This page explains the eligibility criteria and how you can apply if you qualify.

What is the Graduate visa?

The Graduate Visa is a visa route available to Aston University students who complete a degree level course with us. It allows successful applicants to stay in the UK for 2-3 years after their studies to undertake work.

Bachelors and Postgraduate students will qualify for the 2-year Graduate Visa.

PhD students will qualify for the 3-year Graduate Visa.

What will the visa allow you to do?

If you obtain a Graduate Visa, you can do the following

  • Undertake any work in the UK, including paid and unpaid employment.
  • Be self-employed and engage in business or professional activity
  • Study if your course is not eligible for a Student Visa (Certain courses may require an ATAS certificate)

You cannot:

  • Work as a professional sportsperson (including coaching). You can however participate in amateur sport. Please refer to the “Professional Sportsperson” section of this guidance for further clarification of this restriction.
  • Apply for most Public funds or a state pension.
  • Study on a course in the UK that would normally require a Student Visa
Do I qualify?

If you meet all of these requirements, then you will qualify for the Graduate Visa.

  • You currently hold a Student or Tier 4 Visa that has not expired
  • You are currently in the UK, or you will be when you make this visa application with a Student or Tier 4 Visa.
  • You were sponsored for your current Student or Tier 4 Visa by a “Higher Education Provider with a Track Record of Compliance” – Aston University is classified as this
  • You have not been previously granted a visa under the Doctorate Extension Scheme or under the Graduate Visa route
Completed a degree
  • You have successfully completed the degree course you were sponsored to study and the University have reported this completion to the Home Office. You completed this course and obtained the qualification during the Student or Tier 4 Visa mentioned above
  • You are not in debt to the University. Any student with outstanding debt will not be reported to the Home Office as having successfully completed the course
  • The course you completed was one of these qualifications:
    UK Bachelors degree (BSc, LLB, BEng, BA)
    UK Postgraduate degree (MSc, LLM, MEng, MBA, MA, MPhil, MRes)
    UK Postgraduate research degree (PhD)

Any of the following:

  1. a law conversion course validated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England and Wales; or
  2. the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland; or
  3. the Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland; or
  4. a foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry; or
  5. a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE); or
  6. a professional course requiring study at UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities that is regulated by UK law or UK public authority.

*Note that you must have successfully completed the qualification you were sponsored for and obtained it. For example, if you were sponsored to undertake a MSc, but did not obtain the required credits and thus, offered a PGDip, this would not meet this requirement.

Studied in the UK
  • You must have studied your course for a “minimum period of time” in the UK
    If your course was 12 months or less, then you must have studied in the UK for the full length of the course
    If your course was longer than 12 months, then you must have studied in the UK for at least 12 months.

*Short periods away from the UK will not break this study in the UK requirement. Neither will study or work placements you have done overseas as part of your course.

Where do I apply

The Graduate Visa is a visa that students must apply for themselves. Aston University will not make the application for you.

Students can apply after we have reported your successful completion to the Home Office and you must apply before your current Student or Tier 4 Visa expires. You will receive an email from the Visa Compliance Team confirming the report has been made for you.  This email will also include the most recent CAS number for your current visa as this information is required in the Graduate Visa application form.

You do not need the Graduate Visa in your possession before your visa expires. You just need to have paid for the visa application online before your visa expires but you should not do this until you know that you meet the eligibility criteria.

You are permitted to remain in the UK while your visa application is being processed.

How do I apply?

You will apply for the Graduate Visa online.

Access the application form

You will need the following before you apply:

  • Your passport
  • Your BRP card
  • The most recent CAS number for your current Student or Tier 4 Visa (as confirmed in the reporting confirmation email from the Visa Compliance Team)
  • If you were financially sponsored for both tuition fees and living costs by a Government or international scholarship agency in the 12 months before you make the Graduate visa application, then you will need written consent from them
  • Access to an iPhone or Android phone to complete the verification requirement. Guide to using this app is available.
  • A bank card that can pay for the application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge online

There is no financial requirement for the Graduate Visa route or for their dependants.

How much does it cost?

You will need to pay both the Application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge as part of the visa application online. You will pay these fees at the end of the form.

Application fee: £822

Immigration Health Surcharge: £1,035 per year

2 years Graduate Visa: £2,070

3 years Graduate Visa: £3,015

If you work in public sector healthcare

If you get a job in public sector healthcare after you have paid the healthcare surcharge, you may be able to get a refund.

Can my dependants extend their visas too?

Yes. If you were allowed dependants (partners and children) with you during your study and they joined you in the UK on dependant visas, then they can apply to stay as dependants on your Graduate visa.

If they have never joined you in the UK as your dependants, then they cannot apply to join you as dependants on your Graduate visa from overseas.

Your dependants will apply separately. More information is available.

More resources

UKCISA website - UK Council of International Student Affairs. A non-government organisation with a focus on international student issues

UKVI website - Official Home Office website for the Graduate Work visa application

Immigration Rules: Appendix Graduate - The laws and regulations of the Student visa

Graduate Work Visa modernised guidance - These are instructions for the UKVI caseworker will use to assess your Graduate Work visa application

Contact us

If you have any questions about this visa, please contact us by emailing the International Advice Team or calling 0121 204 4567.


Last updated: 06/02/2024 KB