International students

International students - Working After StudiesGraduate Route

What is the Graduate Route?

The Graduate Route will enable international students in the UK who have successfully completed a degree or relevant qualification to work in the UK.

Depending on the relevant course, you may be granted the following length of visa under the Graduate Route:

  • Undergraduate degree - up to 2 year visa
  • Masters degree - up to 2 year visa
  • PhD or other doctoral qualification - up to 3 year visa

Other relevant qualifications will be listed in Appendix Graduate of the UK immigration rules. 

About the Graduate Route

  • The route is unsponsored, which means you do not need a job offer or a role with minimum salary requirements
  • You can only apply for the Graduate Route in the UK before your Tier 4 or Student visa expires
    • Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme visa holders are not eligible to apply for the Graduate Route
  • The Graduate Route application fee will be £700 and you must also pay an Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 per year of the visa
  • This visa cannot be extended and does not lead to settlement, however you may apply to switch into other routes such as the Skilled Worker Visa
  • If you have a Tier 4 or Student visa and have family members in the UK with you on a Dependant visa, they may be able to apply in the UK to extend their permission as Dependants
  • If you have been financially sponsored by a Government or international scholarship agency covering both your course fees and living costs in the UK 12 months before applying for the Graduate Route, you must have written consent from them to apply for the Graduate Route

University of Strathclyde international students who have recently completed their degree or other eligible qualification on a Tier 4 or Student visa must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply for the Graduate Route.

Eligible applicants must: 

  • Have a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) visa sponsored by the University of Strathclyde that has not yet expired
  • Have successfully completed your degree or other eligible qualification
  • Be in the UK when you apply
  • Have successfully completed the course of study which you took under your Tier 4 visa or Student visa 
    • If you changed your course of study, this requirement will only apply to the course to which you changed
  • Have studied in the UK for a minimum period of:
    • For courses 12 months or less - you must have been in the UK for the full duration of the course
    • For courses longer than 12 months - you must have studied in the UK for at least 12 months
    • If your study was impacted by Covid-19, please see the Frequently Asked Questions below
  • In the last 12 months before you apply for the Graduate Route, you were awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international scholarships covering both your tuition fees and living costs for studying in the UK, you must have written consent to your Graduate Route application from that government or agency

Additionally you must be awarded a total of 70 points:

Points typeRelevant requirements to be metNumber of points
Successful course completion
  • Successful completion requirement
  • Qualification requirement
  • Study in the UK requirement
70

 

I am on the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES). Can I apply for the Graduate Route?

Unfortunately those who are on a DES visa are not eligible to apply for the Graduate Route. This is in paragraph GR 1.4 of Appendix GR.

DES visa holders who try to apply for the Graduate Route will have their application rejected. This is confirmed in the Graduate caseworker guidance.

 

More information:

The Home Office have introduced certain situations where students must be in the UK by in order to apply for the Graduate Route. This is from the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Student sponsors, migrants and short-term students guidance.

Covid-19 concessionDeadline to be in UK
If you are a student who started your course in 2020 (course length 12 months or less) by distance learning from your home country and you have not yet entered the UK You must have a Student visa and be in the UK on or before 27 September 2021
If you are a student who started your course in January 2021 (course length 12 months or less) by distance learning from your home country and have not yet entered the UK  You must have a Student visa and be in the UK on or before 27 September 2021 
If you are a student who started your course in September 2021 (course length 12 months or less) by distance learning from your home country and have not yet entered the UK  You must have a Student visa and be in the UK on or before 6 April 2022 
If you are a student with a Tier 4 or Student visa who started your course in 2020 or 2021 in the UK, but went back to your home country and you are still in your home country If you already came to the UK under your current Student route permission but then you switched to distance learning from home, you just need to return to the UK on or before the end date of your Student permission. The deadline was previously the end date of your course, not the end date of your visa, but this was changed. This is confirmed in paragraph 3.25 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Student sponsors, migrants and short-term students

 

More information:

The following documents will be required for your Graduate Route application:

  • Your most recent Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) - this will be the CAS which confirms your most recent course of completion
  • Your current and valid passport
  • Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

Some applicants may need to provide additional documents:

  • Police Registration Certificate - certain nationalities only, this must be up to date
  • Proof of your relationship with your partner or children - if you have Dependants in the UK who are eligible to apply together with you
  • Letter of written consent from your official financial sponsor (such as a scholarship provider) - if you received official financial sponsorship in the last 12 months before applying for the Graduate Route

Unlike most other UK visa routes, applicants will not be required to show finances when applying for the Graduate Route.

If any of the above documents are not in English or Welsh, you will have to provide a certified translation.

 

Frequently asked questions

My studies were sponsored by a government or scholarship agency in the last 12 months. Do I need permission from my financial sponsor to apply for the Graduate Route?

Yes. If your tuition fees and living costs were paid by a government and/or an international scholarship agency within the 12-month period before you apply, you must provide a letter showing the financial sponsor's consent to this application under the Graduate route.

 

More information:

When you apply for the Graduate Route, you must have already successfully completed a relevant course and the University will have to notify UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) after you have successfully completed your course.

