Graduate Trainee Visa Overview

The Graduate Trainee visa allows successful applicants to stay in the UK to do a job that is part of a graduate training program for a managerial or specialist role. It is meant for overseas workers that want to undertake a temporary work assignment in the UK on a graduate training course leading to those positions. 

Graduate Trainee visa uk applicants must work for a business that has a UK branch and they must be sponsored by their employer to work in it. 

Requirements for Graduate Trainee visa

Graduate Trainee visa applicants must be over 18 years old, submit an online application, and pay the fees to apply. A certificate of sponsorship issued by the applicant’s employer is also required. 

Who qualifies for a Graduate Trainee visa?

  • Graduate Trainee visa applicants must work for a company approved by the Home Office as a sponsor.
  • They must do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations. 
  • They must be paid at least £23,100 per year.
  • They must have already worked for their sponsor outside the UK for a minimum of 3 months immediately before they submit their application.

UK Graduate Trainee visa sponsorship requirements

  • The applicant’s employer must provide information about the job that their employee will be doing in the UK if they’re granted the Graduate Trainee visa.
  • The certificate must have a valid reference number. Graduate Trainee visa applicants must attach this number to their application.
  • The certificate of sponsorship shouldn’t be older than 3 months before the date of application. 

Conditions of the UK Graduate Trainee visa

Applicants will have no right to access public funds or the State Pension, and they won’t be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK. 

They won’t be able to have a second job or change jobs, although they can study and do voluntary work with the UK Graduate Trainee visa. 

Graduate Trainee visa fees

Graduate Trainee visa fees include:

  • An application fee of £259.
  • A healthcare surcharge of £624 per year.

Plus, Graduate Trainee visa applicants must have personal savings of at least £1,270 (unless they’re exempt). This is to prove that they can support themselves while they’re in the UK. 

The exact Graduate Trainee visa fees will be informed to the applicant at the time of the application. 

How long you can stay in UK with Graduate Trainee visa

Successful applicants can stay in the UK for 1 year or the time provided on your certificate of sponsorship plus 2 weeks —whichever is shorter.

How to apply for a UK Graduate Trainee visa

  • Application for this UK Graduate Trainee visa can be done online.
  • Required documents include:
    • A valid passport or travel document that proves the  Graduate Trainee visa applicant’s identity and nationality.
    • Job’s occupation code.
    • Job title.
    • Annual salary.
    • Certificate of Sponsorship reference number and sponsor license number.
    • Financial evidence of the applicant’s personal savings/ability to support themselves while they’re in the UK.

Applicants from some countries may be required to submit a tuberculosis test performed in an approved clinic. 

Applicants may also be required to attend a visa application center to submit biometrics (fingerprints, photographs) or scan their identity documents with the UK Immigration: ID Check app. 

Translation of documents

Required documents must be in English or Welsh. Otherwise, the applicant must provide a certified translation by a verifiable translation company or individual professional translator.

UK Graduate Trainee visa holder family

The family of a UK Graduate Trainee visa holder can apply to join him or her in the UK as “dependants”. 

A dependant can be:

  • A partner that has lived with the applicant for 2 years, a civil partner, or a spouse.
  • Children under 18 years old.
  • Children over 16 years old that are financially supported by the UK Graduate Trainee visa holder and live with them (exceptions can be granted if the child is studying at a boarding school, college, or university).

Every family member must have money to support themselves while they’re in the UK. They will need:

  • £285 for the partner.
  • £315 for one child.
  • £200 for each additional child.

How to extend this visa

Those who have been granted the UK Graduate Trainee visa can’t extend it once it expires, but they can apply for it again from abroad —provided that they don’t reach the maximum total stay in the UK.

How to switch to this visa

It is not possible to switch to the UK Graduate Trainee visa from another visa. This is because applicants need to work for their employer abroad for 3 months before they can apply for this visa. If they could switch to this visa from another one, that requirement wouldn’t be fulfilled.  

Receiving decision on UK Graduate Trainee visa

Applicants can request their visa up to 3 months before the day they are due to start work in the UK. After they’ve applied online, validated their identity, and submitted the required documents, they can expect to receive a decision within 3 weeks.

Sometimes, it can take longer. In these cases, applicants can check the visa decision waiting times online.

Frequently asked questions about UK Graduate Trainee visa

  1. Can I include my partner and children in my application?
  • Yes, but they must all cover the  Graduate Trainee visa fees and eligibility requirements independently.
  1. What if I’m not in a graduate training program?
  • You can still work for your company’s UK branch if you apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa successfully.
  1. What can I do if my application is refused?
  • You can ask for an administrative review.
  1. In the past, I was in the UK on other Global Business Mobility routes and/or Intra-Company routes. Can I still apply for the Graduate Trainee visa?
  • Yes, provided that you don’t exceed a maximum total stay of 5 years in a 6-year period. 
  1.  When can I apply for this visa?
  • You can apply for the Graduate Trainee visa up to 3 months before the date you are supposed to start working in the UK. That date will be established by your employer.
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