Graduates in gowns throwing their caps in the air

Visa Information

Graduate Visa

Beyond your studies - information on the Graduate Route Visa

In the summer of 2021, the UK Government announced a 'Graduate visa' which enables international students to stay in the UK to work or look for work for 2 years after their degree has been awarded, in any sector, at any level. This is extended to 3 years if the student has been awarded a Doctoral qualification.

The new Graduate visa is designed to allow international students to study in the UK and then gain valuable work experience as they then go on to build successful careers.

Graduate Visa – Key Points

  • Students are expected to have completed their previous study and been granted an award in the UK to be eligible for the Graduate visa.
  • This award must have been achieved during the student’s most recent Tier 4/Student visa.  Students cannot use a course which was completed historically prior to that being in place.  
  • Students must have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa and make their application to the Graduate visa, before this expires.
  • Students must make their application for the Graduate visa in the UK.
  • If a student leaves the UK before they receive a decision on the Graduate visa application, this is treated as withdrawn and they may no longer be eligible for the Graduate visa.  
  • Students must not have been previously granted a visa for the Graduate visa or Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES).
  • Applicants cannot switch to the Graduate visa from any type of immigration permission except Tier 4 or Student visas. 

What you can and cannot do with a graduate visa

You can study on short courses or work in any profession at any level, for any employer, EXCEPT as a professional sports person

You cannot study a course which is accessible under the Student Visa route or access public funds.

What else might you need to know?

A new visa application will need to be made but the process is straightforward. Our on-campus Student Immigration team are available for advice and assistance with your application.  There is an application fee and a requirement to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge for the duration of the Graduate visa.

There is no requirement to show the student holds a specific amount of money, as some were required to do for their Tier 4 or Student visa.

There is also no English language requirement, as this is covered by the student’s successful completion of the award they were given the Tier 4 or Student visa for. 

It will be possible to switch from the Graduate visa to the Skilled Worker visa, at the end of the 2-year period, if the student finds a job which meets the requirements of that further route.

Further information and costs involved:

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