The Graduate route is for students who successfully complete their degree-level course in the UK to apply for permission to stay in the UK beyond the end of their course.
The visa is not extendable and does not lead to settlement, although you may later be able to switch into another visa category if you meet the relevant requirements.
What are the requirements for applying for a Graduate visa?
- You must apply in the UK.
- You can only apply once you have been awarded your degree at King’s.
- You must also hold a valid Student route or Tier 4 visa at the time of your application.
The university is required to confirm to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) that you have successfully completed your course. The Visa Compliance team will do this within 10 working days of your results being formally ratified at the relevant exam board. You will be notified by email once this confirmation has been sent to UKVI.
Important to know:
You must not apply for your Graduate visa until you've received the confirmation email, or your visa application may be refused.
If you have re-sits or deferrals which will delay the end of your course beyond the original end date on your CAS this could affect your eligibility for the Graduate route, as you may not be awarded your degree before your current visa date. Please contact the Visa & International Student Advice team to discuss any implications for you in these circumstances.
You must receive the award which was stated on the CAS you were issues to apply for your Student/Tier 4 visa.
If you've changed your course at any point or your exit award has changed, and you want to check your eligibility for the Graduate Route, please contact the Visa & International Student Advice team.
If, in the last 12 months before the date of your application, you've been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK, you must provide written consent from them with your application.
If you travel outside the UK after your course ends, you must return to the UK before your Student/Tier 4 visa expires to remain eligible to apply for the Graduate visa. You cannot apply for a Graduate visa from outside the UK.
Part of the eligibility criteria for applying for the Graduate visa is that applicants must have completed their degrees whilst studying within the UK. However, there are some exceptions:
A period of study abroad:
Students who took part in a permitted Study Abroad programme during their studies will still be able to meet the 'Study in the UK' requirement.
The UK Home Office COVID-19 Concessions make allowances for students impacted by COVID-19 to still be eligible under the Graduate route in the following circumstances:
Students on programmes of 12 months or less
- If you started your studies in 2020 or 2021 and you studied entirely remotely because of COVID-19, for the whole of your course without travelling to the UK, the deadline for coming to the UK under the Student route has now passed. It was either 27 September 2021, or the end date of your visa if your visa ended before 27 September 2021.
- If you started your studies in 2020 or 2021 and studied remotely because of COVID-19, but have a current visa for studies and previously entered the UK, then you need to enter the UK before the end date of your current Student/Tier 4 visa.
- If you started a course of 12 months or less in Autumn 2021 or Spring 2022 via remote learning from outside the UK, while holding a Student visa, you must have entered the UK no later than 30 June 2022 and complete that course of study in the UK whilst holding a Student visa, to be eligible for the Graduate route.
Students on programmes of more than 12 months (including 1 year Master's)
- Students sponsored for a course lasting longer than 12 months will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate route as a result of any remote learning that took place either in the UK or outside the UK between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, or any remote learning which already took place or will take place outside the UK between 27 September 2021 and 30 June 2022 whilst holding a Student visa.
- If your current Student visa/Tier 4 expired prior to 30 June 2022, you must have entered the UK before the expiry of your student permission rather than 30 June 2022.
Can my dependants apply under the Graduate route?
Can I study on a Graduate visa?
Study is restricted under the Graduate route. You will not be able to undertake any programme that usually requires Student visa sponsorship, whilst holding a Graduate route visa.
How do I apply for a Graduate visa?
For guidance on how to apply for the Graduate visa and the documents you will need during your application, visit the Graduate visa webpages.
- An application fee and an Immigration Health Surcharge payment will be applicable. Further details on these fees can be found on the Graduate visa webpages. Applicants are subject to identity, criminality, and security checks.
- There are currently no requirements to show a specific amount of money in your bank account to cover living costs for applicants under this visa route - which is different to the Student visa.
Important to know:
- It can take up to 8 weeks for UKVI to decide on a Graduate visa application. Unfortunately, King's cannot ask for an update on an application or ask UKVI to expedite one.
- You should not leave the UK whilst you are waiting for the outcome of your Graduate visa application as your application will be treated as withdrawn by UKVI.
Guidance for those with dependents
I have further questions/need further support
If you have any questions about the Graduate visa/route, please contact the Visa & International Student Advice team. Read our article International student advice & support for further guidance on how to contact the team during this time.
Further resources about the Graduate Route: