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 Chris Fawn from Internation Advice and Guidance discusses the Graduate route visa.

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.

You can only hold the graduate route visa once. 

You must also have held permission to study on a student (or Tier 4) visa for at least 12 months. 

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, many students are studying online/ blended learning during the 2020-21 academic year and are outside the UK. Students will still be eligible for the graduate route visa as long as they are able to meet one of the following situations, which the UK government have confirmed in guidance here (paragraph 3.20 onwards):

  • Students on a course longer than 12 months, for example, bachelors students (in any year of study), or two-year masters students, 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. If you are due to graduate in summer 2021 and wish to apply for the Graduate route visa, you will need to enter the UK using the Tier 4/Student visa that you hold and apply for the Graduate route visa from within the UK before your Student visa expires.
  • Students who started a one-year Masters (or final year articulation route) in Sep/Oct/Nov 2020 and are completing their course in summer 2021, will need to enter the UK on a Student visa on or before 27 September or by their visa expiry date - whichever is sooner (this is a recent change of an earlier date of 21 June 2021).
  • Students who started a one-year Masters (or final year articulation route) in 2020 (completing their studies in 2021) who have already entered the UK and activated their Tier 4/Student Visa who have since left the UK, will need to re-enter the UK before their visa end date.
  • Students who started a one-year Masters programme in January or February 2021 will need to enter the UK on a Student visa before 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK.
  • Students who are studying courses lasting longer than a year who are not due to complete in 2021, and who have studied all or part of the 2020/21 academic year via distance learning will still be eligible for the graduate route; this is because there is an expectation you will be required to recommence in-person learning during the 2021-22 academic year. You will need to hold a Student visa whilst completing your studies.
  • Students beginning a course in autumn 2021 or early 2022 will need to have entered the UK by 6 April 2022 to qualify.

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. 

In order to let the University know that you have re-entered the UK, you will need to update your Study Location in Liverpool Life to 'On Campus' once you have returned to/travelled to the UK.

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

Graduate route visa reporting schedule for 2021/22

Undergraduate and Postgraduate taught students

Reports to the UKVI will be made within four weeks after your graduation ceremony in the year you graduate, which for 2021/22 academic year would be July 2022 after completion of your bachelor’s programme.

Postgraduate Taught students

  • September/October 2020 starter. Reports to the UKVI will be made within 4 weeks after your graduation ceremony in the year you graduate, which would usually be December 2021 after successful completion of your programme. 

Any students due to graduate in December 2021 will now graduate 'in absentia' on 6th December 2021. These students will then be reported to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as successfully completing their course within 4 weeks of this date (by 3 January 2022). Do not apply for your visa until you have received your email from the University. For more information on graduating 'in absentia' please visit here

  • November 2020/January 2021 starter. Reports to the UKVI will be made as soon as possible after your results are published which is likely to be in spring 2022 after successful completion of your programme. 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.

Postgraduate Research students

Reports are made on a monthly basis after the CADDAC session which confirms the award. CADDAC dates for 2021/22 are 4 October 2021/23 November 2021. Further date to be confirmed. 

If you were awarded at CADDAC in the month prior to your graduation ceremony, reports to the UKVI will be made within 4 weeks after your graduation ceremony.

If your Student visa will expire prior to the above reporting schedule relevant for you, but after results are published confirming successful completion of an eligible qualification, you should contact explaining why a report outside of the above schedule is required.

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.

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. 
  • Your police registration certificate (if applicable).


The application fee will be £700 and an Immigration Health Surcharge fee of £624 per 12 months of visa granted will need to be paid. 

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 and delivered a presentation for students on 25 March 2021.   

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.