The main challenges of the High Potential Individual visa

08 Nov 2023, 06 mins ago

The High Potential Individual (“HPI”) visa is a two- to three-year visa that allows recent graduates of top global universities to work or look for employment in the UK. Applying for this visa, however, may be challenging in a number of ways, and we will discuss in this blog how to navigate these challenges.

To qualify for the HPI visa, the applicant must have completed a recognised degree course in an institution that appears on the Global Universities List within five years of their application. Applicants must also satisfy suitability requirements, demonstrate their proficiency in the English language and show access to sufficient funds to financially support themselves in the UK. In addition to these requirements, we outline some further considerations the applicants should note before applying for the HPI visa.

Limited stay

The HPI visa is valid for two years (or three years if you have a PHD or other doctoral qualification), and during this period the visa holder is permitted to work or be self-employed in the UK. This type of visa cannot be extended, which means that the applicant is bound by a limited period of time they can spend in the UK. Therefore, should the applicant wish to stay in the UK longer, they will be expected to switch to another visa route, such as the Skilled Worker visa route, before the expiry of their HPI leave.


Unlike other visa routes, the HPI visa does not lead to settlement in the UK, and the time spent in the UK on this visa will not count towards your qualifying period for the purpose of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Thus, if you intend to settle in the UK, you may consider switching to a different visa category which does lead to settlement.

Can only be used once

Another challenge the HPI visa bears is that it can only be held once. Therefore, if you have previously held an HPI visa, graduate visa or student doctorate extension scheme visa, you cannot apply for this visa again and will need to find an alternative visa route to come to the UK.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

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