Graduate Route

Applying for the Graduate visa

A Graduate visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for at least two years* after successfully completing an eligible course in the UK (see list of courses below).

You must be in the UK when you apply.


You can apply for a Graduate visa if all of the following are true:

  • you are in the UK and will remain in the UK until such time that UKVI have made and notified you of a decision
  • your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • you studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • you have contacted the University via and we have confirmed your eligibility.

Check if your course is eligible and how long you need to have studied in the UK.

If you are not eligible for a Graduate visa, you may be eligible for another type of visa to stay in the UK.

You can only apply for a Graduate visa once. If you have previously applied for a Graduate visa and have not been successful, you cannot apply again.

  • A Graduate visa lasts for two years.

    *If you have a PHD or other doctoral qualification, it will last for three years.

    Your visa will start from the day your application is approved.

    If you want to stay longer in the UK

    You cannot extend your Graduate visa. However, you may be able to switch to a different visa, for example a Skilled Worker visa.

    Check you can apply for another type of visa to stay in the UK.

  • You must apply online for a graduate visa.

    Your partner and children can also apply to stay in the UK if they are eligible.

    When to apply

    You must apply before your Student visa expires.

    You can apply after the University has told the Home Office that you have successfully completed the course you took with your Student/Tier 4 visa.

    As part of your application, you will need to prove your identity and provide your documents.

    Your application may take longer if you need an appointment to do this. You will find out if you need one when you start your application.

  • Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you usually get a decision on your visa within eight weeks.

    You can stay in the UK while you wait for a decision.

  • When you apply for a Graduate visa, you will need to:

    • pay the application fee
    • pay the healthcare surcharge for each year you will be in the UK

    Check how much it will cost.

  • If you are a doctor or nurse, or you work in health or adult social care, check if you’re eligible to apply for the Health and Care Worker visa instead. It’s cheaper to apply for and you do not need to pay the annual immigration health surcharge.

    If you get a job in public sector healthcare after you have paid the healthcare surcharge, you may be able to get a refund.

  • With a Graduate visa you can:

    You cannot:

    • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
    • work as a professional sportsperson

    If your application is successful, you will get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Graduate visa.

  • You can only study with a Graduate visa if your chosen course is not eligible for a Student visa. If your course is eligible for a Student visa, you can extend your Student visa instead.

    You may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you are studying or researching sensitive topics.

  • Further information on the Graduate visa can be found on the and UKCISA website.

    If you have any further queries about the Graduate visa, please email or call the International Student Support (ISS) team on 01604 893113.

    The ISS team also offer student appointments and workshops on the Graduate Route. Please visit the ISS Eventbrite page for further details and booking.

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