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Individual Visa Services

High Potential Individual (HPI) visa

If you have completed a degree or diploma program from an eligible university within the past five years, you are eligible to apply for a High Potential Individual (HPI) visa. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for a minimum of two years, and three years if you have obtained a PhD or another doctoral qualification.

The HPI visa is intended for individuals who demonstrate exceptional talent or promise in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology, or arts and culture. The visa is designed to attract and retain highly skilled individuals in the UK and provides a pathway to permanent residency for those who meet the requirements.


If you want to study with an HPI visa, you can only do so if your chosen course is not eligible for a Student visa. If it is eligible, you'll need to apply for a student visa instead or extend your current Student visa. Additionally, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you're studying or researching sensitive topics.

To be eligible for an HPI visa, you must have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university where you studied.

The list of eligible universities is based on rankings of universities from around the world.

Check the list of eligible universities for the month and year you were awarded your qualification:

1 November 2023 to 31 October 2024

1 November 2022 to 31 October 2023

1 November 2021 to 31 October 2022

1 November 2020 to 31 October 2021

1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020

1 November 2018 to 31 October 2019

UK universities are not eligible. If you’re already in the UK on a student visa you may be able to apply for a Graduate Visa.

Your qualification

Your qualification must be at the same level as:

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

You must apply to Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) to check your qualification is valid and at the right level. Ecctis will not check if your university is eligible.

You must have been awarded your qualification in the last 5 years.

To apply for an HPI visa you must also:

You do not need to have a job offer to apply.

How much it costs

When you apply for a High Potential Individual (HPI) visa, you’ll need to have enough money to:

  • pay £210 for Ecctis to check your qualification is valid (£252 if you’re applying from the UK)
  • pay the £822 application fee
  • pay the healthcare surcharge - this is usually £1,035 for each year you’ll be in the UK
  • support yourself when you arrive in the UK - you’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless you’re exempt)

You’ll be told how much you need to pay when you apply.

Healthcare surcharge

You’ll have to pay the healthcare surcharge when you apply.

If you’re eligible for an HPI visa for:

2 years - it will cost £2,070

3 years - it will cost £3,105

If you work in public sector healthcare

If you get a job in public sector healthcare after you have paid the healthcare surcharge, you may be able to get a refund.

Sufficient Funds

You must have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself in the UK.

You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.

You’ll usually need to show proof of this when you apply, unless you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months.

Your partner and children will also need to prove they can support themselves while they’re in the UK. Check how much they’ll need.

Read the guidance on financial evidence for more information about the money you need and how to prove it

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I extend my HPI visa?

You cannot extend your HPI visa, but you may be able to switch to a different visa, such as a Skilled Worker visa. You can apply online, but the process may take longer if you need an appointment to prove your identity and provide your documents.

What work can I do?

You can work in most jobs, look for work, be self-employed, and do voluntary work.

Can I bring my partner or children?

You can also live in the UK with your partner and children if they're eligible. However, you cannot apply for most benefits, work as a professional sportsperson, extend this visa, or apply to settle permanently in the UK.

What documents do I need to apply?

Before you apply, you must pay for Ecctis to check your qualification is valid.

When you apply, you’ll need to provide:

  • a valid passport or other travel document that shows your identity and nationality.
  • proof of your knowledge of English
  • You’ll also need to provide the statement Ecctis sends to you when they’ve checked your qualification.
  • If you had to apply to Ecctis to confirm that your qualification was taught in English, the statement is called an ‘Academic Qualification Level Statement and English Language Proficiency Statement’. Otherwise, it’s called an ‘Academic Qualification Level Statement’.

Depending on your circumstances, you might be asked to provide:

How long will it take to get a decision?

You will usually get a decision within 3 weeks.

You will be contacted if your application takes longer, for example, because:

your supporting documents need to be verified or if you have a criminal conviction.

Why choose UK Visas?

When it comes to visa applications, you want a service you can trust. UK Visas provide just that, with a proven track record of success. Choose UK Visas for expert guidance and a stress-free experience.

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