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High Potential Individual Visa

The High Potential Individual (HPI) visa is a route for international graduates who have within the last 5 years obtained a degree-level qualification, equivalent to a UK bachelors or postgraduate degree, from a university on the Global Universities List. This visa allows applicants to come to the UK to work for a period of either 2 or 3 years, depending on how many points they have obtained. The HPI visa allows applicants to bring their dependants, but it is not a route to settlement (indefinite leave to remain). It can be applied for from inside and outside the UK.

Am I eligible for the HPI visa?

To be eligible for the High Potential Individual visa, you must have been awarded a qualification within the last five years from one of the following universities, provided the university was on the Global Universities List at the time of you obtained your qualification.

Does a qualification from a UK university count?

No. UK bachelor's degrees, postgraduate degrees, and PhD or doctorate qualifications are not eligible for the High Potential Individual visa. If you are in the UK and have recently been awarded one of these qualifications, or are expecting to graduate from a UK university, you may be able to switch from the Student visa to the Graduate visa.

Do I need to prove my English language level?

Yes, you must show that you can read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1 on the CEFR scale. This can be done by passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) or, if you have an academic qualification taught in English, by applying to have your qualification verified by Ecctis for either £210 or £252.

Applicants who are nationals of any of the following countries do not need to provide their knowledge of English:

Antigua and Barbuda


New Zealand



St Kitts and Nevis

The Bahamas


St Lucia



St Vincent and the Grenadines



Trinidad and Tobago

The British Overseas Territories



What are the financial requirements?

Unless you have already been in the UK for 12 months, you will need to show you have at least £1,270 available to you when you arrive in the UK (check the rules on meeting the financial requirement here). On top of that, you will have to pay for the Ecctis qualification check mentioned above. The application fee is currently £822 and a £624 per year Immigration Health Surcharge will be applicable.

Can I switch to the HPI visa? -

You may be eligible to switch to the High Potential Individual visa if you are already in the UK on another visa. You must leave the UK and apply from abroad if your are on any of the following visas:

  • Standard visitor visa

  • Short-term Student visa

  • Graduate visa

  • Parent of a Child Student visa

  • Season Worker visa

  • Domestic Worker in a Private Household visa

  • Leave to remain outside the Immigration Rules


If you believe you may be eligible for the HPI visa, or want to discuss this route in more detail, contact us for specialist advice.


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