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Immigration Support Service

Graduate Visa

Three students in Graduation gowns in the quad
Graduate Visa

The Graduate visa is a post-study immigration route that allows graduates to remain in the UK for 2 years (or 3 years for PhD graduates) after their studies, to work or look for work.

Student visa holders who wish to make an application for a Graduate visa can apply in the UK after they have completed their course but before their Student visa expires.

Applying for a Graduate visa


Please note that the Immigration Support Service Compliance Team is working to report any Student Visa holder eligible for the Graduate Route to the Home Office as soon as possible.

The team are working at reporting those students whose visas expire soon first. If you email the team asking to be reported for the Graduate Route within 15 working days of being completed in QSIS you will not receive an individual response to this email unless your visa expires before the start of July 2024.

The team will not be able to provide individual responses to students outside of this scope. Please be assured that all eligible students will receive notification with the below email subject as confirmation that they have been reported to the Home Office as Graduate Route eligible.

“Graduate Route – Eligibility”

The team appreciate your patience at this busy time. 

  • Who can apply for the Graduate visa?

    Students who have a valid Student visa and who have successfully completed a course with a relevant degree qualification during their current Student immigration permission can apply for the Graduate route. 

  • Where can I apply for the Graduate visa?

    Applicants can only apply for the Graduate visa in the UK.  Applicants must have successfully completed their course of study and have valid Student immigration permission.  

    It is not possible to apply for a Graduate visa outside the UK. 

  • When can I apply for the Graduate visa?

    You can only apply for the Graduate visa:

    • After you have successfully completed your course of study
    • Before your Student visa expires. 

    Once you have successfully completed your course, the University's Immigration Compliance Team ( will notify UKVI that you are eligible for the Graduate route. 

    The ISS Compliance Team will then contact you by email to confirm that they have reported that you as eligible for the Graduate route.  You should not submit your Graduate visa application until you have received this confirmation as your application could be refused.    

    You should ensure that you submit your Graduate visa application before the expiry date of your Student visa. 

  • How can I make a Graduate visa application?

    You can make your application online on UKVI's website.

    During your application you will be instructed to use the "UK Immigration : ID Check" app to provide your identity documents and photograph to UKVI.  If you are unable to use the app, you will need to attend a UK Visa and Citizenship Applications Services (UKVCAS) service point. 

    You will need to pay the Visa Application Fee and Immigration Health Surcharge online during the application process.

    The standard processing time for a Graduate visa application is 8 weeks.   You should not travel outside the UK until your receive a decision on your application. 

  • How much does the Graduate visa cost?

    Visa Application Fee

    The Visa Application Fee for the Graduate visa is currently £822.

    Immigration Health Surcharge

    Applicants will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge which is £1,035 for year year of immigration permission you will receive.  This must be paid in full at the point of application for the full period of your immigration permission.  

    If you are eligible for a 2 year Graduate visa -  the Immigration Health Surcharge will be £2,070.

    If you are eligible for a 3 year Graduate visa - the Immigration Health Surcharge will be £3,105.

  • How long will my Graduate visa be valid for?

    If your visa application is successful your Graduate visa will be granted for 2 years.

    If you have graduated from a PhD or other doctorate course your visa will be granted for 3 years.

    Your immigration permission will start from the date the decision on your application is made.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Valid Student immigration permission

    If you are applying for the Graduate visa, you must hold current, valid immigration permission under the Student (or Tier 4) route at the time of your application.  

    If you are studying a course that is longer than 12 months: you must have held Student immigration permission for at least 12 months before you apply for the Graduate visa. 

    If you are studying a course that is 12 months or less:  you must have held Student immigration permission for the full length of your course. 

  • Successfully completion of a relevant qualification

    To be eligible for a Graduate visa, you must have successfully completed a relevant qualification during your period of Student immigration permission.   This includes:

    The University will make a report to UKVI to advise that you have successfully completed your course and received a 'relevant qualification'. 

    You should not submit your Graduate visa application until you have received an email from the ISS Compliance team confirming they have reported your successful completion to UKVI.    

    The 'relevant qualification' must normally be for the course for which your CAS Statement was issued unless:

    • You were permitted to switch to a different course without applying for a new Student visa
    • An assessed work placement or study abroad programme was added to your course
    • The University changed the name of your course (without changing its content)
    • Your last Student visa was to work as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer and your relevant qualification was gained during the period of Student immigration permission immediately before this. 
  • Students receiving financial sponsorship

    If you have received a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international scholarship agency for your course fees and living costs in the 12 months before you make your Graduate visa application, you will need to provide a letter confirming that your financial sponsor consents to your Graduate visa application.  

Graduate visa conditions
  • Working in the UK

    You will be able to work, or look for work, in any sector and at any level except as a professional sportsperson or coach. Graduate visa holders can also undertake self-employed work.

  • Studying in the UK

    Study is permitted on a Graduate visa, but only if the course cannot be studied under the Student visa route.

    Examples of permitted study can include:

    • English language courses
    • Online study
    • Evening classes
    • Recreational courses
  • It is not possible to extend a Graduate visa and a Graduate visa can only be granted once. 

    The Graduate route is not by itself a route to settlement in the UK, but Graduate visa holders may be able to switch into other immigration routes if they meet the requirements of a particular visa route.

  • Dependants

    Family members who are already in the UK as a dependant of a Student visa holder applying on this route can apply to extend their permission as a dependant. However, new dependants are not permitted on this route


Further Information

For further information about making a Graduate visa application please visit :

UKCISA                                     Home Office

           UKCISA Graduate Visa webpages                                                 Home Office Graduate visa webpages