UK Graduate Trainee Visa: The Ultimate Guide

Updated: 30 March 2023

The Graduate Trainee Visa, one of the visa types under the Global Business Mobility Program, replaces the Intra Company Graduate Trainee Visa. If you’re foreign national working in a managerial or specialist role for an international company, you may now work in the UK if you meet the criteria of the Graduate Trainee Visa route.

In this article, we will provide you with detailed information on how to apply for a UK Graduate Trainee visa, salary requirements, process, and family inclusion.

The guide covers:

What Is a Graduate Trainee Visa?

The Graduate Trainee route allows you to stay in the UK to work in your current workplace’s UK branch. One of the main requirements is that you’re in a managerial or specialist position.

If your partner and dependent children meet the requirements, they may also join you in the UK under this visa route.


The UK Graduate Trainee scheme is different from the previous Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa. The Graduate Visa route used to allow international students who completed a degree or higher qualification to stay in the UK for up to two years to find work. The application process, required documents, and purpose of the application were entirely different from the UK Graduate Trainee Visa.

Benefits of UK Graduate Trainee Route

With UK Graduate Trainee Visa, you’re allowed to:

  • Work for your sponsor in the job specified on the sponsorship certificate
  • Take time to study
  • Work as a volunteer
  • Bring your spouse/partner and dependent children to the UK
  • Travel abroad and return to the UK

However, as a Graduate Trainee Visa holder, you’re not entitled to do the following:

  • Apply for public funds or the State Pension
  • Change your job or do a second job
  • Apply for UK indefinite leave to remain

Eligibility and Requirements for UK Graduate Trainee Route

If you want to become a Graduate Trainee Visa holder, you must meet the following eligibility criteria and requirements:

  • You’ve worked in a foreign company or organization for at least three months before applying for the Graduate Trainee Visa
  • Your organization or company has a sponsorship certificate approved by the Home Office for foreigners
  • Your job is listed on the list of eligible occupations
  • Your salary meets the requirement

In the following section, we’ll give you a detailed explanation of these requirements.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirements for Graduate Trainee Route

Your employer, also known as your sponsor, will provide you with a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ detailing the work you will do in the UK. It is not a paper document, but rather an electronic record.

For your visa application, you will need the reference number from the sponsorship certificate.

Please ensure that your Certificate of Sponsorship is still valid and has been issued within the last three months before submitting your application.

UK Graduate Trainee Visa Qualification Requirements

To determine eligibility, you must first know your job’s 4-digit occupation code before beginning your application. This is available through your employer or through your sponsorship certificate.

Once you have your occupation code, check to see if it is listed in the Home Office’s database of eligible jobs for the UK Graduate Trainee Visa.

Salary Requirements for UK Graduate Trainee Visa

To be eligible, your annual salary must be at least £23,100 or 70 percent of your job’s going rate, whichever is higher.

Each occupation code has its own average annual going rate. You can find the going rates on the official list published by the Home Office.

Salary Requirements for Healthcare or Education Jobs

Salary rules differ depending on whether you work in healthcare or education. Your salary must be at least £23,100, or the full going rate for your position.

The going rates for these jobs are determined by the national pay scales established by the relevant independent body, such as the National Health Service (NHS).

Language Requirement

Applicants for Graduate Trainee Visa aren’t required to meet an English language requirement.

Graduate Trainee Visa UK: Costs

When you apply for a UK Graduate Trainee Visa, you will be required to pay some fees. These include:

  • Application fee: £259
  • A yearly healthcare surcharge: £624 (approx.)

In addition to these fees, you’ll be expected to have at least £1,270 to support yourself. You might be exempt from this depending on your situation. If your employer is supporting you for your stay in the UK, this must be noted on the sponsorship certificate.

Graduate Trainee Visa Application

UK Graduate Trainee Visa application must be made at least three months before starting the job in the UK. You can make your application via the Home Office website. The training start date can be specified on the Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your employer.

After applying for the Graduate Trainee visa, the necessary documents must be sent, and the visa application fees (£259) must be paid to complete the application.

Next, you, as the main applicant for the Graduate Trainee visa, have to submit your biometric information (fingerprint and photo). Biometric information can be given to the visa application center, or you can be asked to scan the identity document through the “UK Immigration: ID Check” application.

After your Graduate Trainee Visa Application is completed, you’ll be informed about the next steps.


One important requirement for Graduate Trainee Visa applications is the ability to demonstrate that your job is legitimate. Your position must be qualified and part of a graduate training program for a managerial or specialist role.

Your application will be denied if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the position for which you are being sponsored doesn’t exist, is a hoax, or has been created solely to allow you to apply for a Graduate Trainee Visa.

