The Graduate Visa allows international students who have completed an eligible UK degree to stay in the UK to work, or look for work, for two years (three years for those being awarded doctorates) after they have completed their studies.

The Graduate Visa does not lead directly to settlement, but graduates on the route are able to switch into other work-based routes which can lead to settlement.

Graduate Visa Requirements

In order to qualify for a Graduate Visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that:

  • You have successfully completed a UK degree, or other eligible course;
  • You have studied at a Higher Education Provider which is a student sponsor with a track record of compliance;
  • You have held permission as a Student, which was granted to study the relevant qualification in the UK, for a minimum period of time;
  • You are applying from within the UK and have valid leave as a Student or Tier 4 Student at the date of application;
  • You have not previously held permission on the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES), or the Graduate route;
  • You do not fall for refusal on grounds of suitability.

The exact requirements you will need to satisfy will vary depending on your circumstances.  You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.

To discuss your Graduate Visa application with one of our immigration barristers, contact our Graduate Immigration Route lawyers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

Graduate Visa Eligible Courses

In order to extend your stay on the Graduate Immigration Route you need to have successfully completed a degree at UK bachelor’s or postgraduate level, 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 UK public authority.

You will also be eligible to apply for a Graduate Visa if you have been sponsored to undertake a role as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer following the completion of an eligible qualification in your most recent grant of permission to study. 

Graduate Visa Minimum Student Permission Period 

In order to qualify for a UK Graduate Visa, you must have held permission as a Student, which was granted to study the relevant qualification in the UK, for a minimum period of time. The minimum period for which you must have held permission as a Student will depend on the length of the course. 

If you have completed a course lasting 12 months or less, you will need to have held Student permission throughout the whole course in the UK. 

If your course lasted more than 12 months, you will need to have been granted permission for at least 12 months on the Student route and have spent that time studying in the UK. 

Graduate Visa Sponsorship 

The Graduate Visa Route is an unsponsored route, meaning that applicants do not need a job offer or a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in order to be eligible. 


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