Post Study Work Visa Application Guidelines for International Students

Guidelines, Immigration Tips

The UK government confirmed that the ‘Graduate Route’ for all the International students will open for the applications on 1st July 2021. This is known as the Post Study Work visa. The Graduate route provides an opportunity for international students who have completed their Degree or Master’ to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level for 2 years visa or 3 years visa PHD students.

Who is eligible to apply?

International students can apply to stay in the UK. The Graduate route visa allows a Student in the UK who have completed a minimum Degree level or above (or one of the limited number of professional qualifications at degree level or above) at a Hugh Education Provider with a track record of compliance, and who have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa at the time of the application.

You will need to have completed the entirely of your course in the UK as a student, apart from permitted study abroad programme or remote study due to COVID-19 for which specific concessions have been granted. The good news is the route does not require you to show maintenance funds or finances, and you do not need to demonstrate English language ability when applying.  You must however completed the qualification that was named on the Confirmation for Studies (CAS) associated with your Student or Tier 4 visa, or following a change of course which was allowed without applying for further permission.

The Home Office must be satisfied the following requirements are met;

  • You do not fall for refusal on grounds of suitability
  • You have a valid student at the time of the application
  • You studied with a High Education Provided with a Tier 4 Student licence
  • You have successfully completed a UK bachelor’s degree, Master’s level or a professional course – equivalent to degree level or above
  • You are applying from inside the UK and
  • You have studied a minimum of time as a Student – this will be dependent on the length of your course.

If you have been studying online in your home country due to Covid-19, you can still apply for the Graduate Route, provided you meet the other requirements of the route. This is part of the UK government’s Covid-19 student visa concessions.  The guidance states:

  • Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 via distance learning, and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course, will be able to make an application if they make a successful student visa application and arrive in the UK either before their visa ends or by 27 September 2021, whichever is sooner.
  • Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 who have existing permission as a Student to study that course, and who have already travelled to the UK during that period of permission, will be able to make an application as long as they are present in the UK before the end date of their permission.
  • 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.


Is there a minimum financial requirement?

The good news is the route does not require you to show maintenance funds or finances, and you do not need to demonstrate English language ability when applying.

Is there a minimum skill level or income requirement for Employment and Job Seeking?

Unlike the Skilled Work Visa, there is much flexibility with the Post Study Work – Graduate Visa allowing you to find work at any level and change jobs. Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years if they have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree. PhD graduates will be able to stay for three years. Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.

When should you apply for the Graduate route?

You should apply to the Graduate route once your university has sent you your final course results, and not before this. You do not have to wait until you have graduated to apply. You must be in the UK when you apply. Those who apply from outside the UK will be rejected and refused entry to the UK and could lose their eligibility to apply for the Graduate route as as a whole, in addition application fees may not be refunded.

Can I leave the UK, whilst my application is pending a decision?

You should not leave the UK or Common Travel Area whilst you are waiting for a decision on your application. Doing so may affect your eligibility for the Graduate route and result in your being unable to re-enter the UK. If your visa expires after you have applied to the Graduate route, you will be be permitted to remain in the UK whilst your application is being considered

How much is the Cost of the Application?

The cost of a Post Study Work visa application to the Home Office will require a payment of a visa fee of £700.00 together with an Immigration Health Surcharge, known as the NHS charge at the full rate of £624.00 per year. Any dependants inside the UK, will also pay the application fee of £700, as well as the Immigration Health Surcharge.

How do I apply to the Graduate route?

The application process will be slightly different to what you experienced when you first applied to study in the UK. For the vast majority of applicants, the process will be entirely digital, and if your application is successful, you will be issued with an eVisa.

You will need the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from your current Student (or Tier 4) visa to apply under this route so make sure you have this to hand. If you do not know your CAS number, contact your university. You do not need a new CAS to apply, you should use your existing one.

What are the conditions of the Graduate route?

Under the Graduate route, you are allowed to take up extra study, but you cannot study with a student sponsor on a course which would meet the requirements of a Student visa, and you cannot study at a state school.

Can I bring in my dependants?

You are not allowed to bring new dependants from overseas.

Dependants already in the UK as a Student dependant may apply as a dependant of a Graduate at the same time the Graduate applies to the route.

If my dependants are born in the UK, can they apply?

Yes your dependants will be eligible to be granted the same leave as you if born in the UK

Does the Post Study Work Visa lead to Settlement?

The Post Study Work visa category does not lead to settlement. However, switching is permitted such as to a Skilled Worker visa (previously a Tier 2 work permit or other work routes).

Main Benefits of Applying?

The attractive features of this visa are as under:
1. The visa holders will be allowed to take or look for any job at any level.
There is no need for sponsor or employer for applying this visa.
2. All the students who will be granted this visa can switch over to the work visa, within the country if they have found a suitable job.
3. The dependents of the students will be also eligible for this visa. However this concession is only for those people, who are already dependent. New dependents will be not permitted on this route.
4. The Home office fee for this work visa is £700+ £624 NHS surcharge per year.
4. The only drawback of this visa is that, it’s not extendable and the period does not count towards settlement visa.

However, the visa holder will be allowed to apply for all other routes, which leads to the settlement visa

How can we help?

Our friendly team of Immigration solicitors are experts in dealing with Immigration matters and are here to help you every step of the way for your application to be successful for you and your dependants to be granted a Post Study Work visa.

For Further Information or to talk to us, contact one of Immigration Solicitors in London on 0203 7324736 or complete the contact form or email us. Thank you!

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