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High Potential Individual Visa: How To Apply

Are you a graduate from any of the world’s most prestigious universities? If your answer is yes, you could have a future in the UK with the High Potential Individual Visa.

The High Potential Individual Visa is one of the most recent UK visas, which means the route is relatively untapped. In this post, you’ll find all the info you need to know about the HPI Visa.

What is the High Potential Individual Visa?

The UK government announced the High Potential Individual Visa in May 2022 as part of its effort to recruit top-tier talent to the country. The visa permits graduates of top global universities to enter and reside in the UK for a duration of 2-3 years to explore professional prospects.

A bachelor’s degree or higher from an institution that is listed on the list of the best global universities for the applicant’s graduation year within the last five years is a requirement for this visa.

Contrary to other UK visas, the HPI visa does not require applicants to have already secured a work offer from a UK firm.

Holders of an HPI visa have the option to change to a different long-term employment visa at a later time.

Who Is Eligible for the HPI Visa?

You must satisfy the following conditions in order to be eligible for an HPI Visa: 

  • You must be up to eighteen years.
  • Within the last five years, you must have gotten a degree from a top-tier international university.
  • You must have obtained a degree from a reputable institution that is comparable to a UK Bachelor’s degree, a UK Ph.D., a UK postgraduate (Master’s) degree or other doctoral-level degrees. 
  • You must be able to speak English well enough to qualify. Persons from countries native English-speaking countries, such as the United States, automatically meet this requirement.
  • You must have the funds and resources necessary to support yourself while in the United Kingdom.
  • You must not have received a Graduate Visa or entrance into the UK via the Student Doctorate Extension Scheme in the past.

To confirm that your academic credentials are legitimate and meet the requirements for the HPI Visa, you must submit an application to Ecctis.

Notably, the High Potential Individual route does not accept graduates from British universities within the last five years. However, if you choose to stay in the UK and are currently in the country on a student visa, you may be allowed to apply for a graduate visa.

What Universities Are on the Top-Rated Global Universities List?

As previously stated, you must have graduated from a top-ranked university within the last five years to qualify for a High Potential Individual Visa. On the gov.uk website, you can get lists of qualified universities organized by academic year.

These universities were selected based on the requirement that they had at least two appearances as top 50 educational institutions in the below rankings lists:

High Potential Individual Visa Required Documents

The following documentation is mandatory when you apply for a High Potential Individual Visa: 

  • A current passport or other travel document
  • Proof of your English language proficiency
  • A declaration from Ecctis confirming the eligibility of your qualification 

You must also submit an “Academic Qualification Level Statement and English Language Proficiency Statement” if you requested Ecctis to confirm that your degree was taught in English. 

Depending on your situation, you could additionally be required to submit the following documents:

  • If you’re switching from a different visa to this one, your biometric residence permit (BRP) or online evidence of your immigration status 
  • If you are applying with your partner or children, you must provide evidence of your relationship with them. 
  • Your tuberculosis test results, if you come from one of the countries that is required. 

Notably, documents that aren’t in Welsh or English must come with a certified translation.

How to Apply If You’re Outside the UK

Application for the High Potential Individual visa is online. You’ll have to provide identification documentation as part of the application procedure. In particular, will be required to either: 

  • Take your picture and fingerprints at a visa application center, and subsequently receive a biometric residence permit, or;
  • Scan your identification document using the “UK Immigration: ID Check” application. 

If you require an appointment, the visa embassy might need to retain your passport and supporting documentation while they process your application. 

How to Apply If You’re Inside the UK

If you are already in the UK on another visa, you might be able to change to a High Potential Individual visa.

Suppose your current visa has dependents. In that case they also need to switch their visa, and your spouse or kids must also submit a separate application. 

Not all UK visas support switching to the High Potential Individual Visa. You can switch if you’re on any of the below 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

Furthermore, if you are in the UK, you cannot apply for a High Potential Individual visa on immigration bail. Also, you can’t apply if you were granted permission to remain outside of immigration laws, such as on humanitarian grounds. You must first exit the UK and apply from a foreign country.

High Potential Individual Visa Application Fees

The High Potential Individual visa application fee is £715. However, you must also pay the Ecctis qualification verification fee. The verification fee costs £210 if you’re applying from outside and £252 if applying from inside the UK.

