The Graduate route enables international students to stay in the UK to work or look for work after the successful completion of their studies for 2 years, or 3 years for PhD students. Graduates can undertake any work in the UK, including paid and unpaid employment, self-employment and engaging in business or any professional activity.

Successful Graduate route applicants cannot take employment as a professional sportsperson or coach.

There are no minimum salary requirements for the Graduate route.

Study is permitted, except when a student sponsor and course would meet conditions of the student route.  For example, if the applicant wanted to study undergraduate, graduate or post graduate courses, this would not be allowed.The Graduate route does not require sponsorship from any organisation, and you cannot extend your Graduate visa.

You will need to meet all the following requirements to make a valid application for the Graduate route visa:

  • Hold a current, valid Student route visa.
  • Have studied and successfully completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree, or PhD at UCA.
  • Have studied for a qualifying period in the UK on a Student route visa. (See What Qualifies, What Doesn’t)
  • Provide written consent if financially sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency in the 12 months before the date of this application, from the government or agency (if required).
  • Apply from the UK within the validity of your current Student visa.

What Qualifies, What Doesn’t?

You must have studied in the UK for the duration of the course if the course was 12 months or less.  If your course was more than 12 months you should have studied in the UK for at least 12 months.

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 official notification from UCA.  

You need to have completed the degree for which your Tier 4/Student visa was granted, unless it is a change permitted under UKVI policy. You will need to have completed the entirety of your course in the UK as a student, apart from permitted study abroad programmes or remote study due to COVID-19, for which specific concessions have been agreed.  Click the link for information on the Graduate visa.

Students who do not complete all required assessments (i.e. final submission, resit, exam) by the original end date of their visa, or have any unpaid or outstanding fees, may not have their award confirmed by the board of examiners and should contact Campus Registry at Canterbury, Epsom or Farnham, as students may not be eligible to apply under the Graduate route in these circumstances.


What is minimum time in UK?

Graduate route applicants must also consider how much time they spent in the UK to complete their studies, and if they met the minimum study in the UK requirement.

In some cases, students may not have been able to complete their studies in one period of student permission. This may be because of compelling or compassionate circumstances, for example sickness or maternity leave.

Students may need to interrupt their chosen course of study and complete at a later date, with the appropriate UCA permission. 

Students would have each of these study periods counted toward their minimum time in the UK, if they collectively met the minimum 12 months in the UK study period.  Students could make a graduate route application.

Minimum time in UK is shown at the beginning of this section.

PhD students should also consider the time in UK requirement.

If a PhD student started the course in the UK, but subsequently went abroad to conduct research, as part of their qualification, this student may have their sponsorship withdrawn or they may not be granted sponsorship for the overseas portion of their course.

If the student subsequently returned to the UK to successfully complete their qualification, for example, they may need to conduct additional research, or write up a thesis.

In these circumstances if the total length of time studying in the UK meets the minimum requirement, applicants would qualify to apply for the Graduate route.

The Following Do Not Qualify 

  • Foundation courses
  • Graduate diploma
  • other non-degree awarding qualifications are not eligible.

You can find further information regarding the Graduate visa on the UKVI website.  Graduate visa: overview link

UCA Responsibility to you

When you have completed your course, you will need to wait until you have received email confirmation from the UCA Visa Advice Team.

The Email will confirm that UK visas and Immigration (UKVI) have been notified of your successful course completion.

Once this stage has been completed and you have been notified, you can apply for the Graduate route visa Online.

Attending the graduation ceremony is not a requirement for the Graduate route application.

 You can find further information regarding the Graduate visa on the UKVI website.


Dependant partners and children of students applying on the graduate route.

A dependent (partner or child) of the student applying for a Graduate visa must have, been granted, permission as a dependant of the student applying on the graduate route, or a child born in the UK during the last grant of Student permission.

Dependants of Graduate applicants can apply as a dependant, but the following conditions are applicable.

Individuals who already have permission as a dependant partner or child of a student who is applying on this route can also apply to extend their permission as a dependant on this.

Other types of dependants are not permitted on this route.

Application costs

When you apply for a Graduate visa the current application fee is £822.  There is an additional healthcare surcharge - this is usually £1,035 for each year you’ll be in the UK.   Currently a two-year Graduate route visa would have a healthcare surcharge of £2070.

Please use this link to calculate costs Calculate Immigration Health Surcharge

 Working in public sector healthcare

If you get a job in public sector healthcare after you have paid the healthcare surcharge, you may be able to get a refund.

What Information do I Need When I Submit my Application

When you make your application, you will need to provide:

  • a valid passport or other travel document that shows your identity and nationality.
  • your Biometric Residence Permit,(BRP) if you were given one when you applied for your student visa.
  • your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number from when you applied for your student visa.

The CAS reference number was issued when you were initially offered you a place on the course and before you applied for your student visa.

You might be asked to provide:

  • proof of your relationship with your partner or childrenif they’re applying with you
  • a letter from your scholarship or sponsorship provider approving your application, if they paid for both your course fees and living costs in the last 12 months

Making Your Application – What happens Next?

  • Create a UK Visas and Immigration account on the GOV.UK website.
  • Click on the link at the bottom of this section to start your online application for a Graduate visa.
  • UKVI will need to verify your nationality and identity. You can submit a scan of your BRP or passport using the UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.  Follow the link for more information on the ID check app and download links for IOS App Store and Google Play store  using the uk immigration id check app
  • If you are unable to use the ID app to scan your passport or BRP you will need to visit a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point for fingerprinting and photographing. Click the link for guidance on how to use UKVCAS. uk/ukvcas link
  • ***IMPORTANT*** - Once you submit your application you must not travel outside the UK and common travel area (Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man). If you decide to travel, your application will be withdrawn automatically.
  • You can save and continue with your application at a later time.
  • Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks.
  • You can request UKVI to cancel your application, but your fee will only be refunded if UKVI has not started processing your application.
  • If your application is approved, you will be notified by UKVI and you’ll be able to prove your right to live and work in the UK. You may also receive a BRP (biometric residence permit) to prove your status.

Please also note that the Graduate visa is not a route to settlement.