Graduate Immigration Route

What is the Graduate Immigration Route?

The Graduate Immigration Route gives those sponsored on the Student visa the opportunity to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, for at least two years after successfully completing a course in the UK.


If you are a sponsored student (Tier 4/Student visa holder) and you intend to apply for the Graduate Route, please read this page and follow the University process to complete the UKVI eligibility checks. Once they are complete, we (the Student Immigration Compliance Team) will be able to report your successful completion to the Home Office. We will notify you by email once this is complete.

Only then will you be able to submit a Graduate Route application to the Home Office. Following this process will avoid unnecessary delays and minimise the risk of visa refusal.

Please contact the Student Immigration Compliance Team via with any Graduate Route queries.

We will not report successful completion if you have a tuition debt to the University. It is therefore imperative that you clear any outstanding debt on your account to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Who can apply?

You should be aware from the outset that unless you have passed your course at the first attempt, you may not be eligible to apply (particularly relevant for postgraduate students). We do not continue sponsorship for resits or resubmissions and certainly not to extend eligibility for the Graduate Route if no academic obligations or contact points are required.

You must meet certain requirements to be eligible. This list is not exhaustive and we recommend that you read the government webpages for full guidance:

  • you must be in the UK to apply; and
  • you must already hold valid immigration permission under Tier 4 or as a student (but not under the Doctorate Extension Scheme); and
  • you must have successfully completed a full undergraduate or postgraduate degree (eg Masters or PhD) or one of the specific alternative qualifications confirmed by UKVI; and
  • the University must have notified UKVI that you have successfully completed your course before you submit your visa application; and
  • you must not have previously been granted a visa under the Graduate Immigration Route or Doctorate Extension Scheme; and
  • you must have permission from your financial sponsor (only if your financial sponsor was a government sponsor or an international scholarship agency); and
  • you must have spent at least 12 months studying your course in the UK, if your course is longer than 12 months, on a Student visa or Tier 4 visa; or
  • you must have spent the full duration of your course studying in the UK, if the length of your course is 12 months or less, on a Student visa.

When can I apply?

If you intend to apply for a Graduate visa, you will only be eligible after you have received your results.

The Student Immigration Compliance Team are required to report your successful completion to the Home Office, but can only do this upon release of your confirmed, final results, which is dependent on your level of study.

You should not submit an application until after we have confirmed that we have reported your successful completion of your studies. Once we have reported this, you will be able to submit an application at any time prior to your current visa expiry date.

Undergraduate finalists

All final results should be released in July of the academic year. See the results webpage for more details.  

Postgraduate Taught students

Official results are likely to be released in October/November (after a course completion date of September). Other dates may apply depending on your course specification.

Postgraduate Research students

You must have had your viva, completed any necessary periods of corrections and have gone on the pass list for us to confirm your official completion.

We will not report successful completion if you have a tuition debt to the University. It is therefore imperative that you clear any outstanding debt on your account to avoid any unnecessary delays.  

How long does it take to apply?

Each case is unique. However, once we have received everything we require from you in order for us to carry out our eligibility checks, we can confirm our report within two to three weeks. 

Once you have submitted your visa application, the Home Office service standard for processing in-country applications is up to eight weeks (Graduate Route applications included).

What happens if I have failed my exam(s)/module(s), or am awaiting an appeal?  

To be eligible for the Graduate visa you must be in the UK, have completed your course, and still have a valid Student visa. If you have to resit or resubmit and these assessments are after the end date of your current Student visa, please make the Student Immigration Compliance Team aware of this as soon as possible. We will assess your options on a case by case basis.

How do I apply?

1. Complete and submit an Intention to Apply form before you apply for the Graduate visa

Only complete this form once your final results are released and when you are intending to apply for the visa - do not apply for a future academic year or if you are intending to travel outside the UK.

Completing this form does not guarantee or confirm your eligibility, as further checks against your student record will be required.

You will be required to provide evidence of your most recent arrival in the UK (copy of the entry stamp in your passport or a flight confirmation) with this form. Please ensure that the photograph is a clear, colour copy.

2. Complete and submit a previous CAS request form (where applicable)

If you do not have the CAS number associated with your current Student visa saved from when you applied, use the previous CAS request form.

After applying

After you have submitted your Graduate Route visa application, you will need to wait for a decision from the Home Office. Please remember to check your personal email spam/junk folders whilst you are waiting for a decision.

What happens if my Graduate visa is refused?

Please forward the refusal document to the Student Immigration Compliance Team by email. We will need to keep a record of this in case we are required to liaise with the Home Office on your behalf.

Support with employability and careers

Careers and employability

Make the most of your time at Kent by using the Careers and Employability Service. We provide the advice, workshops and tools to prepare Kent students and graduates for employment and further study after graduation.


If you are interested in a business idea or launching a start-up, in learning more about entrepreneurship or sustainable innovation, ASPIRE, the University-wide space for entrepreneurship and start-ups is here for you. Our co-curricular programme allows you to develop your entrepreneurship skills and prepares you for starting your own venture. See our video about ASPIRE below:

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