a successful HPI visa application, it is essential that you provide all of the documents requested by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI); these documents may include:

  • A statement from Ecctis confirming your qualification is eligible for the HPI visa scheme (an Academic Qualification Level Statement)
  • Proof of meeting the English language requirement, such as a pass certificate for a Secure English Language Test (SELT) English language qualification at CEFR Level B1 or above, evidence you have a degree or higher taught in English etc.
  • A bank statement showing you have held £1,270 in savings for at least 28 days before applying
  • passport to prove your ID
  • biometric residence permit (BRP) or other evidence of your immigration status if you are in the UK
  • evidence of your relationship to your dependant partner or children if they are applying with you
  • your tuberculosis (TB) test results if you are from a listed country

Please note above document checklist is not comprehensive. The required documents may vary based on your individual circumstances for your application.

How to apply for a UK High Potential Individual visa UK

To apply for a UK High Potential Individual visa, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Apply to Ecctis2 to check if your qualification is valid.
  2. Complete and submit the HPI application form online3.
  3. Pay the application fees.
  4. Book an appointment with a UKVCAS service point (if inside the UK) or VAC (if outside the UK) to provide your biometrics. You may also be able to provide your biometrics using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.
  5. Upload your documents to UKVI.
  6. Attend your biometric appointment and provide your biometrics.

In most cases, you can expect to receive a decision within 3 weeks on your HPI visa UK application.

How long does a high potential individual visa last?

You will be able to stay in the UK for up to 2 or 3 years with a high potential individual visa. The exact amount of time you will be allowed to stay depends on your qualification level. Holders of a Ph.D. or other doctoral-level qualification can stay in the UK for up to 3 years. All other degree holders will be permitted to stay for up to 2 years.

Unfortunately, the High Potential Individual visa cannot be further extended past the initial period granted. Where a visa holder in this category wishes to stay longer, they will need to apply to switch to a different type of visa (e.g., Skilled Worker visa).

High Potential Individual visa dependants

High Potential Individual visa holders can bring their dependant partner and children with them to the UK. Eligible dependant family members include your:

  • husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner (unmarried partners must have been together in a relationship for at least 2 years)
  • child if they are under 18
  • child if they are over 18 and are still dependant on you (i.e., living with and financially supported by you). Your child will still be classed as a dependant if they attend boarding school or live away at college or university.

Your dependants will need to apply separately, pay an application fee, have their biometrics (fingerprints and photo) taken, and otherwise meet all of the requirements to enter or stay in the UK. They will also need to provide evidence of sufficient support funds, as follows:

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

The rules also state that where your partner or children cannot apply as a dependant of an HPI visa holder if they are in the UK:

  • as a visitor
  • as a short-term student
  • as a parent of a child student
  • as a seasonal worker
  • as a domestic worker in a private household; or
  • outside the immigration rules

High Potential Individual visa to ILR

The High Potential Individual visa does not provide a direct route to ILR (settlement in the UK), but there may be options available if you wish to stay in the UK permanently. In most cases, you will be able to switch an ILR qualifying visa while in the UK. You will need to apply before your existing visa expires. High Potential Individual visa holders may consider switching to a Family Visa (i.e. Spouse visa), Global Talent visa, or an Innovator visa. Depending on which visa you secure, you may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain after 2, 3, or 5 years of continuous residence in the UK. Once you have held ILR for 1 year, you may then be eligible to apply for UK citizenship.

At Reiss Edwards, we can assist with any type of 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.

If you have questions regarding the new High Potential Individual visa or Global Talent visa, speak to our immigration lawyers today for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

References:

1 GOV.UK: Knowledge of English

2 Ecctis: Check your qualifications

3 GOV.UK: Online HPI visa application

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