Graduate route

International students are allowed to stay in the UK for two years after graduation to find a job. The new Graduate route allows international students to work, or look for work, at any skill level, for a period of two years after completing your course.

What is the Graduate route?

The Graduate route allows eligible students to work in the UK after they have successfully completed their studies. For Bachelors and Masters students, this visa will be valid for two years. PhD students will be granted a visa for three years.

Who is eligible?

To apply for the Graduate route you must be in the UK with valid permission as a Student or Tier 4 visa holder. This does not apply to those that have had Student permission on the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES), who unfortunately would not be eligible for the Graduate route.

In addition to holding a valid Student or Tier 4 visa, you must also have successfully completed a degree-level course. Examples of relevant courses are as follows:

“Successful completion” means you have been awarded your qualification and this has been confirmed at an academic board and your Award Certification has been released. It does not mean when you have submitted your final assignments or when you attend the awards ceremony.

How long must I be in the UK for in order to apply?

You must have studied at least 12 months of your course in the UK, or the entire course if it is less than 12 months long. If this does not apply to you because you have been studying remotely in your home country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then you must meet one of the following requirements:

Course longer than 12 months – Time spent outside of the UK between the 24th January 2020 and the 27th September 2021 will not count against you and there is no set requirement for you to be back in the UK. However, you must ensure that you do so before your Student visa expires. If your course dates are more than 12 months long but your course is considered to be a “one-year course” then you should consider your course to be 12 months long and meet the next criteria instead.

Course started in 2020 or 2021 and is 12 months or less – You must enter the UK on a Student visa before the 27 September 2021.

Courses starting in September 2021 or January 2022 – You must enter the UK on a Student visa by the 6 April 2022.

How much will the application cost?

You will need to pay £700 for the cost of your visa application. In addition to this, you will need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 for each year of your visa. That is £1,248 for Bachelors and Masters students (two years) and £1,872 for PhD students (three years).

Can I include my dependants (family members) in my application?

If you currently have dependants with you on your Student visa then you can include them in your Graduate visa application. Your dependants must also be in the UK on a Student Dependant visa and pay the above fees.

How do I apply?

The application is completed online on the UK government website. As part of the application process, you will be required to use an app in order to take a photograph of yourself and scan your biometric residence permit (BRP). You can use the app on a friend or family member’s device if you are unable to do so yourself.

If you do not have access to the app you will have to attend an appointment at a UKVCAS centre to provide your documents and biometric details.

What do I need to apply?

You will need to have your BRP, passport and your most recent Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number. This is the number you were given by the Admissions team or Visa Advisor in order to apply for your visa. You will be able to locate this in your emails or saved visa application form. The number is 14 characters long, contains numbers and letters and begins with “E4G”.

The University of Derby is required to report to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) eligible students for the Graduate route. Students will be notified once the report has been submitted to UKVI.

Once your visa has been granted

Once issued you can do any work, including employed or self-employed, except as a professional sportsperson or coach.

Who do I contact if I have any further questions?

UKVI have provided a guide for this new visa route. Alternatively, you can email