Graduate route visa

The Graduate route visa is a post-study work visa available for international students who wish to remain in the UK after their studies. On this visa, you can work in most roles or look for work.

To apply, you will need to:

  • be in the UK on your Student or Tier 4 visa
  • have successfully completed the Bachelor or Masters degree, or PhD your visa was issued for (your results must have been officially released and the qualification approved through an examination board)
  • have your CAS number (if you do not have this, please contact us)
  • apply before your visa expires (if you have applied before your visa expires, you have permission to remain in the UK whilst you are waiting for the results of your visa application and you can work full-time).

After your results are officially released, and you can see you have been awarded with your degree on your Student Portal, the University will automatically report your successful completion direct to the UKVI and you are ready to apply. 

Please note that the UKVI regulations do not allow the University to issue a CAS to cover your resit period, or to await your results. Refer to our Resit and your Student visa webpage for more information.

Please see below for details of the eligibility requirements, the application process and conditions of this visa: 

Do resits affect my eligibility to apply for the Graduate route visa?

Please note that the UKVI regulations do not allow the University to issue a CAS to cover your resit period, or to await your results. Depending on the timing of your resits and the publication of your results, this could mean that you are no longer eligible to apply for a Graduate Route visa. Refer to our Resit and your Student visa webpage for more information.

Length of time you need to have studied on your Student visa

For a course of 12 months or less you must have studied the whole course in the UK, and you are required to have held Student permission for the whole of this period.

For a course of more than 12 months, you must have studied in the UK for at least 12 months. If a course lasting longer than 12 months was completed using a combination of immigration routes, then you must have spent the minimum required time as a Student or Tier 4 migrant in the most recent period of permission.

At the moment the following COVID-19 concessions are in place:

Course is more than 12 months

If you have already entered the UK on your current Student/Tier 4 visa and returned to your home country for distance learning, you need to be in the UK to apply for the Graduate route before your Student visa expires.

Course is 12 months or less

Refer to the UKCISA Graduate route webpage.

Have completed the Bachelor, Masters degree or PhD your visa was issued for

The University needs to report to the UKVI that you have successfully completed your course.

You must have completed the course that your visa was issued for. The following exceptions are permitted:

  • you changed course without needing to extend your visa to do so.
  • you added a placement to your programme.
  • the name of your course changed but the content stayed the same.
  • your visa was for an integrated programme (e.g. 4 year Masters programmes) and you completed a Bachelors or Masters as part of that programme.
  • Some alternative qualifications are acceptable, see paragraph GR5.2 of Appendix Graduate in the Immigration rules.

The University can only report that you have completed the course after the results are officially released and the qualification has been approved through an examination board.

Graduate route visa costs

Application fees: £715

Immigration Health Surcharge (£624 per year): £1248 if you completed a Bachelors/Masters degree. £1872 if you completed a PhD.

Total: £1,948 if you completed a Bachelors/Masters degree or £2,572 if you completed a PhD.

What documents you need to make your application

You will need:

  • A clear scanned copy of your passport or other travel document.
  • A clear scanned copy of your current Student BRP.
  • Your previous CAS number.
  • If you received a scholarship or sponsorship from a Government or international agency in the last 12 months, you will need to provide a letter from them that gives their consent to apply for the Graduate route visa.

You won't need:

  • Proof of your English language ability as part of the Graduate route application as you will have successfully completed a UK qualification.
  • Proof of finances.

How to submit your visa application

The application will be online and most students won’t need to attend an appointment.

  • Complete the Gov.UK online application form.
  • Download the UK Immigration ID Check app and use it to verify your identity (EU/EEA/Swiss students can use their passport, all other nationalities should use their current BRP).
  • You will need a smartphone or tablet to use the app. If you do not either of these, you can use a friend or family member's smartphone.
  • If you are not able to use the app or you do not have a biometric passport, you’ll need to visit a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centre (you’ll be able to book an appointment as part of the online application).

