The new Graduate Visa would launch from 1 July 2021. This is also known as the Post-study Work Visa (PSW), as it gives you time to look for a job in the UK.
This route aims to increase the attractiveness of the UK’s offer to international students, ensuring we remain internationally competitive and increase the number of international students in higher education.
This would be open to all international students. When you have successfully completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree from a UK university, you may apply for a Graduate Visa to remain in the UK for 2 to 3 years after you graduate.
- For most graduates, the visa would be granted for 2 years.
- For PhD graduates, the visa would be granted for 3 years.
Graduates on this route will be able to work flexibly, gain work experience and develop their career. The advantages of this Graduate Visa are:
- No quota
- No sponsorship needed
- No minimum salary or skill requirement
- No maintenance requirement
- No English test requirement
- Freedom to find or change jobs
Current graduate visa requirements
In order to be eligible for this visa, you must fulfil the following requirements:
- You must have successfully completed a relevant course, which must be either:
- An undergraduate degree
- A Masters degree
- A PhD degree or other doctoral qualification
- One of these qualifications listed in paragraph GR 5.2 of Appendix Graduate of the Immigration Rules. This includes:
- The Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
- A foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry
- The course must have been completed with a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance and who have valid Student (or Tier 4) permission at the time of application
- You must have completed the entirety of the degree in the UK if the length of the course was 12 months or less, or at least 12 months in the UK if the course was longer than 12 months
- There is no requirement to have started the relevant course in any specific year
- You must hold a valid Student (or Tier 4) Visa at the time of application
Graduate visa application process
You will need to apply online for a Graduate Visa via the Home Office website.
You will be required to attend a Biometric Appointment to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre.
Obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain
This route provides an opportunity to switch into other Visa routes (including Skilled Worker Visa, Partner Visa, Start-up Visa etc.) thereafter if the requirements are met, so that you can progress towards Settlement and Citizenship. If you have spent nearly 10 years in the UK on various student visas, the 2 or 3 years of Graduate Visa may also count towards the 10-year Long Residence Indefinite Leave to Remain route.
Frequently Asked Questions
How early can I apply for a Graduate Visa?
The route is open for applications from 09:00 on 1 July 2021. You will need to apply prior to the expiry of your Student or Tier 4 Visa.
How much will the application cost?
The visa fee will be £700. You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge at a full rate of £624 per year of the visa. These are subject to Home Office changes.
How long can I stay in the UK on a Graduate Visa?
The Graduate Visa will be valid for 2 years if you have completed a relevant undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or 3 years for a PhD (or other doctoral qualification) graduates.
Can I bring my family members with me to the UK if I am on a Graduate Visa?
Your spouse or civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner and children may remain in the UK with you as dependants if they already have permission as a dependant of a Student. They will need to apply to extend their stay in the UK.
Can I switch to a graduate visa if I am in the UK on another visa?
You must have valid permission as a Student or Tier 4 Visa in order to apply for the Graduate Visa. Therefore, you cannot switch from these and not from another type of Immigration visa.