Graduate Immigration Visa Route


International students who have successfully completed an undergraduate or Masters degree are now able to remain in the UK for work for two years after graduation, through the Graduate route. PhD students who successfully complete their course will be able to stay for up to three years. The work can be in any sector and at any level without any minimum salary requirements or the need for visa sponsorship.


The Graduate Route is available to international students who have successfully completed an undergraduate degree, a Masters degree, PhD or other doctoral qualification. Students who are awarded either a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) will also be eligible to apply.

You must have received notification that you have been awarded your degree, PGCE or PGDE before you apply for this visa to meet the 'successful completion' criteria. If you are a PhD student, you should submit your final corrected thesis before submitting your graduate route application.

You should have completed your course within the validity of your current Student visa and it should be the same course for which your CAS was assigned unless you have been permitted to change courses. If you changed course please contact us so we can check that you are eligible.

We will notify the UKVI of successful course completions for all Student visa holders who meet the UK study requirement. Once we have made a report to UKVI we will e-mail you to tell you and you can then apply for the Graduate visa if you would like to do so. 

You must have a valid Student visa when you apply for the Graduate route. If your visa expires after you have applied to the Graduate route, you will be permitted to remain in the UK whilst your application is being considered. You will continue to work under the conditions of your Student permission until you have received the outcome of your Graduate visa application.

If you are a Student Union sabbatical officer who previously completed your course in the period before your current visa you are eligible to apply if your last grant of leave was as an SU officer and your Student visa is still valid.

You can only apply under the Graduate route once but you can switch back into the Student route if you want to pursue another course in the UK.

Resits / Extensions

If you will not complete your course on time because you have been given additional time to resubmit work or you need to resit exams, it is your responsibility to check with your academic department when your final results can be expected. To be eligible for the Graduate route visa, you must have been awarded your degree before your student visa expires. If your final results are expected less than 30 days before your visa expiry date or after your visa expiry date, please contact us for advice on your situation. 

Study in the UK

For a course of 12 months or less you must have studied the whole of your course in the UK with a Student visa. If your course is longer than 12 months you must have studied in the UK for at least 12 months with a Student visa.


You can switch from a Skilled Worker or Dependant worker into the Student route from inside the UK in order to apply for the Graduate visa. However, you must switch before the last 12 months of your course or before the start of your course if you are studying a Masters to meet the Study in the UK condition because you must have spent at least 12 months studying in the UK with a Student visa to be eligible.

Applying for the visa

You can only apply from within the UK and you must apply before your Student visa expires.

You do not need a new CAS to apply for this visa but you will need your latest CAS number to enter into the online visa application form.

The Graduate route visa fee is usually £822. In addition, the application will also require you to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge which is charged at £2,070 for 2 years and £3,105 for 3 years.

There will NOT be any maintenance requirement so you will not need to hold a certain amount of funds in your bank account or provide any financial evidence. However, you must ensure that you have sufficient funds to cover your living costs in the UK while you look for work. If you have been sponsered by the University of Manchester this is not classed as official financial sponsorship so you will not require a letter from us.

You will not need to provide any evidence of your English language level as you must have completed a UK degree to be eligible to apply.

If you have been fully sponsored by your Government in the last 12 months, you will require a letter of consent from your sponsor giving you permission to stay in the UK to work.

As with any UK-based visa application, you should not leave the UK / Common Travel Area while your visa application is being processed as doing so will mean that your application will be treated as withdrawn. The Common Travel Area refers to the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, and the Republic of Ireland.

Looking for work

The University of Manchester is committed to ensuring that all our students are provided with expert advice and guidance to support our students in securing a graduate-level job, either in the UK or overseas. For more information about the support we offer, please visit the University Careers Service website.


If you have Student visa dependants with you in the UK, they can apply under the Graduate route at the same time as you from within the UK as your dependants. New dependants are not permitted, except where a dependant child was born in the UK during a period of Student or Graduate permission.

Any dependants that have received sponsorship from a Government or International Scholarship Agency in the 12 months immediately prior to the date they submit their visa application must also provide a letter from their sponsor giving consent for them to stay in the UK whilst you are on the Graduate route.

If you have a valid Student visa and your dependants are outside the UK, they will need to apply as your Student dependants and travel to the UK first in order to be eligible to apply as dependants under the Graduate route.

Studying on a Graduate Visa

The UKVI rules state that you cannot study any course which could in theory be sponsored under the Student route while you hold a Graduate route visa. Examples of permitted study would therefore include:

  • Some professional courses
  • Online study
  • Evening classes
  • Recreational courses

If you are unsure whether you can study a specific course under the Graduate route, please contact the Student Immigration Team.

Further Information