The Graduate Route will be launched on 1st July 2021
Graduate Route information session
The UKCISA webinar on the new Graduate Route is now live on their website. The webinar covers eligibility, applications and work options under the Graduate Route, followed by a Q&A.
- What is the Graduate route?
- When do I have to return to the UK if I want to apply for the Graduate route in 2021?
- When do I have to return to the UK if I want to apply for the Graduate route in 2022 or beyond?
- Can my family members apply with me?
- How do I apply for the Graduate route?
- When can I start working on the Graduate visa?
- Can I study on the Graduate visa?
The UK government have confirmed that the Graduate route will open for applications on 1 July 2021. The Graduate route is a visa available to international students who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a UCL and who have a valid Tier 4 or Student visa at the time of application. The Graduate Route will replace the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa once it comes into effect.
Most successful applicants will be eligible for a two-year visa.
PhD graduates will be eligible for a three-year visa.
To meet the requirements of the Graduate route students will need to:
- Have successfully completed an eligible course at UCL.
- You must have a valid Student or Tier 4 visa at the time of application.
- If your Student or Tier 4 permission expires before 1 July 2021, you will not be eligible to apply (unless you are eligible to and can extend your Student permission first).
- You can only apply for this visa inside the UK.
- UCL will need to report your course completion to the Home Office before you apply for the visa.
- You must have held had a Student/Tier 4 Visa for at least 12 months if studying a course longer than 12 months or for the full duration of your course if the course is 12 months or less. (please see exceptions below for those graduating in 2021)
- If, in the last 12 months before the date of your application, you have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK, you must provide written consent to the application from that Government or agency.
Please note: if you are currently sponsored on the Doctorate Extension Scheme you will not be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route.
- Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 via distance learning, and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate route application if they make a successful Student visa application and arrive in the UK on or before 27th Sep 2021 to complete their course.
- Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2021 via distance learning and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate route application if they make a successful Student visa application and arrive in the UK on or before 27 September 2021 to complete their course.
- Students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 who have already applied for their student visa and travelled to the UK on that visa, will be able to apply for the Graduate Route visa if they re-enter the UK before the end date of their visa.
- Students sponsored for a course lasting longer than 12 months will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate route because of any distance learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021.
For example, you are an undergraduate student with a Tier 4/Student visa who entered the UK to start your programme in September 2018. You spent time outside the UK distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 and intend to successfully complete your course in June 2021. To be eligible for the Graduate route, you must return to the UK and submit your application before your Student visa/Tier 4 visa expires.
- If you hold a visa type other than a Student/Tier4 visa and you have been studying via distance learning overseas from the beginning of your programme, you will need to apply for a Student Visa from overseas before returning to the UK to be eligible for the Graduate Route in 2021.
- If you hold a visa type other than a Student/Tier4 visa and you have been studying from inside the UK either in person or via distance learning, in most cases you will need to complete 12 months of study on a Student visa to be eligible for the Graduate Route scheme. Please contact the visa advice team via ASK UCL for further guidance if this situation applies to you.
- If your course started at any time and is more than 12 months in duration, any time that you spend outside the UK distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 will not prevent you meeting the Graduate route eligibility requirements. In these circumstances, you must return to the UK and apply for the Graduate route before your Student visa/Tier 4 visa expires.
For example, you are an undergraduate student with a Tier 4/Student visa who entered the UK to start their programme in September 2019. You then spent time outside the UK distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 and intend to successfully complete your course in June 2022. To be eligible for the Graduate route, you must return to the UK and submit your application before your Student visa/Tier 4 visa expires.
Dependent family members will be permitted on the Graduate route, provided those family members are in the UK and they hold a valid permission as dependants of the main applicant on the Student/Tier 4 route. New dependants will not be permitted, except where a dependent child was born in the UK during a period of Student or Graduate permission.
The Graduate route will require a new visa application, which will only be possible from inside the UK. It will include the payment of a visa fee of £700 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year.
Students will also need to know the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) they used for their most recent Student (or Tier 4) application in order to apply for the Graduate route. UCL is working to make your CAS accessible via Portico by the time the Graduate Route opens.
Information on the specific visa application process has not yet been released by the Home Office, as soon as this information is available, we will update our website with further information relating to the visa application process and documentary requirements.
As part of the scheme UCL is required to report to UKVI that students have been awarded their degree. Once UCL has done this will you be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route. Our team will be contacting all students via email to notify them once we have reported this to UKVI. You have up until the expiry of your current Tier 4/Student Visa to submit your Graduate Route application.
We are only be able to submit a notification to UKVI that you have been awarded your degree once your marks have been ratified by UCL’s Exam Boards and noted on our systems. UCL will therefore be running regular reports to ensure that your award is picked up and reported as quickly as possible ,but please see below for the expected timings of our reports to UKVI for the coming year.
- For Undergraduate students, we expect to start submitting these notifications from mid-July 2021.
- For Undergraduate students who are required to submit work during the late summer assessment period, we expect to start submitting these notifications in mid-September 2021.
- For Postgraduate Taught programmes with a June end date we expect to start submitting these notifications from mid-July 2021.
- For students enrolled on a PGCE or LLM programme, we expect to start submitting these notifications from mid-August 2021.
- For all other Postgraduate Taught students we expect to be able to start submitting these notifications from early December 2021.
- Postgraduate Research students are awarded their degree on the 28th of each month . We expect to submit a notification of award to UKVI within 7 working days of the award being noted on the system.
While your Graduate route application is pending, you can continue to work under the conditions of your Student or Tier 4 permission. See information about working in the UK.
When your Graduate route permission is issued you can do any work, can take work at any level of salary or skill, be either employed or self-employed, except working as a professional sportsperson or coach.
The rules state that you cannot study any course which could in theory be sponsored under the Student route.
Examples of permitted study would therefore include:
- Part-time undergraduate course
- English language courses
- Some professional courses
- Online study
- Evening classes
- Recreational courses
If you are unsure whether you can study a specific course under the Graduate route, please contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team on AskUCL.