Graduate visa

Applying for the Graduate visa in UK | Application Guidance


Due to the United Kingdom’s excellent reputation in the realm of education, thousands of bright and high-potential students travel there each year to attend universities, institutions of further education, and English language institutes. These students choose to study in the United Kingdom because of the high quality of education offered there.

Graduate visa in the United Kingdom enables international degree holders to stay in the country for a period of two years (or three for doctoral students), during which time they are permitted to work or look for employment at any level of skill.

Since the Graduate Visa application is an unsponsored route, it is not necessary to have a work offer in order to submit it. In the United Kingdom, you will have the flexibility to follow any one of a number of different career tracks, as well as to switch jobs as the situation demands.

A Graduate visa allows to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK.

You must be in the UK when you apply.


You can apply for a Graduate visa if all of the following applies:

  • you’re in the UK
  • your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • you studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • your education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office you’ve successfully completed your course

You can ask your education provider if you’re not sure whether they’ve told the Home Office you’ve successfully completed your course.

How long you can stay

A Graduate visa is granted for 2 years. If you have a PHD or other doctoral qualification, it is granted for 3 years.

If you want to stay longer in the UK

You cannot extend your Graduate visa. However, you may be able to switch to a different visa, for example a Skilled Worker visa.

Partner and Child

Your partner and children can also apply to stay in the UK if they are eligible.

When to apply

You must apply before your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa expires.

You can apply after your education provider (such as your university or college) 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.

Getting a decision

Once you’ve applied and have proved identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks.

How much it costs

When you apply for a Graduate visa, you’ll need to:

  • pay the £715 application fee
  • pay the healthcare surcharge – this is usually £624 for each year you’ll be in the UK

What you can and cannot do

With a Graduate visa you can:

You cannot:

  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • work as a professional sportsperson

You may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you are studying or researching sensitive topics.

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