All You Need to Know About UK’s New High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa


The Govt of the United Kingdom on Monday announced the launching of a High Potential Individual (HPI) visa for graduates from the world’s top 50 non-UK universities.

The High Potential Individual (HPI) visa is meant to attract an immense number of talented graduates in the early stages of their professions who “show exceptional promise, providing a highly desirable and able pool of mobile talent from which UK employers can recruit.” according to the UK home office.

The UK government stated that these new visas are part of a series of changes to the country’s immigration system following the country’s exit from the European Union (EU) and that visas will be granted “based on the skills they have to offer and the contribution they can make, not where they come from.”

UK’s High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa

A High Potential Individual (HPI) visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years. To apply, you must have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university in the last 5 years.


Eligibility for UK’s HPI Visa

Graduates from renowned colleges such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, the world’s best graduates in fields such as science, engineering, and medical research will be encouraged to bring their abilities to the UK.

The top 50 universities were chosen from the annual rankings lists produced by ‘QS,’ ‘Times Higher Education,’ and the ‘Academic Ranking of World Universities,’ and include universities from the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, France, Sweden, and Switzerland.

  • According to the UK Home Office, an applicant applying under this route must have funds of at least £ 1,270 to be eligible
  • An institution must be outside of the UK and must have featured in the top 50 of at least two of the three rankings for the year in which the applicant was awarded the qualification.

How long you can stay?

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

If you want to stay longer in the UK?

You cannot extend your HPI visa. However, you may be able to switch to a different visa, for example, a Skilled Worker visa.


Check if you can apply for another type of visa to stay in the UK.

How to apply for UK’s HPI Visa?

You must apply online.

How you apply depends on whether you’re:

You can include your partner and children in your application to join you or stay in the UK if they are eligible.


How long does it take?

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents.

You may need to allow extra time if you need an appointment to do this. You’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.

Getting a decision?

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:

  • 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
  • 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK

How much does it cost?

You, your partner or your children will each need to:

  • pay the application fee
  • pay the healthcare surcharge for each year of your stay
  • prove you have enough personal savings

Check how much money you’ll need.

What you can and cannot do!

With an HPI visa you can:

You cannot:

  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • work as a professional sportsperson
  • extend this visa
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK

If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with an HPI visa.


Studying with an HPI visa

You can only study with an HPI visa if your chosen course is not eligible for a Student visa. If your course is eligible for a student visa, you can apply for a Student visa instead, or extend your Student visa if you already have one.

You may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you’re studying or researching sensitive topics.

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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, he's passionate about writing.

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