The UK study visa is a temporary visa, so you’re expected to leave the country when it expires. However, you can remain in the UK for a few years before leaving and explore your chances of getting a job. For that, you have to apply for a UK Post Study Work Visa – officially known as the Graduate Visa.
Read on to find out more about the visa, including the eligibility requirements, how to apply, processing fees, and many others.
What Is The UK Post Study Work Visa?
The UK post study work visa is known officially as the Graduate visa. It permits you to stay in the UK for two to three years after completing your studies in the country.
In other words, you must have been on a UK study visa before applying for a graduate visa. Ordinarily, you would leave the country after completing your studies.
You can apply for a post study work visa if you still have something to handle in the UK after your studies. You can also apply if you have employment prospects, and afterward, you can switch to a work visa.
Like the study visa, the UK post study work visa is temporary, and the duration doesn’t count as residency. You can stay in the UK for at least two years – the duration is longer for higher courses.
Your graduate visa starts counting from the first day you get approval. When it expires – typically, after two years – you cannot apply for an extension. Therefore, depending on your prospects, you either leave the UK or switch to a different visa.
If you were on a study visa with your dependent family members, they can also apply and stay with you throughout the duration of the post study work visa.
Eligibility Requirements For The Post Study Work Visa
The primary requirement of being eligible for the UK post study work visa is that you studied in the UK. Your current visa must be a Student Visa.
The secondary requirements include the university or college you attended, the course you studied, and the course duration – how long you studied.
For the university or college requirement, your university or college must be licensed by the UK government and have a track record of compliance. You can check if your university or college meets this requirement on the UK Home Office website.
For the course requirement, you are eligible for the UK Graduate visa if your course was for a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate, or Ph.D. degree. Other suitable programs are those with jobs regulated by UK law or a UK public authority.
For the duration requirement, you are eligible for the UK post study work visa if you have studied in the UK for up to 12 months or if your course lasts for more than 12 months.
On the other hand, if your course is less than 12 months, you must have fully completed the course to apply.
The final requirement is that you must be in the UK. You cannot apply for a UK graduate visa outside the country. Therefore, if you’ve already left the UK after you completed your course, you’re not eligible.
Required Documents For The UK Post Study Work Visa
You’ll need to present some documents while submitting your post study work visa application. However, the documents are not much since you’re already in the UK – meaning you’re already on a visa.
Check them out below:
- Your valid international passport. This serves to confirm your identity and nationality.
- Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number. This number refers to your admission, which you usually provide while applying for a Student Visa. It’s important for the Graduate Visa also to confirm you have been studying in the UK.
- Your biometric residence permit. This also proves that you are on a UK Student Visa and have legal permission to reside and study in the UK.
Your dependents also need to present documents to prove your relationship. If you studied in the UK on scholarship, you’d need to get an approval letter from the scholarship provider to prove that they were responsible for your finances during your study.
The UK Home Office may also request some additional documents depending on your circumstances. You should only start your online application after you have all these required documents.
UK Post Study Work Visa Fee
To apply for a UK post study work visa, you must pay a processing fee and the healthcare surcharge – you must have already been paying the healthcare surcharge while on your Student Visa.
The processing fee is £715. The healthcare surcharge remains the same as the Student Visa, which is £624 per year.
Therefore, if your post study work visa is valid for two years, you’ll pay £1,248 ultimately. If it’s valid for three years, you’ll pay £1,872.
However, remember that the graduate visa is issued to enable you to explore your chances of working in the UK. If you eventually get the job, paying the healthcare surcharge won’t be much more challenging.
Notably, if you get a job in the public healthcare sector, you won’t have to pay the surcharge. If you’ve paid already, you could apply and get a refund.
The dependents applying with you must also pay the £715 application processing fee and the subsequent surcharge.
UK Post UK Post Study Work Visa Application
You can apply for the UK Post Study Work Visa online via the UK Home Office website. You’ll need to create an account or log into a previous one.
Ideally, you log into the previous account you used while applying for your Student Visa. It makes the process a lot more straightforward.
