Graduate immigration route visa

Work in the UK for up to two years after you graduate – apply your skills and advance your career with valuable local experience and industry connections. 
Under the UK's new Graduate Immigration Route you'll be able to stay in the UK for up to two years after graduating (three years if you've completed a PHD) to work, or look for work, without the pressure of an immediate deadline.
The scheme launches on 1 July 2021 and is only open for people with a valid Student visa. If your visa expires before 1 July, you can still benefit from this route by completing another course in the UK.
Once you've received your Graduate visa, you can start to work immediately at any level – including self-employment and voluntary work. Although this route is non-extendable, you can apply for a different visa before the Graduate visa expires – such as a Skilled Work visa – to continue working in the UK.

Discover more about the Graduate Immigration Route below.

What is the Graduate Route?

It is a new immigration visa for international students who wish to extend their stay in the UK to work, or look for work, after they have completed their studies. 

Who can apply for this visa?

In order to be eligible, you must successfully complete an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at a UK Higher Education Provider such as Regent’s University London and still have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa at the time of applying. It is not possible to apply yet – the scheme will open on 1 July 2021, so if your Tier 4 or Student visa expires before then you would unfortunately not be eligible to apply.

You must apply from inside the UK. If you are currently overseas and your course is 12 months or less then you may need to travel or return to the UK before your course end date. Please check with our Student Immigration Adviser for further information.

What will I get?

Successful applicants will receive a one-time, non-extendable visa to stay in the UK for a further period of 2 years (Bachelor’s and Master’s graduates) or 3 years (PhD/Doctorate students). The visa will allow you to work in the UK at any skill level, including self-employment and voluntary work. You do not need to find employment before applying for this visa – you will be able to receive this visa to stay in the UK and look for work.

How to apply for this visa?

Although we do not know full details yet, we expect the process to be similar to the way you applied for your Student visa: an online application form and a potential biometrics appointment at a UKVCAS centre. Similarly to your previous application, you will need to pay a visa application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge.

How much does it cost?

The visa application fee has been confirmed as £700, whereas the Immigration Health Surcharge will cost you £624 per year.

What documents should I prepare?

In order to apply, you will need:

  • A valid passport or a travel document
  • Your CAS number which you used with your last Tier 4/ Student visa application; if you no longer have your CAS number, please contact us and we will be able to confirm this to you
  • You may need your latest up to date Police Registration Certificate, if you were required to register with the Police (your application will not be adversely affected if you were unable to register due to Coronavirus)
  • If you have been officially financially sponsored (both for your maintenance and course fees) within 12 months of the date of your application, you will need a letter of consent from your official financial sponsor
  • There may be additional documentary requirement depending on your individual circumstances.

From the information released so far, we expect there will be no financial requirement, i.e. you will not need to demonstrate a certain amount of funds in your bank account in order to apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be able to extend my Graduate visa?

No – the Graduate visa is a non-extendable route. You can only obtain this visa once. You can, however, apply for a different visa before your Graduate visa expires; for example, a Skilled Worker visa, if your employer wishes to sponsor you under this route.

Can I apply for this visa if I am completing my course in the UK on a Visitor visa?

Unfortunately not – you can only apply for a Graduate visa if your most recent visa is a Tier 4 or Student visa, and if it is still valid at the date of application.

Can I apply for this visa if I do not complete my course?

No – one of the main eligibility criteria of this route is that you complete your course successfully. Only once your course is completed can you apply for a Graduate visa.

How will the UK Visas and Immigration know that I completed my course?

Your Student visa sponsor (Regent’s University London) will be required to confirm this to the UKVI in order for you to be eligible for a Graduate visa.

Can I apply for this visa if I changed my course?

Yes, you will be able to apply for a Graduate visa if you changed your course at Regent’s as long as you successfully complete the new course.

My visa expires before 1 July 2021 – can I still apply for the Graduate visa?

Unfortunately not – you would not be able to apply this time, as the scheme only opens on 1 July 2021 and requires applicants to have a valid Student visa at the time of applying. You may be able to benefit from this immigration route in the future, if you complete another course at a required level in the UK.

Do I need a sponsor to apply for the Graduate visa?

You do not need a sponsor nor a job offer in order to apply. This visa will allow you to stay in the UK and look for work if you do not have a job at the time of applying.

Will there be a cap on my working allowance? 

Unlike with the Student visa, the Graduate visa will not specify the amount of hours you can work each week. It will also allow you to work at any skill level, including self-employment and voluntary work. You will not be permitted to work as professional sportsperson.

Can I study on the Graduate visa?

You can undertake some study on this visa; however, if you wish to study with a Student visa sponsor on a course which normally requires a Student visa, you will not be able to undertake such course under your Graduate visa; you would then need to apply for another Student visa and meet the requirements of the route.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at [email protected].