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The High Potential Individual (HPI) visa was introduced in May 2022 to allow individuals who have been awarded a qualification from an eligible overseas university within the last 5 years to come to/remain in the UK.



An applicant must have been awarded a qualification which is equivalent to a UK batchelor's or postgraduate degree, or a PhD/doctorate within the 5 years before they apply for the HPI visa. They must apply to Ecctis to check that their qualification is valid and at the right level.

At the time the qualification was awarded, the awarding institution must have been on the appropriate Global Universities List.

Other eligibility criteria

The applicant needs to submit proof, at the time of their visa application, of their knowledge of the English language. This can be achieved in one of the following ways:

  • Being a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago or the USA; or
  • If the qualification they are using for the HPI visa application was taught in English (this must be confirmed by Ecctis); or
  • Passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider.

The applicant must also prove that they have sufficient funds to apply for the visa and support themselves. Please see for further information.


The HPI visa can only be applied for once, and cannot be held by someone who has previously held permission to enter/remain in the UK under the Graduate route or its predecessor, the Doctorate Extension Scheme.

Applications can be submitted in the UK or overseas.

Applications based on an undergraduate or Masters degree will be granted for 2 years. Applicants relying on a PhD/doctorate will benefit from a 3 year visa. The visa cannot be extended, but a holder can switch in the UK into another visa route, as long as they are eligible for that route.

HPI visa holders can work in any job except as a professional sportsperson or coach, look for work, be self-employed, do voluntary work. They can also study, but only if the course is not eligible for a Student visa.


Please see for details of the visa application fee and associated costs.


Partners and children can apply to join the main applicant, or to stay with them if they are already in the UK, as ‘dependants’ if they are eligible. They will need to be able to provide evidence of their relationship to the main applicant and funds to support themselves. Please see for more information.