Do you dream of working in the UK but haven’t found a company or individual to sponsor you? Don’t lose hope just yet. After all, the UK has recently introduced their High Potential Individual Visa, which is just one of their newest UK work visas to date.
Considered an unsponsored UK work visa, this new UK work visa is developed to bring the “brightest and best” graduates to the UK as part of maintaining the country’s status as a leader in emerging tech. If you want to know more about this visa, here is everything you need to know about the High Potential Individual visa, including a helpful guide on how to obtain one below.
What to Know About the High Potential Individual Visa
The High Potential Individual Visa (HPI visa) is a brand new UK work visa that lets recent graduates of prestigious universities visit the UK for employment or to seek employment. With this brand new UK work visa, you don’t need to be sponsored or offered a job in order to apply.
An HPI Visa grants you to stay in the UK for two years. Meanwhile, if you obtained a PhD or a doctoral-level qualification, you can stay in the UK for three years. With this type of visa, you’re allowed to:
- Bring your spouse and children with you as long they meet the eligibility requirements
- Seek employment
- Get a job (except as a professional sportsperson)
- Participate in voluntary work
- Travel internationally and return to the UK
However, you aren’t allowed to extend your HPI further than the duration granted to you. After getting a job, you can apply and transition to another eligible UK visa, such as a Skilled Worker Visa.
Who Are Eligible to Apply?
To apply for this visa, you must be:
- A graduate from an eligible prestigious university overseas and have received your qualification in the last five years.
- Your qualification must also be equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, post-graduate degree, or a PhD or doctorate obtained from the UK. (You must also file an application to Ecctis to determine if your qualification is valid and at the correct level.)
- Financially capable of supporting yourself and your children in the UK
- Must be proficient in English (you must submit proof of this)
Documents to Prepare
If you find that you’re eligible to apply for an HPI Visa, here are the documents you need to prepare:
- Proof indicating your proficiency in the English language (persons residing in countries that speak English as a primary language are exempted)
- A valid passport
- A statement by Ecctis confirming that your qualification meets the eligibility requirements
Here are additional requirements you’ll need depending on your situation:
- Evidence to show you’re financially capable of supporting your family while in the UK (if you’re bringing your spouse and children with you)
- Your tuberculosis test results if you come from a listed country
- Evidence of your relationship with your spouse and children
- Evidence of your current immigration status (if transitioning from a different UK visa)
Steps in Obtaining a High Potential Individual Visa
There are two ways to obtain an HPI Visa. The first method is for those filing an application outside of the UK. On the other hand, the second one is for those who want to file an HPI visa application and are already within the UK.
Method #1: If you’re filing an application outside of the UK
You will have to fill out an online application form for an HPI Visa. You will do either of the following application steps:
- Get your fingerprints and picture taken at a visa application centre
- Be asked to utilize the UK Immigration: ID Check application to have your documents scanned and submitted
If you’re asked to make an appointment at a visa application centre, you will have to personally visit the nearest centre in your area. Furthermore, they will also ask to hold your documentation and passport during the application process. If you’re applying from overseas, you can hear a decision about your applicationin just three weeks.
Method #2: If you’re filing an application while already in the UK
You are permitted to switch to a High Potential Individual route depending on the type of visa you currently have. You will be asked to do either of the following application steps:
- Get your fingerprints and picture taken at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services area
- Be asked to utilize the UK Immigration: ID Check application to have your documents scanned. You will also be asked to sign up or log in to your UK Visas and Immigration account.
If your partner and children are also in the UK, they can also change their visas at the same time as you do. You’re also allowed to postpone their visa switch. However, make sure apply for the switch just before their current one expires. The processing period for HPI Visa applications done in the UK takes up to eight weeks.
Thanks to this brand new UK immigration route, you have more opportunities to enter and seek job opportunities in the UK. Again, you can only apply for an HPI Visa once. That said, make sure thoroughly review your application and double-check if it has any errors or gaps that need to be resolved before submitting it. Good luck with your application!