High Potential Individual Visa

The High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa allows skilled graduates to live and work in the UK.

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A quick look

This visa lasts for at least two years, and three years if you have a PHD or other doctoral qualification.

No, this visa does not need to be accompanied by a Sponsor Licence.

You are allowed to:

  • Work in most jobs
  • Look for work
  • Be self-employed
  • Continue living in the UK with your partner and children, if they’re eligible
  • Do voluntary work
  • Travel abroad and return to the UK

You are not allowed to:

  • Apply for most public funds/benefits, including State Pension
  • Work as a professional sportsperson
  • Extend this visa
  • Apply for permanent settlement in the UK

High Potential Individual Visa

A High Potential Individual Visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years. Graduates do not need a job offer in order to apply and can use the visa to come and live in the UK.

The UK Government hopes the visa will attract the best talent from across the globe to come and live and work in the UK for either two or three years. 


To be eligible for a HPI Visa, you must have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university in the last 5 years.

To be eligible, the university in question must be listed on the UK Government’s own list. The list is based on the rankings of universities across the globe. The list changes every year according to these rankings and, as such, your eligibility for the visa depends where and when you obtained your degree. 

Click here to find the last five years of the UK Government-approved universities. 

Please note: UK universities are not eligible. If you are already in the UK on a Student Visa you may be able to apply for a Graduate Visa.

Your qualification must be the same level as either:

  • A UK bachelor’s degree
  • A UK postgraduate degree
  • A UK PhD or doctorate

You must also do the following to be eligible for the HPI visa:

  • Prove your knowledge of English (you can read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1)
  • Prove that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK (unless you have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months)

How long can you stay with a High Potential Individual Visa?

The visa usually lasts for 2 years. If you have a PhD or other doctoral qualification, it will last for 3 years.

Unfortunately, the HPI Visa is non-extendable, though you can switch to another visa; for example the Skilled Worker Visa

How much does it cost?

The HPI visa involves several costs. Each of the costs must be paid as part of your application. They are broken down below:

  • £210 for Ecctis to check your qualification is valid (£252 if you are applying from the UK)
  • £822 application fee
  • Healthcare surcharge (currently £1,035 for each year you will be in the UK)
  • Enough money support yourself when you arrive in the UK (usually at least £1,270 –  unless you are exempt)
If you need to provide proof of funds, the money will need to be in your bank account for 28 continuous days, within 31 days of you making your application. 
To be exempt, you will need to either currently be in the UK on another visa for at least 12 months, or your sponsor will need to cover the first month of your stay in the UK. Your sponsor will need to fill out the relevant section to prove that they are covering your costs.
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More UK Visa Routes

The information contained on this page is sourced from UK Visas and Immigration and is subject to change. While Woodcock Law Limited makes every effort to keep this information current, prices and information cannot be guaranteed and should always be checked on www.gov.uk.

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