The Graduate Trainee visa is designed for recent graduates who have been offered a place on a structured graduate training program by a UK employer. It allows you to gain valuable experience in the UK and to develop your knowledge and skills for your future career.

This visa is open to eligible graduates from all countries, including the US, Canada, India, China, Australia and New Zealand. You must have a university degree that is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree or higher, and the programme you will be taking part in must be approved by the UK Home Office.

You can stay in the UK for up to 12 months, with no extension possible. During your stay, you must work only with the employer who sponsored your visa and you may not change jobs or employers during your stay. You must also comply with any specific requirements set out in your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued by the Home Office.

The Graduate Trainee visa is an excellent way to gain valuable experience in the UK and to boost your career prospects. It can also be used as a stepping stone to longer-term work opportunities, such as applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.

Purpose of the Graduate Trainee visa

The Graduate Trainee visa is designed to help international students, recent graduates and young professionals gain experience in the UK. The visa allows applicants to gain practical experience with a UK employer that is related to their field of study or previous work experience. It also allows them to expand their professional network, improve their career prospects and develop their English language skills.

The visa can be used for graduate trainee positions, internships and placements up to 12 months in length. During their stay in the UK, holders can receive training from their sponsoring employer and attend certain courses, conferences and seminars. They can also apply for a paid job or further study opportunities in the UK after the visa has expired.


What is the Eligibility Criteria for the Graduate Trainee Visa?

The Graduate Trainee visa (Global Business Mobility) is designed to allow graduates of certain educational institutions to enter the UK to work and gain experience in a specific area.
To be eligible for this visa, you must meet the following requirements:
• You must be a graduate of a recognised university, college or professional body.
• You must have the necessary qualifications for the job or training programme you’ll be undertaking.
• You must have a valid passport.
• You must have an offer of employment from an approved sponsor.
• You must have enough money to support yourself during your stay in the UK.
• You must be aged 18 or over at the time of your application.
• You must meet the UK Immigration health surcharge requirements.
• You must not have any criminal convictions in the UK or abroad.
• You must demonstrate your English language proficiency by meeting one of the following criteria: passing an approved English language test; holding a degree taught in English; or having citizenship of an English speaking country.
• You must have valid travel insurance that meets the requirements of UKVI.


How to apply for a Graduate Trainee visa

The Graduate Trainee visa is a route for international graduates who have been offered a job with a UK employer to gain experience in their chosen field. This visa allows eligible applicants to stay in the UK for up to 12 months, during which time they will be able to work for their sponsoring employer and attend any relevant training.

Applying for a Graduate Trainee visa is straightforward and can be done online or by post. If you are applying from within the UK, you will need to apply through the UK Visa and Immigration website. If you are applying from outside the UK, you can apply through the appropriate visa application centre.
Before you apply, make sure you meet all the eligibility criteria and that you have the necessary documents to support your application. You will also need to provide proof of your identity, address and passport.

Your sponsoring employer must complete the Global Business Mobility – Graduate Trainee Visa Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) form which must be included with your application. The CoS includes information about the job offer and should be provided to you by your employer. Your employer may also need to pay an Immigration Skills Charge and sponsorship licence fee before you can apply for the Graduate Trainee visa.

When you submit your application, you will be required to pay the applicable visa application fee. Once your application has been approved, you will receive a Biometric Residence Permit which will enable you to work in the UK. For more detailed information about how to apply for a Graduate Trainee visa, please consult the UK Visas and Immigration website.


What documents do you need for a Graduate Trainee visa


  1. Passport – You will need to provide a valid passport or national ID card. The passport must be valid for the whole period of stay in the UK and contain at least two blank pages for entry/exit stamps.
  2. Personal Documentation – You will need to provide proof of identity, such as a copy of your birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable) or other documents showing your name, date of birth and place of birth.
  3. Proof of Employment – You will need to show evidence of your employment or internship agreement with a UK-based employer. This can be a letter from the employer confirming the details of the agreement, including start and end dates.
  4. Educational Qualifications – You will need to provide evidence of your qualifications such as university degrees or other professional qualifications.
  5. Financial Documents – You will need to provide evidence of your financial circumstances, including bank statements and proof of adequate funds for the duration of your stay in the UK.
  6. Criminal Records Check – If applicable, you will need to provide an original criminal record check from your home country or the country you are currently living in.
  7. Medical Report – A medical report may be required in some cases, such as if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that could cause a danger to public health.
  8. Proof of English Language Proficiency – You will need to provide evidence that you can communicate effectively in English, such as an IELTS certificate or similar document.

