The Graduate Route launched on 1 July 2021. It allows students who have completed a Bachelor's or Master's degree to stay for up to two years to work at any skill level, or to look for work. Those who have completed a PhD will be granted permission for 3 years.
You must have Tier 4 or Student immigration permission at the time of application in order to be eligible. You can only apply from inside the UK. You will need to undergo identity, security and criminality checks.
For further information about when to apply for the Graduate Route you can listen to our podcast 'When to apply for the Graduate Route'
Please read our detailed guidance in the sections below to help you understand the eligibility criteria and how and when to apply.
If after reading our guidance you need individual advice you can:
- contact the UKCISA Student advice line. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also has detailed information on their website, including money and fees, travelling in and outside the UK and starting work, or
- find out how to look for a regulated immigration adviser under 'Other regulated immigration advisers' on our web page Further advice
The Immigration Compliance Team at Queen Mary deal with the adminstrative side of reporting successful completion to UKVI. If you have any questions about how this works, you can contact them on: firstname.lastname@example.org
International students who successfully complete an undergraduate degree or postgraduate degree at Queen Mary with Tier 4 or Student immigration permission at the time of application will be eligible. You will be able to apply after the exam board has taken place within your Academic School, and your results have been confirmed, showing that you have passed your course. The Immigration Compliance Team at Queen Mary will report your successful completion to UKVI, and let you know when this has been done. You can apply after this. Do not apply before you have received confirmation from the Immigration Compliance Team that they have reported your successful completion to UKVI.
If your Student or Tier 4 permission expired before 1 July 2021, you will not be eligible to apply (unless you can extend your Student permission first).
You can only apply from inside the UK. You must apply before your current visa expires.
Normally if your total course is 12 months or shorter, you should spend the full duration of your course in the UK with Student immigration permission, if your course is longer than 12 months you should spend at least 12 months in the UK with Student immigration permission (but note the concession in 2021 'Deadline to enter the UK- Covid concessions')
You will only be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route visa once, even if you undertake more than one eligible course in the UK. Therefore if you are planning to do a undergraduate and postgraduate course in the UK, think about when would be the best time to apply depending on your career plans.
When to Apply:
You will only meet the eligibility criteria for the qualification, after the exam board for your programme has taken place, and your results have been officially confirmed. You must have successfully completed your course and your successful completion reported to UKVI in order to be eligible.
Successful completion of your studies is when you have completed your programme and the QMUL progamme boards have confirmed your award of qualification. Programme boards normally take place at QMUL 1-2 months after the end date of your course, however this may vary between Schools and Institutes
The Immigration Compliance Team at Queen Mary will report your successful completion to UKVI, and inform you by email when this has been done . You can only apply after this.
Do not apply before you have received confirmation from the Immigration Compliance Team at QMUL that they have reported your successful completion of studies to UKVI.
You must apply before your current Student or Tier 4 immigration permission expires, or on the day it expires at the very latest.
It is not recommended to wait until the day your visa expires to apply, but if you do apply on the day your visa expires, please see the information from UKCISA about completing the application form.
How to Apply:
You will need to apply using an online application form which you can complete on your phone, laptop, PC or other device.
The Graduate Route visa is not automatic and requires you to make an application.
To make an application, you need to first check that you meet all of the eligibility requirements.
Read the Graduate Route guidance
Once you have checked you meet all the eligiblity requirements, you should follow all the steps to make a successful application. The Graduate Route Application Process is outlined on the UK Government website: Graduate Route.
The application process has a number of steps which include:
- Proving your identity and nationality (in most cases by using the UK Immigration: ID Check app)
- Completing the online application form (you will need to reference your studies and the CAS issued for your studies in this section)
- Paying the Immigration Health Surcharge, Visa Application Fee and submitting the application online
- Submitting any documents in support of your application (if relevant)
- Awaiting the decision of your application (this can take up to 8 weeks)
Tip for using the UK Immigration: ID Check App:
Most applications can prove their identity and nationality by downloading and installing the UK Immigration: ID Check app on your mobile phone or tablet. As part of the ID check you will need your passport or your BRP (if you have one) with you as you will need to scan the document as well as taking a picture and scan of your face.
- Find a space with good lighting and where clear images can be taken free from shadows
- Find a space where you have good mobile reception and / or good wifi connection
- Carefully read the instructions about using the app before starting
- The app asks you to scan your document, read the biometric chip in the document, take a photo and scan of your face.
- If you are having any trouble with any of the actions using the app, the app should explain what is wrong and what you need to do. Follow the instructions.
- Sometimes, people have a problem with the app readingt the chip in the document. Read the guidance carefully and try the suggested solutions.
- If you are not successful using the app, you can try to contact the Help Using the App section of the UK Immigration Check instructions.
- If you are still not able to use the app, you may be able to start a new application and after confirming whether you are an EEA citizen or not and whether you have a BRP, you choose the option to say that you cannot use the app (see image below highlighted in blue)
The application fee is £715, and the Immigration Health Surcharge is £624 per year of permission granted. Your eligible dependants will also have to pay an application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge.
