Graduate Immigration Visa Route

 

Launch of new visa

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 new 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.

Download the UKVI guide on the new Graduate Immigration Visa Route and how to apply

Eligibility

The Graduate Route will be 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 notificaton 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 during your current period of Tier 4 or Student permission and it should be the same course for which your CAS was assigned unless you changed course. 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 Tier 4 / student visa holders.

You must have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa when you apply for the Graduate route or have valid exceptional assuarance. You cannot apply if you currently have a Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) visa or if you have been granted a Graduate route visa previously. 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 Tier 4/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.

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 Tier 4 or Student visa. If your course is longer than 12 months you must have studied in the UK for at least 12 months with a Tier 4 or Student visa.

Remote learning outside the UK due to Covid-19

Course started in Autumn 2020 or Spring 2021 of 12 months' duration or less

If you have been studying remotely in your home country for the whole course so far you must travel to the UK on a Student visa before 27 September 2021 in order to be eligible for the Graduate route.

If you previously came to the UK on your Student visa and then returned home to study remotely you will just need to return to the UK before the end date of your visa.

Course started in Autumn 2021 of 12 months' duration or less

If you are permitted by your academic School to study remotely for semester 1, your eliibility for the graduate route will not be affected. Please note that while the UKVI permits remote study from outside the UK until 6 April 2022, no decision has been made by Schools to continue to allow remote study from outside the UK beyond semester 1.

Final Year students studying a course longer than 12 months

Any time that you spent outside the UK distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 6 April 2022 and where your School has permitted remote study will not prevent you from applying for the Graduate visa.

If your course is longer than 12 months there is no specific deadline for you to return to the UK. However, you need to return to the UK while your Tier 4/Student visa is still valid and apply for the Graduate visa before your visa expires.

Switching

You can switch from a Tier 2/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 Tier 4 or Student visa to be eligible.

Applying for the visa

You can only apply from within the UK and you must apply before your Tier 4/Student visa or exceptional assurance 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 applictaion form.

The Graduate route visa fee is usually £700. In addition, the application will also require you to pay the immigration health surcharge and this is charged at £624 per year the visa will be granted.

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.

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.

Guidance on how to apply for this visa is provided by the UKVI - please download the UKVI

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.

Dependants

If you have Tier 4 / 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 Tier 4 / 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