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All About UK PSW (Post Study Work) Visa

ACAlpina ChariAug 24, 2023

All About UK PSW (Post Study Work) Visa

Like many European countries, the UK offers international students the opportunity to stay and work there after completing their studies. They need to apply for a graduate visa called the UK PSW (post-study work) visa in order to be eligible. But this visa is for a fixed period of time, depending on the level of their studies. International students can utilize this opportunity to work or look for a job in the UK. But they cannot work as professional sportspersons in the country. However, they can undertake any supplementary studies on a PSW visa from an institution that does not sponsor Tier 4 general student visas. The general validity of a UK PSW is 2 years, but 3 years for postdoctoral and Ph.D. candidates. To be eligible for it, you must be in the country while applying for it, possess a student visa, have studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree, or other eligible course, and your university must inform the Home Office about the successful completion of your course.

Highlights: UK PSW Visa 

Validity of UK PSW visa  Generally 2 years but 3 years for Ph.D. or other doctoral qualifications
Application fee £715
Extention allowed? No 
Where to apply?  GOV.UK website
How to apply?  Online 

Eligibility for a UK PSW Visa 

To be eligible for a UK PSW visa, you must have successfully completed your education in the UK with a Tier 4 general visa (student visa). The eligibility criteria also depend on 

  • The university or the institution where you have completed your course of study
  • The type of program you applied for
  • The duration of your program  

If you switched to a new course from an existing one without completing it, you need to have completed the course you changed to before applying for a PSW visa. Your education provider or university must be a licensed sponsor in the UK with a ‘track record of compliance.’ Your course can either be a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or a postdoctoral/Ph.D. degree. You can also apply if you have completed any one of the following

  • Foundation course in medicine or dentistry
  • Law course approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • Postgraduate certificate degree in education
  • Postgraduate diploma in education 
  • Bar practice course in England and Wales, or the Northern Ireland
  • Legal practice course in England and Wales
  • Solicitors course in Northern Ireland
  • Diploma in professional legal practice in Scotland

Applicants working as the Student Union Sabbatical Officer on a student visa are also eligible to apply for a PSW visa. They just need to complete any one of the aforementioned courses in the UK before applying for it. You can also apply for a PSW visa if the course you select permits you to work for a job regulated by UK law or a UK public authority. You must have studied in the country for at least 12 months if the length of your course is more than 12 months. If your course is less than 12 months, then you must be in the UK for the entire duration of the course. Leaving the country during term breaks or on weekends still counts as studying in the UK.

International students are permitted to work and study in the country on a PSW visa till its validity expires. They cannot work as professional sportspersons in the country. They can do any supplementary studies on a PSW visa from an institution that does not sponsor student visas. Students must note that a PSW visa is non-extendable. 

How and When to Apply for a UK PSW Visa?

The entire procedure for the application of a UK PSW visa is online via the GOV.UK website. To apply you can either create a new UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account or use the existing account created during your student visa application. You can begin your application, save it as necessary, and finish it whenever you have time. There is no need to submit the application all at once. You can sign in whenever you wish to complete the application by using the sign-up link sent via email. Students can also use the ‘Assisted Digital’ support if they need any help filling out their PSW visa application. They can expect help in the form of phone support from an advisor or face-to-face support in person. 

The ideal time to apply for a PSW visa is before the expiry of your student visa in the UK. You can start the application process once your university or college informs the Home Office that you have successfully completed the course you took with your student visa. You do not need to wait until the completion of your graduation ceremony.  

Documents Required for UK PSW Visa

  • A valid passport or other travel document that proves the applicant’s identity and nationality
  • A biometric residence permit (BRP) which is provided to the applicant when applying for a student visa 
  • The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number that is sent to the applicant by the university upon confirmation of place on their course 
  • Proof of the applicant’s relationship with their dependents if they are applying with them
  • A letter from the scholarship or sponsorship provider confirming that they paid the applicant’s tuition fees and living expenses in the UK for the last 12 months 

As a part of the application, you are required to prove your identity. This is usually done by scanning BRP with the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ application. Students from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein can scan their passports to prove their identity. Students who are unable to scan their BRP or passport with the use of the application are asked to get their fingerprints and photographs taken at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point. The center might retain your passport with them until your application is processed. Until you receive a decision, you are not permitted to leave the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man. If you do, your application will be withdrawn.

How Much Does a UK PSW Visa Cost?

The application fee for a graduate route visa in the UK costs £715. Additionally, international students also have to pay the healthcare surcharge of £624 each year they are in the country. That means they will have to pay £1,248 for a 2-year PSW visa and £1,872 for a 3-year PSW visa. While on a PSW visa, if the candidate gets hired for a job in the public sector in the UK, the healthcare surcharge will be refunded. Depending on the type of visa you have, there are different ways in which you can get your refund. 


In summary, international students in the UK are eligible to stay in the country upon graduation to look for employment. They need to apply for a special type of visa called a PSW visa. Depending on the type of course and duration, the validity of the UK PSW visa lasts between 2 and 3 years. The best time to apply for a PSW visa is before the expiration date of your student visa. In order to start the application, the Home Office must be notified by your university of the successful completion of the course you have been studying. The entire procedure is performed online, and students must prove their identity and submit relevant documents to get their application processed. The process can take up to eight weeks. Although the process seems easy, it can be overwhelming due to the numerous steps involved. You can seek advice from Gyanberry’s educational counselors, who have a proven record of helping students with visas and other formalities. Our specialized platform, Gyanberry, covers everything related to overseas admissions, from application to post-admission assistance. We are more than happy to help. Book your free video appointment now!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The PSW visa allows you to stay and work in the UK for a period of 2 to 3 years depending on the type and duration of the course you studied. 

The UK PSW visa costs £715. Additionally, students must pay a healthcare surcharge of £624 each year they are in the country.

The best time to apply for a PSW visa in the UK is before the expiry date of your student visa. Once your university informs the Home Office about the successful completion of your course, you can start your PSW visa application.

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