If you were sponsored by a government or international organisation for your studies, or were sponsored during the 12 months before you make your application for the Graduate Route, then you will need to provide a letter of consent from your sponsor. The letter of consent should say that your sponsor agrees to you remaining in the UK. This is required if the scholarship covered both tuition fees and living expenses.
As Queen Mary is not a government or international scholarship agency, you will not require a letter of consent if you have been sponsored by Queen Mary.
We are aware that the visa application form currently asks you to provide a letter of consent if you have previously been sponsored by any official financial sponsor, however this is not in accordance with the Immigration Rules which only requires the letter of consent if you were sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency. If you previously received a scholarship from Queen Mary, you can write a cover letter to submit with your supporting documents to explain that a letter of consent is not required because you were not sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency.
If you were sponsored by a government or international organisation for either your tuiton fees or living expenses, or both, then please check if the terms and conditions of your sponsorship permit you to stay in the UK on completion of your course.
You will be able to work in line with the Graduate Route conditions once your Graduate Route visa has been issued. Until then, you should work in line with your Student conditions. This means that you should not work in a permanent job until your Graduate Route visa has been issued. This is different to full-time work, which you are permitted to undertake under your Student conditions after the end date of your course.
Once your Graduate Route visa has been issued, you can undertake most work, including employment and self-employment and you can also be looking for work. You are not permitted to work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.
Existing dependants can extend, but you cannot bring new dependants under the Graduate Route.
UKVI have confirmed that students will normally be expected to undertake their studies in the UK to be eligible for the Graduate route. However there is a concession at this time, to allow students to remain eligible for the Route even if they have spent some time studying outside the UK as a result of the pandemic.
Students who started a 12 month course in 2020 or Spring 2021
Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or Spring 2021 via distance learning, and who had not previously entered the UK to study that course would be able to make a Graduate application if they made a successful Student visa application and arrived in the UK by 27 September 2021, or before their visa expired if this was sooner.
If you already came to the UK under your current Student route permission but then you switched to distance learning from home, you just need to return to the UK before the end date of your Student permission in order to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route.
Students who start a 12 month course in Autumn 2021 or Spring 2022
Students who begin a course of 12 months or less in Autumn 2021 or Spring 2022 via distance learning from overseas must enter the UK no later than 30 June 2022, and complete that course of study with permission as a Student to be eligible for the Graduate Route
Students who started a course at any time that is longer than 12 months:
Students sponsored for a course lasting longer than 12 months will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate route as a result of any distance learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, or overseas between 27 September 2021 and 30 June 2022. Remember that you must be in the UK with Student or Tier 4 immigration permission at the time of application. If your Student visa expires before 30 June 2022, you must enter the UK before your visa expires rather than 30 June 2022.
In all cases, you must meet all other eligibility criteria of the route in order to be able to apply.
PhD students will be eligible to apply after they have been awarded their PhD, and received the confirmation from the Immigration Compliance Team that they have successfully completed. They will be granted 3 years to stay and work in the UK.
The Careers and Enterprise Service at Queen Mary can provide a range of support in helping you to find work or apply for a job or further study, including feedback on your job application, practice interviews, advice on making career choices and support with looking for work. See the Careers and Enterprise website for further details and follow their blog for useful information and case studies.
You can watch recorded webinars on the Careers and Enterprise Service web pages.
You can access Queen Mary's Careers and Enterprise Service for 2 years after you graduate.
Your previous Student conditions continue whilst you are waiting for a decision on your Graduate Route application, provided that you submit (pay for) your Graduate Route application by the date that your Student visa expires at the very latest. Even if your application is still pending after the date that your Student visa expires, you are still in the UK legally as long as you have submitted your Graduate Route application before that date.
If you travel outside the UK before you receive a decision on your application, your application will be automatically withdrawn.
As long as it is confirmed that you have successfully completed your course while you still hold valid Tier 4 or Student immigration permission, you will be in time to apply for the Graduate Route (subject to meeting all of the other qualifying criteria).
If you are an Undergraduate student who has resits during the late summer resit period, we understand that your results should be released in September following the August resit.
If you are a Postgraduate Taught student who has resit exams, or you need to resubmit your dissertation, you would only be eligible for the Graduate Route if the resit/resubmission takes place AND official results are released before your Student immigration permission expires.
The Immigration Compliance Team at Queen Mary oversee the CAS issuance process and policy. Check the Immigration Compliance Team web page to check if you are eligible to be issued with a CAS for your resit. If you are eligible to be issued with a CAS, and apply for a Student visa for your resit, you can then apply for the Graduate Route if you successfully complete your course before your new Student visa expiry (and meet all other eligibility requirements).
If your application is successful, you’ll get either:
- a biometric residence permit - if you gave your biometric information at a visa application centre or you are a visa national.
- a digital immigration status which you can view and prove online - if you used the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app and are a non-visa national. If you get a digital immigration status, you will not receive a BRP card.
You will be able to generate a share code to prove your right to work in the UK.
Students on part-time courses with Student permission at the time of application will be eligible for the Graduate Route, provided they meet all of the other eligibility criteria.
Please note, the UKCISA information confirms that you cannot start work until your Graduate Route permission is granted.