International students Graduate visa

Important Update: On 6 February 2024, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) increased to £1,035 per year for Graduate route visa applicants and their adult dependants.  For Graduate route dependant children under the age of 18, the IHS is now £776 per year.  

 

The Graduate visa route enables international students in the UK who have *successfully completed a degree or relevant qualification to work in the UK.

The guidance published on this page relates only to those who have completed study at the University of Strathclyde.  If you studied at another institution please refer to their guidance.

*Please note that there is no requirement to have attended a Graduation Ceremony or have your degree certificate before you apply.

If your final degree award is delayed due to the Marking and Assessment Boycott, please contact the Visa Compliance Team by email if you have concerns in relation to your eligibility for the Graduate visa route. 

Eligibility and criteria

University of Strathclyde international students who have recently *successfully 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.

To apply for the Graduate Route visa: 

  • You must have a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) visa sponsored by the University of Strathclyde that has not yet expired
  • You must have *successfully completed your degree (UK bachelor's or postgraduate degree) or other eligible qualification (a diploma in Professional Legal Practice, a PGCE or a PGDE) 
  • You must be in the UK when you apply
  • You must have successfully completed the course of study which you took under your Student visa or Tier 4 visa 
    • If you changed your course of study, this requirement will only apply to the course to which you changed
  • You must 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
  • In the last 12 months before you apply for the Graduate Route, if 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

 *UKVI defines successfully completed to be when you have achieved the qualification for which you were studying i.e. after being formally awarded by the University. 

The above points are explained in more detail through the individual requirements.

More information:

In order to apply, you must:

  • Be in the UK
  • Have a valid Student visa or Tier 4 visa
  • Provide written consent from your financial sponsor to apply for the Graduate Route if, in the last 12 months before applying, you received a full scholarship from a Government or international scholarship agency (covering both your fees and living costs for studying in the UK)
  • Not previously had a Graduate Route visa or Doctorate Extension Scheme visa

More information:

When you apply for the Graduate Route, you must have already successfully completed a relevant course. The University's Visa Compliance team will notify UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) after you have successfully completed your course if you are eligible.

You must have successfully completed your:

  • Undergraduate degree or
  • Masters degree or
  • PhD/EngD or
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or
  • Professional Diploma in Education (PGDE) or
  • Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland

Other relevant qualifications are in Appendix Graduate, paragraph GR 5.2.

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

Students awarded a PGCert, PGDip, or other non-degree qualification will not be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route even if the qualification is "degree-level."

Exceptions

  • If you switched to a different course without applying for a new Student visa or Tier 4 visa, you can use the new course as your relevant qualification
  • If you were previously working as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer on a Student visa or Tier 4 visa, it is acceptable that you gained your relevant qualification in your Tier 4/Student visa period before working as a Sabbatical Officer - this is confirmed in Appendix GR, paragraph GR 5.4

More information:

  • UKVI defines successfully completed as when you have achieved the qualification for which you were studying i.e. after being formally awarded by the University.
  • You must have completed your course during the current period of your Student visa or Tier 4 permission.
  • The course must be the same course you were assigned a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). For exceptions, see the "Qualification requirement" drop down.
  • Students awarded a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or other non-degree qualification will not be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route even if the qualification is "degree-level."

More information:

 

Students must spend a minimum amount of time physically in the UK to qualify for the Graduate Route.

  • If your course is 12 months or longer, you must spend at least 12 months* studying in the UK.
  • If your course is 12 months or less, you must spend the full duration* of your course studying in the UK.

Exception

*Any distance learning that took place between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, or distance learning outside the UK until 30 June 2022 as part of your course of study that lasted 12 months or longer while you have a Tier 4 or Student visa will not prevent you from meeting the Study in the UK requirement.

Covid-19 concessions

The Home Office 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 by distance learning from your home country and:

  • your course length is 12 months or less
  • you have not yet entered the UK
You must have a Student visa and needed to be in the UK on or before 27 September 2021 - Please note this deadline has now passed

If you are a student who started your course in January 2021 by distance learning from your home country and:

  • your course length is 12 months or less
  • you have not yet entered the UK 
You must have a Student visa and needed to be in the UK on or before 27 September 2021 - Please note this deadline has now passed

If you are a student who started your course in September 2021 or Spring 2022 and:

  • your course length is 12 months or less
  • you have not yet entered the UK 
You must have a Student visa and need to be in the UK on or before 30 June 2022 - Please note this deadline has now passed

If you are a student who started your course in 2020 or 2021 and:

  • your course length is 12 months or longer and
  • you have a Tier 4 or Student visa and previously entered the UK and
  • you went back to your home country and you are still in your home country

If you already came to the UK under your current Tier 4 or 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

While the Appendix Graduate and the Covid-19 Student sponsor guidance do not have a specific deadline for students studying a course 12 months or longer to return to the UK, we suggest students to check with your academic department, check you meet the Study in the UK requirement and plan your time to be in the UK before your Student visa expires.

