Stay in the UK after you graduate
What is the graduate route.
The UK’s Graduate Route welcomes international students to apply to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, upon graduation. International students who have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree can apply to stay in the UK for up to two years after their studies. PhD graduates can apply to stay for up to three years.
This is a fantastic opportunity for international students who want to take their next steps into employment in the UK.
What are the benefits of the Graduate Route?
The Graduate Route is unsponsored, which means you can use the time after you graduate to work, or look for work, at any skill level. You will have the flexibility to gain work experience, undertake an internship or work as a freelancer in the UK.
There is no minimum salary requirement, and there is no limit on how many international students can have the opportunity to stay in the UK through the Graduate Route.
Once you have found suitable employment in the UK, you’ll have the chance to switch to a skilled work route and remain in the UK after your two or three years have come to an end.
'I decided to apply for the Graduate Route so that I could confidently apply for different jobs in the UK without worrying about my student visa expiry date. After graduating, I worked as a locum (temporary) medical laboratory assistant at Nottingham Trent University. I then applied for a permanent job within the same department, and I secured my current role as a biomedical scientist.'
Yamin, from Myanmar, studied Biomedical Science at Nottingham Trent University and graduated in 2021. She’s living and working in the UK, thanks to the Graduate Route.
What other types of visas are there?
There are lots of options available for international graduates looking to stay in the UK after they finish their studies. You may decide that another visa may better suit your situation. Visit GOV.UK to learn more about your options .
Where can I learn more?
Learn more about the Graduate Route on GOV.UK . You can also view the UK government's Graduate Route guide (PDF, 1.5MB) for more information on how to apply.
For advice on working in the UK after you complete your studies, visit UKCISA’s website .
Why study in the UK
From our world-famous universities to our innovative teaching approach and unforgettable student experience, study in the UK to become the best possible you.
Student life in the UK
A UK education goes far beyond what you learn from your studies. Discover the unforgettable student experiences you can have when you study in the UK.
Sign up to our newsletter
Get the latest updates and advice on applications, scholarships, visas and events.
Call 020 7494 0118
Training & Consultancy
Procedures & policy
HR Strategy & Consultancy
HR Support Services
Compliance & Management
- 2 January 2023
Graduate Visa Guide 2023
- Immigration Team
Since opening in 2021, the UK’s Graduate Visa has become a popular route for international students to stay on in Britain after they’ve graduated.
If you are looking to apply for a Graduate visa, you’ll need to understand the eligibility criteria and the process to follow to make your application to the Home Office on time. If you do not secure lawful status after your student visa expires, you risk overstaying.
In this guide, we look at the various different requirements to qualify for a visa under the Graduate route, and the process, costs and timing involved when applying.
What is the UK Graduate Visa?
The Graduate Visa is a post-study work visa aimed at foreign students who are looking to stay on to work in the UK, or to look for work, having successfully completed a course of study at UK bachelor’s degree-level or above with a Home Office approved higher education provider.
As an unsponsored work route, visa applicants are not required to have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) showing the offer of a job with a UK licensed sponsor meeting minimum skill and salary levels. This visa can be used to work in any type of job role or to spend time in the UK looking for work. If a Graduate Visa is granted, the visa-holder will be allowed to earn an income and gain work experience in a number of jobs across a wide range of UK businesses for a period of either 2 or 3 years, depending on the level of degree qualification.
Graduate visa requirements
The Graduate route is a flexible work route for overseas students already in the UK who want to find employment. Under this route, the applicant will not need to prove the offer of a job. They will also not be required to show funds or finance, or demonstrate any English language ability, as they will have already satisfied these requirements under the Student Visa route.
However, there are various other requirements that must still be met to be eligible for leave to remain under the Graduate route. As this route is an immigration route under the points-based system of the UK’s Immigration Rules, an applicant must be awarded a minimum of 70 points to apply. These points will be awarded for three different requirements: a successful completion requirement, a qualification requirement and a study in the UK requirement.
A successful completion requirement
Under the successful completion requirement for a Graduate Visa, the applicant must have last been sponsored by a Student sponsor in the UK which is a higher education provider with a track record of compliance at the date when they apply. The applicant must have successfully completed the course which was undertaken during their last grant of leave to study on the Student route and, by the date of application, their sponsor must have informed the Home Office that the applicant has completed their course of study to the required standard.
This means that an applicant will potentially qualify for a Graduate Visa if they have successfully completed the qualification specified on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) linked to their Student Visa, or following any change of course which was permitted without them having to apply for further permission as a Student.
A qualification requirement
Under the qualification requirement for a Graduate Visa, the applicant must have completed a course of study for which they have been, or are due to be, awarded a UK bachelor’s or postgraduate degree, or one of a number of professional qualifications at degree level of above. These qualifications include a validated law conversion course, the Legal Practice Course for solicitors, the Bar Practice Course for barristers, a foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry, a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma in Education, and any other professional course qualifying someone for a job regulated by UK law or a UK public authority.
This means that an applicant will potentially qualify for a Graduate Visa if they have either been awarded, or are due to be awarded, a bachelor’s or masters degree, or a PhD or other doctoral qualification, or any one of the prescribed professional qualifications.
A study in the UK requirement
Under the study in the UK requirement for a Graduate Visa, the applicant must have held permission as Student, which was granted to study the relevant qualification in the UK, for a minimum period of time. Apart from permitted study abroad programmes, this means that if the course length was for 12 months or less, the applicant must have studied for the full duration of that course in the UK. If the length of the course was for more than 12 months, the applicant must have studied in the UK on that course for at least 12 months.
For applicants who have studied remotely from their home country due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, they may still meet the study in the UK requirement, provided they have returned to the UK to make their application within a certain timeframe.
For example, where distance learning took place between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2022, the applicant can still meet the study in the UK requirement if they commenced a course of 12 months or less before 21 June 2021 and entered the UK on or before 27 September 2021, or between 21 June 2021 and 30 June 2022 and entered the UK on or before 30 June 2022.
Any distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2022, as part of a course of studies lasting longer than 12 months, will also not prevent the applicant from meeting the study in the UK requirement under the Graduate route.
How to apply for a Graduate Visa
An application for a Graduate Visa is an online application, although the applicant must be in the UK with valid leave on the Student route to be able to apply. They must also not have ever been granted leave under either the Doctorate Extension Scheme or as a Graduate.
An application can be made once the approved education provider has notified the Home Office that the applicant has successfully completed their course. The applicant does not have to wait until they have graduated, or received their degree or postgraduate degree certificate, although they will need to use the CAS number from their current Student Visa to apply. They will also be required to prove their identity, and may need to attend a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to enrol their biometric information.
Having started an online application for a Graduate Visa, the applicant will be invited via email to use the ‘UK Immigration ID Check’ app if they are eligible to do so. If eligible, they will be able to verify their identity online, and their biometrics from their Student Visa application will be re-used. However, for ineligible applicants, they will instead need to attend an in-person appointment at a UKVCAS service point to complete their application.
If their application is successful, a graduate with a PhD or other doctoral qualification will be granted permission to stay on in the UK for a period of 3 years, while a successful applicant with a UK bachelor’s degree-level qualification will be granted permission to stay for 2 years.
How much does the Graduate Visa cost?
Having submitted an online application for a Graduate Visa, the applicant must pay a fee of £715. The cost of applying under the Graduate route is the same for degree level and postgraduate level applicants, even though doctoral students will be granted a longer visa.
The applicant will also be liable to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, giving them access to the UK’s National Health Service on generally the same basis as a permanent resident in the UK. However, this will be calculated for each year of stay, at an annual rate of £624. This means that the healthcare surcharge will be charged at £1872 for permission on the 3-year PhD Graduate route or £1248 for permission on the standard 2-year Graduate route.
How long does the Graduate Visa take to process?
Having submitted an online application, paid the relevant fee and, where applicable, the applicant’s biometric information has been re-enrolled, a Graduate Visa will usually take up to 8 weeks to process, although the applicant can stay in the UK while they wait for a decision.
The point at which the estimated 8-week turnaround time will run depends on whether the applicant is required to attend an UKVCAS service point to enrol their biometric information, or whether the applicant is eligible to use the ‘UK Immigration ID Check’ app instead. When using the app, the 8 weeks will run from the point at which the applicant’s identity has been verified online and any supporting documents uploaded. If the applicant is required to attend an UKVCAS service point, time will run from the date of that appointment.
If permission to stay on the Graduate route is granted, the applicant will typically be given digital immigration status, known as an eVisa. Visa nationals will also be given a new Biometric Residence Permit for use when travelling in and out of the UK. If an individual with a Graduate Visa is offered a job, even though they do not require sponsorship, they will still need to prove their right to work. This can be done by providing their employer with a share code to check their immigration status using the online Right to Work Checking Service.
Can dependants join you on a Graduate Visa?
Under the Graduate route, the partner and dependent children of the primary visa-holder may be able to apply to stay on in the UK, provided they are already in the UK as a dependant on the Student route and meet the eligibility requirements. A child born in the UK during permission to stay on the Student route can also apply. The eligibility requirements for a dependant visa on the Graduate route include a relationship requirement, together with an additional age and care requirement for dependent children.
The application fee for dependants on the Graduate route is again £715, where they must apply separately. They will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge, although this is reduced to £470 per year for under 18’s. If an application is successful, a dependent partner will be granted permission ending on the same date as their partner’s permission, while permission for a dependent child will end on the same date as the parents’ permission that ends first.
After your Graduate Visa expires
The Graduate Visa cannot be extended and does not provide a path to settlement . This means that, once leave to remain on this route expires, after either 2 or 3 years, the visa-holder and any dependants in the UK will need to consider switching to a different route to avoid overstaying. By applying to switch to a different visa, for example, the Skilled Worker route, which is also a route to settlement, new dependants may be able to come to the UK.
To qualify for a visa under the Skilled Worker route, the principal applicant would need to have a valid CoS from a licensed sponsor , with the offer of a job meeting the minimum skill and salary requirements under this route. Any dependants would also need to meet the eligibility requirements as a partner or dependent child, including a financial requirement.
As permission to work in the UK under a Graduate Visa is time-limited, employers will be required to conduct repeat right to work checks when an employee’s permission to work in the UK is due to expire. This means that steps must be taken to ensure that the requirements for a suitable alternative work visa can be met, if the employee is to continue to be employed, and that a valid application is submitted prior to expiry of their Graduate Visa. Where applicable, the employer must also ensure that they have a sponsorship licence in place. For example, on the Skilled Worker route, the employer must be authorised by the Home Office to sponsor a migrant worker under this route. They must also be able to offer genuine employment in an eligible skilled occupation that meets the salary threshold.
DavidsonMorris are experienced UK immigration advisers , working with UK employers and workers to support with work visa applications. For specialist advice, contact us .
Graduate visa FAQs
How long does it take to get graduate visa.
Having submitted an online application, paid the relevant fee and, where applicable, enrolled your biometric information, a Graduate Visa will usually take up to 8 weeks, although you can stay in the UK while you wait for a decision.
What is a Graduate Visa?
