Graduate Route Visa - A Guide to Post Study Work Opportunities in UK


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Feb 13, 2023 10:23 PM IST

The UK Home Office has announced the opening of the Graduate Route Visa for foreign students who are willing to work in Britain after their graduation. In this article, we have discussed how to apply for Graduate Route Visa, the eligibility criteria for Graduate Route Visa and much more information.

Graduate Route Visa - A Guide to Post Study Work Opportunities in UK

Last year, the UK Home Office announced the opening of the Graduate Route Visa for international students aiming to work in the UK. This visa route offers international students, especially from India, an option to apply for the right to stay and work after the completion of their studies.

The Graduate Route is designed for international students who have been awarded a degree from a recognised UK university. Under this visa rule, students are allowed to stay in the country and look for a job for at least two years. Let us know more about the Graduate Route Visa, its eligibility criteria and the application process.

Is It Possible to Get a Post Study Work Visa after Graduation in the UK?

Yes, if you obtain a Post Study Work Visa in the United Kingdom. The new Post Study Work Visa (PSW) or the new graduate route visa rules allow international students to work in the UK after graduation. Students who enrol in any UK university beginning in September will be permitted to stay in the UK for two years following graduation to work in fields related to their course or degree. Graduates are provided with 'licenced visa sponsors' by their higher education providers. The conditions for the Post Study Work Visa in the UK may be the same as the initial student visa rules that graduates were subjected to previously.

So, if your status has not yet been updated, the process should be automatic. This is true for undergraduates, postgraduates, and even PhD graduates. The UK Post Study Work Visa gives students extra time and gives graduates the possibility to find work after finishing their studies. Your work efficiency will not be affected till you finish your studies.

Did you know Indians Comprise the Largest Group of Foreign Skilled Workers in the UK? What about your visa acceptance rate? Do not delay anymore, reach out to our experts for help!

Want to Study and Work in theUK?

Post Study Work Visa UK: The New ‘Graduate’ Route

The Post Study Work Visa in UK (PSWV) is a temporary visa that allows international students to study, work, and live in the UK after graduation by taking up a position in their field of interest. All international students, including Indian students with immigration status in the United Kingdom, are eligible for the Post Study Work Visa UK Route. This new route is open to all individuals enrolled in a United Kingdom Higher Education Provider-approved institution.

The PSW Visa is issued following document confirmation to ensure that the country retains the brightest students from all over the world and assists them in establishing a growing career in the country, as well as opening opportunities for future breakthroughs in technology, science, research, and other similar work.

The Graduate Route allows international graduates with a degree from a recognised UK university to stay in the country and hunt for work for at least two years following graduation. PhD students will be given three years. The approach is advantageous for all international students, particularly those from India who choose their degree degrees based on career chances and work experience.

Students do not require a job offer to apply for a post-study work visa or a graduate visa. There is also no pay cap, allowing them to advance their careers by working freely in the UK.

UK Post Study Work Visa Eligibility

There are certain aspects that international graduates should keep in mind while applying for the Graduate Route visa. Meeting all the necessary criteria should be the topmost priority. Here we have listed some of the main eligibility criteria needed to be fulfilled by the graduates for the Graduate Route visa:

  • The applicant should be living in the UK.

  • The applicant should hold a UK Student Visa or a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa.

  • The students should have completed an undergraduate, postgraduate or any other specified degree.

  • The university/college must have informed the students about the successful completion of the course.

  • The course studied in the UK must be at least 12 months long or a full-length course.

However, the course length does not apply to those who had to stay outside the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic. In case, if a Student Visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa has been issued for over 12 months, then the time spent by the student between January 24, 2020, and September 27, 2021, will be counted.

To apply for the visa, the candidate must have returned to the UK by September 27, 2021, or before the visa expiry date.

How to Apply for a UK Post Study Work Visa?

As per the details gathered from the UK government website, candidates can apply for the Graduate Route visa online. As a part of the application process, international graduates needto prove their identity. Students need to scan their biometric residence permit (BRP) with the UK Immigration: ID Check app.

The candidate will be required to sign in to an existing UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account or create a new one. If the candidate does not feel confident filling up the form or has no internet access, they can ask for help by contacting the official helpline.

Once the candidate has applied for the visa, proved their identity and submitted all the documents, the decision will be made within eight weeks. If it takes more time than mentioned, then the candidate will be contacted to provide documents again. If the officials find anything wrong with your stay record, then also you will be called upon for an explanation.

Types of Post-Study Work Visa UK

There are several types of post-study work visas available, which are mentioned below:

Types of Post-Study Work Visa UK

About the Visa 

Tier 2 (General) Visa

This is the most frequent visa for international students who want to stay in the UK after finishing their studies. This visa is given to fill a labour shortfall in the UK labour market. The applicant must earn a minimum of GBP 30,000 per year to sponsor this work visa, and the employer must be a licenced tier 2 sponsor.

Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme

The visa allows PhD students who have completed their studies to stay in the UK for an additional 12 months. Graduates can now hunt for new professions, obtain practical or work experience, or start their firms as entrepreneurs.

Tier 5 Temporary Worker

Government Authorised Exchange visa - This visa option permits international students to stay in the UK following their studies for training, internship, job experience, or research. The visa is valid for 12 to 24 months.

Start-Up Visa (Replaces the formal Tier 1, Graduate Entrepreneur Visa)

This is an optional visa path for international graduates who desire to develop their entrepreneurial or inventive abilities in the United Kingdom by establishing a successful, innovative, and scalable enterprise.

What Documents are Required for a UK Post Study Work Visa?

The UK government asks for a set of documents from graduates who want to apply for a Graduate Route visa. The basic requirement is a valid passport. Apart from this, the applicant needs to show the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number that was attached to their last Tier 4/Student visa application.

