Section 1: Purpose and Contents of this page:
This page has been made to provide guidance on the Graduate Route under the Immigration Rules.
Please ensure you have carefully read the guidance provided for your situation BEFORE you contact Student Immigration.
The Graduate Route is an unsponsored, post study work visa.
Successful applicants will receive a 2 year visa (for those who have completed a Bachelors or Masters degree), or a 3 year visa (for those who have completed a PhD).
You can only apply for the Graduate Route visa once. Therefore, if you are considering further studies in the UK, you may wish to postpone applying for the Graduate Route visa until you have completed all the desired academic studies.
This scheme doesn't lead to settlement (permanent residency in the UK).
Therefore, if your aim is to remain in the UK longer term, holding this visa will give you a period of 2 or 3 years (depending on your level of study) to look for and secure a job which attracts Skilled Worker sponsorship, at which point you can switch to the work visa. You may also be able to switch to a Start Up visa if you are interested in setting up your own business.
Working on a Graduate Route Visa:
Graduates on this route can work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required.
This includes self-employment, voluntary work, part-time, full-time, permanent, fixed term or casual contracts, but not work as a professional sportsperson.
There are no minimum salary requirements or minimum number of hours you can work for this route.
If you current hold a Student Visa sponsored by Warwick, you have certain work rights attached to this. In most cases, you remain subject to your Student Visa Work Conditions until a Graduate Route Visa is granted.
The exception to this is where:
- You applied for your current Student Visa on or after 6 April 2022 and;
- You have made a valid application for a Graduate Route Visa before the expiry date of your Student Visa, having successfully completed your course and;
- A decision has not been made on the Graduate Route application, or where a decision has been made, any Administrative review against a refusal of that application has not been finally determined
If all of the above apply, you may start employment in a full-time permanent vacancy, even though this would not otherwise be permitted with a Student Visa.
Studying on a Graduate Route Visa:
Graduates on the route can only study courses that cannot be sponsored under the Student Route.
Examples of the type of study which may be permitted under this route can be:
- Part-time undergraduate course
- Some English language courses
- Some professional courses
- Any study at a college or university that is not a Student route visa sponsor
- Online study
- Evening classes
- Recreational courses
The restrictions on study do not apply to Dependants of Graduate Route Visa holders, with the exception of working as a professional sportsperson or studying as a doctor/dentist in training.
You must check with any course provider in advance whether you have the Right to Study on a course with them using a Graduate Visa. This is not possible for the majority of courses at Warwick.
This route is for a Warwick Student in the UK who wants to work, or look for work, following the successful completion of an eligible course of study at Warwick on at Bachelor’s degree-level or above. Your degree must be awarded by the University of Warwick.
You must meet the eligibility criteria for this route, including having held a Student Visa (including a Tier 4 Visa) for 12 months or more. If you studied the majority of your course under a different visa category, e.g., a dependant visa, please check with us about your eligibility.
You must meet the application requirements..
Alternatives to the Graduate Route:
If you have secured a job offer which lasts for 2 years or longer and your employer is a able to sponsor you with a Skilled Worker visa, in most cases a Skilled Worker visa is a better option than the Graduate Route visa as it leads to settlement (permanent residency in the UK). However, Skilled Worker visas are tied to an employer and job which means you need to switch visa if you wish to switch job. The Graduate Route visa is an unsponsored route and so you are free to change jobs whilst holding this visa.
If your dependant(s) are already in the UK and hold a dependant visa linked to your Student Visa, and you and your dependant(s) meet the application requirements, then they can apply under the Graduate Route.
You will not be able to add any new dependant(s) to your Graduate Route application, if they were not dependant(s) on your current Student Visa, unless they are children born in the UK during your current Student Visa.
Please see the Dependant requirements section below.
You MUST NOT make a Graduate Route Visa Application until you have received an email notification from the University of Warwick specifically confirming you can apply, as well as having met the other application requirements.
If you make an application sooner:
It will be refused by the UKVI
You will not receive a refund of your application fee
You will need to declare the refusal on all future UK visa applications
An example of the email the University will send you to confirm that a report has been made to the UKVI can be found below. It will specifically reference the Graduate Route Visa:
You will not receive the above email until after your degree has been officially ratified by the University Senate:
This will be significantly LATER than the "course end date" on your CAS/student record
This may be significantly AFTER your academic department provisionally confirms your results to you
Graduates who are completing their degree normally (e.g. without a period of Academic Extension and after being considered by the normal Exam Board for their cohort), can normally expect reports to be sent to the UKVI as follows:
|Undergraduate (Bachelors) Graduates||End of July|
|Undergraduate (Bachelors) Graduates with August/September Resits||End of October|
|Postgraduate Taught (Masters) Graduates*||Mid-December|
|Postgraduate Research (PhD) Graduates*||Within 3 weeks of Senate Conferral|
*Students in Academic Extension (Masters and PhD students) must verify with their Academic Department whether their degree will be conferred by the University Senate before their Student Visa Expiry Date. If it may not and they still wish to remain eligible for the Graduate Route Visa, such students must make a Student Visa Extension application whilst they still have an academic reason to do so (work still to submit).