The Graduate Visa is an unsponsored work visa for overseas graduates wanting to work in the UK, or to look for work, following the successful completion of a UK bachelor’s or postgraduate degree with an approved higher education provider.
How do you qualify for a Graduate Visa?
To qualify for a Graduate Visa you must be awarded a minimum of 70 points under the UK’s points-based system for a successful course completion requirement, a qualification requirement and a study in the UK requirement.
Can Graduate Visa be rejected?
A Graduate Visa can be rejected if the applicant fails to meet the validity requirements under Appendix Graduate, for example, they must be in the UK when they apply and must have, or have last had, leave as a Student.
Last updated: 2 January 2023
Table of Contents
Contact our experts:
020 7494 0118
You might also like...
Sponsor Licence Renewal Fee Read More »
Recruiting Social Care Workers from Overseas Read More »
Global Talent Visa Endorsement Guide Read More »
What Tech Nation’s Closure Means For Global Talent Visas Read More »
Global Talent Visa Eligibility & Application Guide Read More »
UKVCAS Super Priority Service FAQs Read More »
Get the DM Business Newsletter & Invitations to our Events.
Services for business
Services for people.
DavidsonMorris Ltd t/a DavidsonMorris Solicitors is a company Registered in England & Wales No. 6183275 Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 542691 Registered Office: Level 30, The Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall Street, London, EC3V 4AB
London Cambridge Aberdeen Manchester Birmingham
Branding, Digital & Website by Rokman Laing
- Schools & departments
A Guide to the Graduate Route
The Graduate Route is a post-study work visa that will allow you to stay in the UK to work or look for work for 2 years after your degree has been awarded, or 3 years, if you have been awarded a Doctoral qualification.
7 steps to success, you must not make your application before steps 1-4 are complete, or your application could be refused..
You must check that:
You meet all of the eligibility criteria (see below)
Your student record is fully up-to-date*, including:
your current Student/Tier 4 visa
*Note that Step 3 cannot be completed without this information
Your degree is awarded and is confirmed on your EUCLID student record (your student record will say ‘successfully completed an award’).
The University makes a report to the UKVI to tell them that your degree has been awarded and that you qualify for the Graduate Route.
The University sends you an email to your student and personal email accounts confirming that we have made the report and reminding you what your CAS number is. If you think you should have received this email, but have not yet received it, please contact us .
You complete the online visa application, pay the application and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee. If you have a valid EU, EEA or Swiss passport, or hold a valid BRP, you will be able to apply using the UK Immigration: ID Check app.
You will need to prove your identity as part of the application process. If you can use the UK Immigration: ID Check app, you will be directed to scan either your passport, your BRP or both.
If you are unable to use the UK Immigration: ID Check app, you’ll be asked to get your fingerprints and photograph taken at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point instead.
You wait in the UK* for a decision about your application and, if you are a visa nationa l, for your BRP to be delivered
*if you leave the UK before you receive a decision, your application will be deemed withdrawn and you may lose the opportunity to get a Graduate Route visa. If you leave the UK before you get your BRP (where applicable), you will need to apply for a replacement vignette before you can return to the UK (£165).
Things you must do to ensure your application is successful
Do not apply for the Graduate Route until after you receive a confirmation email from the University containing your CAS
Ensure that your Student Record is up-to-date with your current visa and address
Apply before your Tier 4/Student visa expires
Qualifying for the Graduate Route (eligibility criteria)
You must have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa
You must make your application in the UK prior to the expiry of your Tier 4/Student visa*
If you have, in the 12 months prior to your application, received a full scholarship from a Government or International Scholarship Agency (i.e. fees and living costs), you must have written consent from your sponsor to make the visa application
You must not have previously been granted a visa under the Graduate Route or the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)
*If your Tier 4/Student visa has expired, but you have been granted Exceptional Assurance, which is still valid, you may still be able to apply for the Graduate Route. Contact us for advice .
You must have been awarded a UK* bachelor’s or postgraduate degree, or one of the following:
A diploma in Professional Legal Practice
A PGCE or a PGDE
Other professional courses requiring study at UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities that are regulated by UK law or UK public authority. Professional roles that have reserved activities include (but are not limited to) medical doctors, architects, lawyers, teachers, and nurses.
You must have gained your qualification during the validity of your most recent Tier 4/Student visa (you cannot use a course that you completed before starting your most recent degree programme)
*Please note, if you have studied at the University of Edinburgh as a visiting student and your degree qualification has or will be awarded by an overseas institution, you will not be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route.
Study in the UK requirements
Requirement 1: You must spend a minimum amount of time physically present in the UK during your studies to qualify for the Graduate Route.
Requirement 2: You must hold a valid Tier 4/Student visa for the duration of the qualifying period in the UK
The minimum time you must spend depends on the length of your programme of studies:
*(This does not include holidays taken outside of term time).
Any period of distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, or remote study outside the UK up to 30 June 2022, as part of a course of study lasting longer than 12 months whilst you held permission as a Tier4/Student visa holder, will not prevent you from meeting the study in the UK requirement
- Time spent on permitted study abroad programmes: this is defined as a part of your programme which is completed at a partner institution, such as a University or research institute, outside the UK. The study abroad programme must be an integral and assessed part of the course which you have already started studying in the UK. An example of a permitted study abroad programme is a mandatory student exchange year.
Absences from the UK
There are a number of issues that you need to consider when leaving campus during term time – not just your eligibility for the Graduate Route:
- The University’s study regulations require you to be on campus during term time. You may apply for a Leave of Absence if you will be away for more than 30 days, but this can only be granted if you need the leave of absence for study purposes (such as data collection or a course-related work placement), and you continue to engage in your studies. You can ask your School if you wish to have an absence of 30 days or less, but it will be dependant on whether it is academically appropriate. You cannot miss any on campus engagement points.
- Your Student visa is granted to allow you to study in the UK. You are expected to carry out your studies on campus, and the UKVI’s expectation is that, if you don’t need to be in the UK, you don’t need a visa. We tell the UKVI that students need to be on campus to access the library and other facilities, even if they do not have classes. It is important, therefore, that you continue your studies in Edinburgh. However, if your absence is for less than 30 days, it has been agreed with your School, and you continue to engage in your studies throughout the absence your visa will not be affected.
- The Graduate Route rules currently state that, to qualify, you must be in the UK for all term time periods of your course, including the dissertation module. At present, this means that you must be in Edinburgh at all times except official vacation periods and weekends (Masters’ students do not have a summer vacation).
We recognise that the current rules about travel and the Graduate Route are unreasonably restrictive and we are working with UKCISA and UKVI to make them more realistic. However, we do not yet know what the changes will look like, and cannot confirm at this time whether your absence would exclude you from the Graduate Route. W e understand from verbal discussions with UKVI that short absences are unlikely to affect Graduate Route eligibility as long as you remain fully engaged with your studies. However, we cannot advise exactly how this works in practice until UKVI have published guidance which explains this. We will update this webpage as soon as we receive any new information from UKVI on this issue.
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
You will need your CAS number to be able to apply for the Graduate Route. The University will tell you your CAS number when they confirm (by email) that they have reported your award to the UKVI.
You must have completed the same qualification that is stated on your CAS, unless you changed your programme as permitted by your Tier 4/Student visa. Find more information about what is permitted on our website .
Conditions of the Graduate Route
What you can and can't do.
You are permitted to:
Work in any profession, at any level, for any employer (including self-employment and voluntary work) EXCEPT work as a professional sportsperson
Study on short or recreational courses
You must not:
Access public funds
Study with a Student sponsor on a course which would meet the requirements of the Student visa route
What you need to know
Things to look out for before and after applying.
If you have completed your course you can work full time until your student visa expires, but it must not be in a permanent role, unless you meet all of the below:
You submitted the visa application for your Student visa on or after 6 April 2022; a
You submit your Graduate visa application in-time before your Student visa expires; and
You submit your Graduate visa application after you successfully completed your course (i.e after you receive notification that the University has reported this to UKVI)
If all of the above applies to you, you can start a permanent full-time role whilst your Graduate visa application is pending
If you start a business while you have a Graduate Route visa, you will no longer qualify for the Start-Up visa
If your current Tier 4/Student visa will expire before your award is confirmed, you will need to extend your Student visa before you can apply for the Graduate Route. You can only extend your Student visa if you have not yet completed your studies. It is important that you seek advice about this as soon as you are aware. Contact Us
Your Graduate Route visa will be valid for 2 years from the date that your visa application is decided (which is normally about 8 weeks after you make your application). You should think carefully about when you should make your application. For example, many graduate work programmes start in September and last for 2 years, so you should plan to make your application around 8 weeks before the start of the programme.
However, there is no guarantee of exact dates when your visa will start and finish.
UKCISA guidance on the Graduate Route
UK post-study work opportunities in 2022: What international students should know
The UK is home to some of the best universities in the world. It’s no surprise, then, that it draws thousands of international students to its shores in pursuit of their higher education each year. In 2019-20 there were 538,615 international students studying in the UK; 142,985 of these were from the EU and 395,630 were non-EU, said government data.
Despite this, it was fairly difficult for international students to pursue work opportunities in the UK after completing their studies. Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May had previously reduced the work visa duration to only four months .
This is beginning to change. The UK government introduced a new option for international students looking to continue working after their studies: the Graduate route . This gives students the freedom to stay in the UK to work or look for work without being sponsored by a company. Undergraduate and postgraduate students can work or look for work after their studies for a period of two years, while doctoral students will be granted three years.
This means that students don’t need a pre-existing job offer to apply, giving them the flexibility to work and switch jobs according to any level of salary or skill, or choose to be self-employed. Students are also allowed to take part-time study, English language courses, or evening classes — or any route of study that in theory does not require sponsorship under the Student route.
Here’s everything you need to know about applying for a Graduate route visa after your studies in 2022:
Graduates can pursue any line of work in the UK, regardless of skill or salary. Source: Leon Neal/AFP
How can I qualify for the UK Graduate route visa?
To qualify for a UK Graduate route visa, you will need to have a valid Tier 4 visa at the time of your application. You’ll need to show that you’ve completed the entirety of your course in the UK as a student, apart from permitted study abroad programmes or remote study due to COVID-19, for which specific concessions have been agreed .
You’ll also need to show your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number, which would have been issued by your university along with your Student or Tier 4 visa. The qualification named on your CAS should be the same one you have recently completed and would be applying for the Graduate route under. If you’ve lost or do not know your CAS number, contact your university.
As with your initial Student or Tier 4 visa application, you’ll need to pay a processing fee of 700 pounds. You’ll also have to pay the full amount for the Immigration Health Surcharge, which will cost you £624 per year. It’s a hefty cost, but will give you full access to the UK’s National Health Service, the same as any UK permanent resident.
If you have any dependants, they’ll need to pay the processing fee and Immigration Health Surcharge, too. You’re not allowed to bring on new dependants — only those who have already come to the UK under your current Student or Tier 4 visa.
Students with a valid Tier 4 or Student visa will be eligible to apply for the Graduate route. Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP
Can I qualify for the visa even if I’ve been studying remotely due to the pandemic?