Remember that students must meet the Study in the UK requirement of spending a certain period of study while physically in the UK to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route. 

If you are a student who started your course in 2020 or 2021 and:

  • your course length is 12 months or longer and
  • you have a Tier 4 or Student visa and
  • you have not yet entered the UK

While the Appendix Graduate and the Covid-19 Student sponsor guidance do not have a specific deadline for students studying a course 12 months or longer to be in the UK, we suggest students to check with your academic department, check you meet the Study in the UK requirement and plan your time to be in the UK before your Student visa expires.

Remember that students must meet the Study in the UK requirement of spending a certain period of study while physically in the UK to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route. 

More information:

The University's International Student Support and Visa Compliance Teams are unable to advise on an individual's eligibility for the Graduate Route until an official Exam Board has made a student a final award. 

Students will need to meet the eligibility requirements of the UK Immigration Rules in place at the time of application to the route. It is the individual's responsibility to ensure that they meet the requirements of the route; current eligibility is shown on this page and will be updated in line with updates from UKVI.

Application overview and information

  • Do not apply for the Graduate Route until the Visa Compliance team have notified UKVI about your successful completion - you will be able to see this on Pegasus in the Curriculum history tab next to "UKVI Graduate Notification submitted on"
  • Check that your personal address is up to date on your Pegasus student record
  • Check you have provided a copy of your current visa/BRP to the Visa Compliance team
  • You must be in the UK and apply for the Graduate Route before your Student visa or Tier 4 visa expires

You will need:

  • Your most recent Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) - this will be the CAS that confirms your most recent course of completion and will be available in the Curriculum tab on Pegasus
  • Your current and valid passport or other travel identity document
  • Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) - if you have one

Some applicants may need to provide additional documents:

  • Written consent from your official financial sponsor - if you received official financial sponsorship from a Government or international scholarship agency covering both your fees and living costs in the UK in the last 12 months before applying for the Graduate Route, they must provide written consent to your Graduate Route visa application
  • Proof of your relationship with your partner or children - if you have Dependants in the UK who are eligible to apply together with you

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

If you received financial sponsorship

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

Whether you require written consent will depend on the type of financial sponsor and whether they fully covered both your tuition fees and living costs. 

My financial sponsorship was through a Government or international scholarship agency covering all my tuition fees and living costs

In the 12 months before you apply for the Graduate Route, you must have written consent from your financial sponsor if it was from a Government or international scholarship agency.

You will need to 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. 

My financial sponsor was a government or international scholarship agency covering only some of my tuition fees and/or living costs

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, then financial sponsor written consent is not required. However, before you apply, it is your responsibility to check with your financial sponsor whether the terms and conditions of your financial sponsorship permit you to apply for the Graduate visa.

My financial sponsor was the University of Strathclyde

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

My financial sponsor was an international company, independent school or any other type of financial sponsor

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

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

More information:

Step 1

Understand Graduate Route eligibility requirements and prepare.

Step 2

Wait for your eligible degree to be confirmed as awarded on Pegasus (the student record will say "Completed" under registration status).

Step 3

The University's Visa Compliance team will make a report to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) about completing your qualification and your eligibility for the Graduate Route.

Please note this will happen after the formal exam board for your course has met and made an award. You can check dates for individual courses with your academic department directly.

Step 4

Login to Pegasus to check when the Graduate Route notfication has been submitted (see the field "UKVI Graduate Notification submitted on")

This is under Study Details > Curriculum History > "UKVI Graduate Notification submitted on"

Step 5

Start the Graduate Route visa application, pay the visa application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge.

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.

Step 6

Submit your Graduate Route visa application and prove your identity - you will either do this through the UK Immigration: ID Check app or by booking an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centre.

Step 7

The Home Office will consider and decide on your visa application.

The Graduate visa application fee is:

  • £822 Graduate visa application fee

If you have Dependants, each Dependant will also have to pay the application fee. The fee for Dependants is the same as the main Graduate visa application fee.

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

Healthcare Surcharge costs

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

For applications made on or after 6 February 2024, if you're eligible for a Graduate visa for:

  • 2 years - the Healthcare Surcharge will cost £2,070
  • 3 years - the Healthcare Surcharge will cost £3,105

Dependant children under the age of 18 receive a discount at £776 per year.

More information:

The following guidance is for eligible University of Strathclyde international student graduates applying for a Graduate Route visa in the UK only. The Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may also update and change their application process, website and/or wording of application questions frequently, often without notice.

It is important that you understand the application questions first and have the information or evidence available at time of application to help support your answers. Please make sure you understand the questions fully and check carefully that your answers are correct before making any payment for your visa application. 

Frequently asked questions from the Graduate Route visa application

The following questions are only a selection of frequently asked questions we receive from Graduate Route applicants. 

If you used the UK Immigration ID Check App, please note that not all questions from this guidance may appear in your application as you will have already provided this information through using the app.

