Working on a Student visa

Where you are following a course of degree level or above, excluding a foundation degree, the following work is usually:

  • Part-time during term-time which is no more than 20 hours per week, Monday to Sunday
  • Full-time before the course start date and after the course end date on your CAS
  • Full-time during vacations vacation periods
  • Full time on a work placement provided that the work placement is an assessed part of the course and is not more than 50% of the total length of the course

Where you are following a course of study below degree level such as an English for Academic Purposes course, the following work is usually allowed:

  • No more than 10 hours per week during University term-time
  • Full-time during vacations

The UKVI calculates working hours from Monday to Sunday so you must ensure that you do not exceed 20 hours within Monday to Sunday. The 20 hours limit is for all work you under take (regardless of multiple employers) all the work should not exceed over 20 hours.


Graduate Visa Route (Post Study Work)

The UK Government introduced the new Graduate Visa immigration route for international students.

A Graduate visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK, or 3 years if you are a PhD graduate.

You must be in the UK when you apply.


  • The Graduate Route is available to international students who have successfully completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track-record of compliance.
  • You must have a valid Student or Tier 4 visa at the time of application.
  • You can only apply from inside the UK
  • If your Student or Tier 4 permission expired before 1 July 2021, you will not be eligible to apply (unless you are eligible to extend your Student permission first, and meet the other requirements).
  • Edinburgh Napier University will need to report the successful completion of your programme* to the UKVI before you can apply under this route. We will notify you by email when this is done. You must not make your application until you have received this notification or your application could be refused. (*This is a sponsorship requirement and the completion data for all Tier 4/Student visa holders will be reported to the UKVI).
  • If, in the last 12 months before the date of your application, you have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship by a Government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs for study in the UK, you must provide written consent to the application from that Government or agency.
  • You must have studied in the UK for a minimum period of the course for which you were last granted permission to study on the Student route (the relevant period), as in the table below.
  • If the total length of your course is 12 months or less, you must have been in the UK for the full duration of the course
  • If the total length of your course was longer than 12 months, you need to have been in the UK for at least 12 months of the course
  • You must not have been previously granted permission under the Doctorate Extension Scheme or as a Graduate.

Covid Concessions for studies outside the UK

If you are a student who is currently outside the UK, or you have not been in the UK for the entirety of the 2020/2021 academic year, please find below a list of Covid concessions and deadlines that may apply to you.

  • Where distance learning took place overseas between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021, this will not you meeting the requirement to spend the relevant period studying in the UK if:
  1. you began their course in 2020 and entered the UK on or before 21 June 2021 and complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a Student; or
  2. you began their course in 2021 and entered the UK before 27 September 2021 and complete that course of study in the UK with permission as a Student. 
  • Any period of distance learning between 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021 as part of a course of study lasting longer than 12 months whilst you held permission as a Student, will not prevent you from meeting the requirement to spend the relevant period studying in the UK.


Once you are eligible (see below), you must apply by completing an online form.

You must submit your application:

  • after you have successfully completed your programme; and
  • after you have received notification that the University has informed the UKVI*; and
  • before your current Tier 4/Student visa expires.

Applicants will be subject to identity, criminality and security checks.

The application fee is £715 and the Immigration Health Surcharge fee at £624 per year of the visa.

Length of visa and what you can do

  • If your Graduate route application is successful, you will be able to stay in the UK for two years (extended to three years for PhD or doctorate level graduates). This route has replaced the Doctorate Extension Scheme which is now closed for new applications.
  • The period of Graduate permission granted will start from the date the decision on your application is made.
  • You will be able to work, or look for work, in any sector and at any level. The visa also allows self-employment.
  • Study will be permitted, but ONLY if it does not meet the requirements for study under the Student route.
  • The visa is cannot be extended and does not lead to settlement, but Graduate visa holders will be able to switch into the Skilled Worker route once they have found a suitable job.
  • Applicants will only be able to hold the Graduate visa once.


  • Individuals who are already in the UK as a dependant of a Student who is applying on this route can also apply to extend their permission as a dependant. However, new dependants (not already in the UK and do not have a dependant visa) are not permitted on this route.
  • Children born in the UK during the last grant of Student/Tier 4 permission of a Student will also be eligible.

For more information on this visa, visit The points-based immigration system: The Graduate immigration route (

Work placements

Student Visa holders are permitted to undertake a work placement as part of their degree programme providing:

  • It is an assessed and integral part of your programme - this means that it should be part of the design of the programme, and you should not be able to achieve the award without undergoing the placement
  • It is not more than 50% of the length of your programme, unless it is a statutory (legal) requirement
  • You will remain enrolled as a student at the University (on a Leave of Absence) and we will not suspend your studies

Your engagement continues to be monitored during your work placement.