This article provides an overview of the Graduate route, (also referred to as the Graduate visa). This Immigration category was opened on 1st July 2021 for international students. The Graduate route is for international students who have successfully completed a bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or a relevant qualification and hold Tier 4 (General) Leave or a Student visa. A full list of the relevant courses can be found at Appendix Graduate of the Immigration Rules.

Migrants with leave on the Graduate route do not need to be sponsored or work for an employer who has a Sponsorship Licence.

Appendix Graduate provides that to qualify for the Graduate Route, Applicants must satisfy certain requirements, which are set out below:

The Validation Requirements

Graduate Route applications will be rejected if they do not satisfy the Validation requirements. Applicants are required to make their applications using the Home Office’s dedicated webpages for Graduate Route applications. They must also pay the Home Office applications fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge.

The Validation requirements also require Applicants to provide documents confirming their identity and nationality, including passports or other relevant travel documents.

In addition to the above, Applicants must have been students, or last had leave as Students.

Further, Applicants who have in the 12 months preceding the submission of their application been sponsored by a Government or an international scholarship agency covering their fees and living costs, must provide written consent to the application from that Government or agency.

Suitability Requirements

As with most Immigration categories, Applicants applying under the Graduate Route should not currently be in breach of the Immigration Rules or be on Immigration bail.

Points requirement

The Graduate Route is part of the Points Based System (PBS), therefore as with other parts of the PBS, Applicants intending to apply for leave via this Immigration route must score a minimum amount of points to satisfy specified criteria. All Applicants who satisfy the requirements listed below will be awarded the 70 points needed which are:

  1. The Successful completion requirement
  2. The Qualification requirement
  3. The Study in the UK requirement

The Successful completion requirement

The successful completion requirement is satisfied if the Applicant can demonstrate the following:

  1. The Higher institution that sponsored the Applicant must have a track record of complying with the duties of a Sponsor as set out by the Home Office
  2. The Applicant has completed a relevant course of study was that undertaken during their last grant of leave
  3. The Student Sponsor must have notified the Home Office by the date of the application that the Applicant has successfully completed a relevant course of study.

The Qualification requirement

An Applicant will satisfy the Qualification requirement, if he has successfully completed a UK bachelor’s degree, Postgraduate degree or a relevant qualification under the Student route.

The Study in the UK requirement

Applicants must have studied in the UK for a minimum period of the course for which they were granted leave under the Student route. Where the length of an Applicant’s course is 12 months, that Applicant is required to be in the UK for the entire duration of that course. Applicants intending to study courses longer than 12 months are however required to spend at least a year of their study in the UK.


An Applicant who has successfully applied under the Graduate route will be granted leave for a period of 2 or 3 years depending on the degree or relevant course they have completed. Applicants who have completed a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree will be granted permission to remain in the UK for 2 years. Where the degree undertaken is a PhD or other Doctoral qualification, leave will granted for a period of 3 years.    


Partners and children may apply for leave to remain in the UK as dependants of an Applicant on the Graduate route. Dependants must be in the UK at the date of their application and either currently have leave or last had leave to remain, as the Dependant of a Student. The Student must also be applying for leave on the Graduate Route or have been granted permission to remain in the UK under this Immigration route.

A child born in the UK may also be granted leave to remain as a Dependant of a Student who satisfies the same criteria referred to above, as it relates to other dependants.


Applications made under the Graduate Route should generally be straightforward for those eligible to submit applications in this Immigration category. It is however also always advisable to seek legal advice before submitting any Immigration application.


Immigration Rules Appendix Graduate

Graduate route Version 1.0

Graduate route to open to international students on 1 July 2021

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