The course must be either a/an:

  • Undergraduate degree
  • Masters degree
  • PhD degree or other doctoral qualification

 Alternatively the following qualifications in paragraph GR 5.2 are accepted:

  • a law conversion course validated by the Joint Academic Stage Board 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)
  • a professional course 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

You must have completed your course during the current period of Tier 4 or Student visa permission and it must be the same course you were assigned a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

There are some exceptions:

  • If you switched to a different course without applying for a new Tier 4 or Student visa, you can use the new course as your relevant qualification
  • If you were previously working as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer on a Tier 4 or Student visa, it is fine you gained your relevant qualification in your Tier 4/Student visa period before working in as a Sabbatical Officer

 

More information:

Students who are in the UK and have their dependants, as your spouse, civil partner and/or child(ren) in the UK on a Dependant visa may also apply as a Dependant of a Graduate Route applicant. 

However, in order to apply, dependants must:

  • Be in the UK with the main Graduate Route visa applicant
  • Have a Dependant visa, and the visa must be as a Dependant of a Student only (other types of Dependants are not permitted on this route)

Dependants cannot apply outside the UK to join you as a Dependant on the Graduate Route. This is confirmed in Appendix GR, paragraph GR 9.4.

More information:

Frequently asked questions

Remember that you will have to meet certain points under "Who is eligible to apply for the Graduate Route?" dropdown question on this page.

The earliest you would be able to apply is when:

  1. You have successfully completed your eligible course and
  2. The University's Visa Compliance team has notified the Home Office of the successful completion of your course and your potential eligibility to apply for the Graduate Route

We would advise for graduates to check your Pegasus record for when this is actioned.

The latest date you can apply for the Graduate Route is the day your Student visa or Tier 4 visa expires.

As part of the University of Strathclyde's Student sponsors duties, our Visa Compliance team will send a report to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that you have successfully completed your course.

It is important that you also check that your completed qualification meets Graduate visa route requirements if you are eligible to apply.

Details of the award you have achieved will be submitted to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if you are eligible to apply for further immigration permission under the Graduate Route. To ensure the information provided is accurate, please ensure your contact details are updated in PEGASUS. You will also be able to see confirmation when this report has been submitted under the Curriculum History tab, which will also contain your previous CAS number.

The Visa Compliance Team are working to provide notifications to UKVI as soon as possible. Please allow five working days for confirmation of the notification to be updated on Pegasus before contacting, if after that period you need further information please email visa.compliance@strath.ac.uk.

Certain applicants to the Graduate Route may require written consent to apply for the Graduate Route. 

If both your tuition fees and living costs were paid by:

  • A government and/or
  • An international scholarship agency (for example, if you were a Marshall or Chevening scholar)

In the 12 months before you apply for the Graduate Route, you must have consent from your financial sponsor and provide a letter showing they give consent to your application for the Graduate Route. This includes Dependants if you are applying together with Dependants. This will have to be included as part of the supporting documents for your Graduate Route application.

If you received a partial scholarship from a government and/or from an international scholarship agency, or if you were sponsored for your tuition fees only, or for your living costs only, financial sponsor consent is not required.

If you were financially sponsored by the University of Strathclyde, you do not require consent from the University of Strathclyde to apply for the Graduate Route.

If you were financially sponsored by an international company, an independent school or any other type of financial sponsor, you do not require consent to apply for the Graduate Route.

For details, see paragraph GR 1.5 of the Immigration Rules Appendix GR.

 

More information:

After applying for your Graduate visa, you should not travel outside the UK until you have received a decision on your Graduate visa application. Travelling outside the UK will automatically withdraw your Graduate visa application.

If you need to travel urgently while waiting for your visa application decision, your application will be withdrawn automatically. However if your Tier 4 or Student visa is still valid, you may be able to re-enter the UK. However you would have to make a new Graduate visa application in the UK and pay another application fee and healthcare surcharge. You would receive a refund for the healthcare surcharge on your first Graduate visa application only.

The Graduate visa application fee is:

  • £700 Graduate visa application fee

If you have Dependants, each Dependant will also have to pay the application fee.

Remember you will also have to pay a Healthcare Surcharge for each applicant, depending on how long your visa will be granted.

Graduate visa application fee reduction

If you are from any of the following countries listed, your application fee will be reduced by £55:

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey

This only applies to the main Graduate visa applicant and if the application is made by 26 February 2022. Dependants will have to pay the application fee in full.

Healthcare Surcharge costs

You will also have to pay a Healthcare Surcharge for each applicant when you apply.

If you're eligible for a Graduate visa for:

  • 2 years - the Healthcare Surcharge will cost £1,248
  • 3 years - the Healthcare Surcharge will cost £1,872

 

More information:

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) advise on their website that after you:

  • Paid for your visa application fee online
  • Proved your identity and
  • Provided your supporting documents

You will usually get a decision within 8 weeks.

You will be contacted if it will take longer, for example because your supporting documents need to be verified or because of your personal circumstances, for example if you have a criminal conviction.

