Graduate Route

The Home Office have now launched the Graduate Route at 9am on 1st July 2021 with the immigration rules being published the same day.

This page was last updated on 29 February 2023.

In addition to the advice below, The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has useful information on their webpage and delivered a presentation for students which you can view online.

Once you have applied you will not be able to leave the UK until UKVI have granted your visa and you either have your new BRP or digital status. Please do not make travel plans until you have applied and received the grant from UKVI.

If you have successfully passed your degree the University will proceed to confirm to the UKVI that you have successfully completed your course as part of its reporting responsibilities in relation to Graduate Route. You cannot apply for Graduate Route until the University has reported.

If you have resits or repeats, this may affect your ability to apply for the Graduate Route.  You will need to contact us as soon as you know you have repeats or resits so we can provide advice for your situation.  If you have resits or repeats, you may need a visa extension but in some cases this will also mean you are not eligible for the Graduate Route.

If you are not satisfied with your outcome and are considering making an academic appeal, or a claim for post-board extenuating circumstances meaning your results are subject to change, please inform us as a matter of urgency. In doing so, please be aware that the University may withdraw the report to the UKVI, which will make you ineligible to apply for Graduate Route at this time. 

You cannot apply to the scheme if you have previously held a Graduate Route visa or Doctorate Extension Scheme visa. You can only apply for and be granted the Graduate Route visa once.

There is nothing in the current rules to prevent those who have previously held a Tier 1 (Post Study Work) route applying to the Graduate route. If this changes we will update the information on this page.

The Home Office have confirmed that there will be a limited list of qualifications which will allow graduates to apply for the scheme. In most cases you will need to have completed the course for which your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) was assigned during your current grant of Tier 4 or Student Permission.

The qualification must be:

  • an undergraduate degree
  • a Masters degree
  • a PhD degree or other doctoral qualification


Qualifications listed in GR 5.2 of Appendix Graduate of the immigration rules:

  • a law conversion course validated by the Joint Academic Stage Board in England and Wales
  • the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or 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)
  • a professional course requiring study at UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities that is regulated by UK law or UK public authority.

The qualification must have been awarded by a Higher Education provider which is listed in listed on the Register of Student Sponsors as a Student Sponsor - Track Record.

The University of South Wales is on this list and meets the criteria.

As part of the Application Process, the University will need to confirm your qualification to the Home Office before the day you apply. The University will email you confirming when this report has been made to let you know it is okay to apply.

If you are not sure whether your qualification is eligible, please contact us.

There are some limited exceptions to having completed the course on your CAS:

  • If 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.
  • If the immigration rules allowed you 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.
  • If the University of South Wales changed the name of your course without changing the content
  • If an assessed work placement or study abroad programme was added to your course
  • If you hold Tier 4 or Student permission to work as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer, your relevant qualification can be granted in the previous period of Student or Tier 4 permission.

The Graduate route has a “Study in the UK” requirement for all courses.

For courses of less than 12 months you must have been in the UK studying for the full length of the course.

For courses of 12 months or longer you must have been studying in the UK for at least 12 months.

There are concessions for some applicants to the scheme – these are noted in the COVID Concessions section.

UKVI have confirmed that if you have been distance learning outside the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still meet the "Study in the UK" requirement.

UKVI still require you to return to the UK by a deadline – this deadline will depend on when your course started and how long it was:

You started your course 2020 or the Spring / Summer 2021 and the course length is 12 months or less.

You need to come to the UK under the Tier 4 or Student route by the 27th September 2021. If your visa finishes before this date you must enter the UK before your visa expires.

If you have previously been to the UK on your Tier 4 or Student Visa but returned home to study by distance learning, you will need to come back to the UK before the end of your current Tier 4 or Student visa. This is confirmed in paragraph 3.25 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Student sponsors, migrants and short-term students guidance

You started your course in Autum 2021 or spirng 2022 and the course length is 12 months or less.

You need to come to the UK under the Tier 4 or Student route by the 30th June 2022. You must enter the UK as soon as possible and should not use the 30th June 2022 date as a target to be in the UK.

You are on a course of more than 12 months in length

UKVI have confirmed that any time spent outside the UK studying by distance learning between 24th January 2020 and 30th June 2022 will not prevent you meeting the "Study in the UK" requirement.

UKVI require that you have spent at least 12 months studying in the UK, and the period of time above will not prevent you applying for the Graduate Route. You need to return to the UK before your current visa expires.