You might be able to do so. International students currently studying remotely or a combination of hybrid learning due to the pandemic can still apply UK Graduate visa route if you meet its other requirements under the UK’s COVID-19 student visa concessions .
When can I apply for the UK Graduate route visa?
You can only apply for the UK Graduate route visa once your university has confirmed the successful completion of your studies. According to the UK government, you don’t need to wait until you’ve graduated — you can submit an application as soon as your final course results have been sent to you.
It’s important that you’re in the UK when you submit your application, as your Graduate visa will be rejected if you apply from outside the country, and you may lose eligibility to apply for the route altogether. Make sure that you stay in the UK while you’re waiting for a decision on your application too, because this may affect your eligibility for the route and subsequent re-entry into the country.
Don’t worry about the expiration date for your current Student or Tier 4 visa. If it expires after you’ve applied for the Graduate route, you’ll still be allowed to stay in the UK until a decision has been made. Typically, you’ll receive a firm decision within eight weeks of applying.
You can continue to work in the UK under the normal stipulations of your Student or Tier 4 visa in the meantime.
It’s important that you remain in the UK while your application is being processed. Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP
How do I apply for the UK Graduate route visa?
There are two ways to apply for the UK Graduate route visa: online or in person.
The online application process requires you to visit the GOV.UK website, where you’ll find instructions on how to create a UK Visas and Immigration account and use a mobile app to verify your identity. You’ll need your current visa permit (e.g., a Biometric Residence Card) on hand for this, which you would have received when you entered the UK for your studies. If your application is successful, you’ll be issued with an eVisa or new Biometric Residence Card, depending on your country of origin.
If you can’t apply digitally, you can visit a UK Visas and Citizenship Application Services centre (UKVCAS). You can search for your nearest UKVCAS centre here .
For more information, have a look at this UK Graduate route guide or contact your university.
‘i’m not stuck’: how education helped elevate kristina rai from scholar to coo.
This business graduate shows what it means for women to be successful
Progressive and relentless: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s journey into Congress
Those taking the IB exams will be allowed to use ChatGPT
Omicron: What students planning to travel to the US, UK, Australia and NZ should know
Omicron: UK reintroduces compulsory PCR tests, mask mandate
UK Student Visa: What to know before applying in 2022
- UK Immigration Services
Request a Callback
Fill out the form and our Expert Advisor will reach out to you
Graduate visa uk
What is a graduate visa uk.
The Graduate visa uk route was created for individuals who have successfully completed an eligible course in the UK with a UK Student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa, and want to stay in the UK to work or look for work. It can be considered a UK post study work visa (UK PSW visa).
This UK temporary visa lasts 2 years, except for applicants who have obtained a doctoral qualification —in that case, this UK graduate visa lasts 3 years.
graduate visa uk eligibility requirements
UK post study work visa eligibility depends on the eligibility of the course that the applicants have completed with a UK Student visa.
In general, they can start the Graduate application process if they have a UK bachelor’s degree, a UK master’s degree, or a UK Ph.D. or doctorate. But other kinds of courses are also included. For example:
- A law conversion course approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
- The Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland.
- The Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland.
- A foundation program in Medicine or Dentistry.
- A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
- A Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
- A course that makes the graduate eligible for a job regulated by UK law or a UK public authority.
The education provider for the course must always be a licensed sponsor with a track record of compliance on the date of application.
Moreover, the applicants must have studied in the UK for either 12 months (if the course is longer than 12 months) or the total length of the course (if it’s shorter than 12 months).
UK Graduate visa conditions
- Successful applicants for the UK graduate visa will not have access to public funds.
- They can work, including self-employment and voluntary work (except for work as a professional sportsperson or coach). They can switch jobs unlimitedly.
- If they want to keep studying, they can do it subject to the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) condition. They can’t study with an education provider which is already a Student sponsor. Therefore, studies may be limited to English language courses, recreational courses, evening classes, part-time undergraduate courses, or some professional courses.
English language requirement for UK Graduate visa
The UK Graduate visa does not have an English language requirement, simply because it is meant for people who have already lived and studied in the UK with a UK Student visa.
One of the UK graduate visa eligibility requirements is to have approved an eligible course in the UK. The UK Government considers that a foreign person who is capable of completing such studies in the UK has already sufficient English language skills.
Graduate visa application fee
- The Graduate visa application fee is £715.
- Other Graduate visa fees include the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge, which is usually £624 per year.
This means that if the UK Graduate visa applicant will be staying in the UK for 2 years, the healthcare surcharge cost will be £1,248. If he or she is eligible for staying in the UK for 3 years, the healthcare surcharge cost will rise to £1,872.
UK Graduate visa holders who find jobs in the public sector healthcare (hospitals, GP practices, care homes, and community healthcare facilities) might be able to get a reimbursement if:
- They work for an eligible organization, such as the NHS.
- They’ve kept their job for at least 6 months for an average of at least 16 hours a week (including paid leave periods).
UK Graduate visa application
where to apply for the uk graduate visa .
- Applicants for the UK Graduate visa must be in the UK. They can’t start the Graduate application process from abroad.
When to apply for the UK Graduate visa
- UK student visa holders must apply for the UK Graduate visa before their UK temporary visa expires. They can do so by the time their institution confirms that they’ve passed the course.
How to apply for the UK Graduate visa
- Application for the UK Graduate visa must be done online.
- Applicants for the UK Graduate visa must create and log into UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account and scan their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) with the UK Immigration: ID Check app. This is to prove the applicant’s identity.
- People from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, must scan their passports instead.
Required documents for UK Graduate visa
- A valid passport or other documents to prove the applicant’s identity and nationality.
- The applicant’s Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Many individuals receive it when they apply for the UK Student visa.
- The applicant’s Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number sent by their education provider when they applied for the UK Student visa.
All the documents must be in English or Welsh. Otherwise, the applicant for the UK Graduate visa must provide a certified translation made by a verifiable translation agency or professional translator.
UK Graduate visa holder family
The UK Graduate route allows the visa holder’s family to join him or her in the UK if they applied as dependants on his or her UK Student visa.
Family is defined as:
- Husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner who has been living with the graduate for at least 2 years.
- Children under 18 years old, including children who were born while the UK Graduate route applicant studied in the UK with their UK Student visa.
- Children over 18 years old if they’re living with the applicant in the UK as his or her dependant, and are still financially supported by the applicant. Also, they can’t be married, in a civil relationship, or have children of their own.
The family of the UK Graduate visa applicant must submit a separate application and pay the fees. They must present documents that prove their identities, their Biometric Residence Permit (if they received one when they applied as dependants for the main applicant’s UK Student visa), and Unique Application Number (UAN) from the applicant’s previous application to that UK student visa.
How to extend this visa
The UK Graduate visa can’t be extended, but UK Graduate visa holders can apply for another visa (such as a Skilled Worker visa) before their UK post study work visa expires.
How to switch to this visa
Graduates can’t switch to this UK post study work visa from other visas unless it’s from the UK Student visa or Tier 4.
Receiving decision on UK Graduate visa
Applicants for the UK Graduate visa can expect to receive a decision within 8 weeks.
Frequently asked questions about UK Graduate visa
- Does application for this visa require any type of sponsorship?
- No. As long as you meet all the requirements, there is no need for sponsorship by any employers or institutions.
- What should I do if I can’t scan my BRP with the UK Immigration: ID Check app?
- You must provide biometric information at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point.
- Do I have to leave the UK while I wait for a decision on my application for the UK Graduate visa?
- No, you can wait for the decision on your application for this UK post study work visa from inside the UK, provided that your UK Student visa hasn’t expired yet. Even in that case, the UK Student visa includes a wrap-up time after the end date of the course (from 2 to 6 months, depending on the course and institution).
- Can I have more than one job with this UK post study work visa?
- Yes. The UK Graduate visa is not a sponsored work route. Therefore, you can have any job —even multiple jobs— at any skill level (except for work as a professional sportsperson or coach).
- Can I travel abroad while I’m in the UK with the Graduate visa?
- Yes. You can travel abroad and return to the UK as you wish.
What Do You Need to Do?
Scale-up worker visa.
What is the UK Scale-up Worker visa? The scale-up visa route is intended for…
High Potential Individual Visa
What is the High Potential Individual visa? The High Potential Individual visa route is for international graduates…
Health and Care Worker Visa
What is the Health and Care Worker visa? The Health and Care Worker visa is for medical…
Skilled Worker Visa
What is the Skilled Worker visa? The Skilled Worker route allows certain professionals to live and…
Global Business Mobility Visa Routes
What are the Global Business Mobility routes? The Global Business Mobility routes are visas for workers who…
Graduate Trainee Visa
Graduate Trainee Visa Overview The Graduate Trainee visa allows successful applicants to stay in the UK…
Global Talent Visa
What is the UK Global Talent Visa? The UK Global Talent Visa was created to attract leaders…
What is a Graduate visa uk? The Graduate visa uk route was created for individuals who…
UK Youth Mobility Visa
What is the UK Youth Mobility visa? The UK Youth Mobility visa is a visa…
Service Supplier Visa
What is the UK Service Supplier visa? The Service supplier visa is one of the Global Business…
Secondment Worker Visa
What is a Secondment Worker visa? The UK Secondment Worker visa allows foreign employers who have…
Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
Senior or Specialist Worker visa overview The Senior or Specialist Worker visa is a UK worker visa that is…
UK Expansion Worker Visa
Expansion Worker Visa Guidance - What is the UK Expansion Worker visa? The UK Expansion Worker visa is…
Sole Representative Visa 2022
Please note that the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa is no longer available…
UK Start-up Visa
What is the UK Start-up visa program? Apply for a UK Start-up visa if…
UK Innovator Visa
What is UK Innovator Visa? The UK Innovator Visa is a type of UK…
UK Investor Visa 2022
Please note that this visa is no longer available for new applicants. What is UK…
UK Student Visa
What is UK Student Visa? The UK Student visa is available to foreigners aged…
UK Visa Sponsor Management System
The UK visa sponsor management system (SMS), is a tool available for employers who…
UK Visa Sponsorship Jobs 2022
UK Visa Sponsorship Jobs: What is UK visa sponsorship jobs in 2022? As an…
What happens if you lose your visa sponsor licence?
sponsor licence problems in the UK If your visa sponsor licence in the UK…
View a job applicant’s right to work details 2022
View a job applicant's right to work If you are thinking of trying to…
UK Family Visa 2022
What is a UK Family visa? A UK Family visa is a type of…
Turkish Businessperson Visa 2022
Please note that the Turkish Businessperson Visa is no longer available for new applicants. (Please…
Turkish Worker Visa UK 2022
Please note that the Turkish Worker Visa is no longer available for new applicants.…
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa UK in 2022
Entrepreneur Visa UK Please note that this visa is no longer available for new applicants.…
Latest Articles and News
UK’s Home Office and HM Passport Office announce new passport fees
What is the GCSE test?
What are the top universities in UK and why?
