Health and care visa sponsors may face further restrictions on visa sponsorship

Graduate visa available since July 2021

Graduate visa has been opened for applications as of July 2021. There are no maintenance funds required for the application. Graduate visa holders can work in the UK, including self-employment and voluntary work. Graduate visa is not suitable for those who want to continue studies in the UK as studies on a Graduate visa are only permitted if the course is not eligible for a Student visa.

As expected, Graduate visa has been popular with graduates, who can now gain work experience in the UK without the need to find a sponsor employer.

Criteria to be met by visa applicants – key points

  • Currently hold valid permission on the UK Student visa route or the Tier 4 general route
  • Do not fall for refusal on suitability grounds (i.e. grounds relating to criminal activities/record, immigration history etc)
  • Generally, the minimum period required to study in the UK is the full duration of your course if the course is 12 months or less. If the course is longer than 12 months, the minimum period required to study in the UK is 12 months.
  • Successfully complete the course of study which was undertaken during the applicant’s last grant of permission to study on the student route
  • The successfully completed course of study must be a UK bachelor’s degree, a UK postgraduate degree, or a relevant qualification listed in Appendix Graduate GR.5.2. T
  • Some professions require to complete a qualification in addition to, or instead of, a degree before someone is allowed to legally practice in that profession in the UK. These professions are regulated by UK law or public authority.

These qualifications are eligible for the purpose of the Graduate route and include those in the list below:

  • a law conversion course validated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (referred to by its previous name of ‘Joint Academic Stage Board’ in the Graduate route immigration rules) in England and Wales
  • 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) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
  • Other professional courses requiring study at UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities that is regulated by UK law or UK public authority are also eligible for the purpose of meeting the qualification requirement. Professional roles that have reserved activities include (but are not limited to) medical doctors, architects, lawyers, teachers, and nurses.

Family members

Family members can apply with the main applicant but they must have, or have last been granted permission as your Tier 4 (General) student or Student dependent. The only exception is if your child was born in the UK while you have a Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa.

Application fee

Visa duration

  • 3 years for an applicant who has successfully completed a PhD or other doctoral qualification
  • 2 years for an applicant who has successfully completed any other eligible qualification must be granted 2 years from the date of decision.

Visa conditions

  • You will be able to work in the UK, including self-employment and voluntary work, except work as a professional sportsperson which is not permitted on Graduate visa
  • You can only study on Graduate visa if the course is not eligible for a Student visa

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