The above table is a guide only. In most cases, it will not be to your advantage to apply for a Graduate Route visa significantly prior to your current visa expiry date. However, if you believe your Student Visa will expire before a report to the UKVI is sent, then please see the information on this page about what to do next.
You must apply on or before your current Student visa expiry date (however, we do not recommend that you apply on the day your visa expires in case you experience technical issues).
Please also see our step-by-step guide to help you complete the application form successfully.
You must meet the following 3 requirements to apply under this route:
However, there is no requirement to show you have a certain amount of money (known as the 'maintenance requirement').
Successful completion requirement:
You must have last been sponsored by a Student sponsor which is a higher education provider with a track record of compliance on the date of application.
The University of Warwick is a higher education provider with a track record of compliance.
You must have successfully completed the course of study which was undertaken during your last grant of permission to study on the Student route – in other words, the course for which your most recent CAS was assigned.
This means that you must have achieved the award for which your last Student Visa, sponsored by the University of Warwick, was granted, unless one of the following applies:
- You have been permitted to change your course of study and did not need to make new visa application
- You were originally assigned a CAS for a 4-year integrated Masters’ course or PhD and are completing that course early to exit with a lower qualification (this qualification must still be a full degree: Bachelors, Masters or PhD)
If you have changed course and obtained a new Student visa you will still be eligible if you successfully complete the course on your new CAS.
Your Student Visa sponsor must have notified the Home Office, by the date of your application under the Graduate Route, that you have successfully completed the course of study that your Student Visa was issued for.
The University of Warwick will send a report to the UKVI to confirm that you have successfully completed your course of study once your award has been conferred by the University Senate. You will receive a copy of this report by email. You must not make a Graduate Route visa application until you have received this report, or your application will be refused.
You will meet the qualification requirement if you have successfully completed a course of study for which you have been or will be awarded a UK Bachelor’s degree, a UK postgraduate degree (Master's or Doctorate degree), or successfully completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
If the name of your course of study was changed by the Student sponsor, but the course content remained the same, or if an integral and assessed work placement or permitted study abroad programme was added, this will not prevent you from being able to meet the qualification requirement.
The qualification must have been gained during the last grant of permission to study as a Student, or in the period of permission immediately before your last grant of permission, if the last grant of permission was to undertake a role as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer.
You will not be eligible to apply if you are awarded a lower qualification, unless the lower qualification is a full degree (e.g. a Bachelors Degree). E.g. you will not be eligible if you exit with a PG Cert, PG Diploma or PG Award upon course completion.
Please note, if you decide to challenge the decision of a lower award or academic fail via the University Appeals process, you cannot apply to extend your Student Visa to cover this period. This means that if the outcome of the Appeal is after the date your Student Visa has expired, you will not be able to apply to the Graduate route even if you meet the qualification requirement.
You must have been granted a student visa for a minimum period, and have undertaken all of your study during that period within the UK, as below:
- If your course was a 1 year course, the full duration of the course.
- If your course was longer than one year, at least 12 months.
Absences from the UK during vacation periods, weekends and periods where there is no teaching are unlikely to affect your ability to meet this requirement. However, you must ensure that you are in the UK when your department needs you to be unless they have specifically authorised your absence.
If you are studying a 1-year course:
- Lengthy absences from the UK during your studies will pose a risk of refusal for any Graduate Route application
- This is because the UKVI would expect you to be studying, physically in the UK, from the start date on your CAS to the end date on your CAS
- There are no official vacation periods for Postgraduate Taught Students at Warwick. However, per the UKVI's published information, if you left the UK on weekends or a period where the University is fully closed (Bank Holidays, Christmas closure dates, New Year), this would not affect your application
- Where you were absent from the UK before 30 June 2022, this would also not affect your application provided you entered the UK prior to that date. See the concessions on Remote Study below
- Any other absences between your CAS course start and end dates, whatever the reason, present a variable degree of risk to your application. The shorter the absence, the lower the risk. The longer then absence, the higher the risk
- PLEASE NOTE: Student Immigration cannot pre-empt a caseworker's decision on your application, or tell you whether your application will be granted or not, based on a certain number of days you will be outside of the UK. Instead, you must balance your desire to obtain a Graduate Route Visa with your need to be outside of the UK, and minimise your absences from the UK during studies if your Graduate Route application is important to you
Remote Study due to Coronavirus
Time spent studying remotely outside of the UK between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2022 will count towards the above requirement if:
- Your course length is 12 months or less, your course started before 21 June 2021, and you entered the UK with your Student Visa on or before 27 September 2021; OR
- Your course length is 12 months or less, your course started between 21 June 2021 and 30 June 2022 and you entered the UK with your Student Visa on or before 30 September 2022; OR
- Your course length is more than 12 months and you held a valid student visa for the required period whilst you were studying remotely
To apply as a Dependant under the Graduate Route, your dependant(s) must already be your dependant on your current Student Visa, and meet the following requirements:
Relationship requirement for dependent partner of a Graduate :
The relationship between the applicant and their partner must be genuine and subsisting.
