The Graduate Trainee visa is open to students who have completed their undergraduate degree or above (such as a Postgraduate degree like a Masters (MA), Doctorate (PhD), or equivalent.
Newcastle Immigration lawyers can assist you if you choose to apply.
To be eligible for a Graduate Trainee visa you need to:
- Have a valid certificate of sponsorship from your employer
- Be an existing employee of an organisation that’s a Home Office approved sponsor and a sponsor eligible job. In addition, linked businesses must offer graduate programmes aimed at senior leadership positions or specialisation in the UK.
- Have worked for your employer outside the UK for 3 months immediately before you apply
- Do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
- Be paid the minimum eligible salary required for your job skill level requirement
It can take up to 8 weeks for a decision to be made on your application.
The documents you need to apply for the graduate trainee visa are as follows.
You will need:
- Certificate of sponsorship with reference number which can only be provided by your sponsor.
- Proof of financial status (such as a bank statement)
- A valid passport or recognised identity document
- Your job details and occupation code, including your current annual salary
- The name and details of your sponsor including their license number
- Proof of relationship for any spouse, partner, or child included in the visa application process
- Tuberculosis test results if you are coming from any of these countries into the UK
You will need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not printed in English or Welsh.
You may also be required to provide, depending on your circumstance.
After you apply you may be asked to show you have worked for your employer overseas for 3 months immediately before you apply.
- A blank page in your passport for your visa
- Information about your graduate training program
- Evidence you’ve worked for your employer outside the UK for 3 months
- A valid AITAS certificate for PhD students (you will be notified in advance if this applies to you).
If you are required to provide this information, then you will need to show you have been paid by your employer over this period.
You can provide:
- Online payslips or printed payslips, supported by a letter from your sponsor signed by a senior staff member
- Bank or building society statements
- A building society pass book
Your employer (sponsor) will give you a certificate of sponsorship, which will include an important reference number needed to complete your graduate trainee visa application.
It also holds information about the work you will do in the UK.
You’ll need the reference number from the certificate of sponsorship for your visa application. You must apply for your visa within 3 months of getting your certificate of sponsorship.
Conditions of stay
A graduate trainee route will allow you to undertake any work in the UK, including:
- Paid and unpaid employment;
- Voluntary work;
- Engaging in business or any professional activity
You are not able to apply to switch to a graduate trainee visa from inside the UK because you need to have worked for your employer overseas for 3 months immediately before you apply.
You cannot extend your visa, but you can apply for another graduate trainee visa from outside the UK.
You can stay in the UK with a graduate trainee visa for whichever is shorter of:
- the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days
- 12 months
You must continue to be in line with your immigration rules throughout the duration of your stay. This includes any family that come with you.
You do not need to apply again if you have a graduate trainee visa and your job changes as part of your graduate training programme.
Your employer will notify UK Visas and Immigration.
The costs associated with a graduate trainee visa are as follows.
You will need to pay:
- The application fee (£259)
- The healthcare surcharge (£624) per year
- Prove your financial security by having at least £1,270 in your account for at least 28 days. This is to prove you are able to financially support yourself.
If your employer is willing to pay your maintenance charges to the extent that the maintenance cost is at least £1,270, you may not have to pay the maintenance charges to the extent required. You have to verify the information in your sponsors’ certificates.
All family members included in your visa application will be required to pay the application and healthcare surcharge fees.
All applications must be made online through the GOV.uk website, regardless of where you are applying from.
If you need to change something in your application after you have sent it off for consideration, contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
You are able to cancel your application for whatever reason. You will only get refunded if UKVI has not started processing your application yet.
You will get an email with the outcome of your application, which will include information on your next steps.
Family included in Visa
The Graduate Trainee visa allows graduate students to bring their dependent relatives to the UK as long as they meet the relation and financial requirements. They will be listed as dependants.
Each family member will need to complete a separate application and pay the visa fees. They must apply before they travel to the UK.
They will also need your application number, which you will receive when you apply for your Graduate Trainee Visa.
This application number is called a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN). You will find it on emails and letters from the Home Office regarding your graduate trainee visa application.
Dependants must pay the correct separate fees listed for partners and for children.
A dependant is someone who is:
- A spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner
- A child under 18
- A child over 18 if they are currently in the UK as your dependant
Their visa will mirror yours, including start and end dates.
You will need to prove the relationship of any dependants you have listed as included in your graduate trainee visa application.
- Providing marriage certificates for spouses or evidence to support the grounds for a real relationship for unmarried partners, such as proof you have been living together for over 2 years
- Providing birth certificates for children
If your child is 16 or over, they must:
- Live with you (unless they are at boarding school, college, or university)
- Be unmarried and have no children
- Be financially supported by you
If your child lives with you, you will need to provide evidence of their address such as:
- A bank statement
- Credit card bills
- Driving licence
- NHS registration document
- An official letter from their university or college
As part of their application, your partner and children will need to prove their identity by way of a biometric residence permit.
Your partner and/or children must have a sufficient amount of money available to support themselves while they are staying in the UK.
Your partner or child will individually need:
- £285 (for your partner)
- £315 (for a single child)
- £200 (for each additional child)You have all been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months.Your employer may offer to cover your family’s costs during your first month in the UK – this must be confirmed on your certificate of sponsorship and by your sponsor.Your partner or child will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of the date you or they apply for this visa.You will usually need to show proof of this when they apply.
The duration of the Visa
Applicants can stay in the UK for as long as 1-3 years.
Typically, a graduate trainee visa lasts for 2 years.
If you have a PHD or other doctoral qualification, your visa will last for 3 years. Your visa will start from the day your application is approved.
It is not possible to extend a graduate trainee visa.
How can Newcastle Immigration Lawyers help you?
Our Newcastle Immigration Lawyers have extensive experience helping businesses to bring students from overseas into the United Kingdom via the graduate trainee visa route, as well as years of experience with other immigration related cases.
Our professional solicitors can provide support in getting an appropriate sponsorship license and sponsors, as well as guidance with supporting application documents in a timely and efficient manner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can graduate trainees work whilst their graduate trainee visa application is pending?
The answer is yes, graduate trainees can work under the conditions of their current student visa while they wait for their graduate trainee visa to be processed.
The graduate trainee visa route does not lead directly to settlement or indefinite leave to remain.
Other routes that do allow for potential ILR could include the skilled worker visa, which follows a similar application process and allows family to be included in the visa.
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