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The Graduate Route

Get more detail about what The Graduate Route is all about, who it applies to, and what's involved by reading through our frequently asked questions.  If you have any concerns, or a question not answered here, please contact the Student Support and Experience Team.

Staffordshire University can confirm whether or not you meet the criteria to be reported to the Home Office as successfully completing your award, however we cannot give advice to students about making an application under the Graduate Route, as this is an unsponsored route. If you have concerns about your eligibility, we would recommend you seek proffessional immigration advice.

Who is eligible?

The Graduate Route is open to graduates who have successfully completed their degree course from a UK university and are currently in the UK with Student Route permission.

Graduates from Undergraduate, Postgraduate and PhD courses are all eligible.

If your course is longer than 1 year, you need to have spent at least 12 months living and studying in the UK throughout the duration of your course; if you’re not in the UK right now, you just need to return before your student visa expires.

If your course is 12 months or less, you should have spent the entire duration of the course in the UK.

Who is not eligible?

  • Graduates who have not successfully completed their degrees.
  • Graduates who have left the UK. You need to be in the UK with a valid Student Route visa at the time of your application.
  • Graduates who have previously been granted visa permission under the Graduate Route or Doctoral Extension Scheme

What if I don’t pass first time or need longer to complete my course?

If you have to re-submit work or re-take exams that mean you won't complete your course by the date you expected, you may not be able to apply for the Graduate Route. You must have achieved your degree before your Student Visa expires. You are not automatically entitled to a visa extension; you will need to discuss your situation with a Student Support and Experience Advisor.

How am I sponsored?

You sponsor yourself! Under the graduate route, you do not have an educational or work sponsor and your visa permissions are not dependent on where you work or study.

What work can I do?

Almost anything!

There are very few work restrictions under the Graduate Route. You can work part-time or full-time in most job roles. While you cannot be a professional sportsperson or coach, you can pursue most other work including self-employment.

This means that you can work in a job to support yourself financially while looking for work that can later sponsor you for a Skilled Worker Visa.

Please note that while you are waiting for permission under the graduate route, you will still only have permission under your student visa and any of those working restrictions will still apply.

You will need to make sure your employer is aware of your Visa status on the Graduate Route as you may only stay in the UK on this route for 2 years(3 for PhD)

If you want to set up as self-employed, see the detailed guidance from the UK government about all the steps and requirements.  The Career Connect team may also be able to offer advice on entrepreneurship and self-employment.

Can I study?

You can study under the Graduate Route.

You cannot study any course that could be sponsored under the Student Route  ie: you should not apply for the Graduate Route and attempt to complete postgraduate degree from a university that is able to sponsor students.

You can study short courses, online course, recreational courses or part-time courses. You should check with the education provider to see if they offer Student Route visa sponsorship on the course as these are not available to you on the Graduate Route.

How much does it cost?

The application fee is £700 though nationals of some European countries will have a £55 discount.

You will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which is £624 per year. This means you will need to pay £1,248 for 2 years (most graduates) and £1,872 for 3 years if you are a PhD graduate.

You do not need to provide evidence of a certain amount of money in your bank account.

Graduates who have been fully sponsored by a government and/or International scholarship agency in the 12 months before applying will need to provide  a letter showing the sponsor's consent for the Graduate Route application.

Can I bring my family?

Dependents who are already in the UK as dependents on your Student Route Visa can apply to extend their stay as your Graduate Route dependents.

You cannot add new dependents to your Graduate Route visa. They need to already have a dependent visa, connected to your Student Visa.

How do I apply?

The application is all online and you need to apply from in the UK.

The first part of your application is an ID check that you will do on your smartphone, unless you are including children on your application, in which case you will need to attend a visa centre and give your biometrics in person.

You might need pdf scans of your current BRP and Passport. You will also need the CAS number from your most recent Student Visa Application. You will not need to provide any bank statements to show you can support yourself.

Other things to think about

You can only be granted permission under the Graduate Route once in your lifetime; think carefully about whether now is the right time for you to apply.

Research the job market in your industry; plan ahead and make sure you can support yourself if you don’t get a job straight away; you will still have the “no access to public funds” condition on your visa.

You should not leave the UK while your application is still pending; this will automatically withdraw your application.

Once you have been granted permission under the Graduate Route, there are no travel restrictions.

There is no choice about the length of your GR permission; if you are a PhD student who only wants the visa for 2 years, you will still have to pay for all 3.

You can’t extend your stay under the Graduate Route, but you can switch into several other visa categories if you meet the requirements of those visas.

Permission under the Graduate route does not lead to settlement.

What do you need to do and what will the university do?

We will automatically report the successful completion of your award to the UKVI and give you your CAS number from your most recent Student Route visa application.

We will not report the successful completion of a student who owes debt to the university or who has a history of non-compliance.

You will need to complete the application by yourself.

The Careers team will continue to offer you support while you are job-hunting, even after you graduate.