For many people who want to go to college, one of the best things about studying abroad is the chance to live and work there after they graduate. In a country with a lot of different cultures like the UK, where international students’ contributions are highly valued, it makes sense that many people want to stay longer if they can. In this article, we look at the types of visas you can get after you finish school in the UK and how to apply for them.
The UK graduate visa
With the new UK graduate visa, it is now easier for many international students to find work in the UK after they graduate. The scheme was made because the country wanted to keep talented college graduates.
Who can apply?
You can apply for a UK graduate visa if you just finished a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree, or another course that meets the requirements.
- Still residing in the UK
- Your present visa is a student visa for the UK.
- Your education provider has notified the Home Office that you have finished your course if you studied for at least 12 months (or the entire period if it was less than 12 months long).
How long can I stay?
You can stay in the UK for two years on a graduate visa. You will be granted a three-year visa if you hold a Ph.D. (or equivalent doctorate degree).
A graduate visa cannot be extended, however, you might be able to apply for another type of visa to stay in the UK.
What rules are there?
You will be allowed to as a holder of the UK graduate visa:
- work in most occupations, including volunteer work
- to work for oneself
- seek employment and continue to reside in the UK with your family (if they are eligible/allowed).
- travel to and from the UK.
What you cannot do with a graduate visa from the UK is
- submit an application for any welfare (government) payments or a state pension while playing professional sports.
- You might, under certain conditions, be able to pursue your studies on a graduate visa, but only if your programme does not qualify for a student visa.
Every visa is different, so be mindful of that. In each individual situation, visas are granted. Depending on the specifics of your case, yours might include additional conditions.
When to apply
Your graduate visa for the UK must be applied for:
- When your college or institution has notified the Home Office that you have finished your degree, but before your student visa expires (terminates).
- To apply for a UK graduate visa, you do not need to wait until you have graduated.
How much does it cost
A graduate visa for the UK costs GBP 715. For each year you stay in the UK, you will also have to pay a healthcare surcharge of GBP 624. You might be qualified for or permitted to get a refund for your healthcare surcharge if you decide to work in the public sector (returned to you).
Keep in mind that while you are in the UK, you will need to be able to afford to support yourself. Rent, bills, and travel expenses should all be factored into your budget.
What documents do I need?
You will need the following items in order to apply for a graduate visa in the UK:
- your passport (or another valid travel document),
- your biometric residence permit (if you have one), and the reference number from when you applied for your student visa.
- your passport (or another valid travel document), your biometric residence permit (if you have one), and your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number.
You should contact your education provider if you are unable to locate your CAS number. They will keep a record of it in their files. You can also be required to give the following information:
- if you are applying with a family member or family member, you must provide documentation of your link to them.
- a letter of approval from the supplier of your scholarship or sponsorship stating that they have paid either your tuition or living expenses within the previous year.
Proving your identity
You are required to present evidence of your identification as part of the application process for a graduate visa in the UK. In order to accomplish this, you need require an account with the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) on their “UK Immigration: ID Check” app. In order to use this app, you will need to scan your biometric residence permission. Instead of scanning your ID, you will need to scan your passport if you are from the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein.
In the event that you are unable to scan your papers into the app, you will be required to have your fingerprints and photo taken at a location that has been approved. At the time of your appointment, you are need to provide either your biometric residency permit or your passport.
Completing your application
In order to apply, you will need to fill out an online application form. Make sure that you are prepared to pay the fees that are related with your application by having your credit card or debit card handy. Keep in mind that you can submit your application for a graduate visa for the UK online.
After you apply
You should expect to hear back from UKVI with a decision regarding your application for a graduate visa within (at the very latest) eight weeks of submitting it. During the time that you are waiting for a decision, you are not permitted to travel outside of the British Isles or Ireland. After your application has been accepted, you will be able to provide online evidence of your entitlement to work and reside in the UK.
What other work visa options are there?
Would you like more information on some of the various work visas for the UK that are available? The table that follows outlines the specifics of two of the most well-liked options.
It’s possible that you’ll conclude that one of these options is more suitable for you than a graduate visa. You could also make the decision to switch to one of them following the expiration of your graduation visa. No matter the circumstances, you should always make sure you have a complete understanding of the choices available to you.
|Skilled worker visa
|People with a job (or job offer) with an approved employer.
|Health and care worker visa
|Doctors, nurses, or people working in adult social care.
In addition to this, the United Kingdom government has made the High Potential Individual Visa (HPI) route available to newly graduated students. It allows graduates of British universities to remain in the country for a period of at least two years after graduation. Graduates with a Ph.D. will be allowed to extend their stay for an additional three years.
In order to be eligible for an HPI visa, you need to have graduated from a university that is qualified within the previous five years. The UK government maintains a list of eligible universities, which is comprised of highly regarded educational establishments from throughout the world and comes from the top 100 of both the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. In addition to this, you will need to provide evidence that you are proficient in the English language and have sufficient savings to maintain your standard of living while living in the country.