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The Home Office has announced that the new post-study Graduate immigration route will be launched on 1 July 2021. Full details on the application process are still to be confirmed. This webpage outlines the current information and will be updated when further application guidance is available.

Overview

Permission to stay under the Graduate route will enable international students to work or look for work after their studies for 2 years, or 3 years for PhD students. The work can be in any sector and at any level without any minimum salary requirements or the need for visa sponsorship. Students will need to make an application in the UK to be granted permission under the route after successful completion of their degree.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible to apply once the route has launched, you will need to:

  • have studied a Bachelors, Masters, PCGE, or PhD at Cambridge;

Advanced Diploma, and other non-degree awarding qualifications except the PCGE, are not eligible for the Graduate route.

  • have successfully completed your degree;
  • apply in the UK;

If you are currently overseas, read the section below on ‘Studying remotely owing to the pandemic’.

  • hold a Tier 4/Student visa;
  • apply within the validity of your current Tier 4/Student visa;
  • if in the 12 months before the date of application you have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK, you must provide a letter of consent from the sponsor organisation to support the application.

You will be considered to have successfully completed your degree when you receive your final results, and your record is updated to reflect completion. It does not mean you will need to have attended a graduation ceremony. Completion for PhD students is unconditional approval, which is normally submission of the hardbound thesis.

Please note:

  • not all courses at Cambridge are eligible for student visa sponsorship and therefore will not be eligible for the Graduate Route. This includes most part-time taught programmes which are supported under the visitor route.
  • If you switch to a student visa from another immigration category during your course, you would not be eligible for the Graduate Route unless you will have studied a minimum of 12 months on a Tier 4/Student visa prior to completion.
  • PhD graduates with permission under the Doctorate Extension Scheme are not eligible to apply for the Graduate route.

Conditions of permission

Permission under the Graduate route will be granted subject to the following conditions:

  • no access to public funds;
  • work (including self-employment and voluntary work) is permitted, apart from work as a professional sportsperson;
  • study is only permitted on courses that would not meet requirements for student visa sponsorship.

The permission granted under the Graduate route, 2 years for undergraduate and Masters students and 3 years for PhD students, will start from when the decision is made on the application.  

It is not possible to extend your permission under the Graduate route. From the Graduate route, you would be able to switch to a Skilled Worker visa from within the UK if you are offered a suitable job with an employer who holds a sponsor licence.

It is only possible to be granted permission under the Graduate route once.

Application costs

The visa fee will be around £700. In addition, the application will also require you to pay the immigration health surcharge and this is charged at £624 per year the visa will be granted.

Application process

Full details on the application process are not yet known but the following information has been confirmed:

  • The University will need to have notified the Home Office that you have successfully completed your degree prior to you making the visa application. The Home Office has not yet finalised the specific process for this but the University will only be able to provide this confirmation after you have received your final results and your record has been updated to reflect completion. You do not need to request this as the Home Office has confirmed the completion of all eligible students should be reported. The International Student Office will confirm to you when the report has been made.
  • There will be no requirement to provide financial evidence with the application.
  • You will need to know the CAS number you used to support your Tier 4/student visa application. You would have received this by email from internationalstudents@admin.cam.ac.uk with the title ‘Cambridge University Student Visa Application Your CAS Statement (CAS assigned)’ prior to making your Tier 4/student visa application. You can search for this email in your mailbox.

Please note that once you have made your application, you cannot travel overseas until you have been notified of the decision and received your new BRP.

Studying remotely owing to the pandemic

Concessions have been put in place owing to the pandemic. Students who have been studying remotely will still be able to apply for the Graduate route as long as the eligibility requirements outlined above are met. You will need to be in the UK by a certain date depending on the course and your circumstances:

  • If you are on a course of 12 months or less which started in 2020 and have not yet travelled to the UK to study that course, you will need to have arrived by 21 June 2021 in order to complete your studies in the UK.
  • If you are on a course of 12 months or less which started in 2021 and have not yet travelled to the UK to study that course, you will need to have arrived by 27 September 2021.
  • If you started on a course of 12 months or less which started in 2020 and have already travelled to the UK during your current Tier 4/Student visa but are currently studying remotely overseas, you will need to have returned to the UK by the end date of your course.
  • If you are studying a course longer than 12 months, you will need to have returned to the UK in time to apply for the new Graduate route by the expiry of your current Tier 4/Student visa.

Dependants

Students with dependant family members in the UK who already have immigration permission as a Tier 4 or Student dependant can apply to extend their permission as a dependant.

Further information

Further information on the new post-study Graduate immigration route for international students announced: Home Office Fact Sheet.

If you have any questions about the Graduate route contact the International Student Office

Immigration rules and policy are subject to change. These webpages are updated as soon as possible following any changes but relevant pages of the Home Office website should be checked for the latest information. The International Student Office can only provide information and advise on current policy; it is not possible to speculate on future immigration changes or developments in relation to post-study visa options.