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Graduate Route

The UK government is introducing a new Graduate work visa. Applications open on 1 July 2021. From this date, students holding a valid Tier 4 or Student visa, who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a UK Higher Education Provider, will be able to apply to remain in the UK and work, or look for work, for 2 years after they complete their studies (or 3 years if they have completed a PhD).

Full details of the scheme have not yet been released but will be available in late spring 2021. You can find the most up to date information via the Home Office We will continue to update this page as we know more.

Here is what we know so far:

Remote study - 2020/21

The usual expectation of the Graduate route is that you study your course fully in the UK. However, the government has recognised that some students have needed to study remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are studying remotely in the 2020/21 academic year, you need to arrive in the UK, with a valid Tier 4 / Student visa by the dates listed below:

  • Masters courses started in Sep/Oct 2020: 21 June 2021 (previously 6 April)
  • Masters courses started Jan 2021: 27 September 2021
  • Undergraduate and PhD students completing in summer 2021: before visa expires
  • Longer courses finishing after Summer 2021: Remote study during 2020/21 should be disregarded when considering your GIR application as long as you return and complete your course in the UK.


  • Must be on a Tier 4 or Student visa
  • Degree must have been awarded - the University will need to confirm this directly to the Home Office (details of this system have not been confirmed yet by the Home Office)
  • Must apply from within the UK before Tier 4 / Student visa expires. It is not possible to apply for the Graduate visa outside the UK
  • You will need the CAS number that you used for your most recent Tier 4 / Student visa application


There will be no financial requirement for the Graduate route. Unlike other visas, you will not need to keep a certain amount of money in your bank account or submit bank statements with your visa application.

You will need to make the following payments at the point of application, likely by debit or credit card:

  • Application fee: £700
  • Immigration Health Surcharge: £624 per year. Undergraduate and Masters graduates will pay £1248 for a 2 year visa, PhD graduate will pay £1872 for a 3 year visa

Application process

You will need to complete an online application form, including the above payments, and enrol your biometric details. Further information about this is likely to be released in early summer 2021.


Family members who are currently in the UK with you as dependants on your Tier 4 / Student visa will be able to extend their visas with you. You will likely need to pay the same application and Immigration Health Surcharge fees for each dependant. 

Further Support

The International Student Support Team will be able to provide advice and guidance on the Graduate Route once it has come into force. If you have questions in the meantime, you can access our service in a variety of ways, but please be aware that the full details of the scheme have not been released.

The University of Exeter is committed to ensuring that all our international students are provided with expert advice and support to enable them to secure a graduate level job, either in the UK or overseas. For more information about the support we offer, please check our Career Zone information for international students.


   Graduate Route Webinar from UKCISA


   The new Graduate route from UKCISA on Vimeo.