See the Gov.UK web pages: 

Processing times and proving your immigration status

The processing time for the Graduate route visa application is currently 6-8 weeks. You should not leave the UK while you are waiting for your application to be decided. You will be notified by email of the decision on your application. If you are granted the Graduate route visa, how you can access your visa will depend on if you applied using the digital route, or if you verified your identity at a UKVCAS centre.

Applied using digital route (UK Immigration: ID check app)

You will receive an e-visa to view your immigration status and prove your rights in the UK. You will be able to use your UKVI account details to log into the GOV.UK View and Prove service to access your visa.

To log in you will need:

  • Details of the passport or BRP card you used to apply for your Graduate route visa application
  • Your date of birth
  • Access to the email account or phone number you registered with your application

Once you have signed into this service you can use it to:

  • View your visa and what rights you have in the UK
  • Generate a ‘Share code’ so you can provide those who need confirmation of your immigration status; for example, employers or landlords
  • Update your details, for example a new passport number if your passport expires

Applied at a UKVCAS application centre

If you were not able to make a digital application using the app and went to a UKVCAS application centre you will not be able to use the View and Prove service. You will receive a new BRP card. You can use this to prove your right to work or you can use the online Right to work service. You will also be able to use the online Right to rent service to prove your right to rent a property in the UK.

What work and study you can do on a Graduate route visa

You can do any work, including self employment, apart from working as a Professional sportsperson or sports coach. You can work at any skill level and salary. If you plan to be sponsored on the Skilled worker visa, you should apply for jobs that meet the requirements for this visa (see Skilled worker visa on our Work visas after studies web page).

You can study, but this is limited to courses that you would not usually need a Student visa to study on. These include

  • English Language courses
  • Some professional courses
  • Any study at a college or University that is not a Student route visa sponsor
  • Online study
  • Evening classes
  • Recreational courses

If you are not sure if the course you want to study is permitted on the Graduate route visa, you should check with the course provider if they offer sponsorship on the Student route visa for it. If they do, then you cannot do that course.

After the Graduate route

You cannot extend your Graduate route visa, but you can switch to the Skilled worker visa in the UK. This will be possible if you have a job offer that meets the Skilled worker visa requirements from an employer on the Register of licensed sponsors. For more information on the Skilled worker visa, see our Work visas after studies webpage.

You can switch back into the Student route from the Graduate route visa but you would not be able to apply for the Graduate route visa again

Information for dependants

You are allowed to have dependants with you on the Graduate route visa but they can only apply if they are currently with you in the UK as a dependent on your Student visa.

If your dependent is applying as a dependant partner, they must meet the relationship requirements:

  • The relationship is genuine and subsisting. If you are married you will need to provide a marriage or civil partnership certificate. If you are not married you will need to provide evidence of living together for at least two years (this could include bank statements, mortgage/tenancy agreements or utility bills linking you to the same address).
  • That you will live together throughout the applicants stay in the UK
  • That the applicant does not intend to stay in the UK beyond any permission granted to their partner (the Graduate)

If your dependant is applying as a dependant child they must meet relationship requirement:

  • The child must be under 18 and the main applicant must ensure there are suitable care arrangements for the child’s care and accommodation in the UK.
  • The child must be applying at the same time as the dependant child of a Graduate or dependent of a Graduate.
  • Both the child's parents must be present in the UK unless the parent with permission as a Student or Graduate is the sole surviving parent; they have sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing or the UKVI caseworker is satisfied that there are serious and compelling reasons to grant the child permission to stay with the parent who is applying for permission as a Graduate or as partner of a Graduate.
  • As evidence that the relationship between parent and child will have been established in the previous dependant application, providing a birth certificate is not required as part of the Graduate dependant application.
  • If the child has been born in the UK to the Graduate or Student dependant they must provide a full UK birth certificate showing names of both parents.

Dependants will not need to show financial evidence with their application.

If the dependant has been sponsored by a Government or international agency for their Student dependant visa they will need to provide the sponsor’s consent that they can apply for the Graduate dependant visa.

Graduate dependants are permitted to work (except as a professional sportsperson or sports coach) and study (subject to the ATAS condition in Appendix ATAS in the Immigration rules).