Graduate Route visa

The new Graduate Route will open for applications on 1 July 2021.

The new route will allow international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies.

International students must have completed an eligible degree programme at a UK higher education provider, with a track record of compliance with the government’s immigration requirements to apply to the Graduate route.

Students on the Graduate Route will be able to work or look for work after their studies for a maximum period of 2 years, or 3 years for Doctoral students.

The visa is not extendable and does not count towards settlement but graduates will be able to switch into the Skilled Worker route once they have found a suitable job.

Key Points:

  • The Graduate Route will be available to international students who have a valid student visa at the time of application and have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance.
  • Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years if they have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree. PhD graduates will be able to stay for three years. Graduates will be able to switch into the skilled worker route once they have found a suitable job.
  • Applicants who began their studies in Autumn 2020 will now have until 21 June 2021 to enter the UK (updated from 6 April 2021) in order to be eligible for the Graduate route. Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by 27 September 2021. 
  • The Graduate route will require a new visa application, which will only be possible from inside the UK. It will include the payment of a visa fee of £700 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year. Students will also need to know the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) they used for their most recent Student (or Tier 4) application in order to apply for the Graduate route.
  • Those who graduate and whose leave expires before the route is introduced will not be eligible.