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The Graduate Visa – Your Frequently Asked Questions

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The graduate visa route opened to applications on the 1 July 2021. The immigration solicitors at OTS Solicitors are receiving enquiries about whether the graduate visa is the best route for students to remain in the UK after graduation. Our immigrationsolicitors have complied a list of your frequently asked questions on the graduate visa. Here are the questions and our answers but if you have questions about your situation and best visa options give our immigration lawyers a call.

Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors

For immigration advice and visa applications call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Can I apply for a graduate visa if I am graduating from a university outside the UK?

Sorry, you can't apply for the UK graduate visa if you have graduated from or are studying at a university that isn’t a UK based higher education institute. You are eligible to apply for the graduate visa if you are an international student who has graduated from a UK based college or university.

I studied in the UK but I am overseas at the moment. Can you help me apply for the graduate visa?

To meet the eligibility criteria for a graduate visa you have to be in the UK at the date of your application for the graduate visa.  Our immigration solicitors can look at whether you can return to the UK to make your application or alternate visa options, such as a skilled worker visa.

I graduated from a UK university a while ago. Can I apply for a graduate visa?

To meet the eligibility criteria for the graduate visa you must not only be in the UK but also you must be in the UK on a student visa. If you graduated a while ago and switched to a different type of visa, such as a Tier 2 (General) visa, skilled worker visa or family visa you won't meet the eligibility criteria. Our immigration solicitors can look at your goals, for example, UK settlement, and assess which visa best meets your needs.

I am in college in the UK. Will my course count for the graduate visa?

The immigration rules say that the course must be completed and must be:

  • A UK bachelor’s degree.
  • A postgraduate degree.
  • Another eligible course.

The Home Office has provided a list of other specified eligible courses that meet the eligibility criteria for the graduate visa route. They are:

  • A foundation programme in medicine.
  • A foundation programme in dentistry.
  • A Postgraduate Certificate in Education.
  • A Postgraduate Diploma in Education.
  • A law conversion course approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
  • The Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitor Course in Northern Ireland or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland.
  • The Bar Practice Course in England and Wales or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland.

Other professional study courses meet the graduate visa eligibility criteria if they are at UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities regulated by UK law or a UK public authority. For example, architects, solicitors, teachers, doctors and nurses courses.

If you have completed a course and you aren’t certain that it meets the graduate visa eligibility criteria the Home Office will consider the course. The Home Office will look to see if the course is a legal requirement to qualify to work in a particular profession with reserved activities. If you aren’t sure if your course will qualify you for a graduate visa, give us a call on 0203 959 9123.

Do I have to complete my course to be eligible to apply for a graduate visa?

The immigration rules say the minimum period required to study in the UK is the full duration of your course if the course is for twelve months or less. If your course is over twelve months in duration then the minimum UK study period is twelve months to meet the eligibility criteria.

I completed my course overseas because of COVID-19. Does this mean I can't apply for a graduate visa?

Many students completed courses by distance learning through no fault of their own and not through personal choice. The Home Office has recognised this and has said that for students who studied by long distance learning between the 24 January 2020 and the 27 September 2021, the student can apply for a graduate visa provided that if you started your study course in 2020, you must have entered the UK on or before the 21 June 2021 and completed your study in the UK on a student visa.

How long does a graduate visa last for?

A graduate visa lasts for up to two years or three years if your course was a PhD course or other doctoral qualification.

Can I work in the UK on a graduate visa?

You can work you in the UK on a graduate visa. You do not need a sponsoring employer and there is no minimum salary threshold (save the UK employer must pay you the national minimum wage) or minimum skill level . The graduate visa is therefore a lot more flexible than the skilled worker visa. You don’t need a job offer before you can apply for the graduate visa.

Can I settle in the UK on a graduate visa?

The graduate visa doesn’t lead to UK settlement . If indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship is your goal our immigrationsolicitors can look at your switch options if you secure a graduate visa or your alternate visa routes, such as the skilled worker visa or the start-up visa.

Do I need points to apply for a graduate visa?

The graduate visa is part of the UK points-based immigration system. You will need to score seventy points to successfully apply for a visa. Our individual immigration solicitors can advise you on the points scoring system and discuss if you meet the eligibility criteria.

I am an EU national. Do I need a graduate visa?

The graduate visa route is open to non-EEA nationals and EEA and EU citizens. If you are from the EU you won't need to apply for a graduate visa if you have already applied successfully for pre-settled status or settled status under EU Settlement Scheme. If you were living in the UK before the 31 December 2020, you may still be able to make a late application for settled status . The Home Office closed the scheme on the 30 June 2021 although applications can still be made if you have a reasonable excuse for not applying by the deadline of the 30 June 2021. If you think that you may meet the eligibility criteria for settled status then it is in your best interests to apply for that rather than a graduate visa. That is because settled status lasts longer and is more flexible than the graduate visa. If you are unsure about whether you can apply for settled status, call us on 0203 959 9123.

Do you have other graduate visa questions?

If you have other graduate visa questions give our individual immigration solicitors a call. We are experts in student visa applications and will be able to guide you on your best options and answer your questions.

Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors

For immigration advice and visa applications call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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