Minimum requirements to apply for UK Expansion Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)
- Side Hustles
- Power Players
- Young Success
- Save and Invest
- Become Debt-Free
- Land the Job
- Closing the Gap
- Science of Success
- Pop Culture and Media
- Psychology and Relationships
- Health and Wellness
- Real Estate
- Most Popular
UK launches new visa for world's top graduates — is your college on the list?
Graduates from the world's top colleges, who are still early on in their careers, will now be able to apply for a short-term visa to stay and work in the U.K.
From Monday, the U.K. government has said people who have graduated, in the last five years, from one of the eligible leading universities listed on its website , will be able to apply for the U.K.'s "high potential individual" visa.
Successful applicants will be granted a two-year visa, while those with a PhD will be offered a three-year visa. Graduates granted a HPI visa will also be able to switch to other long-term employment visas, if they meet the eligibility requirements.
Graduates' partners and children can also apply to join, or stay with them, in the U.K.
To apply, graduates will need a valid passport or other travel document that shows their identity and nationality. It will be available to those eligible regardless of their nationality or where they were born. Applicants will also have to prove they have at least a "B1" level of English, where they can communicate with native speakers without effort.
The application fee for the visa is £715 ($904), along with £210 to verify that their qualification is valid, or £252 if they're applying from the U.K.
In addition, applicants will have to pay a health care surcharge, so that they can use the U.K.'s National Health Service, which is usually £624 for every year they'll be in the U.K. Applicants will also have to prove that they can support themselves by showing they have at least £1,270 in their bank account, though this is subject to exemptions.
Applicants will usually find out whether they've been successful within 3 weeks if they're applying from outside the U.K. and 8 weeks if they're already in the U.K., and are switching from another visa.
The list of eligible colleges is based on university rankings from around the world. Here's the 2021/22 rundown of eligible universities.
'High potential individual' visa 2021 college list
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech) — U.S.
- Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) — Hong Kong
- Columbia University — U.S.
- Cornell University — U.S.
- Duke University — U.S.
- Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL Switzerland) — Switzerland
- ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) — Switzerland
- Harvard University — U.S.
- Johns Hopkins University — U.S.
- Karolinska Institute — Sweden
- Kyoto University — Japan
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) — U.S.
- McGill University — Canada
- Nanyang Technological University (NTU) — Singapore
- National University of Singapore — Singapore
- New York University (NYU) — U.S.
- Northwestern University — USA
- Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University — France
- Peking University — China
- Princeton University — U.S.
- Stanford University — U.S.
- Tsinghua University — China
- University of British Columbia — Canada
- University of California, Berkeley — U.S.
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) — U.S.
- University of California, San Diego — U.S.
- University of Chicago US — U.S.
- University of Hong Kong — Hong Kong
- University of Melbourne — Australia
- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor — U.S.
- University of Munich (LMU Munich) — Germany
- University of Pennsylvania — U.S.
- University of Texas at Austin — U.S.
- University of Tokyo — Japan
- University of Toronto — Canada
- University of Washington — U.S.
- Yale University — U.S.
Check out: 3 books all recent college graduates should read, according to a career expert
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
The Graduate Visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for 2 years after successfully completing your MSc course in the UK with us and for 3 years after successfully completing your PhD or DrPH course with us.
The Graduate visa cannot be extended. However, you may be able to switch to a different visa, for example a Skilled Worker visa .
Please visit The Graduate immigration route for further details
You can apply for a Graduate visa if all the following are true:
- you are in the UK
- your current visa is a student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- you studied an eligible course for a minimum period of time with your student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- you have successfully completed that course
Getting a decision
Once you have applied online, proved your identity, and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks.
You can stay in the UK while you wait for a decision.
You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.
The UKVI is now accepting the Graduate visa applications, the application must only be submitted from within the UK once you have successfully completed the eligible course your most recent CAS was issued for. Please note you can only submit the application from within the UK if your current visa is a student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa.
You must apply online .
Your partner and children can also apply to stay in the UK if they are eligible.
Students will also need to know the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) they used for their most recent Student (or Tier 4) application in order to apply for the Graduate route.
Contact the Student Visa Team at [email protected] to check when you can apply, please do not apply until you have contacted us.
When you apply for a Graduate visa, you will need to:
- pay the application fee - this is usually £700
- pay the healthcare surcharge - this is usually £624 for each year you will be in the UK
Check how much it will cost .
Yes, you will need to apply for a separate Graduate Route visa before your Student Visa (Tier 4) expires. As part of your application, you will need to prove your identity and provide your documents. Your application may take longer if you need an appointment to do this. You will find out if you need one when you start your application.
Yes, the Graduate Route will replace the Doctorate Extension Scheme for PhD students who graduate from summer 2021. This is good news for PhD/DrPH visa holders as the new option provides a much more generous post-study work period (three years rather than one) and a simpler application process.
The Graduate Route will be available to students on Student Visa. EU and EEA students arriving in the UK to study from 1 January 2021 or after will require a visa. The Graduate Route will therefore be available to EU and EEA students as well as other international students on a Student Visa (Tier 4).
If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people. You can still apply if either:
- you have a later deadline - for example, you’re joining a family member in the UK
- you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021 - for example, you had an illness or were the victim of domestic abuse
Check if you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme .
You don't need to be in work to qualify for the Graduate Route and periods of unemployment won't have any impact on the length of your post-study work visa.
The Graduate visa cannot be extended, at the end of the two-year period after a master's or three-year period after a PhD/DrPH degree, you will need to leave the UK or apply for a different visa, such as a Tier 2 General work visa. The Tier 2 visa requires you to have an employment offer with a minimum skill and salary level, but your time on the Graduate Route should make it much easier to work towards this.
The Graduate route will require a new visa application, which will only be possible from inside the UK.
You must apply online
With a Graduate visa you can:
- work in most jobs
- look for work
- be self-employed
- continue living in the UK with your partner and children if they’re eligible
- do voluntary work
- travel abroad and return to the UK
If your application is successful, you will get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Graduate visa.
- apply for most benefits ( public funds ), or the State Pension
- work as a professional sportsperson
You can only study with a Graduate visa if your chosen course is not eligible for a Student visa .
When you apply, you’ll need to provide:
- a valid passport or other travel document that shows your identity and nationality
- your biometric residence permit (BRP), if you were given one when you applied for your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number from when you applied for your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
Your CAS reference number was sent to you by us to apply for the Tier 4 / student visa. If you cannot find it, please contact us at [email protected]
Other documents you might need
Depending on your circumstances, you might be asked to provide:
- proof of your relationship with your partner and children if they’re applying with you
- a letter from your scholarship or sponsorship provider approving your application, if they paid for your course fees or living costs in the last 12 months
If your documents are not in English or Welsh you’ll also need to provide a certified translation .
As part of your application, you will need to prove your identity.
If you are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you usually do this by scanning your passport with the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.
If you are not from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you usually do this by scanning your biometric residence permit (BRP).
You will need to sign into an existing UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account or create a new one.
If you cannot scan your passport or BRP with the app, you will be asked to get your fingerprints and photograph taken at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point.
You will be told what you need to do when you apply.
If you do need an appointment, the centre may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application.
Individuals applying to the Graduate route will not need a sponsor. Student sponsors will not need to fulfil any sponsorship duties for their students once they switch onto the Graduate route and students will not need a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to apply under this route. However, students sponsors will need to notify the Home Office that a student has successfully completed their course.
The route is non-extendable and does not count towards settlement. However, graduates who find an appropriate job and meet the requirements will be able to apply to work routes, including the Skilled Worker, which is a route to settlement.
What Can I Do (And Not Do) With a Graduate Visa?
The new Graduate Visa route has now been open for four months. This route is designed to allow Students who have completed an eligible UK qualification to stay in the UK to work or to look for work. The Graduate Visa allows individuals to stay in the UK for two years (or three years, for those being awarded doctorates) after the successful completion of their studies.
The Graduate Visa is a route that allows you the freedom to explore your options, work, or look for work while you are in the UK. It is also permitted to be self-employed or even to establish your own business.
In this post, we will look at the conditions attached to a Graduate Visa , and set out what you are able to do as a Graduate Visa holder in the UK, as well as what you are unable to do.
What Kind of Work Can a Graduate Visa Holder Do?
A Graduate Visa will allow you to undertake any work in the UK, including:
- paid and unpaid employment;
- voluntary work;
- engaging in business or any professional activity.
The only restriction placed on a Graduate Visa holder’s ability to work is a prohibition on working as a professional sportsperson . This means that as a Graduate Visa holder, you are not permitted to engage in professional sport (including coaching). However, you are permitted to participate in amateur sport. An amateur is defined in part 6 of the Immigration Rules as “a person who engages in a sport or creative activity solely for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from the activity.”
The Home Office Guidance sets out that any of the following activities may be considered to constitute engagement in professional sport, which would not be permitted with a Graduate Visa:
- providing services as a sportsperson, playing or coaching in any capacity, at a professional or semi-professional level of sport;
- receiving payment, including payment in kind, for playing or coaching that is covering all, or the majority of, their costs for travelling to, and living in the UK;
- being registered to a professional or semi-professional sports team – this includes all academy and development team age groups;
- representing a national team within the previous 2 years, including all youth and development age groups from under 17’s upwards;
- representing a state or regional team within the previous 2 years, including all youth and development age groups from under 17’s upwards;
- established an international reputation in their chosen field of sport;
- engaging an agent or representative, with the aim of finding opportunities as a sportsperson, and/or developing a current or future career as a sportsperson.
Am I Required to Work While in the UK With a Graduate Visa?
No, there is no requirement to work while on a Graduate Visa. The Graduate Immigration route is designed to allow Students who have successfully completed an eligible UK qualification to look for, and undertake, work in the UK. Therefore, you do not need to have a job offer or a Certificate of Sponsorship to be eligible to apply, and there is no condition that requires you to work while in the UK with a Graduate Visa.
Am I Allowed to Work Full-Time/Part-Time?
The conditions of the Graduate Visa contain no reference to any maximum or minimum number of hours you may work. Accordingly, the route allows for complete flexibility for working arrangements and even allows you to work for multiple employers.
What if I Don’t Find a Job?
As outlined above, there is no condition attached to the Graduate Visa that requires you to work or to find a job. The Graduate Visa is not a route that leads to settlement in the UK, and it is not possible to extend your Graduate Visa at the end of the two- (or three-) year period. Therefore at the end of this period, you will be required to either leave the UK or to apply to switch into another immigration route, if you qualify to do so, before the expiry of your grant of leave.
Am I Allowed to Study With a Graduate Visa?
Study is permitted on this route, but it is not permissible to study with an education provider which is a Student Sponsor and which would meet the approved qualification and level of study requirements of the Student route. If you wish to study on such a course, you must apply for leave as a Student . It is also worth noting that it is not beneficial to do so in any event, as you can only have leave in the Graduate route once. Therefore, if you are considering further study in the UK, it is beneficial to first apply to study in the UK as a Student and to switch to the Graduate visa at a later date.
You are allowed to study if your chosen course is not eligible for a Student visa.
Are My Dependants Allowed to Work?