How much does the Graduate Trainee visa cost?


When you apply for a Graduate visa, you’ll need to:

  • pay the £715 application fee
  • pay the healthcare surcharge – this is usually £624 for each year you’ll be in the UK

You’ll be told how much you need to pay when you apply.

Healthcare surcharge

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge when you apply.

If you’re eligible for a Graduate visa for:

  • 2 years – it will cost £1,248
  • 3 years – it will cost £1,872

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Processing times for Graduate Trainee visa

The processing time for the Graduate Trainee visa will depend on the country from which you are applying and the type of application you are making. Generally, it can take up to 3 months for a decision to be made on your application. It is important to remember that the visa process can take longer if you provide incorrect or incomplete information.

You should check the current processing times on the UKVI website before submitting your application. It is also important to note that applications submitted online will usually be processed faster than those submitted by post.

It is essential that you plan ahead and apply in good time, allowing plenty of time for your application to be processed. You should also make sure that you submit all the required documents at the same time as your application form, otherwise your application may be delayed.


Conditions of Graduate Trainee visa

The Graduate Trainee visa is subject to several conditions, which include the following:

  1. You must not take any other employment in the UK unless specifically authorised by UKVI.
  2. You must not take part in any business activities unless authorised to do so.
  3. You must not undertake any study lasting more than 30 days during your stay in the UK.
  4. You must register with the police within seven days of arriving in the UK.
  5. You must apply for a Tier 4 visa before entering the UK if you wish to undertake any further study or change your immigration status while in the UK.
  6. If you breach any of the conditions set out on your visa, your right to remain in the UK may be terminated.
  7. You must be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in the UK.
  8. You must follow all laws and regulations of the UK and comply with immigration rules at all times.
  9. You must not work for more than 20 hours per week during term time.
  10. You must not bring dependants with you to the UK on a Graduate Trainee visa.

How long can you stay in the UK with a Graduate Trainee visa

The Graduate Trainee visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 12 months. After the initial 12 months, you may be able to extend your visa for an additional 12 months if your training programme is extended or you have been offered a new training programme.

To be eligible to extend your visa, you must have completed at least 9 months of your training and you must have not spent more than 12 months outside the UK during your time in the UK. Additionally, your sponsor must still meet the requirements for a valid sponsor licence and you must still meet the other eligibility requirements for the Graduate Trainee visa.

If you are granted an extension of your Graduate Trainee visa, this will allow you to continue working and living in the UK for an additional 12 months. However, after the two-year period, you will need to apply for an alternative visa, such as the Tier 2 General Visa, if you wish to continue living and working in the UK.


What you can and cannot do with a Graduate Trainee visa

The Graduate Trainee visa allows you to take up a period of training or work placement within an international company. You are also allowed to receive payment for the activities you will undertake.
With the Graduate Trainee visa, you can:
• Live and work in the UK for up to 12 months
• Take up a graduate-level traineeship with an employer from outside the UK
• Receive a salary and other financial benefits from your traineeship
• Take part in unpaid volunteering or other approved activities
• Bring family members (dependents) to the UK
• Apply to extend your visa for a further 12 months
• Apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after you have completed your traineeship
What you cannot do with a Graduate Trainee visa:
• Take up permanent employment in the UK
• Undertake any form of work that is not related to your traineeship
• Receive welfare benefits or access public funds
• Be self-employed or set up a business in the UK
• Stay in the UK beyond the duration of your visa
• Transfer to a different visa category while in the UK

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Graduate Trainee visa dependants

Graduate Trainee visa holders can bring their dependant family members to the UK to be with them. Dependants can remain in the UK as long as the Graduate Trainee visa holder remains here. Dependent family members include:

  • husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner (if unmarried, you must have been in a relationship with your partner for at least 2 years)
  • children under the age of 18
  • children over the age of 18 if they are dependant on you and not living a fully independent life.

Family members applying from outside the UK must submit their own application as the main applicant’s partner4 or child5. The unique application reference number of the main applicant should be included to ensure all applications are processed together. To apply for a visa, dependant family members will also need to prove their identity, pay the required application fees, and submit any documents requested.


What Are the Requirements for Dependents?

