High Potential Individual Visa

The High Potential Individual (HPI) route will open on 30 May 2022. The High Potential Individual route is a new route that delivers the commitment in the Plan for Growth to “introduce an elite points-based route to attract the brightest and best to the UK to maintain our status as a leading international hub for emerging technologies”.

Introduction to the High Potential Individual Route

Applicants in this route must have either a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree qualification from one of the top global universities outside the UK as published in the Global Universities List by the Home Office, awarded during the last 5 years from the date of application. The list will be compiled on an annual basis and consists of eligible non-UK institutions that are included in the list of the top 50 universities in at least two of the following ranking systems:

  1. Times Higher Education World University Rankings
  2. Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings
  3. The Academic Ranking of World Universities

High Potential Individual Visa English Language Requirement

If you are able to satisfy the overseas degree requirement then the next step to qualifying for a High Potential Individual Visa will be to make sure that you can satisfy the English language requirement.

In order to qualify for a High Potential Individual Visa, you will need to demonstrate English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to at least level B1 (intermediate).

As a recent graduate applying for entry clearance or leave to remain as a High Potential Individual you will satisfy the English language requirement if you:

  • Are you a national of a majority English-speaking country; or
  • Have passed a Secure English Language Test; or
  • Have been awarded a degree taught in English; 0r
  • Obtained a GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK; or
  • Have already shown that you met the requirement, of level B1, in a previous successful application for entry clearance or permission to stay.

High Potential Individual Visa Financial Requirement

In order to qualify for a High Potential Individual Visa, you will generally need to have cash funds of at least £1,270 available.

You will need to have held the money for at least 28 days ending on a date this is not more than 31 days before the date of your High Potential Individual Visa application.

There is an exception to the financial requirement for individuals who have been in the UK with permission for 12 months or more at the date of application and who are applying to extend into the High Potential Individual Route.  Such individuals will automatically meet the financial requirement and will not need to show funds.

High Potential Individual Visa Immigration Status Requirement

Before applying for a High Potential Individual Visa you should also check that you have not previously been granted permission under the Student Doctorate Extension Scheme, as a Graduate or as a High Potential Individual.  If so, your application will be refused.

TB Test Requirement for High Potential Individuals

All applicants for long term UK visas from countries where TB is common must be screened for active TB in the lungs as part of their UK visa application.  For further information on the TB test requirement for High Potential Individuals, please see our guide to TB screening for the UK where we answer a number of frequently asked questions about TB and TB screening requirements for UK visa applications.

High Potential Individual Visa Validity Period

If your application for a High Potential Visa is approved, the period of permission you will be granted will depend on the qualification that you relied on to meet the Global Universities List overseas degree requirement.

Permission will be granted for 2 years. To extend their permission to stay applicants must have PAYE earnings of at least £33,000 per year for at least 50% of their time on the route. Extensions will be granted for 3 years.

Conditions of Stay as a High Potential Individual

High Potential Individual Visa holders are permitted to work in the UK (including self-employment and voluntary work) in any role, apart from as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.  You will also be able to study other than on a course which would meet the requirements of the Student route. You will not be permitted to access public funds.

Extensions of Stay and ILR on the High Potential Individual Visa Route

It is not possible to apply for an extension of a High Potential Individual Visa and the High Potential Individual Route does not lead directly to indefinite leave to remain in the UK. However, prior to your leave expiring, you may be able to apply from within the UK to switch to another immigration route which, subject to meeting the requirements of the route, will allow you to extend your stay and/or settle in the UK.

The most suitable routes for High Potential Individual Visa holders (without any family connection to a British or settled person) to extend their stay and settle in the UK are likely to be the:

For further help or information Get In Touch

Related Expertise


Would you like to hear more from us?

Visit our subscriptions page to tell us a bit more about what you’re interested in so we can send you relevant news.