Family members in the UK, who already have permission to stay in the UK as a dependant of a Student, are able to switch to become a Graduate dependant at the same time as the Student extends their stay on the Graduate Visa Route. However, new dependants (those who have not previously been the dependant of a Student) are not permitted to switch into the Graduate Visa route as a dependant, except where a dependent child is born in the UK during a period of Student or Graduate leave.
People who are granted leave as dependants of a Graduate Visa holder are allowed to work in the UK, apart from as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach).
Are My Dependants Allowed to Study?
People who are granted leave as dependants of a Graduate Visa holder are allowed to study in the UK (subject to the ATAS condition of Appendix ATAS, if they are over 18 when they commence study).
Contact Our Graduate Immigration Route Lawyers
For expert advice and assistance for an application for a Graduate visa , please contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.
SEE HOW OUR IMMIGRATION BARRISTERS CAN HELP YOU
To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.
Want to keep up to date with the latest immigration news, events and legal developments?
Sign up and receive our latest expert briefings, case-law alerts and immigration guides. We’ve got our finger on the pulse, making sure you’re up-to-date.
DOWNLOAD OUR BROCHURE
Expert advice & representation from immigration barristers that you can rely on..
Read the 500+ five out of five star Google reviews of our immigration barristers.
Graduate Route information session
The UKCISA webinar on the new Graduate Route is now live on their website. The webinar covers eligibility, applications and work options under the Graduate Route, followed by a Q&A.
You can view the recording of the webinar at this link.
You must not apply until UCL has reported your course completion to UKVI
When UCL reports your course completion to UKVI, you will receive an email from UCL confirming this. You must not apply for the Graduate Route until you receive this email, as applying too early may result in a refusal. You can read more about the reporting timelines for respective programmes below.
- What is the Graduate route visa?
Am I eligible for the Graduate Route?
- How do I apply for the Graduate route?
Can my family members apply with me?
- When do I have to return to the UK if I want to apply for the Graduate route in 2022 or beyond?
- When is my course completion reported to UKVI ?
- When can I start working on the Graduate route visa?
- Can I study on the Graduate route visa?
What is the Gradute route visa?
The Graduate route is a visa available to international students who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a UCL and who have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa at the time of application. The Graduate Route has replaced the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa.
Most successful applicants will be eligible for a two-year visa, however PhD graduates will be eligible for a three-year visa.
To meet the requirements of the Graduate route students will need to:
- have successfully completed an eligible course at UCL
- applied after UCL has reported your course completion to the Home Office (you will receive an email from UCL when this is reported)
- have a valid Student or Tier 4 visa at the time of application
- only apply for this visa inside the UK
- have held had a Student/Tier 4 Visa for at least 12 months if studying a course longer than 12 months or for the full duration of your course if the course is 12 months or less. ( please see exceptions below for those graduating in 2021 )
If, in the last 12 months before the date of your application, you have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK, you must provide written consent to the application from that Government or agency.
If you are currently sponsored on the Doctorate Extension Scheme you will not be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route.
How do I apply for the Graduate route?
The Graduate route will require a new visa application, which will only be possible from inside the UK. It will include the payment of a visa fee of £715 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year.
Students will also need to know the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) they used for their most recent Student (or Tier 4) application in order to apply for the Graduate route. Details of your CAS can be found on your Portico account.
The Graduate Route application form has been designed to be straightforward and simple. You can find further information on how to apply using the IDV app and what kind of status you will recieve once your application is approved at pages 4 - 6 of this guidance document .
Further information about the new visa route can also be found on the Home Office website .
As part of the scheme UCL is required to report to UKVI that students have been awarded their degree. Once UCL has done this will you be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route. Our team will be contacting all students via email to notify them once we have reported this to UKVI. You have up until the expiry of your current Tier 4/Student Visa to submit your Graduate Route application.
Dependent family members will be permitted on the Graduate route, provided those family members are in the UK and they hold a valid permission as dependants of the main applicant on the Student/Tier 4 route. New dependants will not be permitted, except where a dependent child was born in the UK during a period of Student or Graduate permission.
Your dependant partner will need to provide evidence to show that your relationship is genuine and subsisting. For example, at least 6 different documents from different sources demonstrating that you have lived together at the same address since your last visa was issued.
When do I have to return to the UK if I want to apply for the Graduate route in 2022 and beyond?
Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 who have already applied for their student visa and travelled to the UK on that visa , will be able to apply for the Graduate Route visa if they re-enter the UK before the end date of their visa.
If your course started at any time, and is longer than 12 months in duration , any time that you spend outside the UK distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2022 will not prevent you meeting the Graduate route eligibility requirements. In these circumstances, you must return to the UK and apply for the Graduate route before your Student visa/Tier 4 visa expires. For example , you are an undergraduate student with a Tier 4/Student visa who entered the UK to start their programme in September 2019. You then spent time outside the UK distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2022 and intend to successfully complete your course in June 2022. To be eligible for the Graduate route, you must return to the UK and submit your application before your Student visa/Tier 4 visa expires.
If you hold a visa type other than a Student/Tier4 visa and you have been studying via distance learning overseas from the beginning of your programme, you will need to apply for a Student Visa from overseas before returning to the UK to be eligible for the Graduate Route in 2021.
If you hold a visa type other than a Student/Tier4 visa and you have been studying from inside the UK either in person or via distance learning, in most cases you will need to complete 12 months of study on a Student visa to be eligible for the Graduate Route scheme.
To contact the Student Immigration Advice Team, please open an enquiry via askUCL .
When is my course completion reported to UKVI?
We are only be able to submit a notification to UKVI that you have been awarded your degree once your marks have been ratified by UCL’s Exam Boards and noted on our systems. UCL will therefore be running regular reports to ensure that your award is picked up and reported as quickly as possible but please see below for the expected timings of our reports to UKVI for the coming year:
- For Undergraduate students, we expect to start submitting these notifications from mid-July.
- For Undergraduate students who are required to submit work during the late summer assessment period, we expect to start submitting these notifications in mid-September.
- For Postgraduate Taught programmes with a June end date we expect to start submitting these notifications from mid-July.
- For students enrolled on a PGCE or LLM programme, we expect to start submitting these notifications from mid-August.
- For all other Postgraduate Taught students we expect to be able to start submitting these notifications from early December.
- Postgraduate Research students are awarded their degree on the 28 th of each month . We expect to submit a notification of award to UKVI within 7 working days of the award being noted on the system.
When can I start working on the Graduate route visa?
Applications submitted after 6 April 2022: while your Graduate route application is pending, you may start employment in a full-time permanent vacancy once you have successfully completed your course of study and made a valid Graduate Route application before your Student visa expires.
Can I study on the Graduate route visa?
The rules state that you cannot study any course which could in theory be sponsored under the Student route .
Examples of permitted study would therefore include:
- Part-time undergraduate course
- English language courses
- Some professional courses
- Online study
- Evening classes
- Recreational courses
If you are unsure whether you can study a specific course under the Graduate route, please contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team on askUCL .
Further information about the new visa route can be found on the Home Office website and the UKCISA website .
Study at Cambridge
About the university, research at cambridge.
- Events and open days
- Fees and finance
- Student blogs and videos
- Why Cambridge
- Course directory
- How to apply
- Frequently asked questions
- International students
- Continuing education
- Executive and professional education
- Courses in education
- How the University and Colleges work
- Visiting the University
- Term dates and calendars
- Video and audio
- Find an expert
- International Cambridge
- Public engagement
- Giving to Cambridge
- For current students
- For business
- Colleges & departments
- Libraries & facilities
- Museums & collections
- Email & phone search
- International Students
- Applying overview
- Types of study
- Defining Cambridge
- A global community overview
- International student data
- Fees and financial support
- Accommodation and residence
- Bringing your family
- Living in Cambridge
- Immigration overview
- Student visa overview
- Student visa - entry clearance overview
- Student visa - entry clearance (EEA and Swiss nationals)
- Student visa - permission to stay
- Costs associated with applying for a student visa
- Student visa responsibilities overview
- Prior to and on arrival
- Collecting your BRP overview
- BRP validity until 31 December 2024
- Police Registration
- Changes in circumstances overview
- Changing your research degree
- Working on a student visa overview
- PhD - Internships and visa considerations
- Finishing your studies
- Time limit on study and academic progression
- Dependant visas
- Lost documents
- Name and nationality changes
- Visas for pre-sessional courses
- Extending your visa as a current PhD student
- Visa Advice overview
- Conditions of Service
- Studying on other visas
- Studying part-time overview
- Short period of study
- Visiting students
- Undergraduate admissions interviews
- Graduate visa (post-study)
- Arriving overview
- Pre-arrival information
- Healthcare in the UK
- Costs associated with arrival
- Prepare to study
- Support on arrival
- Studying overview
- Your student record
- Working and studying
- Other study opportunities
- More than just study
- Course completion
- Student visa
- Visa Advice
- Studying part-time
Permission to stay under the Graduate route will enable international students to work or look for work after their studies for 2 years, or 3 years for PhD students. The work can be in any sector and at any level without any minimum salary requirements or the need for visa sponsorship.
Students studying on a Tier 4/Student visa will need to make an application in the UK to be granted permission under the route after successful completion of their degree. There are specific eligibility requirements so you are advised to read the information on this page in full.
It is possible to work full-time on your Tier 4/Student visa after you have completed your course and whilst it remains valid, but with some restrictions on the type of work you can do. Information is outlined on our Working on a student visa webpage.
To be eligible to apply for a Graduate visa, you will need to:
- hold a current Tier 4/Student visa;
Not all courses at Cambridge are eligible for student visa sponsorship and therefore will not be eligible for the Graduate route. This includes most part-time taught courses which are supported under the visitor route. PhD graduates with permission under the Doctorate Extension Scheme are not eligible to apply for a Graduate visa.
- have studied a Bachelors, Masters, PGCE, or PhD at Cambridge;
Advanced Diploma, and other non-degree awarding qualifications except the PGCE, are not eligible to apply for a Graduate visa.
- have successfully completed your degree;
You are considered to have successfully completed your degree for the purpose of applying for the Graduate visa once you have received your final results and your record is updated to reflect completion. It does not mean you need to have attended a graduation ceremony. Completion for PhD students is unconditional approval, which is normally submission of the hardbound thesis.
You need to have completed the degree for which your Tier 4/Student visa was granted, unless it is a change permitted under student visa policy. Students who have a Tier 4/Student visa for a four year Integrated Masters course are eligible to apply for the Graduate visa if they successfully complete their studies and exit with the Bachelors qualification and will not be proceeding to the fourth year.
Following the update of your student record to reflect completion, you will need to wait until you have received an email from the International Student Office confirming the International Student Office has notified UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) of your successful completion before you can apply for the Graduate visa. See the section on 'When can I apply?'.
Masters students who do not complete all the required assessment (i.e. final submission or exam) by the original end date in their CAS should contact the International Student Office to check whether they are still eligible for the Graduate visa as this may depend on whether final results will be received prior to their current visa expiry.
