Graduate route visa

The graduate route visa is a new two year (three year for PhD students) work visa. The visa permits you to work or look for work in the UK. It is only for those who have a degree or other relevant qualification from an approved UK higher education provider, such as The University of Liverpool.

Please note that you cannot study whilst holding a graduate route visa if you are undertaking studies that can be sponsored under the student visa route.  


Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Students

The webinar below presented by our International Advice and Guidance Team discusses the Graduate route visa (actual presentation starts just after 4 minutes) :

Postgraduate Research Students

The webinar below provides updated information about the Graduate route visa for Postgraduate Research students:

The UK Council for International Student Affairs also has very useful information.  


You must have been awarded a relevant qualification, which at The University of Liverpool are: 

  • An undergraduate degree
  • A Masters degree
  • A PhD degree.

Students who work towards one of the above qualifications but don't achieve the full degree, for example studying towards a Masters degree but being awarded a PG Diploma/Certificate, are not eligible for the Graduate route visa. For details on the full list of relevant qualifications please see here

You can only hold the graduate route visa once. You can not previously have held a Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme visa. 

You must also have held Student visa permission to study in the UK for at least 12 months of your course and been in the UK during that time. 

When and how to apply

If you apply before you have received an email confirmation from the University that you have successfully completed your course then your application will be refused.

You must hold a valid Tier 4/Student visa and have completed the qualifying qualification whilst holding that visa. You will receive confirmation from the University by email that we have told UKVI you have successfully completed your course. 

Students will only be reported who hold a valid Student visa at the time of reporting, have met the Study location requirement, and have completed the qualification on the Student visa you hold.

Graduate route visa reporting schedule for 2023/24

Undergraduate students

Reports to the UKVI will usually be made within four weeks after your official results and degree classifications have been published, which for 2023/24 academic year would be within four weeks from 3th July 2023. 

Postgraduate Taught students

January 2023 starters - Reports to the UKVI will usually be made within four weeks after your official results and degree classifications have been published. Contact your school for details of when your results will be available via the portal. Details about when results will be released in available on the Student Administration pages.

September 2022 starters  - Reports to the UKVI will usually be made within four weeks after your final official results and degree classifications have been published. 

Postgraduate Research students

Reports are usually made on a monthly basis after the CADDAC session which confirms the award of your PhD. This will usually be the month after submission of your final thesis (including corrections) following your viva.

CADDAC dates can be found here

If your Student visa will expire prior to or very soon after your expected CADDAC award date you should contact IAG ( explaining that this is the case.

Do not apply before you have been informed by the University as this could result in your application being refused.

You must apply online for a Graduate visa through the UK government website. You must apply inside the UK before your current visa expires. Applications can take up to 8 weeks to process and you must remain in the UK during this time. There is no option for a priority service. 

Apply online

You do not need to have received a decision on your application before your visa expires, you will remain in the UK legally until the Home Office make a decision on your application as long as you apply before your visa expires.

Documents you need

You will need the following documents:

  • Your current passport
  • Your BRP card
  • Your previous CAS number
  • If your full tuition fees and living costs have been paid by a government and/or an international scholarship agency within the 12-month period before you apply, you must provide a letter showing the financial sponsor's consent to this application under the graduate route. Students who received partial financial support or financial support from The University of Liverpool do not require consent. 


The application fee will be £822 and an Immigration Health Surcharge fee of £624 per 12 months of visa granted will need to be paid. 

Please note the IHS fee will increase on 6th February 2024 from £624 per 12 months to £1,035 per 12 months

What else you need to know

Validity of the Graduate visa

The Graduate visa will be valid for 2/3 years from the date of decision by the caseworker, not from the end of your Student visa. 

BRP/Digital status 

'Visa Nationals' (those who always need to obtain a visa for the UK) will be issued a BRP card. 'Non-visa nationals' will receive a digital status.

Work Conditions:

You must not work as a professional sportsperson. 

You can take a full time job, however, if you applied for your Student visa prior to 6th April 2022 you must not start a full-time permanent job until after your Graduate visa is issued, fixed-term or temporary full time jobs are fine. If you applied for your Student visa after 6th April 2022 you can start a full-time permanent job after making your Graduate visa application. 

You can work as an entertainer or be self-employed but only after the Graduate visa is issued, regardless of when you applied for your Student or Graduate visa. 

Study whilst on a Graduate visa

You are not permitted to study a course whilst on a Graduate visa that a Student visa can be issued for. If you have further questions about this please ask the course provider. 

Extending your stay

It is not possible to extend a Graduate visa or obtain a Graduate visa again if you do further studies in the UK. If you are employed in the UK and wish to continue working after your Graduate visa expires, speak with your employer about switching to a Skilled Worker visa.  You may also be eligible for a different visa/permission, please check the government webpages

Further information

You can find more information on the official UK government website. 

The UK Council for International Student Affairs has very useful information on their web pages.    

Speak to a International Advice and Guidance advisor

If you are unable to find an answer to your query on our web pages email or book an online confidential one-one appointment.