Graduate Route Visa UK
What is the Graduate Route Visa UK?
The Graduate visa route allows overseas students who have completed an eligible course of study in the UK to stay for a further two or three years to work or look for work.
How do I qualify for the Graduate visa?
To be eligible to apply for leave under the Graduate route, you must have:
- been sponsored as a Student by a Higher Education provider in the UK that holds an A-rated Student sponsor licence;
- successfully completed the course that you were sponsored to study during your last grant of permission to study on the Student Visa route; and
- spent at least 12 months of your course studying in the UK, or the whole duration of the course if it was less than 12 months (certain COVID-19 related concessions apply).
The course must have been a UK bachelor’s or post-graduate degree, or one of the following relevant qualifications:
- a law conversion course validated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England and Wales; or
- the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland; or
- the Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland; or
- a foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry; or
- a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE); or
- a professional course requiring study at UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities that is regulated by UK law or a UK public authority.
It is also essential that you have never previously held leave under the Doctorate Extension Scheme or as a Graduate, even if you have since been a sponsored student again. It is only possible to hold a Graduate visa once.
If, in the 12 months before applying for the Graduate visa, you had been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a government or international scholarship agency covering fees and living costs for your study in the UK, you must also obtain and provide written consent to the application from that Government or agency.
Your application must be submitted from within the UK whilst you still hold leave as a student under the appropriate visa scheme.
What period of leave will I be given? Can I extend my visa?
If your application is approved, you will normally be granted leave as a Graduate for two years.
If you have successfully completed a PhD, or other doctorate-level qualification, will be granted leave for three years.
It is not possible to extend your leave under the Graduate category. However, you may be able to switch into another immigration category before the expiry of your leave.
What kind of activities can I undertake in the UK as a Graduate?
As a Graduate visa holder, you are permitted to work in the UK (including self-employment and voluntary work), apart from work as a professional sportsperson.
You are also permitted to study in the UK, subject to certain conditions.
Can I bring my family with me?
If your family had previously been granted leave as your dependants whilst you held leave as a student, then they can apply to extend their permission as dependants under the Graduate route. In all other cases, Graduate visa holders are not able to sponsor dependent family members.
Does the Graduate route lead to settlement in the UK?
The Graduate route does not lead to settlement in the UK. It may be possible, however, to switch from the Graduate route into an immigration category which does lead to settlement such as Skilled Worker.
For more information about us and our personal immigration services, please contact a member of the team who can answer any questions and guide you through the process.