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Graduate Visa: FAQs

The Graduate visa (also called the Graduate Route visa) is the official name for the new Post-Study Work visa. University and government information uses the new name: Graduate visa.

Yes, if you are studying a full-time Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or PGCE at St Mary’s University on a Student visa, you’ll usually be eligible to apply for the Graduate visa. Unfortunately, PGCert and PGDip courses at St Mary’s are not eligible for the Graduate visa.

Yes, the Graduate visa is not automatically given to students, you will need to apply for it.

You don’t have to wait until you’ve graduated or received your university degree, you can apply for the Graduate visa as soon as the University has confirmed you’ve successfully passed the course for which your visa was granted. You need to apply before your Student visa expires. Note: You must not apply for a Graduate Route visa before St Mary’s has notified UKVI of your successful course completion. St Mary’s will contact you via email first and then you will be eligible to apply. If you apply too early you are at risk of visa refusal.

If you’ve graduated from a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree you can stay for 2 years, and if you’ve graduated from a PhD or other Doctoral courses you can stay for 3 years. If you want to stay longer, you’ll need to apply for a new visa, such as a Skilled Worker visa.

Yes, you can work in many different types of job, including full-time or part-time jobs. You can search for work, you can travel, you can do an internship, and you can also do voluntary (unpaid) work. You cannot work as a professional sportsperson or coach.

If you receive a job offer before your Student visa expires, a Skilled Worker visa may be a better choice for you than the Graduate visa. You cannot study a new course if that course usually requires a Student visa.

Yes, you can but you will only benefit from applying for the Graduate visa once.

Your partner and children can apply to stay in the UK also, but this does require a separate application and a fee for each dependent. To be successful, they usually need to be included on your Student visa first. Please check the UK government’s guidlines and the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website for more information.

The Home Office's factsheet about the Graduate route states the application fee will be £700. Nationals of the 26 European countries that come under the CESC agreement will have a £55 discount. You will pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) at £624 per year of permission that you are applying for. This is 2 years for UG and PG students and 3 years for PhD graduates.

  • UG/PG level applicant = £1948, (plus partner = £3,896), (plus partner and one child = £5,536).
  • PhD level applicant = £2572 (plus partner = £5,144), (plus partner and one child = £7,254).

Any dependents who are under 18 and who are already here in the UK as your Student visa dependants can apply to extend their stay. They can only apply to extend their visa from within the UK. Dependant who are outside the UK are unable to apply for a visa as your Graduate visa dependant.

Any dependants from overseas cannot be added. For example, your dependants may have been overseas as you were not eligible to have them with you in the first place or your partner may have remained overseas for work purposes.

Partners already in the UK with you under another form of immigration permission cannot be added as a dependant under the Graduate Route.

Your dependants will have the same work conditions as you, they can work in most jobs either employed or self-employed but they are unable to work as a professional sportsperson or coach.

Graduate Route dependants do not have the same study restrictions and can enrol on to any programme with a Student Route Sponsor.

If you are offered a job before your Student visa expires, your employer may be able to sponsor you for the Skilled Worker visa. They will need a license from the UK government to do this. Please check the conditions of the Skilled Worker visa and the details of the job before you apply to ensure you meet the requirements. There is no deadline for applying in your home country under the Skilled Worker visa. For the first two years after you return home, you only need to meet the lower "new entrant" minimum salary for a Skilled Worker visa application. Even after two years, you can still be a "new entrant" if you are under 26 years old.

See the detailed guide to the Skilled Worker visa on this UKCISA page, with other work route options.

  • To apply to switch into the Skilled Worker Route you must be sponsored and offered a job at the correct skill level, and earn the required salary for the job.
  • The Skilled Worker Route leads to Settlement in the UK, the Graduate Route does not.
  • You can add dependant/s to the Skilled Worker Route who were not student dependant/s.
  • You cannot add dependant/s to the Graduate Route if they were not already your student dependant/s.
  • All study is permitted on the Skilled Worker Route.  Study is restricted on the Graduate Route.
  • It is easier to change jobs on the Graduate Route.  You would need to obtain new sponsorship to change your job on the Skilled Worker Route.
  • You can switch into the Skilled Worker Route as a new entrant providing you obtain sponsorship before the Graduate Route visa expires.

Yes, all St Mary’s students have access to our Careers Service who can help you plan your job search, and with applications and preparing for job interviews. You can make an appointment with a Careers Consultant by emailing or calling 0208 240 4055. Appointments are available online or in person, and we recommend that you do not wait until the end of your studies to discuss your career plans, many roles get filled early.

We have a jobs board, Career Connect through which you can find part-time jobs, internships and graduate opportunities and lots of information on finding jobs on the Careers Moodle pages.

There is a lot of information on writing a successful CV on the Careers Moodle pages. You can also book an appointment to get a CV check with our Careers Service by emailing or calling 0208 240 4055. Appointments are available online or in person.

You can find lots more information on the UK government’s website and the UKCISA website.