skip to content

International Students


If you are considering remaining in the UK to work after you have completed your studies,the table below provides a summary of the main options. Further information can be found by clicking on each visa type.

You will be able to work on your Tier 4 visa after you have completed your course until the expiry of your visa but there are certain restrictions. 

The UK government has announced a two year post-study work visa for international students. Arrangements, including the timeframe for implementation, have not yet been confirmed but information on what we know so far is outlined on our Graduate route webpage

Visa requirements are subject to change. Before applying for any UK visa, you should read the relevant Policy Guidance in order to understand the full details and requirements at the time of application.

Visa Type Overview Is sponsorship required?  Maximum duration Can I switch from Tier 4 inside the UK? What do I need to qualify? Can I bring dependants?
Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme For students who have nearly completed their PhD and want to remain in the UK for a further 12 months to work, look for work or set up a business Yes, from the University 12 months from your expected course completion date Yes (applicants cannot apply from outside the UK) A CAS issued by the University. Applicants must submit a visa application at the point of holding a valid Tier 4 visa and in the 60 days prior to receiving final approval for their degree Yes
Tier 2 (General) This is the main immigration route to work in the UK. The visa is linked to a specific job and employer Yes, from the Tier 2 licensed employer 5 years Yes (and there are benefits in doing so) Sponsorship is in the form of a COS from a Tier 2 licensed employer. The job needs to meet various requirements including a minimum salary Yes
Start-up visa For graduates who demonstrarte high entpreneurial potential and wish to start a business in the UK.  No but there must be an endorsement from the University.  2 years Yes Endorsement by the University.  Yes
Tier 5 Youth Mobility For individuals of certain nationalities including Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand aged between 18-30 Yes but only for certain countries 24 months No A certificate of sponsorship is required for nationals of Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan. Other requirements include maintenance No
UK Ancestry For individuals who are a commonwealth citizen, are planning to work and have a grandparent who was born in the UK No 5 years No Must be able to prove that one grandparent was born in the UK Yes
Tier 5 GAE For individuals wanting to come to the UK for a period of work experience, training, research or a fellowship through an approved government authorised exchange scheme.  Yes 12-24 months depending on the type of scheme Depends on the circumstances A COS from a Tier 5 sponsor or overarching body is required Yes

Alternative visas

There are a number of other visa routes in the UK and eligibility will depend on your personal circumstances.

For further details on all of the different visa options and the latest updates, please see the UKVI website.