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Graduate visa

This visa allows students to remain in the UK and work for two years after they successfully complete their degree at Birkbeck. PhD students will be granted three years.

Key information

  • All individuals who have successfully completed a bachelor's degree, master's degree or PhD are eligible to apply. Successfully completed is defined as official publication of the degree award.
  • Students will need to be in the UK and hold a valid Student (or old-style Tier 4) visa to apply.
  • There is no requirement for students to demonstrate English ability or provide evidence of finances, but students must meet the UK residency requirements (see below).
  • Students will not be automatically granted the visa: a separate immigration application will need to be made and students must pay the associated fees.
  • The visa will allow students to work full time in most type of jobs, including self employment, but excluding working as a sportsperson or coach.
  • This visa is not extendable and students will only be eligible to apply for this route once in their lifetime.
  • It will not count towards settlement rights.
  • Applicants must have studied in the UK for a minimum period, except for permitted study abroad programmes or when distance learning has been necessary due to COVID-19.
  • UK residency requirements: 
    • If your degree was at least 12 months in length, then you are required to have studied in the UK for a minimum of 12 months.  
    • If your degree was less than 12 months in length, then you must have spent the entire length of the course studying in the UK.
    • Under the Graduate visa, 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.


I have not passed all of my modules, will I still be eligible to apply for the Graduate visa?

  • This will depend on whether you need to retake a module or simply resubmit work. 
  • If you retake a module, Birkbeck will consider a request for another CAS to extend your Student visa. If your official degree result becomes available before your new Student visa expiry date, you can apply for the Graduate visa.
  • However, if you are only submitting coursework or attending an exam, then unfortunately we cannot extend your Student visa. You will need to leave the UK when your current visa expires. This will mean you are not eligible for the Graduate visa. 

Do I have to be studying a specific course to be eligible?

  • Students who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above (bachelor’s, master’s, PhD at Birkbeck) will be eligible to apply. 
  • Students studying graduate diplomas or postgraduate diplomas will not be eligible, nor will students who obtain of those these diploma programmes as an exit award. 

Will I have to leave the UK to apply?

  • No, you must apply from the UK while holding a valid or Student (or Tier 4) visa.

When can I submit my application?

  • You can apply from the UK after Birkbeck has informed the UKVI of your final degree result, following the official publication of your degree award:
    • bachelor’s degrees: August-September
    • master's degrees (October 2022 start): Wednesday 20 December 2023
    • master's degrees (January 2023 start): by Wednesday 27 March 2024
    • PhDs: these are awarded the month following successful completion of your thesis submission.
  • You must make the application from the UK before your current Student (or Tier 4) visa expires. Once your application is submitted, you must not leave the UK or Common Travel Area until a decision is made.

Can I apply for the Graduate visa more than once? 

  • No, students will only be eligible to apply for this route once in their lifetime. At the end of the Graduate visa period, students will be expected to switch to a different immigration category, such as Skilled Work route, or leave the UK. 

Will PhD students who were previously granted the Doctorate Extension Scheme be eligible?

  • No. The Graduate visa's validity requirements state that an applicant who has previously been granted permission under the Doctoral Extension Scheme is not eligible.

How much does it cost to apply?

  • The application fee for the Graduate visa is £822 per person and you’ll need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The IHS costs £1,035 per person per year, which needs to be paid in full (two or three years depending on your qualification level) when applying. The fees are correct at the time of publishing.
Which documents do I need to submit in the application?
Can I leave the UK during my Graduate visa application?
  • You should not leave the UK or Common Travel Area while your visa application is being decided, otherwise you will be considered to have withdrawn your Graduate visa application.

Further information