If you are a Graduate Trainee visa holder, your dependents (spouse, unmarried or same-sex partner and children under 18) can apply to join you in the UK.
To be eligible for entry clearance as a dependant of a Graduate Trainee visa holder, the following criteria must be met:

  1. Your dependants must be related to you in one of the following ways:
    • Your husband, wife or partner
    • Your child aged under 18
    • Your child aged 18 or over if they’re financially dependent on you or they have been since they turned 18
  2. You must show that your dependants have enough money to support themselves without relying on public funds. This is called the ‘maintenance requirement’. The amount of money you need to prove depends on who is joining you and the length of your visa.
  3. Your dependants must also have suitable accommodation that is owned or occupied exclusively by them, you, or any other dependants who will be travelling with you.
  4. Your dependants will need to meet the English language requirement unless they’re exempt.
  5. Your dependants must not plan to take employment during their stay in the UK.
  6. Your dependants must also meet the general grounds for entry requirements. This includes being of good character, not having any criminal convictions and not posing a risk to the UK’s security.

What Are the Financial Requirements for Dependents?

The UK government requires applicants for the Graduate Trainee visa to prove that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependents during their stay in the UK. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum of £630 per month for each dependent for up to 9 months, or the entire duration of their stay if it is less than 9 months. The £630 per month requirement increases if there are more than 2 dependents.

In addition to demonstrating the required funds, applicants must also show that they have the means to pay for any travel and health insurance costs. Applicants will be required to provide evidence of valid travel insurance coverage for their entire stay in the UK, and must also meet the immigration health surcharge requirements.

Applicants may be exempt from demonstrating these financial requirements if they can demonstrate that a third party is financially responsible for them, or that they have an unconditional grant or scholarship to cover their costs while they are in the UK.


Sponsorship and sponsor licence requirements

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirement

The Global Business Mobility – Graduate Trainee Visa requires a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from an employer. This is to ensure the visa holder can take up employment with the specified sponsor. The sponsor must be listed on the UK’s list of approved sponsors.

The sponsoring organisation must provide evidence that they have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to supervise the applicant’s training and development. They must also prove that they have adequate funds to support the applicant throughout their stay in the UK.

A CoS is allocated to an individual for a specific job role in the UK and cannot be transferred or used by another individual. The CoS must include a valid job title, salary and other details such as the number of hours per week and length of contract. The CoS must also include evidence that the job is genuine and meets the minimum salary threshold requirements. The certificate must also include a valid job offer, including details of the sponsoring organisation, address and contact details of the sponsor.

In addition, the sponsoring organisation must obtain a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence before they can issue a CoS to a potential employee. The Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence allows organisations to recruit foreign nationals and helps to control immigration into the UK.

Immigration Skills Charge Requirement

The Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) is a requirement for non-EU/EEA nationals who are applying for a Tier 2 visa and their dependants. It is a fee paid to the UK government to help address the skills gap in the UK labour market by incentivising employers to invest in training British citizens. The ISC must be paid by the employer sponsoring a Skilled Worker and its rate is currently £1,000 per person, per year.

This charge applies to any Skilled Worker sponsor licence holders employing non-EEA nationals on a Skilled Worker visa and is payable when the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is assigned. If the worker is being employed for less than 12 months then the ISC will be charged pro-rata.

For Global Business Mobility Graduate Trainee visa holders, the cost of the Immigration Skills Charge for the first 12 months of employment is £1000. This cost should be factored into the financial planning of both the sponsor and the graduate trainee.

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Can a Graduate Trainee visa lead to ILR?

The Graduate Trainee visa is a temporary visa and it does not usually lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). The UK’s current immigration rules do not allow for applications for ILR from holders of a Graduate Trainee visa. However, depending on individual circumstances, there may be other routes to ILR available to applicants.

It may be possible for an applicant to apply for a new visa that will lead to ILR. Such visas may include the Skilled Worker Visa or the Global Talent Visa. An applicant must meet the necessary criteria for these visas, including the applicable English language requirements and financial criteria.

Applicants may also need to demonstrate that they have obtained their degree in the UK and are now seeking employment related to their studies in order to be eligible. In addition, after a successful application and completion of the required period of residency, applicants may then be eligible to apply for British Citizenship.

It is important to note that the exact route to ILR or British Citizenship will depend on individual circumstances and UK immigration laws are subject to change. It is therefore advisable to seek professional advice when considering any application for ILR or British Citizenship.

How we can help

CGM App is an end-to-end immigration app, designed to make immigration and global mobility seamless. It is designed specifically for expats, sponsoring companies, and immigration consultants, globally.

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