What is the Graduate visa?

The Graduate visa allows international students who have studied in the UK to work or look for work after their studies. Depending on your degree, it will be valid for either two or three years. The work can be in any sector and at any level without meeting any minimum salary requirements or the need for visa sponsorship.

Requirements for the Graduate visa

You can apply for a Graduate visa if:

  • You’re in the UK
  • Your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • Your education provider has told the Home Office that you’ve successfully completed your course
  • 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 need to have studied in the UK for either:

  • At least 12 months, if your course’s total length is more than 12 months
  • The total length of your course, if its total length is shorter than 12 months

To apply, you usually need to have one of the following:

  • A UK bachelor’s degree
  • A UK master’s degree
  • A UK PhD or doctorate

You can also apply if you completed any of the following:

  • A law conversion course approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • The Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
  • The Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland
  • A foundation programme in medicine or dentistry
  • A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
  • A Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)

You may also be able to apply if passing your course made you eligible for a job that’s regulated by UK law or a UK public authority. Your education provider can tell you if your course is eligible.

What you can and can’t do on the Graduate visa

You canYou cannot
Work and look for workClaim public funds
Switch to another visa categoryExtend the visa or apply for the visa more than once
StudyWork as a professional sportsperson
- Study for a course that meets the Student visa requirements*

*At an institution that also holds a Student visa sponsor licence. You will have to apply for a Student visa instead.

Can your dependants join you on the Graduate visa?

You may apply with your current dependants (dependants who accompanied you to the UK on your Student visa) but you cannot apply with new dependants. Any children born in the UK to you while you held a Student visa will be able to apply as dependants on your Graduate visa.

Dependants who did not accompany you to the UK during your Student visa will only be able to join you from outside the UK once you switch to a different type of visa.

Who qualifies as a dependant?

A dependant partner or child is any of the following:

  • your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
  • your child under 18 – including if they were born in the UK during your stay
  • your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as your dependant

If your partner was included as a dependant on your Student visa, you will need to show that you are still in a relationship. You must be able to prove that either:

  • you’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognised in the UK
  • you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least two years when you apply

If your child is over 18 they must:

  • live with you (unless they’re in full-time education at boarding school, college or university). You will need to prove evidence of their home address
  • not be married, in a civil partnership or have any children
  • be financially supported by you

Graduate visa application details

When to apply

You don’t have to wait until you have graduated before you apply for the Graduate visa. Once you have successfully completed your course and received your results, the university will notify the Home Office of this. You will then be able to submit your application. Your university will let you know once they have done this.

You must apply before your Student visa expires. This means that your window for applying for the Graduate visa is after the university has reported your course completion to the Home Office, but before your current Student visa expires.

How much does the Graduate visa cost?

Costs associated with the Graduate visa application
Application fee£822
Immigration health surcharge* for two years£2,070
Immigration health surcharge for three years£3,105

*The IHS needs to be paid in full for the entire duration of the visa. The current IHS fee is £1,035.

Can the Graduate visa be renewed?

The graduate visa cannot be renewed or extended and does not lead to settlement. If you want to remain in the UK, this visa does allow you to find work that could qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, which does lead to settlement.

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