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The High Potential Individual visa: What you need to know

Last Updated: 26 Jul, 2022

Everything you need to know about the UK's new visa route for recent graduates from the world's top universities

The UK government has announced a new visa route that allows graduates from the world’s top 50 non-UK universities to come to Britain to look for employment or set up their own businesses. Keep reading to find out more about the High Potential Individual (HPI) visa.


What is the HPI?

The HPI visa allows graduates from top universities to stay in the UK for at least two years. Applicants holding a bachelor’s or master’s will be granted a two-year work visa, while PhD holders will be granted a three-year visa. The visa allows eligible individuals to come to the UK without a prior job offer, with the option of dependent partners and children to join them in the UK.

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “This new visa offer means that the UK can continue to attract the best and brightest from across the globe. The route means that the UK will grow as a leading international hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.”

You can only apply for the HPI visa once. The HPI visa cannot be extended, however, you have the option to switch to a different visa once this one expires if you wish to stay in the UK.


Who is eligible?

  1. You must be 18 years of age or older.
  2. You must have graduated from one of the eligible non-UK universities in the last five years. Your qualification must be at the same level as a UK bachelor’s, postgraduate or PhD. Applicants are not required to meet a certain grade threshold.
  3. You must be able to speak, read, listen and write English to at least B1 level (intermediate).
  4. You must prove you have maintenance funds of at least £1,270 to support yourself once you arrive in the UK.


How much does it cost?

As well as proof of maintenance funds, applicants will have to pay the application fee of £715, £210 for Ecctis to check if your qualification is valid (£252 if you’re applying from within the UK) as well as a healthcare surcharge, which allows you to use the NHS.


How can I apply?

You must apply online, and your application depends on whether you are outside the UK or inside the UK and need to switch to a different visa route. If eligible, your dependents can also apply to join you in the UK and will need to complete separate applications. If you are outside the UK, you can expect to receive the decision on your application within three weeks, and if you are already in the UK, eight weeks.


What can I do with the HPI visa?

With this HPI, you have the opportunity to work in most jobs, volunteer or even set up your own business. You will also be able to travel abroad and return to the UK. If you are thinking about studying on your HPI visa, you can only do so if your course is not eligible for a Student visa.


UK Study Centre is OISC accredited company and provides immigration support for Student, Graduate route and High Potential Individual visas in the UK.

If you are thinking about coming to the UK for work or study, do not hesitate to get in touch with UK Study Centre for expert advice.

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