Graduate Route Visa UK (Post Study Work Visa) for Indian Students

Graduate Route Visa UK (Post Study Work Visa) for Indian Students

14 mins read2L Views 109 Comments
Priya Garg
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on May 30, 2024 13:49 IST
Post-study Work Visa UK: Thousands of overseas students in the UK, especially Indians, use the Graduate Route visa to stay in the country for a minimum of two years after completing their study programme and exploring jobs. This post-study work visa in the UK allows students to work in most jobs (except for being professional sportsperson), look for jobs, be self-employed, continue living in the UK with spouse and children and travel to and from the UK.   
Post-study work visa UK

A post-study work visa in the UK (also known as the Graduate Route or Graduate Route Visa) allows international students to remain in the country for a period of 2 years or more after completing their higher studies in the UK on a student visa. While applying for a graduate route visa in the UK, the applicant must be present in the UK and the application must be submitted before the validity of their student visa expires. 

If the student needs to study further, they can simply apply for an extension of their student visa in the UK. However, if the course that the student has chosen is not eligible for the student visa then, the course can be pursued on the graduate visa itself.  

Also Read: How to Get a UK Work Visa for Indians?

What is Graduate Route in the UK?

The Graduate Immigration Route, also known as the Points-based Immigration Route is an unsponsored route that helps students take up work opportunities or look for one for up to two years after completing their bachelor's or master's courses, up to 3 years for doctoral students. The education completed must be in accordance with the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) associated with your Student (or Tier 4) visa, or following a change of course which was allowed without applying for further permission. 

This route allows students with any level of skills, having completed their college/university education, to work or look for work towards establishing their careers in the UK. Applicants are not required to provide proof of funds or finance or demonstrate their fluency in English. This is because the applicants have already demonstrated their English proficiency by successfully completing a degree in the UK. 

UK Post Study Work Visa for Graduates: Allowed Duration

The post-study work visa UK (PSW UK) or work permit for the UK allows international students to stay back to search for work or work on some full-time work opportunities in the UK for a period of two years after completing their graduate studies. For PhD or doctoral students, this period may extend for 3 years.

No extension of your Graduate Route Visa beyond these specified time durations is allowed and you will be required to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa if you wish to work and stay in the UK beyond these periods (whichever suits your qualifications).  

Post Study Work Visa UK: Eligibility Criteria

Applicants should note that they should be in the UK when applying for a Graduate Route Visa. The best part is that the applicants do not need to give evidence of any funds if their previous course lasted for more than 12 months and they have been living and studying in the UK during that period. nor are they required to prove English language ability as your UK university degree will itself serve as proof of the latter. Also, students should have obtained the qualification stated on the CAS associated with a Student visa or Tier 4 visa.

In order to apply for a post-study work visa in the UK:

  • You should be in the UK. If you travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands before getting a decision on your graduate route visa application then, your application will be withdrawn and candidature for the same will be rendered cancelled. 
  • You must have completed a bachelor’s, postgraduate or doctoral degree from the UK for the minimum duration with your Student visa or Tier 4 student visa.
  • You possess a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa and it has not yet expired.
  • Your education provider should have confirmed your course completion to the home office in the UK. 
  • You are a Student Union Sabbatical Officer on a Student Visa.
  • Your minimum time of studying (and living) in the UK must have been:
    • At least 12 months, if your course lasted for more than 12 months.
    • Equal to the total duration of your course if your course is shorter than 12 months. For e.g., if your course was 10 months long, you must have studied for at least 10 months in the UK.

When to Start Applying for a PSW Visa UK?

You must start applying for a graduate visa in the UK as soon as your university/college conveys the status of completion of your studies to the home office, the UK. Make sure your Tier 4 or Student Visa's duration has not ended by the time you apply for a PSW visa. 

For this reason, you do not need to wait until your graduation day or until you receive your degree. 

Graduate Route Visa Application Process

You have to apply for a Graduate Visa in the UK online and attach the required documents along with your application. Your dependents (partner and children) need to apply separately along with paying for each application separately. 

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As part of the application process, you will be required to prove your identity which can be done by scanning your biometric residence permit (BRP). The same can be done using the "UK Immigration: ID Check" app by signing into your pre-existing UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account, or by creating a new one. If the same cannot be done using the aforementioned app, you will be required to provide your photograph and fingerprints at one of the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service points.

The applicants are given complete assistance on what needs to be done while applying. However, your documents and passport may be kept to process your application if you require an appointment and that will take more time in getting your graduate visa.