- have studied for a minimum period of time in the UK on a Tier 4/Student visa;
The minimum period of study for the Graduate visa is at least 12 months OR the full length of your course, whichever is shorter. Permitted 'study abroad' activities (i.e. activities that are undertaken overseas as part of a course) or time spent overseas during permitted breaks from study such as during official vacation periods or at the weekend can be included in the minimum period.
The minimum period of study can be undertaken on more than one Tier 4/Student visa if granted to study the same qualification at the University.
If you switch to a student visa from another immigration category during your course, you would not be eligible for a Graduate visa unless you will have studied for the minimum required time as outlined above on the most recent Tier 4/Student visa prior to completion. If you are switching from another immigration category to start your studies at Cambridge, you can include the time whilst the application is pending in the minimum study period.
- provide a letter of consent if financially sponsored by a Government or international scholarship agency;
If in the 12 months before the date of application you have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international scholarship agency covering fees and living costs for study in the UK, you must provide a letter of consent from the sponsor organisation to support the application.
- apply in the UK within the validity of your current Tier 4/Student visa.
See the section 'Studying remotely owing to the pandemic' for information about concessions put in place due to COVID-19.
Permission under the Graduate route will be granted subject to the following conditions:
- any work in the UK (including paid and unpaid, self-employment, engaging in business or any professional activity) is permitted. The only restriction is a prohibition on working as a professional sportsperson or coach;
- study is restricted on this visa and is only permitted on courses that would not meet the requirements for student visa sponsorship. If you are continuing to further study at Cambridge, or at another institution, and plan to apply for the Graduate visa, you should first check whether it will be possible for you to study on your chosen course under this visa;
- no access to public funds.
The permission granted under the Graduate route, 2 years for undergraduate and Masters students and 3 years for PhD students, will start from when the decision is made on the application.
It is not possible to extend your permission under the Graduate route once granted. From the Graduate route, you would be able to switch to a Skilled Worker visa from within the UK if you are offered a suitable job with an employer who holds a sponsor licence.
It is only possible to be granted permission under the Graduate route once. You cannot apply again, for example, if you were to undertake another course of study.
Whilst an application for the Graduate visa is pending, the working conditions of your student visa will continue to apply. The only exception to this is if you applied for your current student visa after 6 April 2022, in which case you are able to start a full-time permanent vacancy once you have submitted the new Graduate visa application and whilst it is pending. This is otherwise not possible as a student visa does not permit working in a full-time permanent job.
You should only make your application once the University has notified UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that you have successfully completed your degree. This is in accordance with the Graduate route visa policy. The International Student Office will make this report to UKVI after you have received your final results and your University record has been updated to reflect completion. Please note it can take several weeks after you have received your results for your University record to be updated. The International Student Office is not directly involved in the process of updating student records so we request that you do not contact our office to ask when this will happen unless it is close to your current visa expiry date. The International Student Office will confirm to you when the report has been made to UKVI and you will receive this by email to the email address on your student record. Do not submit your Graduate visa application until you have received this email .
You will need to apply in the UK whilst your current Tier 4/Student visa is still valid and cannot travel overseas until you have received the outcome of your application, and your new BRP if applicable (see section below titled eVisa).
If your visa expires after you have applied to the Graduate route, you will be permitted to remain in the UK whilst your application is being considered under the conditions of your Tier 4/Student permission until you have received the outcome of your Graduate visa application.
The visa application fee is £715. In addition, the application will also require you to pay the immigration health surcharge and this is charged at £624 per year the visa will be granted (£1,248 for 2 years and, for PhD students, £1872 for 3 years).
You make an application online .
As part of the process you will need to prove your identity by using a ‘UK Immigration ID Check’ app on your phone to scan your current Tier 4/Student Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or, if you are an EEA or Swiss national, your biometric passport. You will be given instructions on how to use the app in the application. It is free and compatible with Android phones and iPhone 7 or newer models. If you do not own a compatible phone, you can use the app from a friend’s mobile phone as no information is stored on the phone or app after you close it.
If you cannot use the app, you will need to book an in-person appointment for biometric enrolment. This includes students who applied for their current student visa inthe UK and it was issued as a digital status with no BRP (this does not apply to EEA and Swiss nationals ho can use their passport with the app instead of a BRP).
As part of the application:
- You will need your passport and current Tier4/Student BRP to apply.
- You will need to know the CAS number you used to support your Tier 4/student visa application. This will be included in the email notification sent to you once the successful completion of your degree has been reported to UKVI.
- You will need a letter of consent if you have been financially sponsored for your studies by a Government or international scholarship agency.
- There will be no requirement to provide financial evidence with the application.
The advertised decision timeframe is 8 weeks from when you submit your application.
Please note that once you have made your application, you cannot travel overseas until you have been notified of the decision.
When granted, the visa will be issued as a digital status, also called an eVisa.
The digital status will enable you to prove your right to live and work in the UK online .
Visa nationals (i.e. nationalities who require entry clearance prior to travel to the UK as a visitor) will also be issued a new Biometric Resident Permit (BRP). It is likely this will need to be shown in order to travel to the UK whilst your Graduate visa is valid. Visa nationals are therefore advised to wait to receive the new BRP once the visa has been granted before travelling overseas.
If you cannot use the app as part of the application, and need to enrol your biometrics at an in-person appointment, you will also be issued a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
When you set up your UKVI account to apply for this visa you will use your BRP to verify your identity, unless you are an EEA or Swiss national. UKVI advises that once you have received your eVisa, you should sign back into your UKVI account using the information on your BRP but then change the main ‘sign-in’ document to your current passport. This is to ensure you can continue to access your UKVI account easily and should also ensure that you avoid unnecessary delays when travelling in and out of the UK. If you renew your passport, you should sign in and update these details in your UKVI account.
Dependant family members in the UK who already have immigration permission as a Tier 4 or Student dependant can apply for further permission to stay as a dependant under the Graduate route.
Children born in the UK do not need to have been granted a dependant visa under Tier 4 or the Student route but they must have been born in the UK during the student’s most recent Tier 4 or student visa.
Further information about dependant eligibility is outlined on the UKVI website .
Read the information on the UKVI webpages and their Graduate immigration route guide .
If you have any questions about the Graduate route contact the International Student Office.
Immigration rules and policy are subject to change. These webpages are updated as soon as possible following any changes but relevant pages of the Home Office website should be checked for the latest information. The International Student Office can only provide information and advise on current policy; it is not possible to speculate on future immigration changes or developments in relation to post-study visa options.
© 2023 University of Cambridge
- University A-Z
- Contact the University
- Freedom of information
- Terms and conditions
- Spotlight on...
- About research at Cambridge
UK Visa Applications
United Kingdom Visa Application Services Full Application Support & Processing Click below to get started.
Important Travel Information – Please Read
UK Visa Applications must be completed online, and you must attend an appointment to submit your supporting documents and biometrics. It is crucial that you complete the online application accurately to avoid any complications with your submission.
There are numerous reasons why individuals wish to apply for a visa to enter the United Kingdom, which you can read below.
UK Visa Travel Purposes
- Work or Business
- For vacations and tourism
- Reunite with family members/li>
- To travel through the UK
- Live indefinitely
- As a refugee or as a person in need of humanitarian assistance
- If they re a stateless individual
- As someone requiring approval to remain
To start the UK visa application process, please click below
What is a UK Visa?
A UK Visa is a required authorization document. It permits global citizens to enter, temporarily reside, or permanently reside in the United Kingdom. A passport stamp typically accompanies a UK visa. It can also be through the presentation of a document at a British consulate or embassy. Once granted a visa, it demonstrates that you are permitted entry into the United Kingdom and that you satisfy the visa’s specific requirements.
People apply for a UK Visa for various reasons, including to work, study, conduct business, join immediate relatives, visit as a tourist, transit through the country, access private medical treatment, seek asylum, and reside permanently in the UK.
A UK Visa is a document that permits you to enter the United Kingdom. Whether you wish to visit the United Kingdom temporarily or make it your permanent home by obtaining settlement status, your visa will play a significant role in your UK immigration process.
How to Apply for a Visa to the United Kingdom?
The complexity of UK visas and immigration can make it challenging to navigate the visa application process on your own. If your application contains an error, UK Visas and Immigration may deny it.
The application process for a United Kingdom visa is highly dependent on the type of visa you seek, mainly if your visa type falls under the category of Points-Based System visas. While most requirements for each category are identical, how they are evaluated in the system varies. Additionally, there are category-specific additional requirements.
You may need a visa to study, work, visit, or join family in the United Kingdom. There are different visas depending on the following:
- Where you are from.
- Why you wish to visit the UK.
- How long you wish to stay.
- Your personal circumstances and skills.
- The country of origin.
Before applying, you must determine if a visa is required and what type it is. Depending on your nationality, a visa may not be required to visit or transit through the United Kingdom. Your application must be accepted and approved before your departure.
What Documents Are Required for a UK Visa?
You will need to submit the following documents/Information to apply for a UK Visa (this list is not exhaustive):
- UK visa application form relating to the type of UK visa you are applying for.
- Two color photographs taken within six months.
- Your Valid Passport, which must be valid for three months after the intended date that you intend to depart the United Kingdom. Additionally, it must contain at least one blank page for the visa.
- Evidence that you have adequate funds to cover your expenses in the United Kingdom; this will need to include your bank statements or pay stubs from the previous six months.
- Evidence of accommodation, you will need to show documentation indicating where you will stay in the United Kingdom.
- You will be required to submit a travel itinerary detailing how and what you intend to do while in the United Kingdom. Include travel dates, destinations, meeting agenda, booked tours, festival schedules, etc.
- To qualify for a UK visa, citizens of some nations will be required to present the results of a tuberculosis test.
- When applying for a visa to stay in the UK for over six months, you must provide biometric information. This entails providing fingerprints and a digital photograph at the designated application center.
- If you will be staying with a friend or family member, you must submit an invitation letter. Your host must be a British citizen or lawful resident.
- Paid UK visa fees. You must submit the receipt proving that you have paid the required visa fee.
- Certified translations of all non-English or Welsh-language documents.
Additional Requirements Depending on Your Employment Situation:
- A letter from your employer, if you are employed, confirming your employment status, salary, and length of service.
- If you are self-employed:
- Registration documents for your business which needs to confirm the name of the business owner and the date the business began operations.
- If you are a student:
- A letter from your academic institution. The correspondence should confirm your enrolment and permitted leave of absence.
Additional Application Requirements if under 18 years of age .
Applicants under the age of 18 are required to submit additional documentation. The following documents are listed:
- Certificate of Birth
- Adoption documents (if applicable).
- If traveling unaccompanied or with a non-parent companion, a parent(s) letter confirming the details of anyone accompanying the minor, signed by the parent(s).
- A copy of the biographical information page of the parent(s) or legal guardian’s passport.
Please note: This list is not a diefinitive list and other documents maybe required.
A full list can be found Here
UK Visa Types
Visas for work and business.
Apart from its strict requirements, which prevent many visa holders from finding work, the UK also offers Working Visas for high-end professionals from other countries who seek to work and live in the UK for shorter or longer periods.
