The Graduate route is available to students who have successfully completed a degree (or other relevant qualification) with an approved UK Higher Education provider. UEA is one of these institutions. You do not require sponsorship or endorsement (from your institution or an employer) to apply to this route.
To be eligible for the Graduate route, the following statements must all be true:
- You are in the UK
- Your current visa is a Student visa (or Tier 4 (General) student visa)
- You studied a UK Bachelor’s or Postgraduate degree, or another eligible course for a minimum period with your Student Visa
- Your education provider (UEA) has told you that you have successfully completed your course.
Successful applicants are granted 2 years permission to stay in the UK; PhD graduates are granted 3 years.
You must make your application from inside the UK. It is not possible to apply to the Graduate route from your home country or anywhere else outside of the UK. If you are outside the UK but still have a valid Student visa, you should return to the UK before your Student visa expires, to make a Graduate route application.
UEA must report your successful completion to UKVI before you can make your Graduate route application. You can apply anytime after this and before your Student visa expires. If you submit a valid Graduate route application in-time, but your Student visa expires before you receive a decision on your application, you can legally remain in the UK on 3C Leave.
You will need to make your Graduate route application online. If you have any questions or face any challenges making your application, please contact Student Life. As part of the online application, you will need to pay the Application Fee and Immigration Health Surcharge. The Application Fee is £700, and Immigration Health Surcharge is £624 per year of immigration permission.
Current Immigration Permission
You must be present in the UK with a valid Student visa, or a Tier 4 (General) student visa. Graduate Route Caseworker Guidance (pg. 8) confirms that students who undertake a Student Union Sabbatical Officer (SUSO) role on the Student route, immediately following their course of study, will still be eligible for the Graduate route. Students who undertake two consecutive periods as a SUSO will still be able to meet this requirement.
Coronavirus - Exceptional Assurance
Graduate Route Caseworker Guidance also confirms that a student whose Student visa has expired but who has “been given a period of exceptional assurance,” which they have not overstayed, will still be eligible to apply to the Graduate route. If you think this applies to you, you can contact Student Life for further support.
Successful Completion of a Relevant Qualification
You must have successfully completed a relevant qualification before you can apply. Successful completion does not just refer to when your provisional results are available on Blackboard. Your provisional results must have been considered by a Final Exam Board and official results must have been released before you are considered to have successfully completed.
Students who have completed a UK Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, PhD or other doctoral qualification should be eligible for the Graduate route. There are some other ‘relevant qualifications’, including the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). A list of other relevant qualifications can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Study in the UK (relevant period)
Appendix Graduate (in the Immigration Rules) explains that students must have spent a relevant period in the UK with Student permission, in order to be eligible for the Graduate route. If your course was 12 months or shorter, you must have studied the whole course in the UK. If your course was longer than 12 months, you must have studied your course in the UK for a minimum of 12 months.
Some concessions to this requirement have been made in relation to Coronavirus and Remote Study. If you think this might apply to you, please contact Student Life for further support.
Financial Sponsorship for your Studies
If you received financial sponsorship for your tuition fees and living costs from a government and/or international scholarship agency in the last 12 months, you must provide a letter from them demonstrating that you have their consent to apply to the Graduate route. You are not required to provide this if you received only partial funding, or you received a scholarship (or fee reduction) from UEA.
If you will be completing your studies after your expected end date, either due to coursework extensions or reassessments, you might not be able to apply to the Graduate route. If your reassessments or extended deadlines still fall within your current Student visa permission, UEA will not be able to sponsor an extension to your immigration permission. If you are unable to receive final results before your Student visa expires, you will not be eligible to apply to the Graduate route.
If you will not complete all your assessments before your Student visa expires, the University might be able to support a visa extension, in limited circumstances, where it is academically essential that you remain in the UK to complete your course. Many students will be able to complete outstanding coursework from outside the UK; in these circumstances, a Student visa extension is unlikely to be an option.
If any of this applies to you and you would like to seek advice or support, please contact Student Life.
As well as being able to work in the UK, Graduate visa holders can change jobs, be employed or self-employed, work flexibly and spend time without work. You still cannot work as a professional sportsperson or coach. The Graduate visa is not extendable, so if you plan to continue working in the UK after your visa expires, you will need to apply to an alternative immigration route. You can read about other options on the UKCISA website.
Study is restricted under the Graduate route. The study condition states that you cannot study on a course that could also be sponsored under the Student route.
This restriction does not apply to Graduate route dependants, who can study any course they choose to.
Extending your stay
You cannot extend your permission under the Graduate route. To remain in the UK, you must switch into a different immigration route, for which you are eligible. You can read about some of the options that might be available to you on the UKCISA website.
You can switch back into the Student route if you wish to study a new course. However, you will not be eligible for further Graduate route permission after completing this course.
After you have submitted your application and provided biometric information and/or supporting documents, you would usually receive a decision on your application within 8 weeks.
You should not travel outside the UK before receiving a decision on your application. If you travel outside the Common Travel Area (including the UK, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and Ireland) your application will be automatically withdrawn.
If you are a ‘visa national’, you will receive a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to show when re-entering the UK, after travel. ‘Non-visa nationals’ will use their digital status. There are no restrictions or time limits placed on travel outside the UK, when holding a Graduate visa.
Most applicants will receive 2 years of permission under the Graduate route; PhD graduates should receive 3 years.