Documents Required

To apply for a post-study work visa in the UK, you must present the following documents

  • Any valid travel document or passport to confirm your identity and nationality.
  • Biometric residence permit (BRP), if that was provided to you when you applied for a Tier 4 (General) student visa in the UK. 
  • CAS Reference Number - provided by your education provider (college/university) when you completed your course on the UK student visa.
  • Proof of relationship with partner and/or children, if any of them is applying as dependent with you on your graduate visa.
  • If your cost of living and studying in the UK were supported by a scholarship or sponsorship in the last 12 months then, a letter of approval from either of the sponsorship/scholarship providers must be provided.  

Post Study Work Visa UK Fees

There are two components of graduate route visa fees in the UK, the same are given below.

  • Two and three-year Graduate route visa application fee: £822
  • Immigration Health Surcharge: £1,035 per year for each year you are going to stay in the UK. 

Also Read: UK Post-Study Work Visa Rules Relaxed for International Students

UK Graduate Route Visa Processing Time

The decision regarding your application for the graduate visa will be conveyed to you within 8 weeks. Applicants are advised to stay in the UK during this time.

If, for any reason, the decision on your application is going to exceed 8 weeks then, the same will be conveyed to you via email. The following are the probable reasons that can lead to an extension of the application processing time.  

  • Any of your attached documents need to be re-verified
  • Owing to your personal situation and circumstances, for example, you have a criminal conviction

So, make sure you submit the required documents 

What After You Apply for a Graduate Visa in the UK?

After you apply for the graduate route visa, you will receive an email containing details on the status of your application within 8 weeks of the date of application. The email will also consist of the details of what needs to be done next. 

If you wish to cancel your online application for a post study work visa in the UK then, you may get a refund of your application fee only if the UKVI has not started processing your application.

Can Students Work in the UK After Graduation?

The new UK post-study work visa rules allow international students to work in the UK after graduation. This rule will be applicable to bachelor's, master's and PhD graduates.

If you have pursued a bachelor’s or a post-graduation degree, then the validity of the post-study work visa in the UK will be for two years. If you have pursued a PhD or other doctoral qualification, then the validity of a Graduate visa will be for three years. The duration of validity of your graduate visa starts the day your application for the same is approved.

Related Read: UK Student Visa for Indians

What you can and cannot do with a UK Post Study Work Visa?

With a Graduate Visa, you can:

  • Work in most of the jobs
  • Search for work
  • Be self-employed
  • Continue staying in the UK with your children and partner, if they are eligible
  • Do some voluntary work
  • Travel abroad and return to the UK

Things you cannot do with a Graduate Visa

  • Apply for the benefits like public funds, or the State Pension
  • Work as a professional sportsperson

Check: UK Student Visa Rejection Reasons (Tier 2 & Tier 4 Visa)

What to do After the UK Post Study Work Visa Expires?

Upon the expiration of the graduate visa, candidates willing to continue to work and stay in the UK can apply for a Skilled Worker Visa, General Work Visa (Tier 2 visa) or any other relevant visa. However, in order to get a Tier 2 visa, the candidate must be getting:

  • At least £38,700 per year, or
  • The "going rate" according to the type of work

For some jobs, this can be higher or lower. In order to apply for a Tier 2 visa, you must have a confirmed job offer before you apply.

Check: Getting UK Student Visa Becomes Easier; Financial Bond Scrapped

How to get a Job in the UK (PSW in the UK) from India?

Earlier, the UK’s immigration rules were restrictive. However, in today’s time, the government is focusing on enhancing its competitive edge. It is inviting skilled professionals to work in the destination under the Tier 2 visa program. Under this program, skilled workers from nations like India, whose occupations are on the Tier 2 shortage occupations list can request to work in the UK on a long-term basis. Given below are the details for the two streams under the Tier 2 Visa.

  • Skilled Worker Visa: This visa allows you to come or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer. It has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa. In order to qualify for the skilled worker visa, you must work for a UK employer that has been approved by the Home Office. Also, you must have a certificate of sponsorship from your employer with information about the role that you have been given in the United Kingdom. Apart from this, you must do a job that is on the list of eligible occupations and be paid a minimum salary.
  • Senior or Specialist Worker Visa: This visa allows you to come or stay in the UK to do an eligible job at your employer’s UK branch. It has replaced the Intra-company Transfer Visa, previously the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Long-term staff visa. To qualify for this visa, you must be an existing employee of an organization that has been approved by the Home Office as a sponsor, have a certificate of sponsorship from your employer, do a job that is present in the list of eligible occupations, and be paid at least £48,500 per year.

Read More: What is a Tier 4 Student Visa UK?


Q. What all can I do professionally with the UK post study work visa?

A. With the UK Graduate visa, you can work in a broad range of jobs, you can pursue self-employment, can perform voluntary work, and you can travel to international locations and return back to the UK. However, you cannot apply for benefits through public funds or state pension, and you cannot work as a professional sportsperson.

Q. What is the cost of applying for PSW Visa UK (Graduate Route Visa UK)?

A. To apply for the UK Graduate visa, you need to pay an application fee of £822 and an annual health surcharge of £1,035. The annual health surcharge allows you to make use of the country’s National Health Service just like a permanent resident of the UK can. You will have to pay the entire amount while applying for a graduate route. Also, if there are any dependents they too will have to pay both of the aforementioned fees.

Q. Under what circumstances can I get an exemption from health surcharge?

A. If you are a doctor or nurse, or you are employed in health or adult social care, and you are eligible for Health and Care Worker visa, you can receive an exemption from health surcharge.

Q. Can I extend my UK post study work visa (Graduate Route Visa UK)?

A. No, you cannot extend your UK Graduate visa. However, once it expires, you can apply for a skilled work visa, general work visa, or any other relevant visa if you wish to extend your stay in the UK. However, in order to get a Tier 2 visa, the general work visa, the candidate must be getting at least £38,700 per year or the "going rate" according to the type of your job (whichever is higher).

Q. Under what circumstances can the validity of my UK post study work visa become 3 years?

A. In case if a student has pursued a PhD or other doctoral qualification, then the validity of his/ her UK Graduate visa will be for 3 years.

Q. What all documents do I need to apply for Graduate Visa UK?

A. In order to apply for Graduate Visa UK, you will require the following documents:

  • Valid ID proof that involves your passport
  • If you were given a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), then you need to provide that as well
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number
  • Proof of relationship with your partner or children (if applicable)
  • Your scholarship or sponsorship provider also needs to provide a letter (if applicable)

Q. How long does it take to receive a decision on my UK Graduate Visa application?

A. Once you have provided your documents, proven your identity, and applied online, you must wait for 8 weeks to receive a decision on you UK Graduate Visa application. In case if your documents require verification or there are other reasons, you might have to wait for a little longer.

Q. Can dependants apply for Graduate Visa UK?

A. Yes. When you had applied for your UK Student Visa (Tier 4 Student Visa), if at that time, your partner and children were with you in the UK as dependants, they can also apply to stay as dependants on your UK Graduate Visa.

Q. Can I cancel my UK PSW Visa application? Will I receive a refund in case if I decide to cancel the application?

A. You can cancel your visa application. In case if you cancel before a decision has been made, you will receive a refund of the immigration health surcharge. In case of application fee refund, it depends on the stage of your application. It might take up 28 days for you to receive your refunded amount.

Q. What all courses make me eligible for Graduate Visa UK?

A. The following courses make you eligible for PSW UK:

  • Bachelor’s degree (UK)
  • Master’s degree (UK)
  • PhD or Doctorate (UK)
  • Law conversion course approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • Legal Practice Course in England and Wales
  • Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland
  • Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
  • Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland
  • Foundation programme in medicine/ dentistry
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Education

Q. Am I eligible for UK residence?

A. You can apply for permanent residence in the UK if you fulfill certain eligibility requirements. Permanent settlement in the UK is known as indefinite leave to remain (ILR). The requirements for ILR in the UK vary somewhat depending on the route through which you are applying. But, in general, they consist of: continuous residence in the UK for 5 years, proof of enough English language skills, passing the Life in the UK test, proof that you meet the requirements of your UK visa.  

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Priya Garg
Study Abroad Expert

Priya Garg is a seasoned content writer and editor. With her rich experience in content writing, teaching and research & analysis, Priya believes in providing only the correct information which is also up-to-date. H... Read Full Bio

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Amlendu Amlendu

2 months ago

What are the total amount to pay for PSW in UK

Reply to Amlendu Amlendu

thankyou for providing this useful information

Reply to johnson william


Jenni Parmar

a year ago

I have applied for student visa and i got offer letter too but few people told me that uk is going to stop giving the working hours for the students . Is it true?

Reply to Jenni Parmar

Hello Jenni. However, there are certain rules regarding part-time work in the UK for international students who are going on a student visa. You can work on-campus or off-campus depending upon the opportunities you get. Click the link at the end to learn more about the restrictions on working part-



ashika shah

a year ago

I had this urgent question I had gone to Oman on 19th august and came back on 27th September and my course is for 1 year, I applied for PSW visa so will I get rejected ? As our term time got over on 23rd September. I have completed my course and applied from within Uk

Reply to ashika shah


Aprant Agarwal

a year ago

Please refer to the article above and note the following points: You must have studied for at least 12 months, if your course duration is more than 12 months. Your time period of study must be equal to the duration of your course, if your course is shorter than 12 months. For e.g., if your course is



Jegesh R

a year ago

Can I get two year stayback, if I complete premaster course in UK

Reply to Jegesh R


Aprant Agarwal

a year ago

You need to complete your degree in order to be eligible for a post-study work visa.