Graduate Post Study Visa
What is a Graduate visa?
This is a question that bothers many students, who are close to finishing their courses in the United Kingdom. A post Graduate visa, also known as the PSW visa in the UK, is a document that allows the person to legally stay in the country after finishing their studies. Essentially, it is a way to prolong your stay in the United Kingdom, and get a chance to work in this country or continue your studies in some cases.
This particular document is specifically designed for people who have traveled to the UK to study before. Thus, it cannot be the first visa a person obtains to visit the country: it is in the middle of the route. The previous stop in this route is the Student visa, meaning only the holders of that document can apply for the post work study visa. As it is the middle of the route that could potentially lead to settlement in the United Kingdom, it is important to discover all the nuances, rules, and exceptions related to the case.
Eligibility requirements for a Graduate visa
As with any other permission document, there are a number of requirements the person has to meet in order to become eligible for a post Graduate visa in the UK. The first of them was already mentioned in the previous section: it is necessary to have an active Student visa. Unlike most other visas that allow the person to choose where to apply, the Graduate route visa comes with a requirement of applying from within the United Kingdom. The good news is that the person is eligible to stay in the country, while waiting for the decision.
Another requirement is also associated with the current permission document. It implies that it is necessary for the person to study for the minimum period of time with their Student visa. This rule covers a potential exploit that would allow foreigners to immediately switch to a postgraduate visa. The next requirement covers the same potential breach, as it obliges the provider of the studies to notify the authorities about the fact that the course has been finished.
It is also important to keep in mind that the Student visa has to be active on the date of the application. Otherwise, it would be impossible to continue the graduate immigration route. The good news is that the PSW application can be made before the graduation itself: it is just necessary to finish the studies and have the provider notify the authorities about it.
There might be some additional requirements related to some specific cases, so it is important to discover them all before applying. For instance, in case the living costs during the period of your Student visa stay were covered by the course provider, it will be necessary to submit the corresponding documents when applying for a Graduate visa as well.
How to apply for a Graduate visa?
There are many people wondering how to apply for a PSW visa in the UK, although the application process itself is rather intuitive. It is done online, and the person will have to fill out several important forms. It is important to ensure you comply with the Graduate visa requirements mentioned in the previous section before you initiate the process. It is also necessary to prepare all the required documents beforehand.
In case you’re sure that you are eligible for the permission document, it is also better to ask the studies provider whether the authorities have been notified about the end of the course. Even though the application is made online, the person might be required to have an appointment at the visa center. The students discover it right after the application is submitted. Logically, in case an appointment is required, the process of getting the post study visa will take a bit longer.
UK Graduate visa fees
The Graduate visa in the UK costs more than many other permission documents in the country. The application fee is relatively high, and there are several additional PSW visa fees that will have to be paid. The initial fee that is paid for the application is £715. Then, the person will have to pay the healthcare surcharge, which is an annual fee. Typically, it equals £624. It is worth mentioning that even though the fee is annual, it is paid in advance for the whole duration of the document.
The good news here is that the healthcare surcharge can be refunded. In case the holder of the document gets employment in public sector healthcare. Unfortunately, it won’t be relevant for most student Graduate visa holders, as the range of eligible people is rather narrow. As it is the middle of the immigration route, it won’t be necessary to prove the knowledge of the English language once again, so the fees for the tests will not have to be paid.
How long does the Graduate Visa take to process?
The PSW visa processing time is similar to applications for other permission documents from within the United Kingdom. In most cases, the person won’t be required to wait for more than eight weeks. As already mentioned, in case the current Student visa expires after the application, the person is still eligible to stay in the country until they get a decision.
The process may be prolonged by an appointment at the visa center, as the whole reviewing procedure stays on halt until the meeting is done. For that case, the same rule applies: the person can stay after the appointment until they get a decision.
Can dependents join you on a Graduate visa?
First things first, the dependents are only eligible in case they joined as dependents on the person’s Student visa. They have the same rules for the document as the original applicant, meaning it is necessary for their visas to be active on the date of application.
With the partners, the rules are the same as with the Student visa. The only thing worth mentioning is that you will be required to prove your relationships are still active. With children, the situation is slightly different. In case you came to the UK with your kids, they need to be dependents on your current Student visa. In case they were born in the country during your stay, they can apply without that rule. Children do not become UK citizens based on the sole fact they were born in the country, so it will be necessary for them to apply for the permission document as well.
For children who are eighteen years old or older, it will be necessary to prove they are still financially supported by the applicant and continue living with them. Both these facts will have to be proven by relevant documents, in order for the child to apply as a dependent. Moreover, they will have to be unmarried or in a civil partnership.
It is also worth mentioning that each person has to apply separately for the document. The information should be filled out for every member of the family, and the fees are the same for every dependent as for the original applicant. In addition to that, the dependents will need to prove their identities by presenting the corresponding documents to the Home Office.
If you want to stay longer in the UK
The Graduate working visa cannot be prolonged, and it can only be issued for a fixed period of time of 2 years or 3 years (if you have a PHD or other doctoral qualification). To stay in the UK longer you need to switch to another permit document. For example, there is the Skilled Worker visa, which leads to ILR and further settlement in the United Kingdom. To qualify for the Skilled Worker visa, the applicant must have a valid CoS from a licensed sponsor with a job offer that meets the qualification and wage requirements for the route.
How can we help?
In case you’re looking to apply for a Post Study Work visa in London, we would be happy to meet you. The team of Sterling Law works both online and offline, allowing the students to get the help they need the way they prefer. Our professional lawyers have plenty of experience in the Student visa and the Graduate visa segments and they are ready to maximize your chances of getting the permission document. We always have an individual approach to every case, enabling us to find the options that will suit you the most.
We are willing to help students on all stages of the process. Starting from choosing the most suitable type of visa you’re eligible for and ending with preparing all the documents, our team will guide you and answer all the questions you might have. You can opt-in for a consultation from that page or visit our office to get an appointment.