Have ever thought about staying and working in the UK after finishing your studies? 

Well, good news! The UK Government introduced a new visa on July 1, 2021, that lets international students who were on a student visa stay and work in the UK after they graduate. You don’t even have to work in the same field as your degree – you have the flexibility to gain work experience in any area. You can apply for this visa after completing your undergraduate or postgraduate degree and stay and work in the UK for up to two years. 

So, if you’re an international student studying in the UK and want to extend your stay for work experience, now’s your chance!

Application Process

To apply for the Graduate visa, you must be in the UK with a valid Tier 4/Student visa. It’s best to connect with your university’s immigration officer before graduating to get ready for the process. Once you’ve successfully completed your degree and your university has informed the Home Office, you can apply. Make sure your university reports your completion to the Home Office. After your university processes your status, they’ll update your immigration record.

The application fee for the graduate visa is £715, plus the healthcare surcharge, which is typically £624 per year you plan to stay in the UK. After applying and submitting all necessary documents, it may take up to 8 weeks to get a decision on your visa. During this time, you can continue living in the UK under the conditions of your Tier 4/Student visa. However, you can’t travel outside the UK while your Graduate visa application is pending.

To apply, visit this link: https://www.gov.uk/graduate-visa/apply

For information on the required documents, check this link: https://www.gov.uk/graduate-visa/documents-youll-need-to-apply

After Getting Your Graduate Visa 

Once your Graduate visa is approved, you have the freedom to search for work, take up most jobs, be self-employed, and travel in and out of the UK without restrictions. It’s important to know that your Graduate visa is valid for 2 years, but it cannot be extended.

If you wish to continue staying in the UK beyond the 2-year period, you might explore switching to another visa category. For example, you could consider the Skilled Worker Visa or Tier 2 Visa if you find a job that is willing to sponsor you. This allows you to potentially extend your stay in the UK and continue building your career. It’s a good idea to explore your options and plan ahead for the next steps in your immigration journey.