Permission to stay under the Graduate Route enables overseas students who have previously been on a Student Route visa and have now graduated to work or look for work after their studies for 2 years. The work can be in any sector and at any level without any minimum salary requirements or the need for visa sponsorship. However work must be closely linked to your degree and subject area.
Students studying on a Student visa will need to make an application in the UK to be granted permission under the Graduate Route following successful completion of their degree. There are specific eligibility requirements so you are advised to read the information on this page in full.
It is possible to work full-time on your Student visa whilst it remains valid after you have completed your course but with some restrictions on the type of work you can do.
To be eligible to apply for a Graduate visa, you will need to:
1) hold a current Student visa;
2) have studied a Bachelors or Masters qualification
CertHE, and other non-degree awarding qualifications, are not eligible to apply for a Graduate visa. Please note, MA students can leave with the exit award of a postgraduate diploma but cannot use this to apply for a Graduate Route Visa. For this students must complete their MA. Additionally, Student Route Visa students cannot intermit their studies and complete the MA Research Project at a later date.
3) have successfully completed your degree;
You are considered to have successfully completed your degree for the purpose of applying for the Graduate visa once you have received your final results and your record is updated to reflect completion. For undergraduates at NSCD this is August and for postgraduates this is September.
You will need to wait until you have received an email from NSCD confirming that Academic Registry has notified UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) of your successful completion before you can apply for the Graduate visa. See the section on ‘When can I apply?’.
Masters students who do not complete all the required assessments by the original end date in their CAS should contact Student Services (by email: firstname.lastname@example.org) to check whether they are still eligible for the Graduate visa as this may depend on whether final results will be received prior to their current visa expiry.
4) have studied for a minimum period of time in the UK on a Student visa;
The minimum period of study for the Graduate visa is 12 months OR the full length of your course, whichever is shorter.
5) provide a letter of consent if financially sponsored by a Government or international scholarship agency;
If in the 12 months before the date of application you have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international scholarship agency covering fees and living costs for study in the UK, you must provide a letter of consent from the sponsor organisation to support your application.
You should only make your application once NSCD has notified UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that you have successfully completed your degree. This is in accordance with the Graduate Route visa policy. Academic Registry will update UKVI once you have received your final results and your NSCD record has been updated to reflect completion. Please note it can take several weeks after you have received your results for your NSCD record to be updated. Admissions will contact you to confirm when the report has been made to UKVI via the email address on your student record. Do not submit your Graduate visa application until you have received this email.
You will need to apply in the UK whilst your current Student visa is still valid. You cannot travel overseas until you have received the outcome of your application, and your new BRP if applicable (see section below titled eVisa).
If your visa expires after you have applied to the Graduate route, you will be permitted to remain in the UK whilst your application is being considered until you have received the outcome of your Graduate visa application.
As of April 2022, the visa application fee is £715. In addition, the application will also require you to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and this is charged at £624 for each year the visa will be granted (£1,248 for 2 years).
You make an application online.
As part of the process you will need to prove your identity by using a ‘UK Immigration ID Check’ app on your phone to scan your current Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or, if you are an EEA or Swiss national, your biometric passport. You will be given instructions on how to use the app in the application. It is free and compatible with Android phones and iPhone 7 or newer models. If you do not own a compatible phone, you can use the app from a friend’s mobile phone as no information is stored on the phone or app after you close it.
As part of the application:
The advertised decision timeframe is 8 weeks from when you submit your application.
Please note that once you have made your application, you cannot travel overseas until you have been notified of the decision.
When granted, the visa will be issued as a digital status, also called an eVisa.
The digital status will enable you to prove your right to live and work in the UK online.
Visa nationals (i.e. nationalities who require entry clearance prior to travel to the UK as a visitor) will also be issued a new Biometric Resident Permit (BRP). It is likely this will need to be shown in order to travel to the UK whilst your Graduate visa is valid. Visa nationals are therefore advised to wait to receive the new BRP once the visa has been granted before travelling overseas.
If you cannot use the app as part of the application, and need to enrol your biometrics at an in-person appointment, you will also be issued a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
When you set up your UKVI account to apply for this visa you will use your BRP to verify your identity, unless you are an EEA or Swiss national. UKVI advises that once you have received your eVisa, you should sign back into your UKVI account using the information on your BRP but then change the main ‘sign-in’ document to your current passport. This is to ensure you can continue to access your UKVI account easily and should also ensure that you avoid unnecessary delays when travelling in and out of the UK. If you renew your passport, you should update these details in your UKVI account.
Immigration rules and policy are subject to change. These webpages are updated as soon as possible following any changes but relevant pages of the Home Office website should be checked for the latest information. NSCD can only provide information and advice on current policy; it is not possible to speculate on future immigration changes or developments in relation to post-study visa options.