Working in the UK after you study

Graduate visa route

With the UK's Graduate visa route you can now 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 Graduate 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 having to secure a job immediately. 
 
The scheme launched on 1 July 2021 and is now open for applications. Before applying please familiarise yourself with the eligibility criteria explained in the sections below. 
 
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.

What is the Graduate route?

It is a new 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.

You must apply from inside the UK. If you are currently overseas there might be a deadline by which you need to return to the UK before applying for the Graduate visa. Please check this with our Student Immigration Adviser for further information.

What will I receive? 

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

The application process for most applicants will be entirely digital. You will need to use an app on your phone to prove your identity and submit an online application form through the Government website. Please refer to this guide published by the UK Government for more information. 

How much does it cost?

The visa application fee has been confirmed as £700. 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 provide it
  • 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 the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • 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 more documentation required depending on your individual circumstances.

There is no financial requirement, which means that you won't need to demonstrate that you have a minimum amount of funds available in your bank account in order to apply.

Frequently asked questions

Will I be able to extend my Graduate visa?

No – the Graduate visa route is a non-extendable visa. 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 I complete my course – can I still apply for the Graduate visa?

You have to complete your course before applying for the Graduate route visa. You also need to have a valid Student visa at the time of application.

If your current Student visa expires before your course is completed (for example, because you have to re-sit an exam), please contact our Student Immigration Adviser for further guidance.

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 number 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 route visa?

You can undertake some study on this visa. However, if you wish to study with a Student visa sponsor on a course that normally requires a Student visa, you will not be able to undertake such a course under your Graduate visa; you would 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].