What is a Graduate visa uk?

The Graduate visa uk route was created for individuals who have successfully completed an eligible course in the UK with a UK Student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa, and want to stay in the UK to work or look for work. It can be considered a UK post study work visa (UK PSW visa).

This UK temporary visa lasts 2 years, except for applicants who have obtained a doctoral qualification —in that case, this UK graduate visa lasts 3 years.

graduate visa uk eligibility requirements

UK post study work visa eligibility depends on the eligibility of the course that the applicants have completed with a UK Student visa.

In general, they can start the Graduate application process if they have a UK bachelor’s degree, a UK master’s degree, or a UK Ph.D. or doctorate. But other kinds of courses are also included. For example:

  • A law conversion course approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
  • The Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland.
  • The Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland.
  • A foundation program in Medicine or Dentistry.
  • A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
  • A Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
  • A course that makes the graduate eligible for a job regulated by UK law or a UK public authority.

The education provider for the course must always be a licensed sponsor with a track record of compliance on the date of application. 

Moreover, the applicants must have studied in the UK for either 12 months (if the course is longer than 12 months) or the total length of the course (if it’s shorter than 12 months).

UK Graduate visa conditions

  • Successful applicants for the UK graduate visa will not have access to public funds.
  • They can work, including self-employment and voluntary work (except for work as a professional sportsperson or coach). They can switch jobs unlimitedly.
  • If they want to keep studying, they can do it subject to the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) condition. They can’t study with an education provider which is already a Student sponsor. 

    Therefore, studies may be limited to English language courses, recreational courses, evening classes, part-time undergraduate courses, or some professional courses.

English language requirement for UK Graduate visa

The UK Graduate visa does not have an English language requirement, simply because it is meant for people who have already lived and studied in the UK with a UK Student visa.

One of the UK graduate visa eligibility requirements is to have approved an eligible course in the UK. The UK Government considers that a foreign person who is capable of completing such studies in the UK has already sufficient English language skills. 

Graduate visa application fee

  • The Graduate visa application fee is £715.
  • Other Graduate visa fees include the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge, which is usually £624 per year. 

This means that if the UK Graduate visa applicant will be staying in the UK for 2 years, the healthcare surcharge cost will be £1,248. If he or she is eligible for staying in the UK for 3 years, the healthcare surcharge cost will rise to £1,872.

UK Graduate visa holders who find jobs in the public sector healthcare (hospitals, GP practices, care homes, and community healthcare facilities) might be able to get a reimbursement if:

  • They work for an eligible organization, such as the NHS.
  • They’ve kept their job for at least 6 months for an average of at least 16 hours a week (including paid leave periods).

 UK Graduate visa application

 Where to apply for the UK Graduate visa 

  • Applicants for the UK Graduate visa must be in the UK. They can’t start the Graduate application process from abroad. 

When to apply for the UK Graduate visa

  • UK student visa holders must apply for the UK Graduate visa before their UK temporary visa expires. They can do so by the time their institution confirms that they’ve passed the course. 

How to apply for the UK Graduate visa

  • Application for the UK Graduate visa must be done online.
  • Applicants for the UK Graduate visa must create and log into UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account and scan their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) with the UK Immigration: ID Check app. This is to prove the applicant’s identity.
  • People from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, must scan their passports instead.

Required documents for UK Graduate visa

  • A valid passport or other documents to prove the applicant’s identity and nationality.
  • The applicant’s Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Many individuals receive it when they apply for the UK Student visa.
  • The applicant’s Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number sent by their education provider when they applied for the UK Student visa.

All the documents must be in English or Welsh. Otherwise, the applicant for the UK Graduate visa must provide a certified translation made by a verifiable translation agency or professional translator.

UK Graduate visa holder family

The UK Graduate route allows the visa holder’s family to join him or her in the UK if they applied as dependants on his or her UK Student visa.

Family is defined as:

  • Husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner who has been living with the graduate for at least 2 years. 
  • Children under 18 years old, including children who were born while the UK Graduate route applicant studied in the UK with their UK Student visa.
  • Children over 18 years old if they’re living with the applicant in the UK as his or her dependant, and are still financially supported by the applicant. Also, they can’t be married, in a civil relationship, or have children of their own. 

The family of the UK Graduate visa applicant must submit a separate application and pay the fees. They must present documents that prove their identities, their Biometric Residence Permit (if they received one when they applied as dependants for the main applicant’s  UK Student visa), and Unique Application Number (UAN) from the applicant’s previous application to that UK student visa.

How to extend this visa

 The UK Graduate visa can’t be extended, but UK Graduate visa holders can apply for another visa (such as a Skilled Worker visa) before their UK post study work visa expires.

How to switch to this visa

Graduates can’t switch to this UK post study work visa from other visas unless it’s from the UK Student visa or Tier 4.

Receiving decision on UK Graduate visa

Applicants for the UK Graduate visa can expect to receive a decision within 8 weeks. 

Frequently asked questions about UK Graduate visa

  1. Does application for this visa require any type of sponsorship?
  • No. As long as you meet all the requirements, there is no need for sponsorship by any employers or institutions.
  1. What should I do if I can’t scan my BRP with the UK Immigration: ID Check app?
  1. Do I have to leave the UK while I wait for a decision on my application for the UK Graduate visa?
  • No, you can wait for the decision on your application for this UK post study work visa from inside the UK, provided that your UK Student visa hasn’t expired yet. Even in that case, the UK Student visa includes a wrap-up time after the end date of the course (from 2 to 6 months, depending on the course and institution).
  1. Can I have more than one job with this UK post study work visa?
  • Yes. The UK Graduate visa is not a sponsored work route. Therefore, you can have any job —even multiple jobs— at any skill level (except for work as a professional sportsperson or coach). 
  1. Can I travel abroad while I’m in the UK with the Graduate visa?
  •  Yes. You can travel abroad and return to the UK as you wish. 
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