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Graduate Visas

Exploring options for UK Graduates

Graduate visas allow international students who have successfully completed a UK higher education course to remain in the UK for a limited period of time following the completion of their studies. The route is popular amongst qualifying graduates and employers as it enables visa holders to work in the UK without sponsorship.


To be eligible for the visa, graduates must:

  • Be in the UK on the date of application;
  • Have a current Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa;
  • Have studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course;
  • Have successfully completed their qualifying course. This must be confirmed to the Home Office by the relevant education provider.

Most graduates on the graduate route will receive a 2-year visa for the UK. Those graduating from a PHD or other doctoral qualification will benefit from an extended 3-year visa.

Whilst on the Graduate visa, graduates can work for most employers, be self-employed, job hunt or do voluntary work.


The graduate visa permits visa holders to work in the UK without sponsorship. This is beneficial as it helps applicants and employers to avoid the hefty costs of the sponsorship system and helps to ensure employers are free to employ the best and brightest.

While it is not possible to extend a Graduate visa, graduates can apply to switch into another visa route at any point before the expiry of their visa. The most common visa that graduates will switch into will be the Skilled Worker  visa, which allows workers to be employed in a skilled profession by a sponsor licence-holding employer for up to 5 years.

How can Freeths help?

The Freeths Immigration Team have over 30 years’ experience in advising on visa applications and queries. Our team can deal with all aspects of the Graduate visa and advise students and graduates on the full range of options available to them.

We provide a responsive, first-class service to ensure applications are dealt with swiftly and with minimal inconvenience. We provide support at every stage of the process and can help you to successfully secure your visa today.

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