Graduate Immigration Route - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Graduate Route?

This new graduate immigration route allows international students who have successfully completed a degree course to remain in the UK for two years (three years for PhD students) without the need to be sponsored by an employer.
Graduates can look for work or undertake any work in the UK, including paid and unpaid employment, self-employment and engaging in business or any professional activity. The only restriction placed on a Graduate’s ability to work is a prohibition on working as a professional sportsperson.

All international students who have successfully completed a degree course who have a Student (or Tier 4) visa that is current at the time of application are able to apply.

The new Graduate Route began on 1 July 2021.

Who can apply for the Graduate Route?

Students who

  • Complete a UK qualification at degree level in the UK and currently hold a valid visa on either the Student Route or the Tier 4 (General) route.
  • Have studied in the UK for the previous 12 months. 

Study in the UK requirement

You must have studied in the UK for a minimum period as set out in the table below:

Total length of courseRelevant period of Student permission granted during which all study took place in the UK (apart from permitted study abroad programmes)
12 months or less Full duration of course
Longer than 12 months At least 12 months


Covid-19 concession

There are concessions for students who have been affected by Covid-19.

The UKVI have put a concession in place for students who commence a course of 12 months or less in Autumn 2021 or Spring 2022 but are unable to travel to the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic and have been studying via distance learning from overseas. Students in this position must enter the UK no later than 30 June 2022 and complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a Student to be eligible for the Graduate Route.

Exceptional Assurance

If you held a Student or Tier 4 visa that has expired but you have been granted a period of exceptional assurance you are eligible to apply for the Graduate Route as long as the period of exceptional assurance is still valid when you come to make an application under the Graduate Route.

Can “Top Up” students apply?

If your Top-up course was less than 12 months long, you will be eligible to apply as long as you have spent all your time on this part of your course in the UK. If you have been studying via distance learning because of Covid -19, the concession applied and you will be eligible to apply if you are in the UK before 27 September 2021.

How do I apply for the Graduate Route?

You can apply on the Government website.

In order to make an application you must have successfully completed the degree course.

Your application will only be considered as valid when the University has notified the UKVI that you have successfully completed your degree. You must not submit your visa application before we have informed the UKVI of your course completion.

Once you have successfully completed your course, please submit this online form to express your interest in the scheme. We will inform you via email when we have checked your eligibility and reported your completion to the UKVI.

You have until the date your visa expires to make an application under the Graduate Route so please be patient as we are currently updating our IT systems to enable us to report this to the UKVI.

The Home Office has advised us that they will re-use your biometric information so you will not have to submit new biometric details.
Unfortunately, the university’s immigration team will not be able to assist you personally with the application. We will share more on this as and when further details are available. Keep checking this webpage for more information.

Can I make my application from outside the UK?

No. You MUST apply from within the UK only.

Will I need a new CAS from the University?

You do not need a new CAS to apply under the Graduate route, but you will need to provide the CAS number you were given when you applied for the visa that relates to the programme you have completed. We will include this CAS number on the email we send telling you that we have reported your completion to the UKVI.

I completed a master’s degree course in the UK on another visa category e.g. Dependant visa, can I apply for the Graduate route?

No. You will not meet the requirement of the Graduate Route, as you must be on a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) visa to be able to apply for the route. However, if you started a course lasting longer than 12 months (e.g. PhD) on a dependant visa and later on switched to Student (or Tier 4) visa on which you spent minimum 12 months in the UK, you will be eligible.

I was previously granted a visa under the Doctorate Extension Scheme; can I apply for the Graduate Route?

No. You cannot apply for the Graduate Route.

I was previously granted the old style post-study work visa; can I apply for the Graduate Route?

Students who were previously granted visa on the Tier 1 (Post-study work) route, International Graduate Scheme (IGS) or the Future Talent Working in Scotland Scheme CAN apply for the Graduate route.


When can I apply for the Graduate Route?

The University is required to inform the UKVI that you have successfully completed your course. We will contact you by email when we have reported your completion to the UKVI. You can then submit your Graduate Route application.

Remember that you can submit your visa application at any time during your existing Tier 4 or Student visa.

How much does the Graduate Route visa cost?

The Graduate Route has a visa application fee of £700. You will also be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year per person per year of visa granted.

Can my dependants (spouse/partner and children) apply with me?

Only your existing dependants who have current dependant leave under your Tier 4 or Student visa can apply with you as your dependants under the Graduate Route. You cannot apply for new dependants (e.g. those living in your home country) under the Graduate Route. However if you have a newborn child in the UK during your current Student or Tier 4 visa, they can apply as your dependant under the Graduate route.
Dependants must apply via the specified form on the Government website.

Can I study whilst on a Graduate Route visa?

Only supplementary study is permitted on the Graduate Route visa. This means short courses like evening classes or part time study. If you wish to study full time in the UK, the Graduate Route is not the correct immigration category and you should apply for a Student visa.

 

I have been given an award that is lower than the qualification on my CAS. Will I still be eligible for the Graduate Route?

No, your award must match the qualification on your CAS to be eligible for the Graduate Route. For example, if you started on an MSc course but were awarded a lower award classification e.g. a postgraduate diploma (PGDip), you will not qualify for the Graduate route visa. Similarly if you started on a 4-year PhD course and are awarded an MPhil only degree, you will not qualify for the Graduate route. But if you started on an undergraduate or masters course including a work placement option and completed your course without a placement, you will still qualify to apply for the Graduate Route.

Can the Graduate Route lead to settlement?

The route will not lead to settlement, however students can move into another work-based route, such as the Skilled Worker route, which does lead to settlement. Further detail is available on UKCISA website.

Where can I get more information?

To keep up to date with the Graduate Route please continue to check this page and the UK Government website.
You may find this UKVI information leaflet useful - The points-based immigration system: The Graduate immigration route
Students can also contact the University of Huddersfield immigration team.