The Graduate Visa Route

By 27th July 2021 No Comments


The Graduate visa route – Frequently asked questions

photograph of graduate students

The Graduate Visa Route

The graduate visa route has opened on 1 July 2021 for applications. This route was first announced on 11 September 2019. Its aim;  to benefit the UK’s economy by attracting and retaining bright international students.

This route may remind us of the previous ‘PSW’ visa but offers more flexibility and options for graduates.

From first announcement the graduate visa has been highly popular among international students looking to gain more UK experience. Here is a list of frequently asked questions and answers for applicants wishing to apply under the Graduate Route.

  1. What are the general requirements for the Graduate visa?
    1. You must be in the UK to apply
    2. Your current visa is a Student visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa
    3. You completed a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible courses. These were for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
    4. You successfully completed the course of study which was undertaken during your last grant of permission to study on the Student route. This is unless you took up a Student Union Sabbatical Office role.
  1. What are the other eligible courses?

The Home Office has provided a list of other eligible courses for the Graduate route:

  • a law conversion course validated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Known under its previous name: ‘Joint Academic Stage Board’ in the Graduate route immigration rules) England and Wales
  • the Legal Practice Course (LPC) in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
  • the Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland
  • a foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry
  • a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)

Other professional courses requiring study are also eligible for meeting the qualification requirement.  These include UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities that are regulated by UK law or UK public authority. For instance, these include medical doctors, architects, lawyers, teachers, and nurses.  You may have completed a course of study at bachelor’s degree level or above, not included in the list above.  In this instance, your case will be assessed by the Home Office. The Home Office will consider whether there is a legal requirement for that qualification to be gained before someone is allowed to practice in a profession with reserved activities. If you are not sure whether your course is eligible for the Graduate route, you may want to seek legal advice before submitting your application.

  1. What is the minimum period required of studying in the UK?

Generally, the minimum period required to study in the UK is the full duration of your course. This is if the course is 12 months or less. If your course is longer than 12 months, the minimum period required to study in the UK is 12 months.

  1. My study took place via distance learning. Can I apply?

For students whose studies took place via distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, they can still apply for the Graduate visa providing you meet the additional requirement.

If you started your course in 2020, then you must have entered the UK on or before 21 June 2021 and complete your course of study in the UK with permission as a student.

If you started your course in 2021, then you must enter the UK before 21 June 2021 and complete your course of study in the UK with permission as a student.

  1. Can my family member apply with me?

Yes. However, your family member must have, or have last been granted permission as your Tier 4 (General) student or Student dependent. The only exception is if your child was born in the UK while you have a Student or Tier 4 (General) student visa.

  1. How long is my Graduate visa?

If your application is successful, you will be granted three years of visa. This is provided your course of study was for a PhD or other doctoral qualification. In all other cases, you will be granted a two-year visa.

  1. Do I need a sponsor to work in the UK if I have a Graduate visa?

No. You will be able to work in the UK, including self-employment and voluntary work with a valid Graduate visa. There is no sponsorship requirement for Graduate visa holders to work in the UK. However, work as a professional sportsperson will not be permitted.

How can we help?

Taylor Hampton’s immigration solicitors have assisted numerous clients in securing their UK visas. If you need legal assistance with your applications or wish to know more about the Graduate visa, please contact us. Taylor Hampton’s immigration team are on 020 7427 5972 or submit an enquiry HERE.


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