More information:

While you are waiting for a decision on your Graduate visa application, you can work under the conditions of your Student or Tier 4 visa permission.

If your Graduate visa application is successful, then after receiving your Graduate visa, you may work for an employer or you may be self-employed. You cannot take on any work as a professional sportsperson or coach. However if you decide to start a new business in the UK while on the Graduate visa, please note if you plan to apply for the Start-Up Visa in future, you will not be eligible to switch from the Graduate Route to the Start-Up Visa.

Employers should be aware of the Graduate Route. If you find they may not be familiar with this type of immigration permission, you can ask their Human Resources department to check the guidance from the Home Office for employers.

If you are considering setting yourself up as self-employed, you may consider contacting the Careers Service for advice, whether you are thinking of starting your own business or freelancing.

More information:

Depending on the type of qualification you successfully completed, you will either be granted a period of:

  • Undergraduate degree - up to 2 year visa
  • Masters degree - up to 2 year visa
  • PhD or other doctoral qualification - up to 3 year visa

The date your Graduate visa will start from will depend on the date of decision that is made on your Graduate visa application.

More information:

Students who have successfully completed their course and want to apply for the Graduate Route must:

  • be in the UK before their certain deadline and
  • meet the eligibility requirements to apply for the Graduate Route and
  • make an application before the expiry date of your Tier 4 or Student visa

We advise students to take the Covid-19 pandemic, and UK and Scottish government guidance and travel restrictions into consideration with your own early and careful planning.

 

I am still outside the UK but I have a plan to enter the UK on a certain date. Will this be okay and will I be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route?

The International Student Support Team are unable to advise on the eligibility of applicants for the Graduate Route based on proposed or planned travel dates, as students will need to meet eligibility requirements of the UK Immigration Rules that are in place at time of application. 

 

Overview of Graduate visa application process in the UK

Follow the steps below on how to apply for the Graduate visa. You can read more information on each step from the corresponding links.

This information and process is for University of Strathclyde eligible Graduate visa applicants only. 

StepMore information
1. Successfully complete your eligible course you took with your Tier 4 or Student visa
2. Understand Graduate Route requirements and check your eligibility to apply
1a. If you are applying with Dependants (family members such as your spouse civil partner and children) check whether they are eligible to apply as your Dependants
  • Dependants must already have immigration permission under the main Tier 4 or Student visa applicant and must be in the UK before applying
2. University of Strathclyde will notify UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) of you completing your qualification 
  • Details of the award you achieved will be submitted to UKVI by our Visa Compliance team
  • Update your contact details: PEGASUS
3. Obtain your most recent CAS
4. Prepare your supporting documents
  • See "Documents needed to apply" on this page
 
5. Start answering questions on the Graduate visa
  • When starting your application you will be asked to enter a contact email address - please do not use your University of Strathclyde email address. Please use a personal email address where you have access.
6. Check answers by referring to Graduate Route visa application guidance
  • Graduate Route application guidance is currently in progress - please keep checking this page for updates
7. If you have questions about your application or supporting documents, please contact ISST with your specific questions about the Graduate visa application before making any payment
  • Before contacting our team for advice on your application, please ensure you have not paid for your application online and you have completed the above steps
  • When asking your question, if from an application please include the exact question you are unsure about, including your Strathclyde student registration number and full name 
7a. If you contact ISST for advice, familiarise yourself with our Code of Practice and Privacy Notice  

If you have contacted ISST requesting advice and guidance on your Graduate Route visa application, please wait for a response from an adviser before proceeding with the next steps.

StepMore information
8a. Verify your identity documents through UK Immigration: ID Check app
  • Some applicants may use the UK Immigration: ID Check app to complete the identity stage of your Graduate visa application
  • You will require either your current biometric passport or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • If you have experience issues using the app (if you cannot scan your passport or BRP, for example) please see step 8b - otherwise proceed to step 9
8b. If you cannot use the UK Immigration: ID Check app ONLY - to verify your identity, you may be asked to schedule an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point
9. Pay for your Healthcare Surcharge, application fee and biometric enrollment fee
  • Payment of your visa application is the date you applied for your visa

  • The cost for the Healthcare Surcharge will be for either 2 years (£1248) or 3 years (£1872)
10. The Home Office will consider and make a decision on your application
  • An email will be sent to you by UKVI with a decision on your visa application

11. If your Graduate visa application is successful, you will receive a decision either by email or a Biometric Residence Permit (depending if you used the app or not)

  • If you used the UK Immigration: ID Check app, you will receive an email confirming your digital status with a PDF file of your Graduate visa decision letter - you will not receive a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • If you attended a UKVCAS appointment and enroled your biometrics in person, you will receive a BRP at the address you provided in your application
  • Check that the details are correct on your visa and your decision letter - for graduates who completed an undergraduate course - 2 year visa, for PhD and other doctoral qualification completers - 3 year visa

11a. Update your police registration certificate with your new Graduate visa details (certain nationals only)

  • Certain nationals are required to update their Police Registration Certificate if their visa details change