Visas for Tourists and Visitors
The United Kingdom is a top-rated tourist destination for short and extended stays. Visitor Visas to the United Kingdom are awarded for short visits, tourism, and similar purposes. The UK government rarely issues a tourism visa for longer than six months. As with many other forms of visas, foreign citizens may not work in the United Kingdom while holding this sort of visa.
What is the Points-Based System
(pbs), and how does it work.
The United Kingdoms Point-Based System (PBS) Visas regulate immigration to the United Kingdom from outside the country, replacing the previous system, which was far more complicated and challenging to cover.
The PBS system scores visa applicants based on the points they earn by meeting visa requirements. Each visa requirement has a certain number of points, and the candidate must accumulate a certain number to obtain the visa.
When Should I Apply for a Visa to the United Kingdom?
You may apply for a visa three months before your intended visit to the UK. However, keep in mind that your visa application may take up to three weeks to process. Apply as early as possible to allow the consulate sufficient time to process your visa.
Once you submit an application online, it will be reviewed and extra details will be requested to ensure the correct processing of your application. Once your application is processed you are required to attend an appointment, during the busy season appointments can be limited.
For detailed information on specific parts of the UK visa process , you can refer to the links in the table on the right to find the answer to your query. If you are unable to find any particular information, please contact us via email.
A Visa is required for any foreign national wishing to enter the United Kingdom. You can choose from the following:
Permits to Reside in the United Kingdom
The UK Settlement permit, also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain, is intended for individuals who have been residing in the UK on a temporary visa for an extended period and now wish to obtain a permanent one. The visa is valid for individuals who have been away from the UK for at least two years and want to return or whose passport has been lost. Foreign nationals already in the UK on a refugee or humanitarian visa wish to remain permanently or for a family reunion. You will often receive a BRP if you:
- Apply to enter the United Kingdom for more than six months. prolong your visa beyond six months.
- Apply to settle in the United Kingdom. Identity can be verified with a biometric residence permit (BRP).
- Right to education
- Access to all public services and benefits to which you are entitled.
People Also Asked...
This depends on a number of things such as whether or not you have had a Schengen visa in the past or how many countries you intend to visit. Generally you first Schengen visa will be issued for the duration of your stay. Future applications may be granted for multiple entry for a number of years.
Booking a flight for the purpose of applying for a UK visa is not required. The UK authorities allow you to apply even if you do not have one. You should still provide a trip itinerary that includes the dates of your intended entry and leave.
A UK visa application may take up to three weeks to process. The current processing time for a UK visa varies depending on a number of criteria. These include the following:
- the sort of visa for which you are applying;
- the country from where you are submitting your application;
- your particular circumstance;
- the volume of applications received by the UK consulate/visa processing centre at the time, etc.
Depending on the type of visa you are seeking for, you may be qualified to submit your application via the priority service or even the super-priority service.
For an extra £500, the priority service enables you to receive a decision on your application within five working days. Whereas the super priority service costs £800 in addition to the visa fee and guarantees you a decision by the end of the next business day.
The Immigration Health Surcharge is a fee that must be paid when applying for a visa to the United Kingdom. Once in the UK on a visa, you have the same right to use the NHS as other British citizens. Please keep in mind that you will continue to be responsible for medicines, dental treatment, eye exams, and assisted conception.
The health fee is £300 for students and Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visas, and £400 for all other visa and immigration applications.
The following are some of the most often cited grounds for visa refusals to the United Kingdom:
- Documents that are missing. This is the most often cited reason for application rejection. One missing document and your application will be closed. You will not be given another opportunity to submit what is missing. You will need to launch a whole new application.
- Inaccuracies and discrepancies in the information contained in your paperwork.
- Inadequate financial resources to finance your stay in the United Kingdom.
- Failure to adhere to the English language requirement.
- Incorrect document organisation.
If your application for a visa to the United Kingdom is rejected, you can either give up or:
- Submit a new visa application. If you reapply, ensure that you avoid repeating the previous error or that your position improves to match the standards.
- Appeal on the basis of human rights. You should have a compelling case for appealing a visa denial judgement.
- Appeal the decision to a higher court. You may do so if you have a good basis to suspect that your application was rejected illegally or unjustly, or that your application file was processed in an unfair manner.
If you have been convicted of a crime in the past, the UK authorities will nonetheless accept and process your application for a UK visa. Nonetheless, the Home Office will assess your application differently than it does for those without a criminal record. The duration of your sentence and the time since then are critical in these instances. If you have been imprisoned for the following offences, your application will be automatically denied:
• Four years or longer. • One to four years, unless at least ten years have passed since the sentence was completed. • Less than a year, unless at least five years have passed since the sentence was completed. Additionally, your application will be refused on the spot if you have been convicted of or admitted to a crime within the preceding 12 months for which you got a non-custodial sentence or out-of-court disposition that is registered on your criminal record.
While in the UK, holders of UK visas are permitted to go overseas. However, depending on their nationality
A visa interview is a personal interview conducted as part of the UK visa application procedure. Everyone must attend a visa interview after submitting an online application and supporting documents. It is used to determine whether you are a legitimate applicant. Interviews typically last approximately 30 minutes.
- Share your feedback about our website Help us improve your experience by taking our short survey. All participants will be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win one of four £25 Amazon vouchers. No thanks Yes please
Strategic plan 2020-23
International Student Ambassadors
Apply for the Student Ambassador Programme
Meet our team
Board and Committees
Board meeting reports
Register for email updates
How to find us
How to register to use our website
UKCISA Manual login
Members' Advice Lines
Information for new members
Information for FE members
List of current members
Benefits of membership
Membership types and fees
How to apply
Codes of practice
Use of the UKCISA logo
Visas and Immigration
Student immigration: the basics
Student route: eligibility and requirements
Making a Student route application in the UK
Applying for a Student route visa outside the UK
Protecting your Student status
Students' union sabbatical officers
Short-term student visa
Immigration on arrival
Arriving via Ireland
Passport, visa and BRP problems
Your institution has sponsor licence problems
Fees and Money
Home or Overseas fees: the basics
England: HE fee status
England: FE fee status
Scotland: fee status
Wales: fee status
Northern Ireland: fee status
Ordinary residence case law
Government Student Support
EEA/Swiss migrant workers
Unexpected financial hardship
Scholarships and funding your studies
Bringing money to the UK
Working after studies
Finding work, employers and tax
Preparation and Arrival
Thinking of studying in the UK?
Welcome to the UK
Preparing for your arrival to the UK
Choosing a course
Planning your housing
Study skills for success
Restricted and prohibited items when entering the UK
Facing culture shock
Travel to your institution
Studying & living in the UK
Students from Ukraine
Students from Afghanistan
Health and healthcare
Mental health support in the UK
How much will it cost to study in the UK?
Opening a bank account
Get ahead in your career
UK traditions and culture
Looking for housing
Find out how to apply for the graduate visa after you have successfully completed your studies..
The Graduate visa is for graduates who want to work, or look for work in the UK. The visa is granted for two years if you have completed an undergraduate or masters level course, and three years for PhD or other doctoral qualifications.
The government has published a comprehensive guide for international students looking to apply to the Graduate route, including eligibility, how to apply, accessing your immigration status (eVisa) and conditions of the route.
What you can do
You can do the following with the Graduate visa:
- Work and look for work: With this visa you can use the time in the UK to look for work and you do not need to have a job offer to be eligible to apply. You will also be able to work in any job with no restriction on the number of hours you can work (including self-employed and voluntary work). The only exception to this is that you cannot work as a professional sportsperson.
- Switch into the Skilled Worker visa: If you have been offered a job that meets the Skilled Worker criteria, you can switch to this route. Please see the gov.uk web pages for more information about the Skilled Worker criteria.
- Study: You can study in the UK with the Graduate visa and this can be both full-time and part-time study. The only exception to this is where where you are studying with an education provider who also holds a Student visa sponsor license, and the course you are studying meets the requirements for the Student visa. In this case, you must secure a Student visa to study. If any study you are doing whilst in the UK requires ATAS clearance , you must obtain this prior to starting any studies.
- Apply with dependants: If you already have dependants here with you in the UK, and they have a Student / Tier 4 dependant visa, you can apply for a Graduate dependant visa for them. They will need to apply either at the same time as yourself, or after your Graduate visa has been granted.
What you can't do
You cannot do the following with the Graduate visa:
- Claim public funds.
- Extend the visa or apply for the visa more than once.
- Work as a professional sportsperson.
- Apply with dependants where your dependants are not already in the UK with a Student / Tier 4 dependant visa.
- Study for a course that meets the Student visa requirements at an institution that also holds a Student visa sponsor license.
To be eligible to apply for this visa, you must:
- Be in the UK - you cannot apply from overseas.
- Be in the UK on a Student / Tier 4 visa - you cannot switch to this route with any other visa type.
- Have successfully completed a bachelor's level course or higher (this must be the course for which your current Student / Tier 4 visa was issued for).
- Have been studying at a UK higher education provider with a track record of compliance (the University of Bath meets this definition).
- Not have previously had a Graduate visa or a Doctorate Extension Scheme visa.
You do not need sponsorship for this visa and you can apply even if you do not have a job offer. Please note, the Graduate visa is not a route to settlement.
Re-sits and academic appeals
If you have resits or repeats, you may not be able to extend your Student visa. This may affect your ability to apply for the Graduate visa. Please contact us as soon as you know you have repeats or resits so we can advise you.
If you are not satisfied with your academic results and are considering making an academic appeal, please inform us as a matter of urgency. In doing so, please be aware that the University may withdraw the report to the UKVI, which will make you ineligible to apply for Graduate Route until your academic appeal is concluded.
How to apply
When to apply.
You cannot apply until you have successfully completed your course and the University has reported this to the Home Office. We will notify you by email after we have reported to the Home Office that you have successfully completed your course (this will not be until after you have received your degree results).
You do not have to apply straight away after receiving the notification that the University has reported your course completion to the Home Office. However, your Student / Tier 4 visa must still be valid at the point you apply. This means that your window for applying for the graduate visa is after the University has reported your course completion to the Home Office, but before your current Student / Tier 4 visa expires.
Cost of the application
The cost of the application is £715. You also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for each year the visa will be granted (currently £624 per year). You need to scan your identify documents and fill in an online application form , pay for the application and IHS, provide any relevant documents, and provide your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph).
Documents for your application
You need the following documents:
- Student / Tier 4 BRP card or visa
You do not need to provide any financial evidence, but if you have been financially sponsored by a Government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs within the 12 months before you apply, you must provide written consent from your financial sponsor.
After you have applied
You will normally get a decision on your application within eight weeks. Whilst your application is pending, you will need to remain in the UK. If you travel outside of the UK before the visa is granted, your application may be withdrawn.
As long as you submit your application before your Student / Tier 4 visa expires, you can remain in the UK whilst you are waiting for a decision on your Graduate visa. This is the case even if your Student / Tier 4 visa expires whilst you are still waiting for the decision.
