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Graduate visa route

“The Graduate visa is a visa available for students who wish to work or look for work following the successful completion of their studies at Undergraduate or Postgraduate level on a student visa.”

Please note:

You must ensure that you complete your course in full and receive confirmation from your institution of this to be eligible to apply. Your student visa must still be valid when you submit your application to the UKVI. Unfortunately, an extension of your student visa sponsorship will not be possible to wait for exam results or to receive confirmation of the completion of your studies. You must fully complete your course within the dates mentioned in your CAS.

What is the Graduate visa route?

The Graduate visa route is a visa available for international students in the UK who want to work or look for work following the successful completion of their degree at Undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education provider. 

Regent College London is a Higher Education provider with a track record of compliance. The Graduate visa route is unsponsored, meaning that we will not be sponsoring you on this visa route. 

Applicants applying under this route will be given (once granted) a visa for two years. 

Under the Graduate visa route, successful applicants are given a visa for two years to work or look for work at any level.

Unfortunately, the visa is not extendable and cannot count towards the minimum period of in-country residency needed to qualify for indefinite leave to remain. However, holders can later on switch to another visa category such as the Skilled Worker or reapply for a Student visa if they wish to pursue further full-time studies in the UK.



Graduate visa FAQ's

Below are some frequently asked questions and answers to some of your Graduate visa related queries.

For full information on the Graduate visa route and how to apply, please click here.

You must remember to submit your application from inside the UK and before your student visa expires. Applications submitted from overseas or after your student visa has expired, will be rejected.

Please see the below requirements to know when you can apply for a Graduate visa:

  • Once you have successfully completed your qualification and received confirmation of this in writing by your university. This can be obtained by the registry department who will issue a course completion letter. You must then notify our Compliance team of this so it can be reported to the UKVI.
  • Before your student visa expires.

You must ensure that you have a valid Student visa is still valid to apply for the Graduate visa. 

If your Student visa expires before you complete your course, you will not be able to be sponsored or given another CAS to resubmit your work. This is because you will no longer have any face-to-face classes; therefore, without official class attendance, you will not be able to extend your Student visa. This means you will not be eligible to apply for the Graduate visa route. 

You must meet the Study in the UK requirement before applying for the Graduate visa route. This specifies the minimum period you must hold a Student visa, during which all study must have taken place in the UK.

The Study in the UK rules differs depending on the course length. The course must be 12 months or more, but for courses longer than 12 months, you should have held Student permission (a Student visa) for at least 12 months, during which time all study must have taken place in the UK. 

If you have previously held permission under a different immigration category, and this led to your course being completed using a combination of immigration routes, then your recent visa must be a Student Visa, and you must have spent at least 12 months in the UK studying that course.

For courses that are 12 months or less, you must hold a Student visa for the duration of the course. 

Please note: UKVI Guidance states that if you applied for a Student visa before you started the course but it was not granted until after you started the course, you will be treated as having permission from the start date of the course.

The Study in the UK rules are very complex, and institutions always seek clarity from UKVI (United Kingdom Visas and Immigration). If you need clarification on any part of the visa process, please feel free to contact the Visa Compliance team at 

Please ensure that you try to only travel for short periods outside the UK when considering applying for the Graduate visa. If you decide to travel, make sure that you first discuss this with the Visa Compliance team, who can make the assessment as to whether you have met the requirements of this visa route first. Lengthy travel may jeopardise your student visa.  

  • You must apply for the visa online here: GOV.UK Website.
  • The application fee is £822, and you must also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
  • The fee for the IHS is £624 per year and as of the 16th of January 2024, this fee will increase to £1,035. You must take into account that you will be charged the IHS fee for two years.
  • You should receive a decision on your visa application within eight weeks. UKIV will contact you if the application takes longer than eight weeks. This may only happen if the Home Office needs to verify the documents that you have uploaded or further checks on your application are required. 
  • You must ensure that you use the most recent CAS number for this application. If you do not know your recent CAS number, please get in touch with the Visa Compliance team. 

This Graduate visa application is relatively straightforward. However, if you require assistance, please contact the Visa Compliance team. 

Once you are granted the Graduate visa, there will be no restrictions on the type of work you can do. You can find work in any sector and any level without the minimum salary requirements, however, you cannot work as a professional sportsperson or coach. 

You can be employed or start up a business and be self-employed. 

You must not: 

  • Access public funds 
  • Study with a Student sponsor on a course which would meet the requirements of the Student visa route 

You can only apply for the Graduate visa once. You cannot extend this visa route once you have completed the two years. You can, however, switch to other work visa categories to continue working in the UK, for example, the Skilled worker route. 

You can switch to the Student visa route if you meet the requirements and want to study another course. You must also meet the academic progression requirement too. When you complete the new course, you will not be able to apply for a second Graduate route visa. 

Dependents include your partner and/or children under the age of 18. If you are permitted to have your dependents with you on the Student visa, they must be in the UK and apply together with you. If your dependents are not with you in the UK or not covered by your Student status, they will not be able to apply with you under the Graduate route.

Furthermore, from 1st of January 2024 onwards, the Home Office declared that only those students studying at RQF level 8 (PhD and research programmes) would be able bring their dependents to the UK. If your course began on or after this date and is not at RQF level 8, you will not be able to bring your dependents with you or include them in your Graduate visa application.

Further information

If you are in your final year of the Undergraduate degree or about to complete your Masters (Level 7) course and want to register your interest to apply for the Graduate visa route, please email the Visa Compliance team at