Important Travel Document Information – Please Read
A Graduate Visa is a Visa any international student who is set to be graduating from a UK university can apply for. A Graduate Visa is a visa that allows a Graduate to stay in the UK for up to 2 years to work or start a business in the UK, or for up to 3 years if they have completed a PHD. The Graduate Visa is one of the few visas that do not require any type of job offer or sponsorship.
You can Apply for a Graduate Visa as long as you are graduating from an eligible course from a UK University. We advise that you apply as soon as you know you will be graduating your course to ensure your Graduate Visa is supplied in time.
You can apply for a Graduate visa if all of the following are true:
- you’re in the UK
- your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- you studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- your education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office you’ve successfully completed your course
You can ask your education provider if you’re not sure whether they’ve told the Home Office you’ve successfully completed your course.
What is a Graduate Visa?
A Graduate Visa is a type of visa that allows international students who have graduated from a UK university to stay in the UK for up to two years after they finish their studies. This gives them time to find work or start a business in the UK.
Who is eligible for a Graduate Visa?
To be eligible for a Graduate Visa, you must:
- Be an international student who has graduated from a UK university with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Have been in the UK on a student visa for at least 12 months.
- Have completed your studies within the last 6 months.
- Meet the English language requirement.
The UK is a great place to live and work, and a Graduate Visa gives you the opportunity to experience all that the UK has to offer. The Graduate Visa is also unique in that it doesn’t require any commitment to work like other work visas, often coming out of University graduates aren’t sure of what they want to do and a Graduate Visa allows its users the maximum amount of freedom with employment during it’s 2 years. Things you can do on a UK Skilled Worker Visa are
Freedom to work any job you can get
Live and work in the UK for up to two years (three if you are graduating with a PHD)
Access the UK's healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS).
Live and work in any part of the UK.
Travel freely within the UK.
Freedom to start a business if you wish to
You must apply before your student visa expires.
You can apply after your education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office that you’ve successfully completed the course you took with your student visa. You do not have to wait until you’ve graduated or have been given a certificate.
As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents. Your application may take longer if you need an appointment to do this. You’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.
Getting a decision
Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks. You can stay in the UK while you wait for a decision.
Graduate Visas can last up to 2 years however if you are graduating with a PHD you are eligible to get a Graduate Visa for 3 years. Graduate Visas are unable to be extended past their cap of 2 years (3 if you have a PHD).
Once your Graduate Visa has expired you are required to get a different UK Work Visa if you wish to remain in the country
How much it costs
When you apply for a Graduate visa, you’ll need to:
- pay the £715 application fee
- pay the healthcare surcharge – this is usually £624 for each year you’ll be in the UK
Documents Required for Graduate Visa
The documents required to apply for a UK Graduate Visa will vary depending on your individual circumstances, but some common documents include:
- A valid passport
- A copy of your degree certificate
- A copy of your student visa (if applicable)
- Proof of your English language proficiency
- Proof of your financial support
- A medical certificate
- A police clearance certificate
You may also need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances
For detailed information on specific parts of the Graduate Visa Process, you can refer to the links on the right to find the answer to your query. If you are unable to find any particular information, please contact us
A visa is required for any foreign national wishing to enter the United Kingdom. If you do not need a Graduate Visa, you can choose from the following options instead:
Can you be rejected for a Graduate Visa?
Yes, you can be rejected for a Graduate Visa. The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may refuse your visa application if you do not meet the eligibility requirements, or if you have provided false or misleading information on your application.
Some common reasons for refusal of a Graduate Visa include:
- You do not have a valid degree certificate from a UK university.
- You have not completed your studies within the last 6 months.
- You do not meet the English language requirement.
- You do not meet the financial requirement.
- You are not in good health or have a criminal record.
- You have provided false or misleading information on your application.
If your visa application is refused, you will receive a letter from the UKVI explaining the reason for the refusal. You will also have the right to appeal the decision.
The Graduate Visa does not lead directly to settlement or indefinite leave to remain. Even if you have reached 5 years lived in the UK across your Student Visa and Graduate Visa.
The Graduate Route means that you can stay in the UK and explore your employment options without needing an employer to sponsor your visa.
While you cannot convert your Graduate Visa to Skilled Worker Visa if you have started working for a employer who is able to sponsor you can have them provide your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for an application for a Skilled Worker Visa, and having already worked for your sponsor increases your likelihood of having a success application.
While you can get a Graduate Visa without a Student Visa, the circumstances to be able to get a graduate visa requires you to be studying a course that is not eligible for a Student Visa.
You do not require a Graduate Visa to attend any Graduation Ceremony, if you do not wish to stay in the UK once you graduate you can attend your Graduation on your Student Visa.
As long as you successfully complete your retake module/s within the period of your new Student visa and your final results are ratified by an Exam Committee, you will still be eligible to apply for the Graduate Visa.
If you do need an appointment, the centre may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application. You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.
A graduate route visa and mortgage is a complex situation. The Graduate Route for students on Tier 4 visas allows them to apply to look for work for an additional two or three years for PhD students. However, to qualify for a mortgage, they’ll likely have to progress to a Full Work Visa.
Your partner needs to have been a dependant on your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa to apply. You’ll also need to show that they’re still your partner. You must be able to prove that either: you’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK.