Graduate Route Visa
The Graduate Visa, also known as the ‘Graduate Route’ is a new post-study immigration route that opened on 1 July 2021 to international students who have finished their studies in the UK.
Have you completed a course in the UK?
As a graduate you are eligible to apply for a Graduate visa which gives you permission to remain in the UK for at least 2 years.
Let’s explore some of the eligibility criteria for a Graduate route visa. One of the main requirements are you must be present in the UK. Secondly that your current visa is a student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa. The course of study must be of a high level such as a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course of study. Final requirement is that your education provider such as the University or College has informed the Home Office that you have successfully completed your course.
How long you can stay
A Graduate visa lasts for 2 years. If you have a PhD or other doctoral qualifications, then you are permitted to stay 3 years. The Graduate visa usually starts on the date that your application is approved.
When you can apply
It is very important that you make your application before your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa expires. The education institution must inform the Home Office that you have successfully completed the course. There is no requirement to wait until you graduate nor wait to be given a certificate. Nonetheless you must be in a position to prove your identity and provide the requested documents.
Documents you will need
Please find below a list of documents you will need to apply for a Graduate visa:
• Valid passport;
• Biometrics residence permit;
• Your confirmation of acceptance (CAS) reference number from when you applied for your Student visa or Tier (General) student visa. (The CAS reference is usually sent to you by the education provider when you were offered a place on your course you completed under your Student visa.);
• If you have a partner or children, proof of your relationship will be required; and
• 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.
When you get a decision
Once you have approached us and we have completed your application for a Graduate visa then a decision is usually obtained within 8 weeks. During this time frame you are permitted to remain in the UK.
Cost of application
As part of your application you are expected to pay the application fee of £715 and the healthcare surcharge of £624 for each year you will be in the UK. Please contact us to get a detailed cost breakdown of the healthcare surcharge for two years and three years.
What you can and cannot do with a Graduate Visa
The graduate visa allows you to work, be self-employed, remain in the UK with your partner or children (depending on their eligibility), can undertake voluntary work and travel abroad and return to the UK. However, you cannot apply for state benefits or state pension nor can you work as a professional sportsperson.
The Graduate visa allows student visa holders to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after they have successfully completed their course of study. The Graduate route has replaced the Doctorate Extension Scheme and international students who have a PhD or other doctoral qualification will be able to stay for at least 3 years.