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What are my visa options after graduating in the UK?

If you are an international student in the UK who wants to work in the country after graduation, you might be looking at the Graduate visa as an option. Sometimes informally known as the PSW or Post-Study Work visa, the Graduate Visa offers you the flexibility to stay and work in the UK for up to 2 years (or 3 years in the case of PhD graduates) without the need for sponsorship from an employer.

What are the benefits of the Graduate visa? - Visa Options

The Graduate Route is unsponsored, which means you can use the time after you graduate to work, or look for work, at any skill level. You will have the flexibility to gain work experience, undertake an internship or work as a freelancer in the UK. There is no minimum salary requirement, and there is no limit on how many international students can have the opportunity to stay in the UK through the Graduate Route. Once you have found suitable employment in the UK, you’ll have the chance to switch to a Skilled Worker route and remain in the UK after your two or three years have come to an end.

Am I Eligible for a Graduate visa?

You can apply for a Graduate visa if all of the following are true:

  • you’re in the UK

  • your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa

  • you studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa

  • your education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office you’ve successfully completed your course

Which courses are eligible under the Gradate visa?

To be eligible, you must have completed a course awarding either: Visa options

  • A UK bachelor’s degree

  • UK postgraduate degree, including PhD and Masters’ degree

  • A Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) conversion course, as validated by the Joint Academic Stage Board in 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 (BPTC) 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)

  • A professional course required to study at the UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities that are regulated by UK law or UK public authority.

What if I'm an EU national?

EEA or Swiss students in the UK with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme will not need to apply for a Graduate visa to remain in the UK. Those without permission under the EU settlement scheme may apply for a Graduate visa to retain lawful status in the UK.

The Graduate visa is non-extendable and the time spent in the UK under the Graduate route will not count towards settlement in the UK.

The Graduate visa might be a suitable route for you and one which makes a lot of sense after your graduation, especially if you are unsure of your next step. Contact us today to find out more.


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