Oxford graduates
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After your studies

If you are interested in staying in the UK to work after your course you will need to apply for the right type of visa permission to do so. This page gives an overview of some of the options available.

For information on helping guests to get their visas for your degree ceremony, see visitors.

For updates and information about the coronavirus (Covid-19) including visa implications e.g. studying remotely, travel restrictions, visa expiration see the University's webpage.
The UKCISA website also has useful information and the latest Home Office updates.

Graduate Route

This is an opportunity to apply for a visa to allow you to remain in the UK to work, or look for work, for 2 years if you have completed an undergraduate, PGCE, or masters degree, or 3 years if you have completed a DPhil. You do not need a job offer and you do not need to be sponsored by the University or an employer. You will need to have completed your course and be in the UK with a valid Tier 4 or Student visa. The Graduate Route will open for applications on 1 July 2021. 

If you started your studies remotely in Autumn 2020 and have not yet travelled to the UK, you will need to be in the UK by 21 June 2021 to be able to apply for the visa. This Government document (page 15) explains how absences due to the Coronavirus pandemic might affect eligibility for the route. 

See our frequently asked questions about the Graduate Route

UK Council for International Student Affairs also has some further information about the route and the full statement of the changes from the Government is on pages 45-51. 

The Doctorate Extension Scheme - for DPhil students approaching completion

Update 5 March 2021: this scheme will close when the Graduate Route (see above) opens on 1 July 2021.
You cannot apply for the Graduate Route after being issued a Doctorate Extension Scheme visa so consider your options now before you apply. 
For information about choosing between the two routes see the frequently asked questions document above.

The Doctorate Extension Scheme is for students who are close to finishing their DPhil. The scheme is part of the Student visa route meaning applicants need sponsorship in the form of a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from their department to apply for a visa extension.

The visa will be granted for 12 months from the expected completion date on the CAS and allows holders to seek and take work in the UK without needing a job offer in advance or for your employer to sponsor your visa. You would also be able to be self employed.

You can use the year simply for work experience or, if you found qualifying work with a licensed employer, you may be able to progress to the Skilled Worker route (formerly Tier 2). If you are setting up a business you may be able to go on to apply under the start-up and innovator visa categories. During the year you will need to keep in contact with the University as your sponsor for the scheme.

As it is not possible to apply once you have completed your DPhil, you should speak to the Graduate Studies Assistant for your department and request a CAS shortly before your viva to allow yourself time to make the visa application before you are granted 'leave to supplicate'. Some funded students may need their financial sponsor's permission to apply. Information is available from the Home Office.

Other visa categories

Start-up visa: for applicants to stay in the UK for up to two years to set-up a business. You will need to be endorsed by an authorised body which includes the University of Oxford. Each year 30 endorsements are offered by the Careers Service which includes an interview process where you will be asked to present your business plan. For further information about the requirements, see the Careers website above and the Home Office guidance.

Innovator visa: applicants proposing to set-up or actively run a business in the UK, you will need £50,000 investment funding if it is a new business. You do not need any evidence of investment funding if your business is already established and you have been endorsed for an earlier visa. You will need to be endorsed by an authorising body as explained on the Home Office website.

Global talent: these visas are available to leaders or potential leaders in the fields of academia or research, arts and culture and digital technology. You need to be endorsed for this visa and the Home Office website explains the process.

Investors: these visas are available to applicants with £2million to invest in the UK.

Skilled worker- if you have a job offer

Applicants who have been offered a  job by an employer who holds a license and have been issued a Certificate of Sponsorship are eligible for the Skilled worker visa category.

For a Skilled worker visa application, the salary offered must be appropriate to the type of work and be at least £20,480. If you switch into this category from a student visa. or within 2 years, your qualifying salary could be 70% of the the usual level for the type of work. 

In order to apply for skilled worker visa from within the UK, if your last visa granted was as a student, you will have to show that you have completed, during the period of that visa, or a previous visa which you have now extended, a degree or at least one year of your DPhil. If you have finished your course at the University you can include a Degree Certificate, Final Academic Transcript or a Degree Confirmation Letter to prove that that you meet this requirement. You will not need to meet the maintenance requirement if you apply to switch into this visa in the UK and have held a student visa for the last 12 months. For further information, see the Home Office requirements

Holders of Doctorate Extension Scheme visas can also benefit from the Skilled worker switching arrangements for students.

Information on other routes for working in the UK

Youth Mobility Scheme: is available to nationals of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Taiwan or South Korea. The Youth Mobility Scheme is for young people from these participating countries who would like to experience life and work in the UK. There are specific requirements to be met, visas are issued under a quota system and you have to apply from your home country. You can also apply if you are a British Overseas citizen, a British Overseas Territories citizen or a British National Overseas citizen (there is no limit on these visas).

UK ancestry: If you are a Commonwealth citizen with a grandparent born in the UK, you may be able to apply from outside the UK for a visa to come to the UK for five years to look for a job and work, on the basis of UK ancestry.

Turkish citizens: If you are a Turkish citizen you may benefit from a European agreement with Turkey if you want to set up in business in the UK, or to obtain the right to stay longer to work if you have already been legally working in the UK.

Temporary Worker: If you are already in the UK, it is now possible to remain here to undertake an internship directly related to the studies you have taken during your time in the UK, for up to 12 months under the Temporary Worker (Government Authorised Exchange) scheme.

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