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A Graduate visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK.

You must be in the UK when you apply.


You can apply for a Graduate visa if all of the following are true:

  • you’re in the UK

  • your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa

  • you studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa

  • you’ve successfully completed that course

If you’re not eligible for a Graduate visa, you may be eligible for another type of visa to stay in the UK.

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. You cannot extend your Graduate visa. However, you may be able to switch to a different visa, for example a Skilled Worker visa.

What you can and cannot do

With a Graduate visa you can:

  • work in most jobs

  • look for work

  • be self-employed

  • continue living in the UK with your partner and children, if they’re eligible

  • do voluntary work

  • travel abroad and return to the UK

You cannot:

  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension

  • work as a professional sportsperson

If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Graduate visa. 

You can only study with a Graduate visa if your chosen course is not eligible for a Student visa. If your course is eligible for a Student visa, you can extend your Student visa instead.

You may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you’re studying or researching sensitive topics.

The education provider for your course must be a licensed sponsor with a ‘track record of compliance’.

Check if your education provider has a track record of compliance - it will have ‘Student Sponsor - Track Record’ in the ‘Status’ column.

You usually must have one of the following to apply:

  • a UK bachelor’s degree

  • a UK master’s degree

  • a UK PhD or doctorate

You can also apply if you completed any of the following:

  • 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)

You may also be able to apply if passing your course made you eligible for a job that’s regulated by UK law or a UK public authority. Your education provider can tell you if your course is eligible.

You can apply for a Graduate visa if you’re on your current Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa because you’re a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.

To be eligible, you need to have successfully completed one of these courses in the UK just before you started your current visa.

You need to have studied your course in the UK for at least 12 months or the full length of your course, whichever is shorter.

You must also be in the UK when you apply for a Graduate visa.

Studying your course in the UK means that you were in the UK when your education provider needed you to be there - for example, to go to lectures or meet with a tutor.

ExampleIf you were taking a 1 year master’s degree, but left the UK during term breaks or on weekends, that would still count as studying in the UK for 1 year.

The rules on how long you need to have studied your course in the UK may not apply if you needed to study outside the UK because of COVID-19.

If your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa was more than 12 months long, any time spent studying your course outside the UK between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 will be counted as if you were studying your course in the UK.

You do not need to have studied in the UK for a minimum amount of time if both of the following apply:

  • you started your course in 2020 or 2021

  • your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa was 12 months long or less

You must be in the UK by 27 September 2021 or before your current visa expires, whichever is sooner.

Documents you'll need to apply

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • a valid passport or other travel document that shows your identity and nationality

  • your biometric residence permit (BRP), if you were given one when you applied for your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa

  • your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number from when you applied for your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa

Your CAS reference number was sent to you by your education provider when they offered you a place on the course you completed with your Student visa. If you cannot find it, ask your education provider what it is.

Depending on your circumstances, you might be asked to provide:

  • proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they’re applying with you

  • a letter from your scholarship or sponsorship provider approving your application, if they paid for your course fees or living costs in the last 12 months

If your documents are not in English or Welsh you’ll also need to provide a certified translation.

For a more detailed discussion regarding your case, please book an appointment or call us now on 07835601240 

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