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UK Graduate Trainee Visa

It is designed for graduates and allows them to take an internship programme in a UK company after graduation

A UK Graduate Trainee visa is one of the sponsored immigration routes under the Global Business Mobility scheme. It is designed for graduates and allows them to take an internship programme in a UK company after graduation. At the end of the internship, an intern can be promoted. The intern’s job must be eligible and part of a graduate training programme for a managerial or specialist role. Otherwise, a different immigration route must be used.

A Bit of Background

Previously, interns were granted UK Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visas for intra-company transfers. After the changes to the British immigration rules, this visa category was abolished and replaced with a UK Graduate Trainee visa. Now, you can apply for a UK Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa only if you need to relocate to the UK to join your family member who got the visa before 31 January 2020 or if you could not get the visa in time for a good reason. For example, if you were on sick leave or a victim of domestic abuse.

Requirements To Obtain UK Graduate Trainee Visa

You can apply for a UK Graduate Trainee visa only outside the UK since it is impossible to switch to it from any other UK visa. However, if you want to stay in the UK after your UK Graduate Trainee visa expires, you can switch to any UK business visa without leaving the country. You just need to get a certificate of sponsorship from your company. As for other required documents, we recommend you contact immigration advisors who will help you do everything right.

UK Graduate Trainee visa allows British companies to offer internships in their UK branch for their overseas graduate employees. Imperial & Legal’s experts will help you collect and prepare all the documents.

Eligibility Requirements for UK Graduate Trainee Visa

  1. You have worked for your sponsor outside the UK for at least three months.
  2. Your annual salary will be at least £ 24,220 and make up a certain percentage of your current salary. As a rule, the minimum percentage is 70%. For some programs, however, there are additional requirements (for more information, visit the government website).
  3. You have a certificate of sponsorship that meets the requirements:
    • the certificate of sponsorship (CoS) states the job that you are going to do;
    • the job is on the list of eligible occupations that is published on the Home Office website;
    • the company that issues the certificate is officially registered as a sponsor.

Costs To Obtain UK Graduate Trainee Visa

To get a UK Graduate Trainee visa, each applicant pays an application fee of £259. 

You must also have enough personal savings: at least £1,270 kept in your bank account for a month. This sum is supposed to cover the minimum living expenses. Add £285 for a spouse or a partner whom you add to your visa application and £315 for one child and £200 for each additional minor dependant. You also have a one-off payment of the immigration health surcharge that covers the whole period of your stay in the UK. It is £624 per person per year. If you withdraw your visa application, it is unlikely for an application fee to be refunded. In case of visa refusal, you will not get your money back. The immigration health surcharge is fully refundable in both cases. In some cases, your sponsor can cover all the visa expenses. This is stipulated in the certificate of sponsorship in the section for additional data.

Period of Stay on UK Graduate Trainee Visa

A UK Graduate Trainee visa can be issued for up to one year. After it expires, you will be able to legally stay in the UK for additional 14 days. You can use this time to either get a promotion, switch to another visa category or leave the UK.

You cannot stay in the UK for more than five years in the last six years. The rule applies to all visa categories except for a UK Senior or Specialist Worker visa (maximum stay of nine years in ten years).

Adding Spouse and Children to the Application

A spouse and children who are dependent on the main applicant can be added to their visa application. However, it increases the costs. And, this is more important, you must have enough personal savings to support yourself and your dependants without claiming public benefits.

Please note that children who are born in the UK will only automatically become British citizens if one of their parents has a UK settled status or citizenship. If not, they will also need a visa.

UK Graduate Trainee Visa Application Timeline

You can apply for a UK Graduate Trainee visa up to three months before you are due to start working in the UK. As a rule, your application is processed within three weeks. You can accelerate the procedure for an additional fee.

If the Home Office has questions for the applicant, the processing will take longer.

You can update the application or even revoke it online.

Opportunities and Restrictions of UK Graduate Trainee Visa

On a UK Graduate Trainee visa, you must perform the duties that your employer assigned to you. You can do the following outside your internship:

  • undertake training;
  • volunteer;
  • travel inside and outside the UK;
  • bring your family members with you (spouse or partner and minor children).

On a UK Graduate Trainee visa, you cannot: 

  • claim benefits, allowances, pensions, and otherwise access public funds;
  • change jobs;
  • have a side job;
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK.

The above list is not exhaustive. If your application is approved, you will get a full list of what you can and cannot do on a UK Graduate Trainee visa. To learn more about them beforehand, you can contact the British embassy or immigration advisors.

Requirements for Dependants

For married couples, adding a spouse to a visa application is not a problem. However, if you are unmarried or same-sex partners, you will have to prove that your relationship is genuine and long-term (at least two years). As evidence, you can use utility bills in both names, photos, videos taken during holidays, and any other proof of sharing a household.

If you want to add a child who is younger than 16 years old to your visa application, you can do this by simply collecting the same documents as for yourself. Older children will be recognised as your dependants only if they are financially dependent on you, live with you, are single, and have no children. Bank statements, letters from educational institutions, and some other documents can be used to prove their dependence. For a full list of evidence you must provide, contact immigration advisors.