QuestionAnswer
Register an email Enter your email address. You will be sent a verification email. Do not use your University of Strathclyde email address. Please check that your email address is correct and you have access.
Immigration adviser Select No unless you are receiving immigration advice from an independent immigration adviser or solicitor (not from the University of Strathclyde).
Track record of compliance

The University of Strathclyde is a higher education provider with a track record of compliance. Please select Yes.

Official financial sponsor

If you have not received money from a financial sponsor* in the last 12 months, select No.

If you have received money from a financial sponsor* in the last 12 months, select Yes.

*For example, a financial sponsor would be a government or international scholarship agency

If you received a scholarship from the University of Strathclyde in the last 12 months, you can select No for this question.

If you have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international scholarship agency, covering both course fees and living costs for study in the UK (for example a Chevening or Marshall scholarship), you must provide written consent from your financial sponsor for your Graduate Route visa application.

More information on financial sponsors is in the Graduate caseworker guidance.

When did you first arrive in the UK on your current visa?

If you have a Tier 4 or Student visa, please enter the date you first entered the UK on that visa. This will usually be the date you received a stamp on your entry clearance vignette (visa sticker) in your passport for that date.

Some applicants will have a deadline to enter the UK to meet Graduate route eligibility requirements. More information is in the Immigration Rules Appendix Graduate under "Study in the UK requirement." 

Time spent outside the UK

The application is asking if you have spent time outside the UK and requests that you do not include holidays of 2 weeks or less. Enter details of your time spent outside the UK, including where, dates and your reason for spending time outside the UK.

Uploading evidence

A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) will be a card that you likely would have received when you arrived in the UK on your Tier 4 or Student visa.

If you are a EU/EEA/Swiss national it is unlikely you will have a BRP. 

Declaration

You will be asked to declare the information you provided in your Graduate Route application is true. 

Payment of the Immigration Health Surcharge

You may require your passport and Biometric Residence Permit for this section.

For PhD graduates, visa type is 3 years.

For all other graduates with eligible qualifications (not PhD), select visa type as 2 years.

Payment of the visa fee

Your application date is the date you pay for your visa application.

Evidence upload

After you have paid for your application and submitted it, UKVI may contact you if you are required to upload any documents/evidence to support your application.

For example, you may have to provide a copy of a letter from your financial sponsor giving you written consent to apply for the Graduate Route. Please note this is an example.

If you used the UK Immigration: ID Check app - Please upload your supporting documents requested from your application form using the app.

If you did not use the UK Immigration: ID Check app - You will have to register with UK Visas and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) and upload your supporting documents through their website. Please watch your emails for communications, as you may be contacted by UKVCAS either to submit your biometrics or they may advise you that your previous biometrics can be used (and the possibility you may not have to attend an appointment).

We would encourage graduates to frequently check the email used to register for the visa application as not to miss any important deadlines or communication.

 

Application timing questions

The earliest you would be able to apply is when:

  1. You have successfully completed your eligible course where your registration status is "Completed" on Pegasus 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 and
  3. You are confident you meet all other eligibility requirements

We would advise for graduates to check your Pegasus record for when notification of your eligibility for the Graduate Route has been submitted to UKVI.

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 sponsor 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 contain your previous CAS number.

The Visa Compliance team are working to provide notifications to UKVI as soon as possible. Please allow ten 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.

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. 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.

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:

Graduate Route visa conditions questions

While you are waiting for a decision on your Graduate visa application, you can work under the conditions of your Student visa or Tier 4 visa permission. You cannot take on any work as a professional sportsperson or coach.

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.

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

More information:

You can only study with a Graduate visa if the course you want to study is not eligible for a Student visa. This is noted in the GOV.UK webpage guidance on the Graduate visa.

See the Graduate Route visa page on GOV.UK under "What you can and cannot do" for 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:

International students with a Tier 4 or Student visa, who must travel outside the UK during term-time, must have this authorised in advance by their academic department. If travel outside the UK is agreed by the academic department and students continue to engage in their studies throughout their planned time outside the UK, their Tier 4 or Student visa status should not be affected.

The academic calendar is at https://www.strath.ac.uk/keydates/

The International Student Support Team and Visa Compliance team are unable to advise on eligibility for the Graduate Route based on past, proposed or confirmed travel dates. This is because students must meet the eligibility criteria at the time of application to the Graduate Route.

Please be advised as part of the application process, students will have to share their travel history. Our teams are unable to advise students on how UKVI caseworkers will assess the applicant's travel history. Therefore it is suggested students keep careful record of travel outside the UK, throughout the duration of their studies at the University of Strathclyde.

Dependant applicants

Students who are in the UK and have their dependants, such 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.

The dependant application process is a separate application from the Graduate Route visa. While the process is separate, we would strongly advise Tier 4/Student visa holders and Dependants to apply at the same time.

The application link for dependants is available below:

Your dependant(s) will need your Graduate Route visa application reference number. This is also called a Unique Application Number (UAN) and you will find it on emails and letters from the Home Office about your Graduate Route visa application. Please check your emails and correspondence from the Home Office for this.

More information: