USA and the UK
- What is the High Potential Individual Visa?
- Who is eligible for the HPI Visa?
- What universities are on the top-rated global universities list?
- How do you apply for the High Potential Individual Visa?
- What are the required documents for an HPI Visa?
- What can you do in the UK on an HPI Visa?
- How much does an HPI Visa cost?
- How long is the HPI visa valid?
- How long does it take to process a High Potential Individual Visa?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the High Potential Individual Visa?
In an attempt to attract top-tiered talent to the country, the UK government has recently launched May 2022, the High Potential Individual Visa (HPI). This UK visa allows graduates of top world-ranking universities the opportunity to come to the UK for a period of 2-3 years where they can live and pursue career opportunities.
To be eligible for this visa, applicants must have graduated within the past 5 years with a bachelor’s degree or higher from a university listed on a top-rated global universities list for their respective graduation year. Unlike other UK visas, applicants for the HPI visa do not need to have received a job offer from a UK employer ahead of time in order to qualify for this visa.
HPI visa holders are may switch from this visa to another long-term employment visa in the future if they choose.
Who is eligible for the HPI Visa?
To apply for the HPI Visa, all applicants must meet the following requirements:
- The applicant has graduated from one of the top-ranking world universities within the past 5 years
- The applicant has graduated with a qualification from a top-rated university that is equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s degree, a UK postgraduate (Master’s) degree, or a UK Ph.D. or other doctoral-level qualification
- The applicant must be able to meet the English language requirements (individuals who come from a majority English speaking country like the United States are considered to meet this requirement)
- This applicant has the necessary sufficient funds to support themselves whilst in the UK
- The applicant is at least 18 years of age
- The applicant has not been previously granted a Graduate Visa or entry into the UK under the Student Doctorate Extension Scheme
Applicants will need to apply to Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) to ensure that their academic qualification is valid and meets the qualification criteria set forth for the HPI Visa.
Unfortunately, foreign nationals who graduated from British universities within the past 5 years are not eligible for the High Potential Individual route. However, international students who are already in the UK on a Student Visa may be able to apply for a Graduate Visa is they wish to remain in the United Kingdom.
What universities are on the top-rated global universities list?
To be eligible for a High Potential Individual Visa, applicants must have graduated within the past 5 years from a university ranked as top-rated as of their graduation year. Lists of eligible universities according to academic year can be found online on the gov.uk website. These universities were chosen based on the criteria that they have appeared at least twice as a top 50 educational institution in the following university rankings lists:
- Times Higher Education World University Rankings
- Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings
- The Academic Ranking of World Universities
Eligible universities for the 2021/2022 year are as follows:
|California Institute of Technology (Caltech)||USA||Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)||Hong Kong|
|Columbia University||USA||Cornell University||USA|
|Duke University||USA||Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL Switzerland)||Switzerland|
|ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)||Switzerland||Harvard University||USA|
|Johns Hopkins University||USA||Karolinska Institute||Sweden|
|Kyoto University||Japan||Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)||USA|
|McGill University||Canada||Nanyang Technological University (NTU)||Singapore|
|National University of Singapore||Singapore||New York University (NYU)||USA|
|Northwestern University||USA||Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University||France|
|Peking University||China||Princeton University||USA|
|Stanford University||USA||Tsinghua University||China|
|University of British Columbia||Canada||University of California, Berkeley||USA|
|University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)||USA||University of California, San Diego||USA|
|University of Chicago US||USA||University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|University of Melbourne||Australia||University of Michigan-Ann Arbor||USA|
|University of Munich (LMU Munich)||Germany||University of Pennsylvania||USA|
|The University of Texas at Austin||USA||University of Tokyo||Japan|
|University of Toronto||Canada||University of Washington||USA|
How do you apply for the High Potential Individual Visa?
Applications for the High Potential Individual Visa can be made online through the gov.uk website. Eligible dependents (spouses, partners, and unmarried children under the age of 18) whom you would like to join you while you are in the UK can be included in the application.
After the application is submitted online, the applicant will then be asked to submit the necessary supporting documents along with providing biometric information such as a photograph and fingerprints. Biometric evidence can be taken at a visa application center. This information will later be used to create a Biometric Residence Permit, which if approved for your UK visa, you will need to pick up at a designated location in the UK within 10 days.
What are the required documents for an HPI Visa?
