Eligibility for the Graduate route



The Graduate route will be open to international students who meet the criteria below:

  • in the UK
  • holding a valid Student/Tier 4 visa or valid 'exceptional assurance' (this includes students holding visas as Sabbatical Officers)
  • successfully completed a bachelors, masters or PhD course
  • spent a minimum period of time studying in the UK - see below.


Students who are eligible must:

  • have paid all outstanding tuition fees**
  • apply in the UK after their awarding institution has notified the UKVI of their successful completion
  • pay the £700 application fee and associated Immigration Health Surcharge

What if I changed course during my studies?

If you were permitted to change course during your studies without making a new visa application and completed that course successfully you remain eligible to apply, e.g. switching from Finance BA to Accounting and Finance BA, dropping a 'With Industry' placement. If you were provided with a new CAS to obtain a new visa to change course you must successfully complete the qualification as stated on that CAS.

You should not apply if you do not achieve your degree as expected. If you exit with a postgraduate certificate, instead of a bachelors or masters qualification, you are not eligible for the Graduate route visa.

**Please note according to Senate Regulations students with outstanding tuition fees may not be awarded or have their academic credit confirmed which is likely to affect your eligibility for the route. **

Senate Regulation 3.29 states that, "No degree, diploma or certificate will be awarded to a student who has an unpaid tuition fee liability. The University will not certify academic credit or previous awards for a student who has an unpaid tuition fee liability. A student may make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998 for data relating to his/her academic studies; such requests will be met but the data will not be presented in a certified form."

*If you have spent time this year studying outside the UK please see the current covid concessions and make sure you meet any deadline to return to the UK.* You are also advised to ensure you can evidence your arrival date in the UK such as with an exit or entry stamp with a flight ticket or board.


Application Process

You must submit your application online  through the UKVI website. The route does not require sponsorship but does require your existing sponsor to notify the UKVI of your eligibility for the route. Please see Submitting a Graduate Route application for a step  by step guide to applying.

Applications made before the notification has been submitted by the sponsoring institution will normally be invalid and rejected by the UKVI. There is a current concession whilst the scheme embeds which permits you to submit your application and a caseworker to contact your sponsor for confirmation but this is ending soon.

Can dependants apply?

Only existing dependants (i.e. dependants who already in the UK on a Student/Tier 4 visa) may apply with the main applicant and must submit their application at the same time paying all relevant fees.


Cost of the application

The visa application fee is £700.00 for each applicant. An immigration health surcharge will also have to be paid at the same time you renew the visa at the rate of £624 a year. This means if you are awarded a bachelors or masters degree you will  pay for two years at a cost of £1248 and if you are applying after being awarded your PhD you will pay £1872.

Will I have to pay the full amount if I have time left on my visa?

If there is some time left on your existing visa you may not have to pay the full amount and the amount owed should be calculated from the expiry date of your existing visa. However, any period of less than 6 months will be rounded up and charged at the 6 month rate. You can apply for a refund if you think you have been overcharged.


Presence in the UK during studies

To apply for the Graduate Route, you must have been studying within the UK for a minimum period.*

    • 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

UKVI have some current concessions around remote study because of the coronavirus to help people remain eligible for the route even if they have been studying from outside the UK for some of the time. You will need to consider, the start date and length of you course plus your travel history when deciding what action you may need to take but you can read the concessions on our webpages.

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