K M Enayet Hossain
12 September, 2022

5 min read


Graduate visa route: information for international students

International student guide to Graduate visa route (working in the UK after study) - eligibility, application, terms & conditions during the visa and routes to stay in the UK after the visa.

Post Study Work (PSW) permission to stay under the Graduate immigration route will enable international students to work or look for work after their studies for 2 years for bachelors and masters, or 3 years for PhD students. The work can be in any sector and at any level without any minimum salary requirements or the need for visa sponsorship. This route will facilitate some amazing benefits to international students.

Here in this article, we have compiled some frequently asked questions and provided answers for those as a guide to the graduate visa route for international students.

Q: What are the eligible courses for UK Graduate Visa?

To be eligible for Graduate Visa, you must study one of the following courses

  • a UK bachelor’s degree
  • a UK master’s degree
  • a UK PhD or doctorate

You can also apply if you completed any of the following

  • a law conversion course i.e. PGDL approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • the Legal Practice Course (LPC) in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
  • the Bar Practice Course (BTC) in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland
  • a foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry
  • a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
  • a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)

You may also be able to apply if passing your course made you eligible for a job that’s regulated by UK law or a UK public authority. Your education provider can tell you if your course is eligible.

Q: What are the eligible education/course providers (college/universities) for Graduate Visa?

For you to be eligible to apply for Graduate Visa, your education provider for your course must be a licensed sponsor with a ‘track record of compliance’. Check your provider’s standing if it is showing “Student Sponsor - Track Record” status on the UKVI Register of student sponsors.

Q: Will I still be eligible to apply for Graduate Visa if I changed/switched my course?

If you changed or switched course, you are still eligible to apply but only if you were authorised to change or switch course by your education providerand you did not need to apply for extra or new permission of your current student visa for this change/switch.

Q: Which graduate students are not eligible to apply for Graduate visa?

The following students will not be eligible to apply for the Graduate Visa

  • Students in receipt of a Chevening Scholarship
  • Students who have previously had a Doctorate Extension Scheme
  • Students who have previously had a Graduate Visa

Q: How much does it cost to apply for the Graduate Visa?

There are 2 types of costs that you will need to pay when you apply for your Graduate Visa (you will need to pay the same amount for each eligible dependent).

  • £715 application fee
  • £1,248 (£624 X 2) IHS fee for 2 years / £1,872 (£624 X 3) IHS fee for 3 years

Q: When can I apply for the Graduate Visa?

You must apply for the Graduate Visa before your current student visa expires. Once your education provider confirms you that you have completed and successfully passed your course and you are eligible to apply for your Graduate Visa, you can apply any time before your current student visa expiry date. You need to be inside the UK to apply.

If your student visa expires and you submit other type of extension application for which you have received or yet to receive a decision from Home Office, you will not qualify for Graduate Visa application.

You will not be eligible to apply for the Graduate Visa, if you did not get your result for your degree and you left the UK before your visa expiry and wish to apply for Graduate Visa from outside the UK when your result comes out with successful completion of your degree.

Q: Do I need a job offer to apply for the Graduate Visa?

No, You do not need any job offer to apply for the graduate visa. The permission will be for you to work, or look for work, in any area and at any skill level withoutneeding to have an offer of work before you apply under the route. An employer will not need tosponsor you for the Graduate route.

Q: Do I need to provide any evidence of maintenance funds to apply for graduate visa?

No, you do not need to provide any evidence of maintenance funds i.e. bank statement to apply for graduate visa.

Q: Will I need permission from my official financial sponsor to apply?

You will need permission from your official financial sponsor (i.e. Government, employer, International Scholarship Organisation etc.) if you have:

  • in the 12 months before the date of your application for the Graduate route been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship and
  • the award is from a Government or international scholarship agency and
  • The award covers both fees and living costs

Then you will need to provide their written consent for you to apply for the Graduate route when youapply. Unless all the points above apply you don’t need permission from your funder to apply.

Q: How long does it take to get a decision for Graduate Visa application?

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 even after your current student/T4 student visa expired.

Q: Can I study a course when I am on the Graduate Visa?

Graduate visa is given to enable you to work in the UK. The ability to study will be limited. You can only study with a Graduate visa if your chosen course is not eligible for a Student visa. If you are eager to study a course that is eligible for a Student visa, you can extend your Student visa instead.

Q: Can I work in more than one job whilst on the Graduate Visa?

Yes, unlike a sponsored work route such as Skilled Worker, the Graduate route is not tied to a specific job or employer. Whilst you hold Graduate route leave you are able to have multiple jobs at any skill level. The only restriction is that you are not able to work as a professional sportsperson or coach.

Q: Can my dependents apply as Graduate Visa dependents?

Students whose dependants are already with them in the UK on a student dependant visa are allowed to apply as Graduate Visa dependents. A child born during the validity period of your most recent student visa is also eligible to apply.

Your dependents (if they are not in the UK as your student dependents) are not eligible to apply for entry clearance for Graduate Visa dependents from overseas.

Q: Will I be able to switch back to the Student Visa at the end of my Graduate Visa?

Yes, you will be able to switch back to the Student Visa at the end of your Graduate Visa. If your new course start date is within 28 days of your Graduate Visa expiry date, then you will be able to switch to the Student Visa from inside the UK. If the time gap between the new course start date and your graduate visa expiry date is more than 28 days, then you will have to go outside the UK and apply for a new student visa.

Q: What UK visa options I will have if I want to stay longer in the UK at the end of my Graduate Visa?

If you want to stay longer in the UK at the end of your Graduate Visa, you can

  • switch back to student visa
  • switch to Skilled Worker Visa
  • switch to dependent visa of another migrant in the UK

Q: How many times I can apply for graduate visa?

You will be granted a UK Graduate visa only once. For clarification, if you switch to Student Visa at the end of the Graduate Visa granted and study another eligible course, complete the degree successfully and intend to apply for a Graduate Visa again, you will not qualify for it.

Q: Will time on the Graduate Visa be counted towards indefinite leave to remain (settlement)?

Yes, if you remain in the UK continuously for a long time under different visa types including (Student visa and Graduate Visa) then time on the Graduate Route will be counted towards the 10-year residence route and you will be eligible to apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain), UK settlement visa.

Time on the graduate route does not count towards a five year settlement route.

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