Visa Information for After Your Studies
If you are coming to the end of your studies at the University of Wolverhampton you may be considering your options for your next steps. You may be interested in completing further study, working in the UK, or you may just want to attend your graduation ceremony and return home.
If you are interested in further study at the University of Wolverhampton the first step will usually be to apply for the course you are interested in. Once that is done we will be happy to help you think about whether you can extend your visa in the UK, or if you will have to go home first, the requirements you will have to meet for the visa application, and how to submit your application. You can contact the Visa and Immigration Support Team on email@example.com for more advice about the visa requirements to support further study.
There are currently limited work options available in the UK but please see further information below on visas that may be of interest to you. The Doctorate Extension Scheme visa is only available for PhD students.
The Visa and Immigration Support Team at the University can provide some general advice to help you and/or your guests apply for a Standard Visitor visa to attend a graduation ceremony.
We do not issue invitation letters, but you can request letters from your Faculty (through e:vision) to confirm the details of your ceremony, which may help during the visa application process.
Contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org to receive an information sheet to help you, or if you have any questions about the process.
Visa for yourself
If you need to apply for a standard visitor visa in order to attend your graduation ceremony you need to consider the following
- You must not do any work (paid or unpaid) while you are in the UK on a standard Visitor visa
- You must not do any study on a standard visitor visa that exceeds the 30 days permitted (if you have a re-sit exam or a re-take module to complete please contact the Visa and Immigration Support team for advice about applying for a Short-term study visa)
- You will not be able to extend your Visitor visa. It will be valid for a maximum of 6 months.
- You will not be able to switch into a different visa category in the UK
- Visitors are not entitled to free treatment on the National Health Service (NHS), so you must arrange travel insurance before coming to the UK
Visas for your guests
The above conditions also apply to any guests you invite to come to the UK for your graduation ceremony.
You are usually allowed to invite two guests to attend the graduation ceremony. Extra tickets will only be released once everyone has confirmed whether they are attending and will be using their allocation of two guests.
Applying for the visa
The Standard Visitor visa application form is available through the Home Office website for most countries.
The Home Office standard processing time is 3 weeks but we suggest you allow at least a month for the visa to be issued. You can check the processing times for your country on the Home Office website.
On 1 July 2021, the Home Office launched the new Graduate Route visa for international students who complete eligible degree courses in the UK. The visa allows you to take up almost any employment opportunities you can find in the UK. There are no restrictions on the employer, salary level or position you take, as long as you are not employed as a professional sportsperson, so it is a great opportunity to gain experience to start or boost your career. If you would like any advice about your career options, please consider getting in touch with the Careers team here
The Graduate Route is an option for students who:
- have been studying in the UK on the Student route or a Tier 4 (student) visa. The visa must be current at the time you apply for the Graduate Route, and you must be physically present in the UK to apply
- have successfully completed an eligible undergraduate or postgraduate degree course. Successful completion means that you have had your degree award confirmed at a university award board. If you owe fees to the university, your award will not be confirmed, so it is important you clear any debts in advance of completing your course.
- If you have started your studies in your home country, you may need to enter the UK by a specific date to be eligible for the Graduate Route. Please see guidance from UKCISA here for more information
- The duration of the visa will be two years for students completing undergraduate or masters courses, or three years for PhD graduates
- The visa application fee is £700 per applicant. Payment of the Immigration Health Surcharge will be an additional £1248 for undergraduate/masters graduates or £1872 for PhD graduates – this is per person if you have dependants to include
- New dependants are not permitted. You can only apply with dependants if they are your existing dependants while you have been on the Tier 4 or Student route visa. Dependants must also be physically present in the UK in order to apply as your Graduate Route dependant
- The University must report the successful completion of your course to the Home Office before you can apply for the Graduate Route visa. When we have done this we will contact you to confirm this step is complete and we will provide you with confirmation of your most recent CAS number, which you will need to make your application
- You should only make an application for the Graduate Immigration Route once we have contacted you to confirm your eligibility
- You can only obtain this visa once, even if you study more than one course in the UK in future
Find out more:
- The Guidance from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has further details about eligibility, the requirements and how to apply, plus links to Home Office guidance. There is also further information about other work visas if you are not eligible to apply for the Graduate Route.
What is the Start-up Scheme?
The Start-up scheme is aimed at anyone who wants to start a business in the UK (and is not a UK/EU/EEA citizen). Start-up visas are valid for two years, and allow qualifying applicants to work in the UK on developing your own business plan, once the university has confirmed you have a viable business proposal, and once you have received the visa to do so.
It is possible to switch to this visa from a number of different current immigration categories, and you can also apply from outside the UK. This information is for students of the University of Wolverhampton on the student route visa. If you are studying or working at the university and have a different immigration status you can contact us for further advice.
Please be aware the University of Wolverhampton will only consider applications for endorsement from our own students or employees. We cannot accept external applications at this time.
Endorsing body and business plan
The University of Wolverhampton will be your endorsing body, which is similar to being your student route visa sponsor. You will need to complete the university’s application process, which includes submitting a business plan to the Enterprise team. If your proposal meets the following criteria you may be eligible to be endorsed by the university:
- Innovation: The applicant has a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage
- Viability: The applicant has, or is actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business
- Scalability: There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national markets
The university has a limit of 10 endorsements per year (running from 6th April – 5th April) so we expect the process to be competitive. We will also check that you meet the visa requirements before we confirm your endorsement.
If we confirm your endorsement you will be issued with a unique endorsement reference number on a letter, which will support your visa application. The Visa and Immigration team can help you with the visa application once you have received the endorsement and will have some responsibilities to you and the Home Office while you are on the visa.
