Introduction to the Graduate Visa
Graduate Visa is a new option for international students seeking to study in the UK. The UK government enabled this route on July 1, 2021.
The key requirement to apply for this particular category of visa is that you must have previously been in the UK and finished your studies in an approved course. Students could previously seek an extension to their stay in the UK through the Doctorate Extension Scheme. However, the new Graduate Route has effectively replaced it.
Once you receive a Graduate Visa, you are eligible to stay, study, and work in the UK for a period of 2 or 3 years. You can’t seek an extension to this visa, although it becomes easier to apply for other types of visas after you have a Graduate Visa.
Our experienced Graduate Visa solicitors at the London-based Adam Bernard’s law office can help you apply for the visa, or seek a review in case your visa application has been rejected.
Who is Eligible for the Graduate Visa?
You must meet several requirements before you can be eligible for a UK Graduate Visa. Here is a look at these:
- You must have been enrolled previously at an educational institution that is approved as a licensed sponsor
- You must have been studying in an eligible course
- You must have completed your course at this institution or have studied at your course for at least 12 months
- You must have a Tier 4 Student Visa or the new Student Visa
These are the basic visa requirements that must be met to be eligible for this type of study visa. The following courses are eligible:
- Foundation programmes in the areas of medicine and dentistry
- Legal courses including the Bar Course in Ireland, the Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, any Professional Legal Practice in Scotland diploma, or law conversion courses that have been approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
- Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes
- PhD or doctorate
You must be in an eligible course at a licensed sponsor institution and hold a valid Student Visa before you can apply for the Graduate Route. If you are not sure whether you are eligible, a Graduate Visa attorney in London can guide you.
Graduate Visa Fees and Processing Time
The basic application fee for a Graduate Visa is £715. In addition, you are also required to pay a certain amount per year as a healthcare surcharge. This additional amount covers your healthcare needs while you are in the UK. You can access the NHS once you pay the surcharge which is mandatory for Graduate Visa applicants.
The per-year healthcare surcharge is £624. If you have been awarded a two-year visa, the total amount becomes £1,245. For applicants who receive a three-year visa, the surcharge totals £1,872.
Once your application for the Graduate Route has been submitted, you can expect a decision within 8 weeks. The actual processing time may vary due to certain factors. For instance, if your application is incomplete or you have not attached the requisite documentation, it may take the Home Office longer to process it.
It is best to consult a reliable immigration attorney before you submit your visa application. Our Study Visa solicitors can review your application to ensure that its complete, accurate, and optimized for a quick outcome.
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the application process for a Graduate Visa.
- You must first ensure that you have completed your course or completed a 12-month study period, whichever is shorter.
- You must ensure that your Student Visa has not expired as the Graduate Visa application must be submitted with a valid Student Visa.
- You can apply right after you complete your course. You don’t have to wait to receive a formal degree or to formally graduate from your institution. If your licensed sponsor institute has told you that you have completed your course, you are now eligible to file a Graduate Visa application.
- You must be in the UK to apply.
- The application must be submitted online through the official Home Office website.
- If you are from an EU or EEA country, you must prove your identity by scanning your identity card or passport on the “UK Immigration: ID Check” app.
- If you are from a non-EEA country, you can prove your identity by scanning your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) using the app linked above. If you don’t have a BPR, you must schedule an appointment at a designated centre to have your biometric details collected and receive a BRP.
- You must have other relevant documents with you when applying. These documents are listed in the next section.
It is generally advised that you consult a reliable immigration attorney when submitting your Graduate Visa application. Here at Adam Bernard’s law office, our Graduate Visa solicitors can help you ensure that your application is complete and free from any errors.
Documents Required for Graduate Visa Application
As noted above, an application for the Graduate Route is submitted online. However, you must have all the relevant documents on hand while filling out the application. You will need to provide the following documents:
- A Valid Form of Identification. This can be your national identity card, your passport, or a valid travel document that confirms your identity.
- A Biometric Residence Permit. You probably received a BRP if you have been studying in the UK on a Student Visa from a non-EEA country. You will need to provide the details of the BRP during your application.
- Acceptance Letter. You get a UK Student Visa after you have a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a licensed sponsor. You are required to provide the reference number of your CAS when applying for the Graduate Visa.
- Sponsorship or Scholarship Details. This applies only if you have received funds from a sponsor, government entity, or an international scholarship agency to cover your tuition or living costs while residing in the UK. If you have received funds that qualify as such, you must submit a letter from the relevant entity as evidence.
If you are unclear about how to get these documents or submit them, a Graduate Visa attorney in London can offer help.
Moving on From a Graduate Visa
Once you have a Graduate Visa, you are free to live, work, and study in the UK. You can also travel in and out of the UK without most of the immigration restrictions. The Graduate Visa also entitles you to apply for your eligible family members to join you in the UK.
However, you do face some limitations. You are not allowed to work as a professional sportsperson. You can also not seek state pension or other benefits offered by the state.
The Graduate Visa lasts 2 years for most applicants. If you are applying for PhD or doctoral studies that you aim to pursue, you will receive a 3-year visa. You can’t seek an extension to your Graduate Visa.
You do have the option to switch to another type of visa as your Graduate Visa nears expiry. Other visa options include Health and Care Visa, Partner Visa, Skilled Worker Visa, and Start-up Visa.
The Skilled Worker Visa is a common route after the Graduate Visa. You must already have received a job offer from a registered sponsor company in the UK before you can apply for the Skilled Worker Visa.
If your application is successful, you are allowed to live and work in the UK for 5 years. You can then apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and ultimately seek full UK citizenship. Our immigration attorneys can help you determine your best options as you move on from a Graduate Visa.
What if My Visa Application is Rejected?
A Graduate Visa application may be refused for one of the following reasons:
- You didn’t provide a valid proof of identity
- You didn’t apply from inside the UK
- You don’t have a valid Student Visa which is a key pre-requisite for the Graduate Visa application
- You have not yet completed your course or studied for at least 12 months
- You didn’t provide valid supporting documents
- You have not met the English language requirements for the visa
The Home Office will likely note the reason your visa application was refused. Depending on the nature of this reason, you can seek an administrative review. You can typically seek an administrative review within 14 days of receiving the letter. It is critically important to seek the help of an experienced immigration attorney as you do so.
Why Choose Adam Bernard’s Graduate Visa Solicitors?
Here at the London-based Adam Bernard’s law office, our Study Visa solicitors offer professional and legal help when you apply for a Graduate Visa. With the help of our Study Visa solicitors, you can avoid the common mistakes that lead to visa application refusals.
Our immigration attorneys offer tailored advice and guidance to suit the specifics of your case. We also help you get a decision on your application as soon as possible.
Call us today at 0207-100-0505 to get in touch with a Graduate Visa attorney London and schedule a free consultation.