UK Immigration Update: Graduate Route Now Available

July 13, 2021

The UK government has now opened the new Graduate Route for visa applications. The Graduate Route will allow international students to remain in the United Kingdom for two years after graduating from a higher education provider to enable them to find work. The new route is part of the government’s push to attract and retain talented individuals.

How It Works

The Graduate Route will not require sponsorship from an employer or an educational institution. Applicants are required to prove their identity and complete an online application form. Applicants from the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein will need to prove their identity by scanning their passport with the UK Immigration: ID Check app. Applicants who are unable to scan their passport with the app will need to attend an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services centre to submit their fingerprints and photographs.

Graduates will be granted leave to remain for two years and Ph.D. graduates will be granted leave to remain for three years. Successful applicants are able to prove their right to live and work in the United Kingdom online or using a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). The Graduate visa is not eligible for extension and time spent in the United Kingdom under this route will not count towards settlement. However, graduates under a Graduate visa are able to switch their immigration category.


The Graduate Route will allow family members already in the United Kingdom as dependants on the current Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa to apply as dependants of the Graduate visa applicant. However, dependants currently outside of the United Kingdom are not permitted to apply to enter the United Kingdom as dependants under the Graduate Route.

COVID-19 implications

The UK Home Office has introduced exemptions owing to the travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19. For courses of 12 months or less, any time spent outside of the United Kingdom between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 will be treated as if the individual were studying in the United Kingdom.


If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:

Jennifer Connolly
Yvette Allen

Washington, DC
Shannon A. Donnelly