The Home Office have confirmed there is no requirement to show a specific level of Maintenance (money in a bank account) for the Graduate Route.  You will not need to provide any financial documents or evidence with your application.

If you had an official sponsor, Government or scholarship agency,  paying your living costs and tuition fees within the 12-month period before you apply for the Graduate Route then you must provide a letter from the sponsor showing they provide consent to the application and to your stay in the UK.

Paragraph GR 1.5 of Appendix Graduate states that consent is required if a government or international scholarship agency scholarship or sponsorship covers both fees and living costs (though not necessarily in full).

If you only had a partial scholarship which covered living costs only or tuition fees only, the Immigration Rules do not require this letter from your sponsor.

Similarly, if your sponsor was a University, international company, independent school or other type of financial sponsor, you are also exempt from providing the consent letter.

However, you should check that your sponsor is happy for you to stay in the UK and that your stay does not breach the terms of your sponsorship or scholarship to the UK

Chevening Scholars or students in receipt of a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship cannot apply for a Graduate Route visa. When you accept a Chevening Award or a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship, you agree to return home for two years at the end of your scholarship.

Paragraph GR 1.5 of Appendix Graduate states that consent is required if a government or international scholarship agency scholarship or sponsorship covers both fees and living costs (though not necessarily in full).

The website confirms the cost of an application will be £822 per person.

The Immigration Health Surcharge will be £1035 per year of visa granted.

Your visa will be granted for 2 years, unless you have successfully completed a PhD when you will be granted 3 years.

This means your Immigration Health Surcharge will cost £2070 for most graduate and £3105 for PhD graduates.

The application and Immigration Health Surcharge costs are the same for dependants.

Your partner and dependant children under 18 will be able to apply as long as they are already here as your Tier 4 or Student dependants

UKVI has said the following dependants can apply:

  • your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
  • your child under 18 - including if they were born in the UK during your stay
  • your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as your dependant

Partners and children outside the UK cannot apply for a Graduate Route Dependant visa. They must apply for a student dependant visa (if they are eligible) and then come to the UK to join you before you apply for the graduate route.

If you are applying with dependants, they will need the following to apply:

  • 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

Each Dependant must complete their own application form and pay their own fee and IHS. Please see the information available on the website.

You must be in the UK to apply for this visa, and you must apply before your current Student or Tier 4 visa expires.

You can apply direct via the website.

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity.

If you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you usually do this by scanning your passport with the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.

If you’re not from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you usually do this by scanning your biometric residence permit (BRP).

You’ll need to sign into an existing UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account, or create a new one.

If you cannot scan your passport or BRP with the app, you’ll be asked to get your fingerprints and photograph taken at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point. If you do need an appointment, the centre may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application.

You’ll be told what you need to do when you apply.

Once you have applied you will not be able to leave the UK until UKVI have granted your visa and you either have your new BRP or digital status. Please do not make travel plans until you have applied and recieved the grant from UKVI.

You need the following documents:

  • Your current passport
  • Your BRP card
  • Your CAS number – The University will email this to you once your course completion has been reported to UKVI.  Do not apply until you have had this email.
  • Your up to date Police Registration Certificate (if you needed to register with the police)
  • If your full tuition fees and living costs have been paid by a government and/or an international scholarship agency, you must provide a letter showing the financial sponsor's consent to this application under the Graduate route.  See our sponsor information section for more information.

You can also check if you need any other documents on the website.

While you are waiting for UKVI to make a decision on your application, you can continue to work under the same conditions as your Student or Tier 4 permission. You must not start a permanent full time job.

Once your Graduate Route visa is granted you can undertake employed or self employed work at any level, but you cannot work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.

If you want to set up a business and employ other people, its likely the Graduate Route is not the correct route for you. You may need to speak to one of our Advisers about your plans as we may need to direct you to the Start Up visa.

When your visa is granted, UKVI will confirm all the conditions of your visa, including your right to work in the UK, on your grant letter or email.  Your employer can use this document, along with the online Home Office Service, to conduct any right to work checks required.

The Home Office have confirmed that there is restricted study on the Graduate Route. You can only study with a Graduate visa if your chosen course is not eligible for a Student visa. If your course is eligible for a Student visa, you can extend your Student visa instead.

You may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you’re studying or researching sensitive topics.

Your education provider will be able to confirm your right to study, so please check with them before starting your course if your Graduate Route Visa will allow you to legally study in the UK.