The applicant and their partner must intend to live together throughout the applicant’s stay in the UK.
The applicant must not intend to stay in the UK beyond any permission granted to their partner.
Relationship requirement for dependent child of a Graduate:
The applicant must be a child of a parent who has, or is at the same time being granted permission as:
(a) a Graduate;
(b) the partner of a Graduate.
Each of the applicant’s parents must either be applying at the same time as the applicant, or have permission to be in the UK (other than as a visitor) unless:
(a) the parent with permission as a Student or Graduate or as the partner of a Student or Graduate is the sole surviving parent;
(b) the parent with permission as a Student or Graduate or as the partner of a Student or Graduate has sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing;
(c) the decision maker is satisfied that there are serious and compelling reasons to grant the child permission to stay with the parent who is applying for permission as a Graduate or as partner of a Graduate.
If the applicant is a child who is born in the UK to a Student or Graduate, or their partner the applicant must provide a full UK birth certificate showing the names of both parents. A child born in the UK must already have permission as the dependent child of the student, unless they were born within the main applicant's last grant of student visa.
If the applicant is aged under 18 on the date of application there must be suitable arrangements for the child’s care and accommodation in the UK which must comply with relevant UK legislation and regulations.
The child must be under the age of 18 at the date of application, unless they were last granted permission as a dependent child of a parent (P) who has or is applying for permission to stay as a Graduate or a dependent partner of a Graduate (regardless of the route under which the parent (P) had permission at the time the child’s last permission was granted).
If the child is aged 16 or over on the date of application, they must not be leading an independent life.
You cannot apply for the Graduate Route until you have received specific email confirmation from the University that your successful completion has been reported to the UKVI.
Once you have received the above confirmation from the University, and you have met the application requirements, you will need to do the following to make your application:
- You must complete and submit your application via the online GOV.UK form. A link to this will be provided in your confirmation email from the University. Take a look at our step-by-step guide to help you do this.
- You must pay the relevant Immigration Health Surcharge Link opens in a new window
- You must pay the application feeLink opens in a new window.
- You must provide any required Biometric Data for all applicants.
- You must provide a clear scan or photo of all applicant's passport or other travel document as proof of nationality and identity.
- You must provide a clear scan or photo of your current valid and in date Student Visa BRP, as well as the BRPs of any dependant applicants, if applicable.
- If any applicants subject to the Police Registration Condition, they must provide an up to date and valid Police Registration Certificate.
- If, within the previous 12 months of the application date, any applicant was sponsored by their Government or an international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK, they must provide written consent to the application from that Government or agency. This does not apply if your scholarship was awarded by the University of Warwick.
- If your dependents are applying, they may be required to provide additional documents to meet the relationship requirements.
You can not apply under the Graduate Route if you have previously been granted Permission to Stay in the UK under the Doctorate Extension Scheme or under the Graduate Route.
Once you have submitted your application, paid your fees and provided your Biometric Data for each applicant, the UKVI will assess your application and provide you with an application decision within 8 weeks.
If successful, you should receive confirmation of your new visa. Most applicants will receive a "Digital Status", however, if you are a Visa National, you cannot travel and re-enter the UK without a BRP card. If you obtain a new passport whilst you have a Graduate Visa, you must update this using your UKVI account.
This is an 'unsponsored route', which means the University is no longer your sponsor and you do not need to provide the University with a copy of your new visa.
Whilst holding a Graduate route visa, if you wish to study a further course in the UK which can be sponsored under the Student visa (for example, a Master's degree), you may switch back to a Student visa. However, you can only apply for the Graduate Route visa once. Therefore, if you are considering further studies in the UK, you may wish to postpone applying for the Graduate Route visa until you have completed all the desired academic studies.
If, after reading the guidance above, and you are still unsure of what you should do next, please contact Student Immigration to discuss your situation via the following methods:
Please click on the following links for more information
UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA):
University of Warwick:
Page Audit Review:
|Previous Review Date||Reviewed By||Next Review Date|
|Section Updated||Sub Section||Short summary of update||Updated By||Updated When|
|Section 10||Useful links||Added a link to Employer's guidance||ISM: EZ||13/Sep/2022|
|Section 6||Study in the UK Requirement||Added additional detail regarding students on a 1-year course and risks associated with absences from the UK during studies||ISA: SM||25/Jul/2022|
|Section 3||Eligibility||Clarified students must have their degree awarded by Warwick||ISM: EZ||21/Jun/2022|
|Section 2||Working on a Graduate Route Visa||Added information regarding work rights with a student visa and a valid graduate visa application||ISA: SM||20/Jun/2022|
|All||Page Created||ISA: SM||25/May/2022|