The UK Graduate Route

The UK Government has announced that a new Graduate immigration route launched on 1 July 2021. 

The new route will allow you to apply for a visa to remain in the UK for two years after your studies so you can seek employment or start work at any skill level, or 3 years if you have completed a PhD. 

The work can be in any sector and at any level without any minimum salary requirements or the need for visa sponsorship. Students will need to make an application in the UK to be granted permission under the route after successful completion of their degree.


To be eligible to apply once the route is launched, you will need to:

  • have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above in the summer of 2021 or after;
  • apply in the UK;
  • have a valid Student or Tier 4 visa (except where it was granted under the Doctorate Extension Scheme);
  • have permission from your financial sponsor (only if your financial sponsor was a government sponsor or an international scholarship agency)
  • have not previously been granted a visa under the Graduate Immigration Route

You will be considered to have successfully completed your degree when you receive your final results, and your record is updated to reflect completion. It does not mean you will need to have attended a graduation ceremony. Completion for PhD students is unconditional approval, which is normally submission of the hardbound thesis.

If you are not studying on a Tier 4/Student visa, you will not be eligible for the Graduate route.

PhD graduates with permission under the Doctorate Extension Scheme are not eligible to apply for the Graduate route. 

Terms of Permission

Permission under the Graduate route will be granted subject to the following conditions:

  • no access to public funds;
  • work (including self-employment and voluntary work) is permitted, apart from work as a professional sportsperson;
  • study is only permitted on courses that would not meet requirements for student visa sponsorship.

Studying remotely owing to the pandemic

Concessions have been put in place owing to the pandemic. Students who have been studying remotely will still be able to apply for the Graduate route as long as the eligibility requirements outlined above are met. You will need to be in the UK by a certain date depending on the course and your circumstances:

  • If you are on a course of 12 months or less which started in 2020 and have not yet travelled to the UK to study that course, you will need to have arrived by 21 June 2021.
  • If you are on a course of 12 months or less which started in 2021 and have not yet travelled to the UK to study that course, you will need to have arrived by 27 September 2021.
  • If you started on a course of 12 months or less which started in 2020 or 2021 and have already travelled to the UK during your current Tier 4/Student visa but are currently studying remotely, you will need to have returned to the UK by the end date of your course.
  • If you are studying a course longer than 12 months, you will need to have returned to the UK in time to apply for the new Graduate route by the expiry of your current Tier 4/Student visa.


New dependents will not be permitted under the Graduate Immigration Route. If your dependants already have a visa as your dependant partner or child, they will be permitted to extend their visa in line with you and must apply inside the UK.

If you have children born in the UK during your most recent Student or Tier 4 visa, they will also be able to apply for a visa as your dependent.

Any dependants that have received sponsorship from a Government or International Scholarship Agency in the 12 months immediately prior to the date they submit their visa application must also provide a letter from their sponsor giving consent for them to stay in the UK whilst you are on the Graduate Route.

Application costs

The visa fee will be around £700. In addition, the application will also require you to pay the immigration health surcharge and this is charged at £624 per year the visa will be granted.

  • We work with Registered Partners and our company has a strong experience and knowledge of Home Office requirements and policies.
  • We have a proven track record of successful UK visas or passport obtention.
  • Our UK Immigrations lawyers and registered partners will do their best to offer you the best immigration for you or your business.

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