Graduate Route Visa – Key to the UK 

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graduate route visa

A graduate route visa allows an individual to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after the successful completion of a course in the UK. It was introduced in the year 2021 for international students. Often international students find many obstacles to finding jobs after their graduation. Student visas expire rapidly and therefore, the students do not get enough time to research jobs and prepare for interviews. Check the below article to learn more about the graduate route visa, eligibility criteria, application process, validity, cost, restrictions and allowances, etc.


What is a Graduate Route Visa?

A graduate route visa is a type of visa that allows individuals who have been awarded their degree to stay and work in the UK or maybe even look for work for at least 2 years or maybe even 3 years in the case of doctoral students. Candidates who want to apply for this visa must do it before their student visa or tier 4 visa expires. In order to complete the application process they must pay the required application and healthcare surcharge fees. Also, they must submit the required documents for a smooth application process.

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Eligibility Criteria for Graduate Route Visa

Check below the given eligibility criteria:

  • The student should be present in the UK
  • The student’s current visa should be a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • Student must have 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
  • Proof from the education provider (such as your university or college) that it has been informed to the Home Office that they have successfully completed the course

Also Read: Apply for Graduate Visa UK

Validity of Graduate Route Visa

A Graduate route visa usually lasts for 2 years. In the case of students having a Ph.D. or other doctoral qualification, it will last for 3 years. The visa will start from the day of application is approved. In case the students want to stay longer in the UK they can get their visa. However, they may also switch to a different visa, such as a Skilled Worker visa.

When to Apply for a Graduate Route Visa?

In order to apply for a graduate route visa the following steps are required to be followed:

  • Application must be done before the Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa expires.
  • The candidates can apply after the respective education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office that the student has successfully completed the enrolled course with the Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa. 
  • The students are required to prove their identity and provide their documents as a part of the application process.
  • The application process may take longer if an appointment is required to do this. 

After the whole process is completed it takes usually 8 weeks to get a decision on the visa application.

Cost of Graduate Route Visa

Please find below the cost of the visa:

  • Candidates must pay the £822 as graduate route visa application fees
  • They must pay the healthcare surcharge fees which is usually £624 for each year in the UK

Also Read: What is Post Study Work Visa in the UK?

Restrictions and Allowances of Graduate Route Visa 

Check below the given restrictions and allowances


With a Graduate route visa:

  • The candidates can work in most jobs
  • They can look for new work opportunities
  • They can be self-employed
  • They may continue to live in the UK with their partner and children if they’re eligible
  • Individuals are allowed to Work voluntarily
  • Candidates can also travel in and out of the UK


The candidates are not allowed to:

  • apply for most of the benefits such as public funds, or the State Pension
  • work as a professional sportsperson

In case of a successful application, the candidates will get a full list of what they can and cannot do with a Graduate route visa.

Graduate Dependent Visa UK

The partners and children of current student visa/Tier 4 (General) student visa holders who have joined as dependents in the UK are eligible to apply as dependents on the graduate visa. Similarly, children who are born while being on a Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa, are eligible to apply for the same. In case the application is successful, the expiry date of the visa will be the same as a primary visa holder. Dependents here refer to the husband/wife/civil partner/unmarried partner of the primary visa holder. Children below the age of 18 are also considered under this category.

Documents Required

The candidates are required to submit the following documents for a smooth application process:

  • a valid passport or other travel document to prove identity and nationality
  • The biometric residence permit (BRP), which was given while applying for the Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • The student’s Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number from the time he/she applied for the Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa

Also Read: Medical Requirements for UK Student Visa


What are the benefits of a graduate route visa?

A graduate route visa allows a student to stay in the UK for 2 or 3 years after successfully completing the course with a student visa or Tier 4 student visa in the UK.

Is it allowed to work while waiting for a graduate route visa?

Yes, the candidates can work full-time on a temporary basis provided that their Graduate visa application is still in process by the Home Office, and the student has applied for a Graduate route visa when their Student Visa was valid.

When was the graduate route visa introduced in the UK?

This visa was introduced in the year 2011 in the month of July allowing individuals to work in the UK after completion of their studies. 

Is UK cancelling PSW in 2024?

Yes. Starting in 2024, international students enrolled in a postgraduate program in the UK will not be permitted to bring their dependents on their student visa. The exception to this rule are the research postgraduate program students. 

We hope you now understand what is graduate route visa is, its requirements, the application process, etc. Want to apply for a Visa for your study abroad journey? Drop us a comment in the section below, or you can connect with a visa expert at Leverage Edu, and we will guide you on your dream journey!

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