When applying for an HPI Visa, applicants will need to submit the following documents:
- A valid passport or other travel documents
- Any evidence which proves that you meet the English language requirements
- Academic Qualification Level Statement from Ecctis that verifies that your academic qualifications are valid and meet the visa requirements
- Any evidence that proves you have sufficient funds to finance your stay in the UK (ex. bank statements)
- Tuberculosis test results (if you are applying from a country where this is required)
If you are switching from another UK visa to the HPI Visa, you will need to provide your biometric residence permit (BRP) or any other documents verifying your UK immigration status. All documents submitted that are not in either English or Welsh will need to be accompanied by certified translations.
What can you do in the UK on an HPI Visa?
While you are in the UK under an HPI Visa, you are permitted to do the following:
- Legally work in the UK
- Seek employment
- Work as a self-employed person
- Engage in volunteer work
- Travel freely in and out of the UK
- Study (only if your course of study is not eligible for a Student Visa)
However, while in the UK under an HPI visa, visa holders are not permitted to do the following:
How much does an HPI Visa cost?
When applying for an HPI Visa, applicants will need to pay the following fees associated with the visa:
- Ecctis verification check: £210 (if applying outside the UK), £252 (if applying from within the UK)
- HPI application fee: £715
- Immigration Health Surcharge: £624 per year of stay in the UK
In addition to the fees associated with visa application, HPI visa applicants will need to have a certain amount of money to fund their stay in the UK. Usually, applicants will need to have at least £1,270 in cash funds available in their bank account. However, this amount of money may change depending on each applicant’s personal circumstances.
How long is the HPI visa valid?
HPI visas are valid for a period of 2-3 years. This amount of time is dependent on the academic qualifications awarded to the applicant. Individuals who have a Bachelor’s or Post-Graduate degree will be given an HPI Visa valid for 2 years. However, applicants who have a Ph. D. will be given an HPI valid for 3 years.
HPI visa holders are not permitted to extend their visa, however, they may be able to switch to another UK visa if they are able to meet the eligibility requirements.
How long does it take to process a High Potential Individual Visa?
Most applications for UK visas are processed within 3 weeks if submitted outside the UK. If you are in the UK on another visa and would like to switch to an HPI visa, you may be expected to wait 8 weeks for your visa application to process.
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All foreign nationals who would like to come to the UK on a UK visa will need to meet the English language requirements. This means that the foreign national is able to read, write, speak, and comprehend English at a Level B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
Applicants who are not from an English speaking country can prove their English language knowledge by:
- Submitting evidence that they have passed a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved test provider
- Having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English which was gained via study at a UK school or academic institution before the applicant turned 18 years of age
- Having a degree taught in English (this degree will need to be verified by Ecctis)
Applicants who come from an English-speaking country may be exempt from these English language requirements if they are a national from one of the following countries:
|Antigua and Barbuda||Australia||the Bahamas|
|St Kitts and Nevis||St Lucia||St Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Trinidad and Tobago||USA|
HPI visa applicants will need to have at least £1,270 in their bank account in order to meet the financial requirements. This money must be available for at least 28 consecutive days within 31 days of applying for an HPI Visa.
If dependents are joining the visa applicant in the UK, additional funds will be needed. This may include:
- £285 for your partner or spouse
- £315 for one child
- £200 for each additional child
Eligible family members can join you in the UK under a dependant visa if they are any one of the following:
- A spouse, civil partner, or unmarried ‘de facto’ partner
- Children under 18 (including those born in the UK during your stay)
- Unmarried children over 18 who are currently living in the UK as your dependant
When applying for a dependant visa, family members will need to submit evidence of the relationship to you. This may include birth certificates, civil partnership or marriage certificates, adoption certificates, etc. For a complete list of requirements regarding dependant eligibility, contact a UK immigration attorney today.
You may switch to an HPI visa if you are in the UK on another visa unless you are on one of the following UK visas:
- UK Visitor Visa
- A short-term Student Visa
- Graduate visa
- Parent of a Child Student visa
- Seasonal worker visa
- A domestic worker in a private household visa
Furthermore, if you are on immigration detention bail or if you were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, then you will not be eligible to switch to an HPI Visa.
If you would like to come to work in the UK and feel that the HPI Visa isn’t right for you, you may be eligible for other UK work visas such as:
These UK work visas will allow you to live and work in the UK while giving you a path towards UK settlement. To find out more about what visas are right for you, contact IAS today to learn about the available UK immigration routes available to you.