Graduate Visa

If you want to stay in the UK upon completion of your studies in the UK then you could be eligible for the Graduate Visa, find out more about your post-study visa options.


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What is the Graduate 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 completed their studies in the UK.


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.


This visa is a post-study work visa that gives you the rights to both live and work in the UK. The Graduate Visa cannot be extended but if you wish to remain in the UK after your visa expires you could be eligible to switch to the Skilled Worker Visa instead.

Eligibility requirements for the Graduate Route

To be eligible for the Graduate Visa you must be able to meet a number of certain requirements, you could be eligible if you:



You will need to have studied at an educational institution that is a licensed sponsor and you will need to have studied for 12 months or the full length of your course, whichever is shorter.


Eligible courses include:

How to apply for a post-study work visa

You must apply for the Graduate Visa before your student visa expires. You can apply as soon as your course provider has informed you that you have successfully completed your course of study, you do not need to wait until you have officially graduated.



You must apply online whilst you are in the UK, you can do this by using the online application form available on the website. As well as filling in the application form, you will also need to prove your identity as part of your Graduate Visa application. If you are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein you can usually do this by scanning your passport or national identity card on the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app. If you are from a country outside the EU or EEA you can prove your identity by scanning your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) in the app. If you cannot scan your BRP then you will need to attend an appointment to have your biometric information taken (your photograph and fingerprints).



Once you have completed the application form and proven your identity, you can expect to receive a decision about your visa application within 8 weeks.


Required documents

When making your Graduate Visa application, there are a number of documents that you will need to provide, these include:



If in the last 12 months a Government, international scholarship agency or other sponsor has paid for your course fees or living costs then you will also be required to submit a letter from your scholarship or sponsorship provider alongside your application.


What can you do on a Graduate Visa?

The Graduate route allows you to stay in the UK for 2 years (3 years if you have a PhD or other doctoral qualifications). Whilst in the UK, graduate visa holders can work in most jobs, be self-employed, look for work, travel freely in and out of the UK, volunteer and can continue to live with eligible family members.


The Graduate route does however come with some limitations. Graduate Visa holders will not be able to apply for most benefits or the state pension and cannot work as a professional sportsperson.

Should you wish to obtain further information pertaining the Graduate Visa, feel free to reach out to us.

Switching from a Graduate Visa

The Graduate Visa cannot be extended, however, if you would like to continue living in the UK after your Graduate Visa expires, you could be eligible to switch to other types of UK visas such as the Skilled Worker Visa.


To be eligible for the Skilled Worker route you must have a job offer from a registered UK sponsor company, you will also need to meet other eligibility criteria like the minimum salary requirements. As a Skilled Worker, you will be able to live and work in the UK for up to 5 years, after which your visa can be extended or you could be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.


Other visas that you could be eligible for include: