Skip to main content
Advice and Counselling Service

Graduate route (post-study work)

The Graduate Route allows students who have completed a bachelor's or master's degree to stay for up to two years to work at any skill level, or to look for work. Those who have completed a PhD will be granted permission for three years. 

Please read our detailed guidance in the sections below to help you understand the eligibility criteria and how and when to apply.

The Immigration Compliance Team at Queen Mary deal with the administrative side of reporting successful completion to UKVI. If you have any questions about how this works, you can contact them on: casinfo@qmul.ac.uk 

Eligibility

International students who successfully complete an undergraduate degree or postgraduate degree at Queen Mary with Student immigration permission at the time of application will be eligible. You will be able to apply after the exam board has taken place within your Academic School, and your results have been confirmed, showing that you have passed your course. The Immigration Compliance Team at Queen Mary will report your successful completion to UKVI and email you when this has been done. You can only apply after this.  

You can only apply from inside the UK. You must apply before your current visa expires.   

Normally if your total course is 12 months or shorter, you should spend the full duration of your course in the UK with Student immigration permission, if your course is longer than 12 months you should spend at least 12 months in the UK with Student immigration permission (but note the concession in 2021 'Deadline to enter the UK- Covid concessions').

You will only be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route visa once, even if you undertake more than one eligible course in the UK. Therefore, if you are planning to do an undergraduate and postgraduate course in the UK, think about when the best time would be to apply depending on your career plans. 

When to apply

You will only meet the eligibility criteria for the qualification, after the exam board for your programme has taken place, and your results have been officially confirmed. You must have successfully completed your course and your successful completion reported to UKVI to be eligible. 

Successful completion of your studies is when you have completed your programme and the Queen Mary programme boards have confirmed your award of qualification. Programme boards normally take place at Queen Mary one to two months after the end date of your course, however this may vary between Schools and Institutes 

The Immigration Compliance Team at Queen Mary will report your successful completion to UKVI and inform you by email when this has been done. You can only apply after this. 

Do not apply before you have received confirmation from the Immigration Compliance Team at Queen Mary that they have reported your successful completion of studies to UKVI.  

The Immigration Compliance Team at Queen Mary deal with the administrative side of reporting successful completion to UKVI. If you have any questions about how this works, you can contact them on: casinfo@qmul.ac.uk 

You must apply before your current Student immigration permission expires, or on the day it expires at the very latest. 

For further information about when to apply for the Graduate Route you can listen to our podcast 'When to apply for the Graduate Route'. 

How to apply

You will need to apply using an online application form which you can complete on your phone, laptop, PC or other device. 

The Graduate Route visa is not automatic and requires you to make an application. 

To make an application, you need to first check that you meet all of the eligibility requirements. 

Read the Graduate Route guidance 

Once you have checked you meet all the eligibility requirements, you should follow all the steps to make a successful application. The Graduate Route Application Process is outlined on the UK Government website: Graduate Route. 

The application process has a number of steps that include: 

  • Proving your identity and nationality (in most cases by using the UK Immigration: ID Check app) 
  • Completing the online application form (you will need to reference your studies and the confoirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) issued for your studies in this section) 
  • Paying the Immigration Health Surcharge, Visa Application Fee and submitting the application online 
  • Submitting any documents in support of your application (if relevant) 
  • Awaiting the decision of your application (this can take up to eight weeks) 

How much does it cost?

The application fee is £715, and the Immigration Health Surcharge is £624 per year of permission granted. Your eligible dependants will also have to pay an application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge.  

Previously sponsored by government or international scholarship agency 

If you were sponsored by a government or international organisation for your studies or were sponsored during the 12 months before you make your application for the Graduate Route, then you will need to provide a letter of consent from your sponsor. The letter of consent should say that your sponsor agrees to you remaining in the UK. This is required if the scholarship covered both tuition fees and living expenses.  

As Queen Mary is not a government or international scholarship agency, you will not require a letter of consent if you have been sponsored by Queen Mary.  

We are aware that the visa application form currently asks you to provide a letter of consent if you have previously been sponsored by any official financial sponsor., however this is not in accordance with the Immigration Rules which only requires the letter of consent if you were sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency. If you previously received a scholarship from Queen Mary, you can write a cover letter to submit with your supporting documents to explain that a letter of consent is not required because you were not sponsored by a government or international scholarship agency. 

If you were sponsored by a government or international organisation for either your tuition fees or living expenses, or both, then please check if the terms and conditions of your sponsorship permit you to stay in the UK on completion of your course.  

Working

If you made your Student visa application before 6 April 2022 you will be able to work in line with the Graduate Route conditions once your Graduate Route visa has been issued.  Until then, you should work in line with your Student conditions. This means that you should not work in a permanent job until your Graduate Route visa has been issued. This is different to full-time work, which you are permitted to undertake under your Student conditions after the end date of your course.   

If you are a part-time student, you are not permitted to work until your Graduate Route permission is issued. 

Once your Graduate Route visa has been issued, you can undertake most work, including employment and self-employment and you can also be looking for work. It is also permitted to start your own business. You are not permitted to work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.]

If you make your Student application on or after 6 April 2022, you will be able to start employment that is not usually allowed, including as an entertainer or a permanent job (with no end date) between making your Graduate route application and receiving a decision on it. However, you will not be allowed to start self-employment until you are granted Graduate permission. 

You are not permitted to work as a professional sportsperson even after you have been granted Graduate permission. The date on which you applied for Student or Graduate permission makes no difference.  

Dependants

Existing dependants can extend, but you cannot bring new dependants under the Graduate Route.

Deadline to enter the UK – Covid concessions 

UKVI have confirmed that students will normally be expected to undertake their studies in the UK to be eligible for the Graduate route. However, there is a concession at this time, to allow students to remain eligible for the Route even if they have spent some time studying outside the UK as a result of the pandemic.  

Students who started a 12 month course in 2020 or Spring 2021 

Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or Spring 2021 via distance learning, and who had not previously entered the UK to study that course would be able to make a Graduate application if they made a successful Student visa application and arrived in the UK by 27 September 2021, or before their visa expired if this were sooner.  

If you already came to the UK under your current Student route permission but then you switched to distance learning from home, you just need to return to the UK before the end date of your Student permission in order to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route.  

Students who start a 12 month course in Autumn 2021 or Spring 2022 

Students who begin a course of 12 months or less in Autumn 2021 or Spring 2022 via distance learning from overseas must enter the UK no later than 30 June 2022, and complete that course of study with permission as a Student to be eligible for the Graduate Route 

Students who started a course at any time that is longer than 12 months:  

Students sponsored for a course lasting longer than 12 months will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate route as a result of any distance learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, or overseas between 27 September 2021 and 30 June 2022. Remember that you must be in the UK with Student immigration permission at the time of application. If your Student visa expires before 30 June 2022, you must enter the UK before your visa expires rather than 30 June 2022.  

In all cases, you must meet all other eligibility criteria of the route in order to be able to apply. 

PhD students

PhD students will be eligible to apply after they have been awarded their PhD, and received the confirmation from the Immigration Compliance Team that they have successfully completed. They will be granted three years to stay and work in the UK.  

Support in looking for, and applying for, jobs

The Careers and Enterprise Service at Queen Mary can provide a range of support in helping you to find work or apply for a job or further study, including feedback on your job application, practice interviews, advice on making career choices and support with looking for work. See the Careers and Enterprise website for further details and follow their blog for useful information and case studies.  

You can watch recorded webinars on the Careers and Enterprise Service web pages.  

You can access Queen Mary's Careers and Enterprise Service for two years after you graduate.  

Whilst your application is pending

Your previous Student conditions continue whilst you are waiting for a decision on your Graduate Route application, if you submit (pay for) your Graduate Route application by the date that your Student visa expires at the very latest. Even if your application is still pending after the date that your Student visa expires, you are still in the UK legally as long as you have submitted your Graduate Route application before that date. 

If you travel outside the UK before you receive a decision on your application, your application will be automatically withdrawn. 

Resits and eligibility

As long as it is confirmed that you have successfully completed your course while you still hold valid Student immigration permission, you will be in time to apply for the Graduate Route (subject to meeting all of the other qualifying criteria). 

If you are an Undergraduate student who has resits during the late summer resit period, we understand that your results should be released in September following the August resit and this should be before your student visa expires.  

If you are a Postgraduate Taught student who has to resit exams, or you need to resubmit your dissertation, you may only be eligible for the Graduate Route if the resit/resubmission takes place AND official results are released before your Student immigration permission expires.

Resits / reassessments in a defined assessment period

If you are undertaking an exam or submitting work in the relevant re-sit period, the university will consider sponsorship of your Student Visa (issuing a CAS) for the applicable re-sit period only. Your visa should cover the re-sit period. The Home Office should permit you to stay in the UK for up to another four months (depending), allowing your work to be marked and the following applicable board to consider your eligibility for an award.

The university can only sponsor Student Visas for those undertaking exams or re-submitting work during these formal re-sit periods. In some cases this may mean that it will be possible for you to extend your student visa in the UK, but in other cases you may need to apply for a new student visa in your home country in order to return to the UK for the resit period. You should seek advice on this.

Can I undertake a re-sit outside of the re-sit period?

If your School or Institute schedules a different submission or assessment date (e.g., an earlier date), QMUL will not be able to sponsor your Student Visa as it is not within the formal re-sit period. This usually means that you will not be eligible for the Graduate Visa. Your School or Institute may be trying to help you by allowing you to submit earlier, but if it is not possible for your work to be marked and your degree to be awarded before your current immigration permission expires, you would not be eligible for the Graduate Visa.

Can I apply for an extension?

Where there are relevant extenuating circumstances, your School or Institute may agree to grant you a short extension, provided it would still be possible for your work to be marked in time to be considered at the degree board and before your current student visa expires. However, your School or Institute should carefully consider whether they have the resources to support such a request.

If it will not be possible to mark your work in time and the extenuating circumstances are sufficient, you may be able to apply for a first-sit instead. You should then submit your work during the next applicable re-sit period and you may request a CAS for that period.

Please see the Immigration Compliance pages of the QMUL website for information on requesting a CAS to extend your student visa.

For further information about the exceptional circumstances in which you request a CAS for a dissertation resubmission after your visa expiry date, see our guidance  on resitting a project or dissertation.

When your visa is issued

If your application is successful, you will get either: 

You will be able to generate a share code to prove your right to work in the UK.  

Part-time Students and eligibility

Students on part-time courses with Student permission at the time of application will be eligible for the Graduate Route, provided they meet all of the other eligibility criteria. 

Please note, the UKCISA information confirms that you cannot start work until your Graduate Route permission is granted. 

Back to top