The UK Home Office can easily verify your CAS and Student status since everything will already be in the account. Nevertheless, if you’ve forgotten or lost access to the account, you can create a new one.
During your application, you must provide your biometric residence permit or your international passport showing your visa.
You can either scan them using the app or submit your biometrics at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point.
There’s no definite follow-up procedure after your application. You must wait for instructions from the UK Home Office. Nevertheless, you may be asked to attend an interview, which may prolong the visa application.
You shouldn’t wait until your student visa expires before applying for a post study work visa. You can apply immediately after your school notifies the UK Home Office that you’ve done with your course.
Sometimes, your graduation and certificate awarding ceremony may take place long after you complete your course.
You’ll get a verdict on your graduate visa application in about eight weeks. You won’t have to leave the UK if your student visa expires within this period.
In fact, you’re not supposed to leave the UK and Ireland while the Home Office processes your post study work visa. If you do, your application becomes void.
The Home Office will send you an email of the verdict on your application by email.
Post Study Work Visa Duration & Extension
With a post study work visa, you can stay in the UK for a maximum of two years. However, you can stay for a maximum of three years if your student visa is for a Ph.D. or any other doctoral qualification.
If the UK Home Office approves your application, your time starts counting the day you get the confirmation email. Note that it won’t include the time you spent in the UK while waiting for a decision on the visa.
You cannot extend a post study work visa when it expires. If you succeed in getting a job, you can switch to a suitable work visa. On the other hand, if you don’t succeed, you’ll have to leave the UK.
You should apply for your graduate visa before your student visa expires. You will still have to follow the immigration rules of your student visa while you wait for a decision on your graduate visa.
While you wait, you can work, but the jobs and hours you can do are limited. Once your graduate visa is approved, you can work most jobs and switch between them.
Dependents Of Post Study Work Visa Beneficiaries
Your family members in the UK as dependents under your student visa can also stay in the UK under your post study work visa.
Notably, you can’t bring in a beneficiary from outside the UK – only those in the UK with you can apply.
Ideally, they should apply on the same day as yours. That way, their visa will start and expire on the same day as yours, making it easy to move together afterward.
However, you’ll need to show proof – especially for a spouse – that you’re still together in a relationship.
Usually, your dependent children are supposed to be unmarried and under 18. However, if your child is over 18 at the time of the application, you may need to supply some extra proof.
Notably, they must not be married or into a civil partnership. If the child is in school, they’ll have to present a letter from their college or university.
Furthermore, you have to prove that you have been responsible for your dependent’s finances – since they’re not permitted to work. You can present credit card bills or bank statements.
Note that if you give birth to any child during your stay in the UK on a student visa, you still need to apply for a dependent visa on their behalf. The child doesn’t automatically become a British citizen.
What To Do If Your Post Study Work Visa Application Is Denied
No visa application is 100% guaranteed to be successful. As a result, there’s a chance for your UK graduate visa to be denied. Here are some common reasons why the UK Home Office would refuse your visa application:
- You have left the UK. Remember that you must be in the UK to apply for the post study work visa. If you leave the UK at any point before your visa is approved, it’s automatically void.
- Unable to prove your identity and immigration status. Your post study work visa is 100% dependent on your student visa. Your application will be refused if you cannot prove that you’ve been in the UK on a student visa.
- Insufficient supporting documents. As mentioned earlier, the UK Home Office may demand additional documents besides those mentioned on the document list. Failure to provide these other supporting documents means your application will be denied.
The UK Home Office may also refuse your application for other reasons, but these are the common reasons. You’ll find the reason for the refusal in the refusal email.
If your visa is turned down, you may be able to ask for a review of the decision. Your refusal letter will tell you when to send your request for an administrative review, although it’s usually 14 days.
If the review is successful, the Home Office will change its mind. However, if it’s not and the decision remains, you’ll have to leave the UK.
The UK post study work visa is an ideal route to secure a job in the UK. If you leave the UK after your studies, getting a work visa from outside could be challenging.
However, it’s a lot easier from inside the country. You can stay in the UK for up to two years, which is relatively enough time to secure a job.