Like most international students, you might want to spend your after-graduation life in the UK and even work there. However, you’re going to have to get a new visa as you will no longer be eligible for a student visa.. Here’s everything you need to know about the UK post-study work visa.
Applications for the new Graduate route opened on 1 July 2021 in order to allow the UK to retain the best and brightest international students to contribute to society. Every year this route opens to international students who complete an eligible course at an undergraduate level or above at a UK higher education institution, with a track record of compliance with the government’s immigration requirements.
The Graduate route is mostly unsponsored which means applicants won't need a job offer to apply for the route. Therefore, there is no minimum salary requirements nor caps on numbers. International students on the Graduate route will be able to switch jobs, work flexibly, and develop their career as required.
Here’s a list of things that will make you eligible for a Graduate visa:
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 any other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
You successfully completed the course
You can also check the government website to see if your course is eligible and to check how long you need to have studied in the UK before you apply for a post-study work visa.
You must apply online via the government website before moving forward with any other steps. If you have a partner or children, they can also apply to stay in the UK as long as they are eligible.
You must apply for a post-study work visa before the expiry date of your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa. You can apply once your education provider (whether a university or a college) tells you that you successfully completed the course you took with your Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa. You don’t actually have to wait until you graduate or receive a certificate.
You will need to provide your ID and some other documents as part of your application. Sometimes you might need an appointment to move your application forward. Regardless, your application could take as little as 1 week to be processed or as long as 8 weeks. Luckily, you can stay in the UK while waiting for the decision on your visa.
A valid passport or any other travel document that shows your identity and nationality
Your biometric residence permit (BRP), if you were given one when you applied for your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number from when you applied for your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa. If you cannot find it, you can ask your education provider about to resend it to you.
Depending on your circumstances, you may also be required to provide some other documents such as:
If your partner or children are applying with you, then you might need to provide a proof of your relationship with them
A letter from your scholarship or sponsorship provider approving your application, if they paid for your course fees or living costs in the last 12 months
You will also need to provide certified translation of your documents if they’re not in English or Welsh.
Your visa will start from the day your application is approved. A Graduate visa usually lasts for 2 years. However, if you have a PhDor other doctoral qualification, it will last for 3 years.
Unfortunately, you can’t extend your Graduate visa if you want to stay longer in the UK. However, you may be able to switch to another type of visa at that time.
When applying for a post-study visa or a Graduate visa you will need the following:
Pay the application fee which is usually £700
Pay the healthcare surcharge - £624 for each year you’ll be in the UK
Here’s a list of things you can do when you have a Graduate visa:
Search for work
Work in most jobs
Do volunteer work
Continue to live in the UK with your partner and children, if they’re eligible
Travel abroad and return to the UK
However, when you have a post-study work visa, you can’t apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension or work as a professional sportsperson.
You will get a full list of things you can and cannot do with a Graduate visa when your application is successful.
Finally, remember that you can only study with a Graduate visa if your chosen course is not eligible for a Student visa so don’t mix your visas. Instead, extend your student visa if your course is eligible for a Student visa.