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Graduate Route (also known as Post-Study Work Visa)

The UK Government launched the Graduate immigration route for international students on 1 July 2021.

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.
  • Students will need to be in the UK and hold a valid Student (or Tier 4) visa to apply.
  • There are no requirements for students to demonstrate English ability or provide evidence of finances.
  • Students will not be automatically granted the visa: a separate immigration application will need to be made which will include paying the visa fee (£700) and the Immigration Health Surcharge at full rate (£624 per year)
  • 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: 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.
  • Entry dates: 
    • The UK government has confirmed that if you began a course lasting 12 months or less in 2020 or Spring 2021, and you have been studying outside the UK due to COVID-19, you will still be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route provided you successfully obtain a Student visa and arrive in the UK either before your visa ends or by 27 September 2021, whichever is sooner.
    • If you begin a course of 12 months or less in Autumn 2021 or Spring 2022 via distance learning, you must enter the UK by 6 April 2022 and complete the remainder of your study in the UK under a Student visa.
  • 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.


  • 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. 
  • 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 Home Office of your final degree result. In general, Bachelor’s degrees result would be available around August, and November/December for Master’s degrees.
    • You must make this application from the UK while holding a valid Student (or Tier 4) visa. 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 route more than once? 
    • No, students will only be eligible to apply for this route once in their lifetime. At the end of the Graduate route 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 visa application fee for the Graduate route is £700 per person and you’ll need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The IHS costs £624 per person year which needs to be paid in full when applying.

Further information