Graduate Route Permission for International Students - Ixorainternational

Study Abroad In The UK

Under the Graduate route, international students can stay and work or look for work in the UK for 2 years after completing their studies, or 3 years for those with a PhD. This opportunity allows you to work in any sector and at any level, with no minimum salary requirements or need for visa sponsorship.

If you’re studying on a Tier 4/Student visa, you’ll need to apply for this route within the UK after successfully completing your degree. Be sure to review the eligibility requirements thoroughly by reading the information on this page.

You can also work full-time on your Tier 4/Student visa after finishing your course, as long as your visa is still valid. However, there are some restrictions on the types of work you can do.

Graduate Visa Eligibility Requirements

To apply for a Graduate visa, you need to meet the following criteria:

1. Current Visa Status: 

   You must hold a valid Tier 4/Student visa. Note that not all courses at universities like Cambridge are eligible for student visa sponsorship, including most part-time taught courses supported under the visitor route.

2. Course of Study:

   You must have completed a Bachelor’s, Master’s, PGCE, or PhD at premier institutes. Other qualifications, like the Advanced Diploma, do not qualify for the Graduate visa.

3. Successful Completion of Degree:

   You are considered to have successfully completed your degree once you have received your final results and your student record shows completion. PhD students need unconditional approval, usually after submitting their hardbound and e-thesis. You don’t need to wait for your graduation ceremony.

4. Consistency with Visa Purpose:

   You must have completed the degree for which your Tier 4/Student visa was granted, unless a change is permitted under the student visa policy. Students in a four-year Integrated Masters program can apply for the Graduate visa if they complete the Bachelor’s part and do not continue to the fourth year, or after completing the fourth year.

5. Notification of Completion:

   After your student record is updated to show completion, wait for an email from the International Student Office confirming that UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has been notified of your success. Your visa status will be reviewed before this notification.

6. Masters Students Considerations:

   If you don’t complete all required assessments by the original end date in your  Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), contact the International Student Office to verify your eligibility for the Graduate visa.

7. Minimum Study Period in the UK:

   You must have studied in the UK for at least 12 months or the full length of your course, whichever is shorter. Permitted study-abroad activities and time spent overseas during official breaks can be included in this period.

8. Visa Switching Rules:

   If you switched to a student visa from another immigration category during your course, you need to have completed the minimum required study period on the most recent Tier 4/Student visa. If you switched to a student visa to start your studies, time spent while the application was pending counts towards the study period.

9. Government or Scholarship Sponsorship:

   Suppose you were financially sponsored by a Government or international scholarship agency covering fees and living costs within the past 12 months. In that case, you need the sponsor’s consent letter to apply.

10. Application Timing:

    You must apply for the Graduate visa within the UK before your current Tier 4/Student visa expires, after receiving confirmation of your course completion from the International Student Office. Be aware of potential delays due to marking and assessment boycotts.

Make sure to read all provided information thoroughly to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements and understand the application process.

Conditions for the Graduate Route

When you receive permission under the Graduate route, the following conditions apply:

1. Employment: You can work in the UK in almost any capacity, including paid or unpaid work, self-employment, and business activities. The only restriction is that you cannot work as a professional sportsperson or coach.

2. Study: This visa has limited study options. You can only enroll in courses that do not qualify for student visa sponsorship.

3. Public Funds: You will not have access to public funds.

Duration of Permission:

  • Undergraduate and Master’s students receive 2 years.
  • PhD students receive 3 years.
  • The visa duration starts from the date your application is approved.

Important Notes:

  • You cannot extend this visa once it is granted.
  • If you find a suitable job with a licensed employer, you can switch to a Skilled Worker visa from within the UK.
  • You can only receive permission under the Graduate route once. You cannot apply again if you pursue another course of study.

While Your Graduate Visa Application is Pending:

  • The work conditions of your current student visa remain in effect.
  • If you have applied for your student visa after 6 April 2022, you can start a full-time permanent job after completing your course and submitting your Graduate visa application. Otherwise, you cannot take up full-time permanent work on a student visa.
  • Students on a part-time student visa cannot work until they receive their Graduate visa.

Make sure to review all details and check your eligibility for the Graduate route to ensure compliance with these conditions.

When To Apply?

You should only apply for the Graduate visa after the University has notified UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that you have successfully completed your degree. This follows the Graduate route visa policy. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Notification to UKVI: The International Student Office will inform UKVI once you’ve received your final results and your University record is updated to reflect your degree completion. This update can take several weeks after you receive your results.
  • Communication: The International Student Office will email you at the address on your student record to confirm when the report has been made to UKVI. Please wait for this email before submitting your Graduate visa application.
  • Timing: Apply for the Graduate visa while your current Tier 4/Student visa is still valid. Avoid travelling overseas until you’ve received the outcome of your application and your new biometric residence permit (BRP) (if applicable).
  • Visa Expiry: If your current visa expires after you’ve applied for the Graduate visa, you can stay in the UK under the conditions of your Tier 4/Student visa until your Graduate visa application is processed.

Cost of Application

The visa application fee is £822. Additionally, you’ll need to pay the immigration health surcharge, which is £1,035 per year for your visa. This totals £2,070 for a 2-year visa and, for PhD students, £3,105 for a 3-year visa.

Process of Application

Applying for the Graduate visa is straightforward and can be done online. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Confirm Your Identity:

  • Most applicants can use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app. After creating a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account, download the app on a smartphone. 
  • Use the app to scan your BRP, or if you’re an EEA or Swiss national, scan your passport.

2. In-Person Appointment:

  • You can also book an in-person appointment for biometric enrolment. This includes students whose current student visa was issued digitally with no BRP.

3. Required Documents:

  • Passport and current Tier 4/Student BRP.
  • CAS number used for your Tier 4/student visa application (included in the email notification sent once your degree completion is reported to UKVI).
  • Letter of consent if you were financially sponsored by a Government or international scholarship agency.
  • You don’t need to provide financial evidence with the application.

4. Decision Timeframe:

  •  The decision is usually made within 8 weeks of the submission of your application.

Note: Once you’ve applied, you cannot travel overseas until you receive a decision.

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