December 20, 2023 | Knowledge Bank

Graduate Route Visa: What, Why, Who, and How

The Graduate Route Visa provides a post-study work visa that would give the opportunity for international graduates who have been awarded their degree in UK universities to stay in the UK and work or look for work. Through this visa, international graduates could work at any skill level for two years or three years for doctoral graduates (, 2021). 

How to apply

You could only apply for the Graduate Route Visa in the UK, not in your home country and any other country outside the UK. Therefore, it is best to apply for the scheme when your student visa is still valid and has not surpassed its expiry date.  

a. For the Graduate Visa, you will have to pay the £822 application fee, including a yearly payment of £624 for healthcare.*

b. Apply online for the Graduate Visa. However, you would need to provide your proof of identity, among others:

    1. A valid passport or other travel document that provides information about your identity and nationality
    2. A scan of your biometric residence permit (BRP) through the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ application.
    3. A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number when you applied for a Student visa. 
    4. Sign into an existing UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account or create a new account
    5. If your BRP or passport could not be scanned through the application, you will have to go to the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) to get your fingerprints and photograph taken at a service point.
    6. A letter originating from your scholarship or sponsorship provider stating that they approve your Graduate Visa application.
    7. During your application process, you could not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man until the Graduate Route Visa’s decision or else your application will be withdrawn. 

Application link:

After the online application, you will usually get a decision within 2 months. In the meantime, you could reside in the UK while waiting for the Graduate Visa decision.** During your stay in the UK with the Graduate Route Visa, there exist several preconditions on the type of jobs that you could apply for, yet it is not as limiting as when you are still using the Student visa.

Within the benefits allocated to Graduate Route Visa holders, you need to be mindful of the things you could and could not do during your lengthened stay in the UK. Therefore, to ensure that you are keeping up with the regulations, we have compiled a list of activities you could not and could not do as a Graduate Route Visa owner. 

What you could and could not do

What you could do:

  1. Work in several jobs
  2. Search for work
  3. Be self-employed
  4. Do voluntary work
  5. Travel abroad and return to the UK

What you could not do:

  1. Apply for benefits or the State Pension allocated to UK citizen
  2. Work as a professional sportsperson

*** Please note that the fee and the processing time might be different from time to time.

You may check with our team for the most updated information.