Furthermore, you must pay the immigration health surcharge annually while you are a UK resident. 

You must also make sure you meet the financial criteria of having £1,270 in your account to maintain yourself while you are in the UK. Otherwise, you can’t get the HPI visa. 

In order to qualify for a visa, you must have had the money on hand for a minimum of 28 days straight, with 28 of those days falling within the previous 31 days.

If your partner and children are traveling with you, they must demonstrate that they may be able to support themselves while in the UK.

Only applicants who are switching visas, and have been in the UK for a minimum of 12 months can skip this financial requirement.

HPI Visa Processing Time

Usually, if you are applying from outside the UK, you will get a verdict from the embassy in three weeks. 

Meanwhile, you will get a verdict within eight weeks if you submit your application from within the UK. 

Should the embassy contact you, your application may take longer. The embassy will typically contact you if they require verification of your supporting documentation or you must appear at the interview. 

Other reasons could be individual circumstances, such as if you have a criminal record.

You will receive an email or letter with the verdict of your application after the embassy finishes processing it.

If your application is accepted, you’ll get one of the following: 

  • a vignette – sticker – that is placed on your passport if you submitted your biometric information at the start of your application.
  • Online access to the verdict of your application if you scanned your identification document with the smartphone app.

After arriving in the UK, you must also obtain a biometric residence permit if you have a vignette in your passport. This must be done within 10 days of your arrival in the UK or before the vignette sticker expires. 

If your application is rejected, you’ll receive a letter or email outlining the reasons why, along with the return of your passport.

You could either request an administrative review or immigration decision appeal, depending on which is specified in the email you receive.

How Long Is the HPI Visa Valid?

Your High Potential Individual Visa may be valid for two or three years, depending on your academic qualification.

If you have a Bachelor’s or Post-Graduate degree, you will get a HPI Visa valid for 2 years. On the other hand, if you have a Ph. D., you will get an HPI valid for 3 years.

When your visa expires, you may be able to switch to a different visa if you’re eligible. In particular, you can switch to the Skilled Worker visa. However, you can’t extend your HPI visa.

In other words, if your visa expires and you can’t change status, you’ll have to leave the UK.

What Can I Do With a High Potential Individual Visa?

You can find jobs and work in most jobs in the UK, as a High Potential Individual Visa holder. In addition, you can be self-employed, and live in the country with your partner and children, if they’re eligible.

The HPI Visa also lets you undertake voluntary work, and if you leave the UK, you can always return if your visa is still valid.

However, the High Potential Individual Visa also has its limitations. Notably, you can’t access public funds and you can’t work as a professional sportsperson.

You also cannot extend your visa, as mentioned earlier, which means you can’t settle in the UK, unless you switch visas.

High Potential Individual Visa Dependents

If your family members fit any of the following criteria, they may accompany you to the UK on a dependent visa:

  • Unmarried “de facto” partner, civil partner, or spouse 
  • Children less than 18 years of age
  • Children over 18 who are not married and are now residing in the UK as your dependents 

Family members who wish to apply for a dependent visa must provide proof of their relationship with you. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, adoption certificates, and other similar documents will be crucial.

Studying on High Potential Individual Visa

The High Potential Individual visa permits holders to study in the UK. However, you can only study a course that’s not supported by the standard UK Student Visa. Otherwise, you must apply for a Student Visa.

You can check the list of courses supported by the Student Visa on the official UK GOV website.

Furthermore, you may need to first acquire an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before you can study on a HPI visa. In particular, an ATAS certificate is necessary for studying sensitive courses.

However, not everyone has to apply for an ATAS certificate. Students and researchers who are citizens of EU countries, the EE), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America do not need to.

If you need an ATAS certificate, you should apply before you even apply for the HPI visa. You can apply anytime after you receive the admission confirmation from your school.

Suppose you’re in the UK on a HPI visa and then decide to study. In that case, you can still apply but it shouldn’t be less than four months before your visa expires.

Your ATAS certificate is valid for no more than six months from the date it’s issued. Therefore, ensure you begin your course before then, else you’ll need to apply for a new certificate.

Bottom Line

The High Potential Individual Visa ranks among the easiest visa routes to the UK currently. You’d agree that it has high demands regarding eligibility, but if you meet the requirements, you’re about 90% sure of getting the visa.

Drop your comments below of you have any questions regarding this UK visa.

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