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Eligibility Criteria

In order to apply for a Graduate Route Visa you will need to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. Here we show you the eligibility criteria for the Graduate Route Visa which includes information on qualifications, current immigration status and current studies in the UK.


The key requirement to be eligible for the Graduate Route visa is that you successfully complete a relevant course in the UK. The relevant course must be either:

  • an undergraduate degree
  • a Masters degree
  • a PhD degree or other doctoral qualification,

or one of the qualifications listed in paragraph GR 5.2 of Appendix Graduate of the immigration rules

  • a law conversion course validated by the Joint Academic Stage Board in England and Wales
  • the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales, the Solicitors Course in Northern Ireland, or a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice in Scotland
  • the Bar Practice Course in England and Wales, or the Bar Course in Northern Ireland
  • a foundation programme in Medicine or Dentistry
  • a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
  • a professional course requiring study at UK bachelor’s degree level or above in a profession with reserved activities that is regulated by UK law or UK public authority.

You must have received official confirmation of your final award before you complete and submit the online Graduate Route visa application.  You will receive an email from the University of Sunderland’s Student Administration team confirming when your final award has been reported to the Home Office.  This is when you can begin your Graduate Route visa application. 

Current Visa Status

Your current UK immigration status must be valid permission as a Student in order to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route visa.

In other words, you must complete and submit a Graduate Route visa application before your current Tier 4 or Student Route expiry date on your BRP card. Paragraph 6.2 of the Immigration Rules explains that "Student" means someone with a Tier 4 visa or a Student Route visa.

You cannot switch to the Graduate route from any other type of immigration permission.



Current Studies in the UK

You must have studied your entire course within the UK if your course duration was less than 12 months. If your course was more than 12 months, you must have studies in the UK for a minimum of 12 months.

Version 6 of the Covid-19: Guidance for Student sponsors, migrants and Short-term students - Temporary concessions in response to Covid-19 provides temporary concessions to this requirement if you have been distance learning outside the UK in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Paragraph 3.24 explains if you started your course with a study duration of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 and you have NOT previously entered the UK to study this course, the deadline to return to the UK is either 27 September 2021 OR your visa expiry date, whichever is sooner

Paragraph 3.25 explains if you started your course with a study duration of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 and you have previously entered the UK to study this course, the deadline to return to the UK is your visa expiry date.

Paragraph 3.27 explains if you are sponsored to study a course with a study duration longer than 12 months, you will not be prevented from being eligible for the Graduate route as a result of any distance learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021. 

Please remember your visa expiry date printed on your BRP card is your deadline to complete and submit your online Graduate Route visa application.