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High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa Guidance and FAQs
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High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa Guidance and FAQs

Updated: 17 May, 2024

The High Potential Individual visa is a route for the best and brightest of international Graduates to work in the UK.

At RVS Solicitors, we recognise the importance of working in a competitive environment and getting an opportunity to exchange skills and experience. Our immigration team is highly experienced in advising in respect of all work routes and can make a High Potential Individual (HPI) visa application on your behalf.

You may also be thinking of eventually settling permanently in the UK. If that is the case, our immigration team provides reliable advice on possible routes, focused on helping you secure future settlements, as well. 

We take time to truly listen and hear your future plans and concerns. We understand the process of visa applications can be a stressful time. For that reason, we aim to make this experience simple and comfortable for you. We value your academic success and potential to contribute to the UK economy. We would be privileged for the chance to help you in your journey through an HPI visa. 

High Potential Individual Visa Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa?

The High Potential Individual visa is a route to allow the international graduates from the most prestigious universities to work in the UK, without the need for a job offer. The visa provides an opportunity for UK employers and businesses to recruit the most skilled and academically bright persons to contribute to the business with their talent. Under this visa, you have permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years (3 years if you have a PhD or doctorate), upon being awarded a qualification from an eligible university within the last 5 years. Drawing such talent has the aim of increasing the prestige and reputation of established UK businesses in achieving breakthrough accomplishments. 

The High Potential Individual Visa is not a route to settlement, and therefore, you will need to move to a different route to be able to settle in the UK permanently, if this is ultimately your aim. 

Who is Eligible for a High Potential Individual Visa?

To qualify for an HPI visa, you must demonstrate the following:

  1. Graduate from an eligible university
  2. Hold a valid qualification 
  3. Proof of knowledge of English 
  4. Savings to support yourself in the UK

How do I know if my University is eligible? 

The High Potential Individual visa is open to those who graduated from an eligible university outside of the UK. For international students graduating from a university in the UK and wishing to work in the UK, you may apply for a graduate route visa

What is a valid qualification? 

You must have graduated from a qualified program, at the same level as:

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

The qualification must be awarded within the last 5 years. 

How do I prove my knowledge of English? 

You must prove you can read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

You can prove your knowledge of English by:

  • Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider
  • GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, gained through study at a UK school that you began when you were under 18
  • Degree-level academic qualification taught in English 
  • If you studied in English abroad, you’ll need to apply through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) for confirmation that your qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD. Please keep in mind that Ecctis does not check whether your university is eligible for High Potential Individual visa
  • You can be exempted from proving your knowledge of English if you are a national of a majority English-speaking country. 

How much savings do I need to have?

Unless you are exempt, you need to have at least £1,270 available to support yourself in the UK. 

How much does the application cost?

Altogether, you need to have enough funds to pay for the following:

  • Ecctis qualification of £210 (£252 if you’re applying from the UK)
  • Application fee of £715
  • Healthcare surcharge of £624 for each year you will be in the UK
  • Supporting funds of at least £1,270 (unless you’re exempt)
  • Legal costs if you would like to have specialist High Potential Individual immigration lawyers in UK assisting you. 

How long can you stay with the High Potential Individual visa?

A High Potential Individual visa lasts for 2 years if you hold an undergraduate or master’s degree. If you have a PhD or a doctoral degree, the visa lasts for 3 years. You cannot extend your HPI visa, but you can switch to a different visa, such as a Skilled Worker visa or any other visa that you may be qualified for. 

Can my partner and children join me? 

Your partner and children can join you under this visa route as your ‘dependants.’ They must, however, meet the eligibility criteria, and if this is satisfied, their visa will end on the same date as yours. 

You will need to be either legally married, have a civil partnership or have been living together for at least 2 years, if you are looking to bring over a partner with you to join you here. 

If you have children under 18 who would like to join you under this route, they can do so, provided you are either their sole carer, or the other parent is also joining you in the UK. 

How do I apply for a High Potential Individual visa?

To apply for a High Potential Individual visa, you will need to make an online application and attend a biometrics appointment in the country of your residence. Together with your passport, you will need to submit evidence to show that you meet the relevant requirements, including your education, English Language knowledge and financial requirements.

How can RVS Solicitors help you?

At RVS Solicitors, we take pride in supporting international students gain work experience in the UK, helping you to understand your visa process every step of the way. Our team represents a unique diversity of workers from all backgrounds, and therefore, we fully understand the value of applying your education and experience on a global level to fulfil your personal and professional growth. It is important to invest in a firm that not only recognises the importance of your education and skills but also, takes care to make reality your ambitions of working in the UK.

As the High Potential Individual visa is a newly introduced route, we understand there are many elements to this route that may be unclear and not yet familiar. No matter the complexity of your situation, we are here to assure you that every challenge has a solution. Our dedicated team will attend to the details of your application, identifying the best ways for guaranteeing a successful application, so that your expectations are soundly met. 

To find out more about how we can assist you, please contact our London office at 020 3372 5125 and complete our online enquiry form to make an appointment.

To read more about similar issues please visit our blog or read about how we have helped others in similar circumstances by visiting our success stories.

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High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa Guidance and FAQs
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