How to apply for an endorsement
You will need to prepare your business proposal and complete a ‘Start Up Visa Expression of Interest Form’. These forms are available from the Visa and Immigration Support Team or the Enterprise team. Once the form is completed you will return it to email@example.com for assessment.
The Enterprise team will advise you on the next steps of the application process.
How to apply for the visa Doctorate Extension Scheme
You will need the following documents/information in order to meet the requirements of the visa application.
If your business proposal is successful you will be issued with a unique endorsement reference number on a letter, which must be submitted with your visa application
The start-up scheme does not require any specific type or level of qualification but the University of Wolverhampton is only able to endorse our own students/employees
Your knowledge of English must be at least at level B2. You will meet this requirement if you have been granted a student route visa to study at degree level or above since April 2011. If you have not had a student route visa please contact us for advice on how you can meet the English requirements
You must have £945 in your own personal bank account for at least 90 consecutive days before you can apply for your visa. The closing balance must be dated less than 31 days before you apply.
It is possible to apply for the visa inside the UK, or outside the UK. If you apply from your home country the maintenance requirements are different. You may also need other documents such as tuberculosis test results or translations of any documents not in English.
Other things to consider
It is possible to apply for dependants to accompany you while you are on the visa. If you would like to include dependants in your application they will need £630 (per person) in an acceptable bank account for 90 days before they can apply.
When you can start working on your business
If you are applying for the Start-up scheme from a Tier 4 visa you must not set up or operate your business until you receive your Start-Up visa. If you are switching from a different immigration category please contact us for more advice.
Contact with the endorsing body (i.e. the University)
The University must contact you after 6 months and again after 12 months of you being on the visa. When we contact you we must be satisfied that you are continuing to work on your business plan. You will be expected to be able to demonstrate reasonable progress with your original ideas. If you are not pursuing your original ideas then you must be pursuing new ideas that are also innovative, viable and scalable, so you may need to do the assessment process again to confirm we can continue to endorse you.
Start-up visas are valid for two years and cannot be extended. However, you may be eligible to switch into the Innovator scheme at the end of the two years. There is more information about the innovator visa on the Home Office website.
Need more information?
Careers, Enterprise & The Workplace: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visa and Immigration Support Team: email@example.com
Home Office information: www.gov.uk/start-up-visa
UK Council for International Student Affairs: https://ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Working/Working-after-studies
If you are offered a specific job in the UK your employer may offer to sponsor you under the Skilled Worker Route (previously Tier 2) or Tier 5.
The employer will need to have a licence issued by the Home Office in order to employ you as a Skilled Worker. You can see a register of companies who hold a Skilled Worker Route and/or Tier 5 licence on the Home Office website, as this may help you consider which companies to look at when you are ready to look for work.
There are different sub-categories of visa under Skilled Worker Route and Tier 5 that may be of interest to you. You can see more information about the different work visa categories on the Home Office website.
The company’s HR team should be able to help you apply for the Skilled Worker Route or Tier 5 visa if they wish to sponsor you. There are many different requirements you will need to meet, depending on the category of visa you are applying for.
For specific advice about the requirements of each visa, please refer to the Home Office website.
For general advice about the different visa categories and to help prepare you for the application, you may like to refer to the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website and their information on the options for working after studies.
You will usually need to maintain £945 in an acceptable bank account for 90 days before you can apply for a Skilled Worker Route or Tier 5 visa.
It may be possible to apply for dependants to accompany you while you are on a Skilled Worker Route or Tier 5 visa, but this may depend on the sub-category of visa you are applying for. The funds requirement for family members is £630 per person and the money must be held in an acceptable account for 90 days before the date of the application.
When you can start working
Once you have successfully received your new visa you will be expected to work for the company who has sponsored you. If you are not sure if you can work while your application is being processed please seek further advice from your employer.
It may be possible to extend your Skilled Worker Route or Tier 5 visa, but this will depend on the sub-category you apply for, and whether your sponsor wishes to continue to sponsor you. It is not possible to extend a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa.
Wolves SU is proud to be a democratic organisation that puts students at the heart of everything it does. Wolves SU is run by students, for students and every year all University of Wolverhampton students have the opportunity to either become one of, or vote for, the four full time paid Student Officers or the voluntary Chair of Council, in the Make Your Mark Election.
The Student Officers are at the top of the student leadership ladder, working full time for a year (July to July) and receiving a salary of £20,162 to represent students at every level of decision-making in the university, to the local community and on national campaigns. Student Officers lead the political direction of Wolverhampton Students’ Union and become the face of the organisation. Campaigning on behalf of students to ensure positive changes on anything that affects student life. There’s a lot of meetings involved – but you’d be making change in every one, sometimes at the most senior level of the University.
As Wolves SU is a registered charity, our Student Officers also take on the role of trustee. This role involves ensuring the financial, legal and reputational health of the Students’ Union and means they are responsible for managing risk, setting strategy and scrutinising the activity of Wolves SU.
To find out more about this opportunity please follow this link
International students are encouraged to stand for election as a Student Officer and students with a Tier 4/Student visa are permitted to take a position as a Student Officer with the University of Wolverhampton Students’ Union.
The University of Wolverhampton can continue to sponsor you on a Student visa during your year working as a Student Officer. If you are re-elected to the post for a second year, we can continue your sponsorship following this.
If you are elected as a Student Officer you can request a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to enable you to make your visa application to cover the period of time you will be working in the role. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on requesting a CAS and submitting the visa application.
You can work as a Student Officer before you have completed your course of study, however you would need to take ‘leave of absence’ from any outstanding study so this does need to be agreed by your Faculty in advance, and we advise you to speak to your personal tutor about this in the first instance if you are still studying. More information about being a Sabbatical Officer and Tier 4/Student visas can be found on the UKCISA website.