Certificate of Sponsorship

The United Kingdom has a system of sponsorship. It means that to employ one or several foreign workers, a UK company must inform the relevant bodies about it and get a sponsorship licence. To become a sponsor, the company must prepare a package of documents and apply to the Home Office. The Home Office will review the application against the requirements. If there is a genuine need for foreign employees where local staff cannot be hired to cover it and the company has enough finances, it will be qualified as a sponsor. Then, the company will have to appoint key personnel (authorizing officer, key contact, and level 1 and level 2 users) who will be responsible for issuing certificates of sponsorship for the company’s employees. A certificate of sponsorship, which is always an electronic document, must be submitted to the Home Office together with the employee’s documents and visa application online. When the employee gets the visa and relocates to the UK, the key personnel will continue to support and monitor their performance.

List of Documents Required to Obtain a UK Graduate Trainee Visa

  1. Personal ID.
  2. Certificate of sponsorship.
  3. Sponsor’s name and sponsorship licence number.
  4. Job description and salary. Information about the current occupation (at least three months of employment in the current company):
    • electronic or paper payslips;
    • bank statements.
  5. Bank statement to prove the applicant’s ability to support themselves.
  6. Evidence that the applicant’s relationship with their dependants is genuine.
  7. Negative tuberculosis test results (see the requirements).
  8. Education documents (sometimes required by the Home Office).
  9. ATAS certificate for those intending to study at the postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects.
  10. Biometric data taken while submitting documents in the visa centre.
  11. Translations into English or Welsh of documents in other languages.

After Visa Expires 

A UK Graduate Trainee visa cannot be extended. Therefore, in 12 months, you will have to decide what to do next. In most cases, your employer, if satisfied with your work, will offer you to continue working for a UK subsidiary and switch to another visa category. For example, a UK Senior or Specialist Worker visa. To remain in the UK, you must prepare all the documents beforehand and do it properly. If you forget even one piece of evidence or make even the slightest mistake, you may not get a new visa before your UK Graduate Trainee visa expires and have to leave the UK which may affect your career prospects.

Experienced immigration advisors can help you resolve any relocation issues without stress and hassle. We know where to look for weaknesses in your application and how to present your case in the best light so that the Home Office has no doubts about you. It will process your application and issue the desired visa in no time. Let your career in the UK start smoothly and your expertise guide you along the path of personal development and growth. From our side, we will do our best to support you in all the legal aspects of UK relocation.

Getting in touch with Imperial & Legal
Timeframe: 1 day
Imperial & Legal’s experts are UK-regulated immigration advisors. You can book a consultation at our office, over the phone, or via Zoom/Skype. During the consultation, our immigration advisor will ask you questions about your circumstances and plans and answer all your questions. Once a service agreement is signed, our experts will start working on the case, provided you have a certificate of sponsorship.
Getting your visa application ready
Timeframe: 1–3 weeks
Imperial & Legal’s immigration advisors will officially represent you until you get a decision on your UK Graduate Trainee visa. They will prepare a list of documents you will need to apply for a Graduate Trainee visa, arrange for professional translation of documents into English, draft detailed cover letters, and fill in an application correctly. If your employer does not have a sponsorship licence, we can help them get it and then obtain a UK visa for you, but this will require more time.
Submitting your application and visiting a UK visa application centre
Timeframe: 1 week
Once everything is ready, our immigration advisors will pay relevant fees on your behalf and submit an online application. They will also upload all the supporting evidence and make an appointment for you at a UK visa application centre to have your photograph and fingerprints taken.
Obtaining your UK Graduate Trainee visa and relocation to the UK
Timeframe: 3 weeks

You will get a decision on a UK Graduate Trainee visa within three weeks of your application. Once your application is approved and a UK Scale-up visa is granted, you can move to the UK. You will receive your biometric residence permit upon arrival. 

Imperial & Legal provides a full range of services, not just immigration support. We can ensure that your relocation to another country is smooth, and help you find suitable accommodation, a nursery or a school. Most clients come back to us to extend their visas and obtain an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British citizenship.

FAQ about UK Graduate Trainee visa

What did a UK Graduate Trainee visa replace?

A UK Graduate Trainee visa was introduced to replace a UK Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa.

Who can apply for a UK Graduate Trainee visa?

Any graduate who plans to do an internship in a UK company is eligible for a UK Graduate Trainee visa. 

There are a few requirements that must be met:

  •   A graduate finds an internship in a trading British company that is registered as a sponsor.
  •   Internship has a defined duration of less than a year.
  •   After the internship is over, the graduate is employed by the company as a manager or specialist.

Can I add my family to the visa application?

The Home Office respects family ties and allows you to bring your family to the UK on almost any visa.

On a UK Graduate Trainee immigration route, you can add the following family members to your application:

  •   A spouse or a civil partner if you prove that you have lived together for at least two years (photos and utility bills will do).
  •   Children younger than 18 years old at the time of application. If a child is over 16 years old, you will have to prove that they live with and are dependent on you.

Looking for expert immigration advice?

We will offer a tailored solution to you and your family based on your circumstances. Contact us today for your personalised solution.