International students can benefit from two years work experience in the UK after they complete their degree programme

Applying to the Graduate Route

To apply, you will need to have completed your degree programme and have a valid Tier 4 or Student Visa at the time of application.* Applications for this work route must be made in the UK.

If you are successful in applying for this route, you will be able to stay and work, or look for work in the UK at any skill level. You will be able to be either employed or self-employed (except as a professional sportsperson).

*It's also possible to apply to the Graduate Route if you hold 'Exceptional Assurance.'

Your Qualification

To be able to apply for the Graduate Route, you must have completed one of the following qualifications:

  • an undergraduate degree
  • a masters degree
  • a PhD degree or other doctoral qualification
  • A PGCE or PGDE
  • Certain specified legal and professional qualifications

Normally you must have completed this programme during your current visa, and it must normally be the same programme which was listed on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

If you changed your degree programme after starting your studies, you are likely to still be able to apply. If you were permitted by the university to switch to a different programme, without applying for new Tier 4 or Student visa first, the Graduate Route rules allow for your new programme of study to be counted.  You can find the detail relating to this in the Graduate Route Caseworker guidance

Presence in the UK during studies

To apply for the Graduate Route, you must have been studying within the UK.

  • If your programme is 12 months or less you must have been present in the UK for the whole time
  • If your programme is longer than 12 months, you must have been present in the UK for at least 12 months

Distance learning due to Covid, and special rules

UKVI have included some special rules in the Graduate Route, to help people to still be eligible for it, even if they were studying from outside the UK for some of the time.

These special conditions are being regularly updated in the UKVI Covid-19 Guidance

Money and fees

The application fee for the Graduate Route is £700. Applicants will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge

Nationals of European countries that come under the CESC agreement may get a discount of £55 on the application fee.

There is no requirement to show maintenance (living costs) when applying for this visa. However, you should bear in mind that you will need money to pay your living costs.

Your Dependants

Only dependants who are already in the UK as your Tier 4 or Student dependants can apply to extend their stay as your Graduate Route dependant. (It's not possible to bring dependants to the UK for the first time when you hold a Graduate Route visa).  You can make an application for children who have been born in the UK, to be your dependant.

If granted a new dependant visa, your dependants will have the same work conditions as you. The only prohibition is on working as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.

Information and guidance workshops on the Graduate Route

The International Student Advice Service is hosting free online workshops to guide international students on the new Graduate Route and other common work routes in the UK.

What you'll need from the university to apply to the Graduate Route

To apply for the Graduate Route, it’s necessary firstly that the university has notified UKVI of your official completion of studies.

You should note that the university Student Visa Compliance Team will notify UKVI of your completion shortly after your official results letter is published.  Once the Student Visa Compliance team have notified UKVI of your completion, you will receive an email from them, informing you they have taken this action.

You don’t need to request the university to make the notification of completion as it will be done by the university for all successfully completed students after their official results are published.  You also do not need any paper letter from the university. Please note however, if you hold 'Exceptional Assurance' and you want to apply to the route, you will need to contact the Student Visa Compliance Team to let them know of this, at: t4compliance@gre.ac.uk

You will also need your previous CAS number to make the Graduate Route application. This is the same CAS number that you used for your previous Student Visa application. (It's not a new CAS number.) The Student Visa Compliance Team will provide your CAS number in the email they send to you. So if you cannot find your previous CAS number, don’t worry, it will be provided to you again.

More Information

For official information from UKVI on the Graduate Route, see the Gov.uk Graduate Route pages

We also highly recommend the guidance from UKCISA on working after studies, which includes detailed information on the Graduate Route.