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The UK Graduate Route Visa – Guide

Taking the right route – Post Study Work Opportunities with UK’s new Graduate Route


Studying and working in the UK


It’s undoubtedly one of the most desirable study destinations for students across the globe and has been the top choice for many years now.


Apart from being known as a country that is home to some of the top-notch universities offering various courses to you on a platter, it’s also known for providing their international students with a wholesome and enjoyable study abroad experience.


Statistically, from around 300,000 international students who come from all around the world, a whopping 87.7% are said to be employed by the end of their education in the UK, every year. Rather promising, isn’t it?


Traditionally, staying in the United Kingdom after your education was only possible with a post-study work visa (PSW Visa), which required a sponsorship from your employer. However, things have took an exciting turn in July of 2021 for international students from across the country, all thanks to the Graduate Route!


Wondering what it is? Keep reading to find out!


What is the UK Graduate Route Visa?


A Graduate Route Visa, previously known as a Post Study Work Visa, is a needed grant that permits you to stay in the UK for at around two years after completing a course in the country.


The UK’s Home Office has announced that from the 1st of July 2021, eligible international students will be allowed two additional years of work experience within the UK upon graduation. This route essentially offers overseas graduates to stay on longer and look for jobs at the end of after their education, without any restrictions on the nature of employment and minimum salary requirement.


What are the eligibility criteria? Who can & cannot apply?


It’s only natural for you to wonder if you are eligible for the Graduate Route. You don’t need to worry; all you need to have in mind are these four important things.


You must be in the UK when you apply for the visa, with the current student visa valid as of July 1st, 2021.


You should have studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree, or any other elective courses for a minimum period with your student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa and You should have completed the course too.


Want to hear something interesting? If you have been studying online in your country due to Covid-19, no problem You are still eligible to apply for the Graduate Route, provided you meet some other requirements.


How long can you stay in the UK with this visa?


A maximum of two years to undergraduate/masters graduates and a maximum of three years in the case of Ph.D. graduates are granted under this visa. The route is non-extendable and does not count towards settlement- however, you could be able to switch to a different visa, like a Skilled Worker visa at the end of your 2–3-year period.


What is the cost/application fee rates?


Applying for the Graduate Route will require you to pay for the application fee around usually £700, in addition to the healthcare surcharge – there is usually £624 for each year you are to reside in the UK.


What are the documents required?


There are four essential documents needed to successfully apply for the Graduate Route in the UK. These documents are mandatory and must be provided on time to complete the application process seamlessly.


  • A Biometric Residence Permit or BRP card.
  • Your Passport
  • Your National Insurance Number
  •  Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number used for your most recent Student or Tier 4 application.


Here’s how you can apply for the Graduate Route visa.


The pandemic has completely shifted the process of applying for a grant online, therefore avoiding the hassle of paperwork and bureaucracy. Anyone, who deems fit for the grant can apply directly for the graduate route via the UK Government’s official website, on www.gov.uk/graduate-visa.


The visa processing can take up to 8 weeks, during which you’re allowed to stay in the country. Once your grant is successfully processed, the visa will be issued as a digital status, also known as a visa. This digital status can enable you to prove your right to live and work in the UK online.


Are any restrictions and limitations to this visa?


With a Graduate visa, you’re allowed to work in most jobs, become self-employed, look for work, do voluntary work, travel abroad, and return to the UK whenever you want to.


However, with this visa, you’re not allowed to apply for most benefits such as public funds, or the State Pension, or work as a professional sportsperson. Furthermore, existing dependents of students can also apply for the visa, but this route strictly does not allow new dependents to be added.


The Graduate Route Visa – Your ticket to becoming a working professional in the UK


Education can be the primary reason, but employment is an equal priority for almost all international students who are studying in the UK. Many students aspire to stay and work, or look for work in the UK at any skill level after the completion of their course.


Now thanks to the Graduate Route, eligible graduates will have the flexibility to apply for work in any sector or role that fits their skills profile, including self-employment, without the need for employer sponsorship.


With things seeming to be recovering considering vaccination rollouts and the return of optimism around the economy and job prospects post-pandemic, the new Graduate Route acts as a beam of hope for international students to enter the UK job market- a truly prospective place to build their career.

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