Graduate Route visa

The Graduate visa will allow successful applicants to stay in the UK after completing studies to work and to look for work.

A Graduate visa lasts for two years. If you have a PhD or other doctoral qualification, it will last for three years.

Your visa will start from the day your application is approved.

The Graduate Route visa not automatically granted. You must meet all the requirements of Appendix Graduate and make an application on the government website.

Cost of the Graduate Route

The application fee is £822.

Applicants also must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for each year of permission. The IHS is £1035 per year of leave. This means it is £2070 for the two-year visa, and £4005 for the three-year visa. This is taken as one payment at the point of application.

When to apply

You can only apply after you have received an email from LJMU confirming the successful completion of your course. You must apply before your current visa expires.

You can only apply if:

  • you are 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
  • you have successfully completed that course

You are not required to show you have a certain amount of money in your bank account to be able to apply for this visa (maintenance).

Applying for the Graduate Route visa

Applications are made online on the government website.

If you have eligible dependants who want to apply, they should also apply on the government website.

Application processing time

Once you have applied and submitted your documents and proved your identity, it takes eight weeks to get a decision.

The main requirements of the Graduate Route visa

You must have successfully completed an undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral degree or another eligible course at LJMU in your last grant of student permission (Tier 4 or Student Route).

Other eligible courses are:

  • a law conversion course validated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (referred to by its previous name of ‘Joint Academic Stage Board’ in the Graduate route immigration rules) in England and Wales
  • the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland
  • 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)

Student Union Sabbatical Officers are eligible to apply if they have successfully completed their course in the period immediately prior to their current leave.

LJMU will need to notify the Home Office (UKVI) of your course completion before you apply for the Graduate Route visa.

There is no requirement for you to show you have a certain amount of money available to you in your bank account (maintenance). If your course of study is 12 months or less, your studies must have been completed in full while you were in the UK, except for periods of permitted, required study abroad or distance learning due to Covid-19 (see the 'further information' section).

If your course of study is longer than 12 months, you must have held a student visa for at least 12 months and spent that time studying in the UK except for periods of distance learning due to Covid-19 (see the 'further information' section).

Your studies must have been the same as that for which your most recent Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) was issued, except in very limited cases where course changes are permitted on an existing student visa.

You must apply in the UK, and have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa at the time of application.

You must not have previously been granted leave as a Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) student –this was a working visa for PhD students only.

Change of course

Normally you must have completed this course during your current period of Tier 4 or Student permission and it must be the same course for which your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) was assigned.

However you could come under an exception if:

  • you were allowed by LJMU to switch to a different course without applying for new Tier 4 or Student permission, you can use that new course as the relevant qualification.
  • LJMU changed the name of your course without changing the content, or if you added an assessed work placement or study abroad programme.
  • your last period of Tier 4 or Student permission was granted to work as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer, it is fine if the relevant qualification was gained during your period of Student or Tier 4 permission immediately before it.
  • your CAS was assigned for an integrated programme, and you successfully completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree as part of that programme, you can use that degree as the relevant qualification. This is only for degrees, not for other types of course.

Documents needed

The documents you need will depend on your personal circumstances. You can read more on the government website, which gives a list of documents you may need to use.

You will need:

  • a valid passport or other travel document that shows your identity and nationality
  • your biometric residence permit (BRP), if you were given one when you applied for your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number from when you applied for your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa

Your CAS number was issued to you when you get a place on the course or when you applied for a CAS for a visa extension.

If you do not have your CAS, you can request a copy via the MY LJMU Portal by using the Student Enquiry form in the My Services section.

Other Documents you may need

Depending on your circumstances, you might be asked to provide:

  • proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they’re applying with you
  • a letter from your scholarship or sponsorship provider approving your application, if they paid for your course fees or living costs in the last 12 months
  • If your application includes any documents which are not in English or Welsh, you must also include a translation of each document. Each translation must contain:
    • confirmation from the translator/translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document
    • the date of the translation
    • the full name and signature of the translator, or of an authorised official of the translation company
    • the contact details of the translator or translation company; and
    • (if you are already in the UK and are applying for further leave) certification by a qualified translator and details of the translator or translation company’s credentials

Successful completion report

LJMU will notify UKVI that you have successfully completed your studies and you will receive an email to confirm this once the report has been submitted to UKVI.

You should not make an application for the Graduate Route visa until you have received the confirmation email from LJMU confirming successful completion.

You do not need to inform LJMU that you have successfully completed your course.

Work you can do

You can do almost all kinds of work with a Graduate Route Visa. There is no minimum qualification or income requirement for the work. You do not require sponsorship from an employer, and you will be free to change jobs as and when necessary.

You can work in almost any field of employment and the work does not have to be related to your studies or qualification.

You cannot work as a professional sportsperson.


Only graduates who already have their family members with them in the UK as dependants will be able to have their dependents apply.

Each of the applicant’s parents must either be applying at the same time as the applicant, or have permission to be in the UK (other than as a visitor).

There are some limited exceptions to this outlined in Appendix Graduate GR 12.2.

Dependants must apply at the same time as the graduate, and they do so on the government website.


Study which would otherwise be sponsored under the Student Route, would not be permitted. This would exclude studying for example, a master’s degree at most UK universities while in the UK with a Graduate Route visa.

Other study at non Student Route Sponsor institutions will be permitted.


If your application for permission to stay has been refused and you think the Home Office has made an error in considering their application, you can apply for an Admin Review.

Please contact the International Advice team on for further information.

Important information

If you have been in receipt of Official Financial Sponsorship from a government, you will need to obtain a letter confirming permission from that government for you to apply to the Graduate Route.

You are not eligible to apply if you have previously been granted permission under the Doctorate Extension Visa.

You can only have the Graduate Route visa once. It is not possible to extend the visa, but it will be possible to switch to another type of visa from the Graduate Route such as Skilled Worker and Student Route.

As with holders of the Student Visa, holders of the Graduate Route visa applying to switch to the Skilled Worker Route can be considered as ‘new entrants’ for Skilled Worker sponsorship, which means the minimum salary offer to be sponsored can be the lower minimum salary new entrants rate.

The Graduate route is not a route to settlement.

Further information