Find out how to apply for the Graduate visa after you have successfully completed your studies.
Overview and eligibility
The Graduate visa is for graduates who want to work, or look for work in the UK. The visa is granted for two years if you have completed an undergraduate or masters level course, and three years for PhD or other doctoral qualifications.
To be eligible to apply for this visa, you must:
- be in the UK - you cannot apply from overseas
- be in the UK on a Student/Tier 4 visa - you cannot switch to this route with any other visa type
- have successfully completed a bachelors level course or higher (this must be the course for which your current Student/Tier 4 visa was issued for)
- have been studying at a UK higher education provider with a track record of compliance (the University of Bath meets this definition)
- not have previously had a Graduate visa or a Doctorate Extension Scheme visa
You do not need sponsorship for this visa and you can apply even if you do not have a job offer. Please note, the Graduate visa is not a route to settlement.
Studying overseas as a result of Covid-19
If you have been studying overseas by distance learning due to Covid-19, and are completing your course in 2021, you may need to return to the UK by a specified date to be eligible to apply for the Graduate visa:
- If your course started before 2020 and is longer than 12 months, you do not need to be back in the UK by a specified date. However, your application for the Graduate visa must be made from within the UK – you cannot apply from overseas. Therefore, you will need to return to the UK before your current Student/Tier 4 visa expires.
- If you started a course of 12 months or less in 2020 via distance learning, and you have not previously entered the UK to study that course, you will be eligible to switch into the Graduate visa if you enter the UK on or before 21 June 2021 and complete the remainder of your studies in the UK.
- If you started a course of 12 months or less in 2021 via distance learning, and you have not previously entered the UK to study that course, you will be eligible to switch into the Graduate visa if you enter the UK on or before 27 September 2021 and complete the remainder of your studies in the UK.
- If you started a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 and you have already travelled to the UK with a valid Student/Tier 4 visa for that course, you will be eligible to switch into the Graduate visa if you re-enter the UK before the end date of your course.
In all cases, you must submit your Graduate visa application from within the UK.
What you can do
Work and look for work
With this visa you can use the time in the UK to look for work and you do not need to have a job offer to be eligible to apply. You will also be able to work in any job with no restriction on the number of hours you can work (including self-employed and voluntary work). The only exception to this is that you cannot work as a professional sportsperson.
Switch into the Skilled Worker visa
If you have been offered a job that meets the Skilled Worker criteria, you can switch to this route. Please see the gov.uk web pages for more information about the Skilled Worker criteria.
You can study in the UK with the Graduate visa and this can be both full-time and part-time study. The only exception to this is where where you are studying with an education provider who also holds a Student visa sponsor license, and the course you are studying meets the requirements for the Student visa. In this case, you must secure a Student visa to study.
If any study you are doing whilst in the UK requires ATAS clearance, you must obtain this prior to starting any studies.
Apply with dependants
If you already have dependants here with you in the UK, and they have a Student/Tier 4 dependant visa, you can apply for a Graduate dependant visa for them. They will need to apply either at the same time as yourself, or after your Graduate visa has been granted.
What you can't do
You cannot do the following with the Graduate visa:
- Claim public finds.
- Extend the visa or apply for the visa more than once.
- Work as a professional sportsperson.
- Apply with dependants where your dependants are not already in the UK with a Student/Tier 4 dependant visa.
- Study for a course that meets the Student visa requirements at an institution that also holds a Student visa sponsor license.
How to apply
Applications for the Graduate visa will open on 01 July 2021 - you will not be able to apply before this date. You cannot apply until you have successfully completed your course, but it does not matter if you successfully complete your course before or after the route opens on 01 July 2021.
Your Student/Tier 4 visa must still be valid at the point you apply. Therefore, if your Student/Tier 4 visa expires before 01 July 2021, and you are not able to extend this as your course has already finished, unfortunately you will not be able to apply for the Graduate visa.
The cost of the application will be £700. You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for each year the visa will be granted (currently £624 per year). You will need to fill in an online application form, pay for the application and IHS, provide any relevant documents, and provide your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph).
Documents for your application
You will need the following documents:
- Student/Tier 4 BRP card or visa
- Police registration certificate (if applicable)
You will not need to provide any financial evidence, but if you have been financially sponsored by a Government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs within the 12 months before you apply, you must provide written consent from your financial sponsor.