If you’re a student considering studying in the United Kingdom or have recently graduated from a UK institution, the UK Graduate Visa might be of significant interest to you. Whether you’re curious about eligibility, application processes, or the benefits of this visa, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions to guide you through the ins and outs of the UK Graduate Visa.
What is the UK Graduate Visa?
The UK Graduate Visa, also referred to as the Graduate Route, is a post-study work visa introduced by the UK government. It allows international students who have completed a degree at a recognized UK higher education institution to remain in the UK for up to two years to work, seek employment, or start their own businesses.
Who is eligible for the Graduate Route?
To be eligible for the Graduate Route, you must have completed a qualifying degree program at a UK higher education institution. This includes undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral degrees.
What are the application requirements?
To apply for the Graduate Route, you’ll need to provide proof of your identity, evidence of your qualifying degree, and evidence that you have successfully completed your studies. You can apply after your university has told the Home Office that you’ve successfully completed the course you took with your Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa. You do not have to wait until you’ve graduated or have been given a certificate.
Can I bring my dependents?
If your partner and children joined you in the UK as ‘dependants’ on your current Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa, they can apply to stay as dependants on your Graduate visa.
Is the Graduate Route extendable?
No, the Graduate Route itself is not extendable. The visa is granted for a fixed period of two years or three years if you have a PhD or other doctoral qualification and cannot be extended. However, during the two-year period, you are free to switch to other visa categories if you meet the requirements for those visas.
Can I switch to other work visas after the Graduate Route?
Yes, you can switch to other work visas, such as the Skilled Worker Visa, after the completion of your Graduate Route. If you secure a job with an employer willing to sponsor your visa, you can switch to the Skilled Worker Visa.
Can I switch to the Partner Route whilst on a Graduate Visa?
If you get married to a British citizen or a settled person, you may switch to the Partner Route.
Does time spent on the Graduate Route count towards Indefinite Leave to Remain?
No, the time spent on the Graduate Route does not count towards the residency requirement for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. However, if you switch to another work visa category that leads to settlement, the time spent on that visa may count.
Can I apply for the Graduate Route from outside the UK?
No, you must be in the UK to apply for the Graduate Route.
Can I work freelance or be self-employed on the Graduate Route?
Yes, you can work as a freelancer or be self-employed on the Graduate Route. This visa allows you to work for an employer, work freelance, start your own business, or engage in other forms of work.
What are the benefits of the Graduate Route?
The Graduate Route offers several benefits, including the opportunity to gain work experience in the UK job market, explore various career options, and potentially secure a work visa in a different category. You can travel abroad and return to the UK under the Graduate Route.
Can I study with a Graduate Visa?
You are eligible to pursue studies using a Graduate visa only if the program you intend to undertake does not qualify for a Student visa. In cases where your chosen course meets the criteria for a Student visa, you have the option to extend your existing Student visa. Furthermore, if you are engaged in studies or research involving sensitive subject matters, it may be necessary for you to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.
How can we help
To discuss your Graduate Visa application with an experienced adviser from our team, call us on 0207 757 5751 or use our contact form.