The UK Graduate Trainee Visa

 This article is part of the ‘Global Business Mobility’ series, which provides a detailed summary of the UK Graduate Trainee Visa route.

There are 2 parts, which cover the following topics:

Part 1:

What is the Purpose of the UK Graduate Trainee Visa?

When Can You Apply?

3 Requirements to Satisfy

The Validity Requirements

The Suitability Requirements


Part 2:

The Eligibility Requirements

Points-Based Requirements

Non-Points-Based Requirements

The Decision



This is part 1. You can jump to part 2 HERE.


What is the Purpose of the UK Graduate Trainee Visa?

The UK Graduate Trainee Visa
The UK Graduate Trainee Visa

The UK Graduate Trainee Visa is for overseas workers who are undertaking temporary work assignments in the UK. To qualify, the worker needs to be on a graduate training course leading to a senior management or specialist position and is required to do a work placement in the UK.

When Can You Apply for the UK Graduate Trainee Visa?

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. You’ll find this date on your certificate of sponsorship.


3 Requirements to Satisfy

As with all points-based system visa applications, you’ll need to meet 3 requirements to succeed:

  1. The Validity Requirements
  2. The Suitability Requirement
  3. The Eligibility Requirements


The Validity Requirements

The Validity requirements consist of the rules on

  1. Procedure
  2. Switching



The procedural rules are simple and straightforward. They consist of 4 steps:

  1. The Online Form

You’ll need to complete the correct online form. If you are outside the UK, you’ll need to complete the “Global Business Mobility visa” form. If you are in the UK, it is the “Global Business Mobility” form (without the word ‘VISA’).

  1. The Fee

First of all, you’ll need to pay the £259 application fee.

Secondly, you’ll need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge at the rate of £624 per year.

Thirdly, you’ll need to meet the financial requirement, which I explain later in the second article about the UK Graduate Trainee Visa.

  1. Your Passport and Supporting Documents

As with all visa applications, you’ll have to provide your passport to prove your identity, age and nationality. You’ll have to be over 18 when applying.

Also, you’ll need to submit other documents in support of your application. Also, when applying, you’ll have to provide evidence confirming that your Sponsor issued a Certificate of Sponsorship within 3 months or less before the date of the application.

If your country is on Appendix T list, you’ll also need to submit a tuberculosis test certificate.

  1. Biometrics

Then you’ll have to submit your biometrics (fingerprints, a scan and a photo of your face) at one of the Visa Applications Centres.



If you are applying from the UK, you should understand the switching rules.

Switching is a legal process allowing you to change ‘to switch’ immigration categories. For example, if you came here to the UK as a student but now would like to ‘switch’ to the UK Graduate Trainee Visa  (when still in the UK), switching rules will apply.

Those who are in the UK in the following categories:

(a) as a Visitor; or

(b) as a Short-term Student; or

(c) as a Parent of a Child Student; or

(d) as a Seasonal Worker; or

(e) as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or

(f) outside the Immigration Rules

cannot switch to the UK Graduate Trainee Visa (or any other visa category). If you are in the UK in one of the categories above, your only option is to leave the UK and reapply under a different UK immigration route.


The Suitability Requirements

After ensuring that you meet the Validity requirement, the decision maker will check if you meet the Suitability requirements for the application.

At the risk of oversimplification, we can think of the suitability requirements as ‘the good character requirements’. There are mainly there to ensure the safety of people who already live in the UK.

When making the suitability requirement related checked, the decision maker will check if you:

  • had any exclusions or deportation orders
  • or criminal convictions
  • were excluded from asylum or humanitarian protection grounds
  • were involved in a sham marriage
  • made any false representations
  • previously breached immigration laws
  • failed to provide the requested information
  • have any debts to NHS or unpaid litigations costs

You’ll find a full list of grounds for refusal on the basis of suitability at part 9 of the Immigration Rules.

If you are applying from the UK, in addition to meeting the requirements listed at Part 9 of the Immigration Rules, you’ll need to prove that your meet paragraph 39E and are not on immigration bail.


Continue reading: PART 2

The UK Graduate Trainee Visa