If you applied for your most recent Student visa before 06 April 2022, you will need to wait for your Graduate visa to be granted before you can begin working on a full-time permanent contract.
If you applied for your most recent Student visa on or after 06 April 2022, after you have submitted your Graduate visa application, you can begin working on a full-time permanent contract even while you are waiting for the visa to be granted.
After your Graduate visa is granted, you can work in line with the full conditions of your Graduate visa (including self-employment).
After your Graduate visa expires
The Graduate visa will be granted for two or three years from the decision date (depending on the course you have completed). In order to remain working in the UK after your Graduate visa expires, you will need to apply to switch into a different working visa category. Please see our working after your studies guide for information on other working visa categories.
Other work visa options
- Working with your Student or Tier 4 visa
- Working after your studies
If you have any questions, please contact us.
Student Immigration Service
Imperial College London Imperial College London
Mosquito mating and science meets ballet: News from the College
Low-carbon solutions can provide energy for displaced people
Infectious disease modellers win prestigious mathematics prize
- International student support
- Imperial students
- Visas and Immigration
- Working in the UK
- Working in the UK after your studies
The Graduate Worker Route visa allows international graduates to remain in the UK to work/look for work once their degree has been awarded. Please read our guidance carefully before deciding to make an application under this route.
Please note: you cannot make an application under this route until you have been awarded your degree and the College has confirmed your eligibility to UKVI. Please read the FAQS below for more information.
Length of the visa
If you have completed an undergraduate or postgraduate Masters degree you will be issued with a 2 year GWR visa. If you have completed a PhD you will be issued with a 3 year GWR visa.
To meet the eligibility criteria for the GWR, you must:
- have successfully been awarded your degree and the College must have confirmed this to UKVI
- have studied in the UK on a Tier 4 / student route visa
- have a valid Tier 4 / student route visa at the time you are applying
- be making the GWR application from within the UK
- have completed the entirety of your degree in the UK if you are studying a Masters course or a minimum of 12 months in the UK, if you are studying an Undergraduate degree or PhD*
*except for permitted study abroad programmes or when distance learning has been necessary due to Covid-19.
Please note: you cannot apply for the GWR if you have previously held permission under the Doctorate Extension Scheme.
If you have received any official financial scholarship during your studies then you will need to check the conditions of your award in relation to remaining in the UK before you apply under this or any other UK visa route. You will require written permission from your official financial sponsor that you are allowed to remain in the UK for any visa application if you have been funded within the last 12 months.
Ineligible for the Graduate visa
You cannot apply for the GWR if you have previously held permission under the Doctorate Extension Scheme.
If you are not eligible for the Graduate route, then the Skilled Worker visa may be an option.
Yes. Anyone already in the UK as your dependant will be able to apply to extend their visa in line with yours. You must bring your dependants with you to the UK before you switch to the GWR visa. Once you have been issued with your GWR visa, you will not be able to bring any new dependants to the UK.
This is an unsponsored route to allow you to work or look for work in the UK.
In general, you will be able to do most types of work at any level (including self-employment). However, Graduates on this route will continue to be restricted from being employed as a professional sportsperson or as a doctor or dentist in training.
Study not permitted
This visa is given to enable you to work in the UK. You are permitted to undertake 'supplementary' study but only at an institution that is not a Student Route Sponsor. You cannot study a course that would usually require sponsorship under the Student route.
Graduates will be able to switch into other routes in line with the wider approach to switching when applying for a visa inside the UK. This will include the ability to switch into work routes if you are able to meet the requirements.
COVID-19 and Graduate Visa eligibility
Studies commenced in 2020
If you began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 via distance learning there was a deadline to enter the UK by 27 September 2021. If you did not arrive in the UK by this date, it is unlikely that you will be eligible to apply for the Graduate visa. Investigate the alternative work options available .
Students who began a one-year Masters programme in 2020, who have existing permission as a Student to study that course, and who have already travelled to the UK during that period of permission , will be able to make a Graduate application as long as they are present in or return to the UK before the end date of their visa.
Studies commenced in 2021
Students who commence a course of 12 months or less in Autumn 2021 via distance learning from overseas must enter the UK no later than 30 June 2022 and complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a Student to be eligible for the Graduate Route.
Final year undergraduate / PhD students studying remotely due to COVID
Students on a longer programme (undergraduate degree or PhD) who are completing their course this academic year will be eligible to apply provided:
- You make the GWR visa application in the UK
- You have valid Tier 4 / Student Route permission at the point you make the application
- You successfully complete your course and are awarded your degree
When to apply
You must have been awarded your degree before you can submit a visa application. Award dates are normally as follows:
- UG students: 1 August
- Masters students: 1 November
- PhD students: the first of the month after you submit your final corrected thesis
The College is required to confirm your eligibility for the GWR to UKVI before you apply. Once this has been done you will be sent an email notifying you that you may proceed with the visa application.
How to apply
Once the College has confirmed your eligibility to UKVI, we will email you with the information you need to make the GWR visa application. This will be very shortly after your formal degree award date.
Deadline to apply
You must apply for your GWR visa before your Student visa expires.
Once you reach your visa expiry date / the 4 month period after your course end date (whichever is sooner) you must either:
- Apply for a Graduate Worker visa
- Seek sponsorship from an employer for a Skilled Worker visa.
- Leave the UK
The visa application fee will be £715. You will also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 per year of the visa (2 years for UG and Masters graduates, 3 years for PhD graduates).
Job application questions
Job application forms will ask questions such as
- "Are you eligible to work in the UK?" or
- "Do you have the right to work in the UK?"
You can answer YES to the above questions as once you have your GWR visa you can work and the visa is not connected to a specific job nor a specific employer. You should add information in a cover letter or on the application form about the GWR.
- "Do you need be sponsored to work in the UK?"
You can answer NO to the above question as you do not need sponsorship from an employer to work whilst you are on your GWR visa.
GWR and re-sit exams
The rules concerning re-sit exams are complex . It is likely that you will need to contact us for individual visa advice. The key question to ask, is whether you will be awarded your qualification before your current Student visa expires.
If your re-sit is within 60 days of your visa expiry date :
If your resit takes place within 60 days of your current visa expiry date, you can extend your student visa to cover the resit exam plus an additional 4 month wrap up period. It is your responsibility to check with your department when your results will be expected and your degree awarded – if it cannot be awarded within this timeframe you will not be eligible.
If your re-sit more than 60 days after your visa expiry date :
If you are required to re-sit without attendance , you are classed as ‘not required to enrol’ on the student record system. Students with this status cannot be sponsored for a visa by the College as we are unable to meet our monitoring and reporting obligations to UKVI. Therefore, you would not be eligible for the graduate route as you wouldn’t have valid student immigration permission.
Working once the course has finished
Your Student / Tier 4 visa is likely to continue for 4 months after your course end date . This is called the ‘wrap-up period’. Upon reaching your formal course end date (in the case of PhD students completing your academic work, i.e. submitting your dissertation/thesis including final corrections) you can start working full time on a temporary contract up until your visa expiry date or a maximum period of four months (whichever is sooner).
While your Graduate route application is pending, your Student visa work conditions apply. You cannot work on a self-employed basis until your Graduate route visa has been granted.
High Potential Individual Visa
The High Potential Individual ( HPI ) visa is similar to the Graduate visa for applicants who have been awarded a qualification by an eligible overseas university within the last 5 years. Please refer to the list of eligible institutions .
You can only apply for either the HPI or Graduate visa once. You cannot hold an HPI visa and at a later date also apply for the Graduate visa.
Once you've applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you'll usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks. You can stay in the UK while you wait for a decision....
The UK's Graduate Route welcomes international students to apply to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, upon graduation. ... 'I decided to apply for the Graduate Route so that I could confidently apply for different jobs in the UK without worrying about my student visa expiry date. After graduating, I worked as a locum (temporary ...
Having submitted an online application for a Graduate Visa, the applicant must pay a fee of £715. The cost of applying under the Graduate route is the same for degree level and postgraduate level applicants, even though doctoral students will be granted a longer visa.
The Graduate Route is a post-study work visa that will allow you to stay in the UK to work or look for work for 2 years after your degree has been awarded, or 3 years, if you have been awarded a Doctoral qualification. The Application 7 steps to success Things you must do to ensure your application is successful
To apply for a Graduate visa, you will need to: Prepare and submit the Graduate visa application form online while in the UK 2. Pay the PSW application fee (the graduate route visa costs £715) and the immigration healthcare surcharge of £624 per person per year.
There are two ways to apply for the UK Graduate route visa: online or in person. The online application process requires you to visit the GOV.UK website, where you'll find instructions on how to create a UK Visas and Immigration account and use a mobile app to verify your identity.
How to apply for the UK Graduate visa Application for the UK Graduate visa must be done online. Applicants for the UK Graduate visa must create and log into UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account and scan their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) with the UK Immigration: ID Check app. This is to prove the applicant's identity.
Graduates' partners and children can also apply to join, or stay with them, in the U.K. To apply, graduates will need a valid passport or other travel document that shows their identity and...
The Graduate visa cannot be extended, at the end of the two-year period after a master's or three-year period after a PhD/DrPH degree, you will need to leave the UK or apply for a different visa, such as a Tier 2 General work visa. The Tier 2 visa requires you to have an employment offer with a minimum skill and salary level, but your time on ...
The Graduate Visa allows individuals to stay in the UK for two years (or three years, for those being awarded doctorates) after the successful completion of their studies. The Graduate Visa is a route that allows you the freedom to explore your options, work, or look for work while you are in the UK.
The Graduate route will require a new visa application, which will only be possible from inside the UK. It will include the payment of a visa fee of £715 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year. Students will also need to know the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) they used for their most recent ...
Permission to stay under the Graduate route will enable international students to work or look for work after their studies for 2 years, or 3 years for PhD students. The work can be in any sector and at any level without any minimum salary requirements or the need for visa sponsorship. Students studying on a Tier 4/Student visa will need to make an application in the UK to be
The Graduate route requires a new visa application, which is only possible from inside the UK. It includes the payment of a visa fee of £700 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year. Students need to know the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) they used for their most recent Student (or Tier 4 ...
Important Travel Information - Please Read. UK Visa Applications must be completed online, and you must attend an appointment to submit your supporting documents and biometrics. It is crucial that you complete the online application accurately to avoid any complications with your submission.. There are numerous reasons why individuals wish to apply for a visa to enter the United Kingdom ...
The Graduate route is for those who have a degree or other relevant qualification from an approved UK Higher Education provider. Applications opened on 1 July 2021. Your application does not need sponsorship or any endorsement by an employer or by your institution. To apply you must have a UK degree or other relevant qualification that you ...
The Graduate visa is for graduates who want to work, or look for work in the UK. The visa is granted for two years if you have completed an undergraduate or masters level course, and three years for PhD or other doctoral qualifications. The government has published a comprehensive guide for international students looking to apply to the ...
Graduate Visa Graduate Visa The Graduate Worker Route visa allows international graduates to remain in the UK to work/look for work once their degree has been awarded. Please read our guidance carefully before deciding to make an application under this route.