Post-graduation visa and immigration talk

Illustration: Renee Godyn

If you missed the visa and immigration post-graduation talk for international students, here is some of the information that might be helpful for you if you are thinking about sticking around in the UK after graduation. Whether you want to work, study, or be an entrepreneur, there is a way that you can extend your visa. One of the tricky parts of extending your visa is that you are only given three months after graduation to stay in the UK to look for opportunities. Before April 2012, graduates were given a two-year adjustment period after graduation to find a job. Now, your time is much more limited. But it is not at all impossible and there are many options for international students with the different tiers of visas the UK offers. Here are the different visas discussed at the talk:

Tier 1 (Entrepreneurship):

A tier 1 visa for entrepreneurship requires a £200,000 investment for your business (or £50,000 from specified sources). You must be a genuine entrepreneur with a business plan etc., and be able to present your business to a board who will decide whether or not your business is legitimate. You are able to apply for this visa in or out of the UK and you can come to the UK for a maximum of three years and four months. After five years (which includes University) you can apply for settlement in the UK. The fee for this visa is £1,180 online or by post.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur):

This visa does not require an initial investment, but instead requires approval from your university. However, there is a limit of 2,000 places per year and a limit per university so it is important to start early to get ahead of the game. Similarly to the entrepreneurship visa you must be able to demonstrate that you are a genuine entrepreneur with a business plan, etc.

Tier 2 (General):

You are eligible for this visa if you have been offered a skilled job in the UK. You need to be sponsored by a licensed sponsor before you can apply. Not every business in the UK holds a license to sponsor work visas, so make sure you are aware of whether or not the job you are applying for holds a license. For a visa that allows you to remain in the UK for up to three years, it costs £564, unless you are working in an occupation in which there is a shortage of workers, in which case the fee is £428. There is a minimum salary required for this visa, which is £20,800. However this can vary based on occupation so make sure to check the minimum salary level for your field.

Tier 4 (General) Student:

This is the same as the visa you would hold in order to study here initially, so it can either be extended or re-applied for if you are accepted for further study in the UK. You need to have proof that you have been offered a place on a course at a UK university and pass an English proficiency test.


This article does not include all of the visa options that are available for international students; there are other options such as ancestry, marriage, etc. For more information visit: uk/browse/visas-immigration


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