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    High Potential Individual Visa

    Individuals who have recently acquired degree-level education from leading global universities might qualify for a High Potential Individual visa, allowing them to reside and pursue employment in the UK for up to three years and even switch to a different visa later. Much like most other permission documents, the High Potential Individual visa route has a lot of nuance to it, and there are many points the applicants should keep in mind.

    What is the High Potential Individual Visa?

    A High Potential visa is a permission document that allows its holders to enter the United Kingdom, live, study, and work there. As its name implies, it is designed for people with outstanding qualities who will have a chance to provide a positive contribution to society.

    To be more specific, the document is designed for graduates who received their academic qualification in one of the eligible universities outside of the United Kingdom. This enables the Home Office to make sure the individual does have a high potential, so the applicant will need to comply with this and multiple other requirements.

    Requirements for a High Potential Individual Visa

    Expectedly, the most important of all UK High Potential Visa requirements is for the degree to be issued by an eligible university. Other High Potential Individual visa UK eligibility criteria include the English language requirement and the financial requirement that will be explored in more detail in the following sections. The applicant also has to be at least 18 years old, and the application may be made both from within the United Kingdom and from outside of the country. It is even possible to apply for a High Potential Individual visa in the UK by switching from a different type of visa.

    High Potential Individual visa: global universities list

    The relevant list of eligible institutions may be checked on the official website of the Home Office, and it includes the leading universities from:

    • Times HEWU Rankings;
    • Quacquarelli Symonds WU Rankings;
    • The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

    The list of High Potential Individual visa universities is compiled annually, and the applicants should pay attention and check the correct list. It is necessary for the applicant’s university to be on the list for the year they received their degree, and overlooking this factor may lead to the application being denied.

    High Potential Individual Visa English Language Requirement

    Just like many other long-term visas in the United Kingdom, the HPI visa comes with an English language requirement. The applicants will have to take tests and prove they know the language on the B1 level or higher. The tests will include speaking, reading, listening, and writing.

    There are some cases in which the applicant won’t have to take this test:

    • in case they have already proved their knowledge previously;
    • in case the individual has already been in the United Kingdom for a year on a different visa;
    • for individuals from English-speaking countries and people who received their education in English.

    High Potential Individual Visa Financial Requirement

    The financial requirement is also very common for visas in the United Kingdom. The holders of HPI visas are not eligible for any public funds, so they will have to prove they are in a position to financially support themselves throughout the period of their stay in the country.

    The minimum sum the applicant has to possess in order to be approved for the visa is £1,270, although it may be adjusted depending on the conditions of their stay in the United Kingdom. The individual will have to be able to prove the possession of these funds by providing bank statements with their applications.

    The only exception for this rule applies to people who apply for the HPI visa from within the United Kingdom and have already stayed in the country for more than a year.

    How to apply for a HPI Visa?

    The application for a High Potential Individual visa can be done online on the official website of the Home Office. The initial process of submitting the application is the same no matter whether the individual is already in the United Kingdom or outside of the country.

    Some of the requirements mentioned previously such as the English language test will require the individual to visit the corresponding facilities, which is possible both in the UK and outside of the country. Additionally, the individuals will be required to visit a visa application centre in order to submit their biometrics.

    How long can you stay on a High Potential Individual Visa?

    The HPI visa is typically issued for a term of two years, although specialists who have PhD or alternative doctor qualifications are eligible to receive this visa for three years. The visa itself may only be acquired once and cannot be extended.

    The good news is that the holders of a High Potential Individual visa may switch to a different permission document when its term expires. The main option in this case is to acquire a Skilled Worker visa that will enable the person to stay in the country for an additional five years and even apply to permanent settlement after.

    Conditions of stay for a High Potential Individual Visa

    A High Potential Individual visa is a long-term permission document, so the holders are given enough rights to comfortably live in the United Kingdom. They are able to look for a job and work legally, be self-employed, do voluntary work, and even travel outside of the UK and return without their visa being suspended.

    The situation with studying is slightly different, as for this purpose, the applicants should acquire a Student visa instead. The only exception that allows them to apply for an HPI visa is when the course they intend to attend is not eligible for a Student visa.

    The holders of an HPI visa are also not eligible to receive any public funds, apply for permanent settlement, or extend the document’s term, as it was mentioned previously. The holders cannot work as a professional athlete, as this would require them to apply for a Professional Sportsperson visa instead.

    How much does a High Potential Individual Visa cost?

    There are three main fees associated with obtaining a High Potential Individual visa in the United Kingdom. First of all, there is the £822 fee for the application itself. Then, the applicants will have to verify their qualification by using the Ecctis service which costs £210 for individuals who apply from overseas and £252 for individuals who apply from within the UK.

    Lastly, the individual will have to pay the healthcare surcharge fee, which is £624 per year. The applicants should keep in mind that additional services such as the English language test and the biometric data collection also come with their own separate fees.

    High Potential Individual Visa dependants

    The holders of HPI visas are allowed to bring dependents to the United Kingdom. The applicant is eligible to bring their partner and children to the country, and it is possible to apply for the documents together.

    It is worth mentioning that many fees mentioned throughout the article are paid per person, meaning an HPI visa for an applicant with dependents will come at a significantly higher cost. Expectedly, the financial requirement for staying in the UK is also adjusted depending on the number of people the applicant is planning to bring to the country.

    How can we help?

    The HPI visa is a highly selective visa category, and only a limited number of individuals are endorsed each year. This means that the application process is competitive and requires a high level of preparation and attention to detail. The assistance of a qualified immigration lawyer can be invaluable in ensuring that the application is successful.

    At Sterling Law, we have a team of experienced immigration lawyers who specialize in the HPI visa category. Our lawyers are familiar with the endorsement process and can provide guidance and support to individuals who are seeking to obtain this visa. We can help with every stage of the application process, from the initial assessment of eligibility to the preparation of the application and the submission of supporting documents.

    In addition to our legal expertise, we also have extensive experience in working with high potential individuals from a wide range of industries. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities that are associated with this visa category, and we can provide customized advice and guidance to suit each individual’s specific circumstances.

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