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City Legal is a multi award winning law firm specialising in UK Immigration Law, Wills & Estate Planning, Global Citizenship as well as providing Business, Education and HR Consultancy to both individual and corporate clients around the world.
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Personal Immigration

Graduate Post Study Visa

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Graduate Post Study Visa

The UK Government as part of its commitment to attract the brightest and the best students to the UK has set out a new route to promote this and remain competitive internationally. The graduate immigration route opened to international students on 01 July 2021, and is available to those who complete an undergraduate degree or above.

Graduate Immigration Eligibility Requirements

Those who wish to extend their stay in the United Kingdom via the Graduate Post Study Visa route, must:

  • Be in the UK at the time of application
  • Hold a Student Visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • Have studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with their Student visa or Tier 4(General) student visa
  • Have successfully completed that course

The type of course undertaken, its duration and the education provider will also need to meet specific requirements to be recognized as a valid pathway to obtain the post-study visa.

Eligible courses

General UK Degrees, from Bachelors to PhDs are all eligible courses under the Graduate Post Study Visa route. Additionally recognized courses are:

  • a law conversion course approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
  • the Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland
  • a foundation programme in medicine or dentistry
  • a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
  • a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
Dependants and family

Only partners and children will be considered as dependants under the graduate route.

If your partner and children joined you in the UK as ‘dependents’ on your current Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa, they can apply to stay as dependants as on your Graduate visa.

If your child was born in the UK during your current Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa, they can also apply.

If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours

Applying to the Graduate route

You can apply to the Graduate route once your university has sent you your final course results, but not before this. Your university also needs to confirm you have successfully completed your course before your application is considered. You do not have to wait until you have graduated to apply. You must be in the UK when you apply.

Those who apply from outside of the UK will be rejected and refused entry to the UK and could lose their eligibility to apply for the Graduate route as a whole. In addition, application fees may not be refunded.

You should not leave the UK or Common Travel Area whilst you are waiting for a decision on your application. Doing so may affect your eligibility for the Graduate route and result in you being unable to re-enter the UK.

If your visa expires after you have applied to the Graduate route, you will be permitted to remain in the UK whilst your application is being considered.

Switching into the Skilled Worker Route

From the Graduate route, you may be able to switch to the Skilled Worker route if you meet the relevant requirements, which allows you to stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer. It is for a maximum of five years, and contributes to settlement rights – meaning you may be able to apply to live permanently in the UK. The Graduate route does not count towards settlement rights. To be eligible for the Skilled Worker route, you must demonstrate:

  • You have a job offer from a Home Office-licensed sponsor at the required skill level
  • You will be paid the relevant minimum salary threshold by your sponsor 
  • You can speak English at the intermediate level at B1 (on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages)

Find out more information on the Skilled Worker Route.

You may also be able to switch into various other work routes including the Global Talent, Start-up or Innovator routes

How can we assist?

Our Immigration lawyers at City Legal have immense experience in assisting international students from across the globe. We are also a British Council accredited Education Consultancy firm and have partnered with selected Universities to provide admission & education consultancy services directly to our clients. We can provide all services under one roof, whether it is an admission to the university, study visa application or discussing post-study options like the Graduate Route.

We are a multi-award-winning law firm and pride ourselves in being approachable, innovative and always going that extra mile to make sure our clients receive the individual attention they deserve. Our Immigration team maintains a high reputation and is committed to providing clear, transparent and reliable advice to our clients.

Contact us today and find out how our friendly team can make the journey hassle free for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can children aged 18 or over apply as dependants?

Yes. Children aged 18 or over must have been resident in the UK as your Tier 4 Dependant in order for them to apply. They do not need to have been a dependant if they were born in the UK while you were resident here on a Tier 4 visa.

How much does it cost?

The UKVI Graduate Post Study Visa route’s fee is £700, in addition to the regular Immigration Health Surcharge fee. This is usually £624 for each year of residence in the UK. European Nationals are eligible for a discounted UKVI fee of £55. Healthcare workers are eligible for a refund of Immigration Health Surcharge fees if those were paid at the time of application.

I currently hold an exceptional assurance leave to remain. Can I apply for Post-Study Graduate?

Provided that you meet all the eligibility criteria for the visa, you should be able to apply even if your student visa expired and you are residing in the country on temporary leave – known as exceptional assurance. This may vary case to case, and it is advisable to contact one of our lawyers before applying.

How long will the visa be valid for?

A Graduate visa lasts for 2 years. If you have a PHD or other doctoral qualification, it will last for 3 years. Your visa will start from the day your application is approved.

How long is the processing time for the application?

The processing times for applications vary depending on how you applied. Most people receive a decision within 8 weeks.

If I am refused, can I appeal the decision?

Unfortunately, there are no rights of appeal in case of refusals. If you believe there was a mistake in determining your application, you may decide to ask for an administrative review.
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