An updated and latest police registration certificate is also required. However, if the applicant was not able to register or update their certificate due to the Covid-19 pandemic, then it will not affect their application adversely. Additionally, if the graduate has been financially sponsored - for both maintenance and course fees - within a year of their application, then they need to submit a letter of consent from the sponsor.

These are just the essential and common documents required for the UK Post-Study Work Visa application. However, depending on individual circumstances, the authorities can ask for more relevant documents.

How Much Does a UK Post Study Work Visa Cost?

While applying for a UK post-study work visa, students have to pay a certain amount as an application fee. To successfully apply for the Graduate Route visa, applicants are required to pay GBP 715 as an application fee. The form will clearly mention the fee charges. For more details, graduates can contact the official helpdesk of the UK Home Office.

Along with the visa, applicants are also required to pay the health surcharge. If you are eligible for the Graduate Route visa, then you have to pay:

  • GBP 1,248 for two years

  • GBP 1,872 for three years

This means that on average the graduates must pay GBP 624 yearly for health surcharge in the UK.

Can My Family Members Apply for UK Graduate Route Visa?

Yes. Family members who are dependents of the Graduate Route visa applicant can also apply for this visa. However, it is only available for those who are in the UK and hold valid permission as dependents of the main applicant. No new dependent will be permitted to stay, except where a dependent child was born in Britain during a period of the visa.

If a candidate has a partner, then they must provide evidence or proof that showcases their relationship as genuine and subsisting.

Can I Study with the UK Graduate Route Visa?

Graduates can study various courses under the Graduate Route visa that are not sponsored under the student visa. Below are some of the examples of study permitted under this route:

  • Part-time undergraduate courses

  • English language courses

  • Professional courses

  • Any course at a college or university that is not sponsored by a student route visa

  • Online courses

  • Evening courses

  • Recreational courses

Is There Any Alternative to a UK Post Study Work Visa?

If a graduate has secured a job offer which lasts for over two years, the employer is able to sponsor the employee with a Skilled Worker visa. This could be a good alternative to the UK Graduate Route visa.

A Skilled Worker visa can be treated as a better option than the Graduate Route visa to get the candidate a permanent residency in the UK. However, this visa remains tied to the employer which means if the candidate is planning to switch the job, then they have to switch the visa as well. On the other hand, the Graduate Route visa is an unsponsored route and so candidates are free to change jobs.

It is important to send the Graduate Visa application to the UK Home Office before the applicants' current student visa expires. If everything goes fine, a Graduate Visa will be issued for two years. Candidates who are PhD holders or have other doctoral degrees will be granted three years to stay in the UK. For more details about the visa process, students can visit the UK government's official website.

UK Visa Interview Questions

After submitting the online application form and supporting documentation, UK visa applicants must pay the visa application fee to schedule an interview with the US Embassy or Consulate. The Visa Interview is the last step in the post-study work visa application process. The officer interviews the applicant and confirms their information and documents. The following are some of the most frequently asked interview questions about the UK graduate route visa:

  • Who will pay for your expenditures in the UK?

  • What did you study in India?

  • Why did you decide to pursue your higher education in the United Kingdom?

  • Have you ever been to the United Kingdom?

  • Why did you choose this particular college/university? OR Why do you want to work in the UK after finishing your studies?

  • What are your parent's occupations?

  • Are you travelling alone or with a friend?

  • Do you have any relatives or friends in the United Kingdom?

  • Where will you be staying in the UK?

  • Since when were you planning to work in the UK?

  • Why do you wish to visit the UK?

  • How long will you be in the UK?

Aside from basic eligibility, you must additionally complete security and criminality checks, and identity checks, and pay an application fee as well as an Immigration Health Surcharge payment. Students who begin their courses in the fall or autumn intake must be in the UK on a student visa around July-August.

Need assistance with admission to UK universities or a UK student visa? Connect with our highly experienced study abroad counsellors at to resolve your queries.

Need Guidance to Apply for a UK Post Study Work Visa?


When can I apply for a UK post study work visa?

You can apply for a UK post study work visa once your college/university has notified the UK Home Office of your final academic grade. In order for the UK Council to decide whether to grant you a UK post study work visa, you must apply for it while you still have a valid student (or Tier 4) visa.

Who is eligible to apply for a UK post study work visa?

Any international student with a Tier-4 visa who is enrolled in an accredited higher education programme in the UK beginning in September 2020 is eligible for a UK post study work visa. International students are permitted to stay in the UK for two to three years after completing their degrees to search for employment.

What to do after the UK post study work visa gets expired?

It is recommended that students should apply for a skilled work visa or general work visa (Tier 2 visa) before their  UK post study work visa expires. It is ideal that students should not wait until the visa expiration date and then apply for another visa. However, the applicant must earn at least GBP 30,000 annually to be eligible for a Tier 2 visa, which is a general work visa for the UK. 

Can international students work in the UK after graduation?

Yes, international students can work in the UK after graduation. The new post-study work visa rules enable international students to work in the UK after they graduate. This rule will apply to bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree holders. Starting in September 2020, any international student enrolled in a UK university can stay for up to two years. Students are permitted to do any job outside of their area of study during this time.

Can a UK post study work visa be rejected?

Yes, a UK post study work visa can be rejected because of the following reasons:

  • The applicant has sent their application when they are out of the country.

  • The applicant failed a course or failed their dissertation.

  • The applicant did not apply for a visa extension.

For detailed information, check out Reasons for Rejection of the UK Study Visa.

Does UK post study work visa count towards 10 years settlement?

No, a UK post study work visa does not count towards 10 years settlement. The graduate route will not be extended and will not contribute to the settlement. Graduates who find suitable employment may be able to switch into the Skilled Worker category.

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