International students

Before applying for the Graduate visa

What is the difference between the Graduate Route visa and the Skilled Worker visa?

There are several differences and we advise you to contact us to discuss your options if you need to choose between them. Some key differences are:

  • Skilled Worker visa needs a sponsor; Graduate Route is unsponsored
  • Skilled Worker is a route to settlement; Graduate Route is not
  • Dependants are allowed on Skilled Worker but not on Graduate Route unless they were already dependants on the Student visa
  • Study is allowed on Skilled Worker but is very restricted on Graduate Route
  • Skilled Worker visa is for the length of the employment contract, but the Graduate Route visa is either two years (most graduates) or three years (PhD graduates only)

You can read more about the Skilled Worker route on UKCISA's working after studies page.


Do I have to have a job offer before I apply for the Graduate visa?

No, a job offer and sponsorship are not required for the Graduate Route visa.


Can I apply for the Graduate visa before my course ends?

No, you must wait until you have successfully completed your course and this has been reported to the Home Office by the university.


Can I travel between my course ending and my visa expiry date and still apply for the Graduate visa?

Yes – as long as you return to the UK and apply for your visa before your Student visa ends.


When will the university make the report to the Home Office that I have successfully completed my course, and how will I know that the university has done this?

We will make the report as soon as possible once results are released and awards are confirmed. You will receive an email confirming this, which will also include your most recent CAS number (which you need for the application).

If you do not receive this email within 1 month of receiving confirmation of your award from the university (or if you have less than 1 month remaining on your current visa), you should contact us as soon as possible and you should not apply for the Graduate visa until you have received advice from the Visa and Immigration team.


Where can I find my most recent CAS number?

When the university has reported the completion of your course to the Home Office, you will receive an email confirming this and this will include your most recent CAS number.


Can I apply for the Graduate visa from my home country?

No, you must be in the UK when you apply.


Next section

Eligibility for graduate visa  


Visa and Immigration Team

Cherry Tree Lodge
University Park Campus
Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK

+44 (0)115 84 66125