Required Documents 

If you wish to apply for the UK Graduate Trainee visa, you must submit the following documents:

  • A valid passport or other document showing your nationality and identity
  • A valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) reference number which is given to you by your employer
  • Evidence documenting your job title and annual salary
  • A document showing your employer’s name and sponsor license number
  • The eligible job occupation code — can be found in the Eligible Occupations List
  • Evidence that you have sufficient personal savings to make a living in the UK, such as bank statements
  • Evidence that you have worked for your employer outside the UK for at least three months prior to applying for the visa — such as a payslip
  • Documents showing the details of the training program that you will attend
  • A valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate if your work includes Ph.D. or higher research on a sensitive topic — depends on your circumstances
  • If you’re applying with family members, documents proving kinship ties, such as marriage certificate and birth certificate
  • Tuberculosis test results — only requested for some countries

All documents submitted must be in English or Welsh. If they are not in the specified languages, they must be submitted with certified translations.

Graduate Trainee Visa: Family Inclusion 

The UK Graduate Trainee visa applicants can come to the UK with their dependent family members. 

Family members covered by the UK Graduate Trainee visa include:

  • Applicant’s spouse, civil partner, or unmarried companion
  • Children under the age of 18
  • Dependent children over the age of 18 

If the application is approved, family members are allowed to stay in the UK for the same period granted to the applicant.

Each applicant must prove their affiliation with the main applicant to be eligible for the UK Graduate Trainee visa. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, or civil partnerships will be reviewed and checked by the UK government.

As the main applicant, you’ll need to present additional funds in your savings for your eligible family members. Additional fees are as follows:

  • £315 for a dependent child
  • £200 for each additional dependent child
  • £285 for spouse or partner

Note that you’ll need to make your family members’ applications separately.

Validity of Graduate Trainee Visa

With a Graduate Trainee visa, you can stay in the UK for the shorter of the following periods:

  • 12 months
  • The time specified on your sponsorship certificate plus 14 days

Your visa can’t be extended, but you may apply for another Graduate Trainee visa from outside the UK.

Settlement in the UK Through Graduate Trainee Visa

The UK Graduate Trainee Visa isn’t a direct route settlement in the UK. However, once in the UK, you may be able to change your immigration status to one that leads to permanent residency. Nonetheless, you will be expected to meet the requirements for the immigration path you wish to pursue.

More on UK Global Business Mobility Routes

The Global Business Mobility (GBM) routes, which went into effect on April 11, 2022, are for foreign companies that need to temporarily send employees to the UK for a special reason that a settled employee can’t fulfill.

Graduate Trainee Route is one of the five options available under GBM. Other options include:

Sponsor Licence Application

The Global Business Mobility routes are open to companies of all sizes, as long as they have a trading presence outside the UK and a qualifying link to a UK company.

To obtain a Global Business Mobility sponsor license, the UK company receiving the employee is expected to prove the following:

  • Presence in the UK
  • Ties to an overseas company that will provide employees
  • Key personnel who are qualified to manage the license
  • Ability to fulfill the sponsor license requirements

In the case of the Graduate Trainee sponsorship, the UK company must be linked to the overseas company sending workers through common ownership or control, or through a joint venture agreement. Furthermore, the linked overseas business must provide structured graduate training programs with legitimate work placements in the UK.

UK Graduate Trainee Visa Route: Conclusion

The UK Graduate Trainee visa is a training route for those working in managerial or specialist role in overseas companies. With this visa, overseas companies can send their employees to the UK, and applicants can gain more experience in the thriving business environment of the country.

The application process for the UK Graduate Trainee route and the required documents may seem complex, but the process can easily be navigated with help from professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions for UK Graduate Trainee Visa

Can any employee apply to be Graduate Trainee Visa holder?

This visa type is for employees who can meet certain requirements, such as salary threshold and an eligible job code in the UK. Also, the employers should prove that the role they’ll undertake in the UK is legitimate.

Can any company with overseas business apply for the UK Graduate Trainee route?

The Global Business Mobility routes are open to companies of all sizes, as long as they have a trading presence outside the UK and a qualifying link to a UK company.

Is the UK Graduate Trainee visa suitable for every employee?

No, the UK Graduate Trainee visa is not suitable for every employee. Those wishing to apply for the Graduate Trainee visa must work in an overseas company in a managerial or specialist position.

There is also an updated list of occupations eligible for the Graduate Trainee route on the website. This list also includes the 4-digit occupational code (SOC) that the applicant needs for application.

Is there a salary requirement for the UK Graduate Trainee visa?

Yes, there is a salary requirement for the UK Graduate Trainee visa. Graduate Trainee visa holders must be paid a minimum of £23,100 per year.

Is it easy to get a sponsor certificate in the UK?

Overseas companies are eligible for licensing as long as they have a commercial presence outside the UK and have an active branch in the UK. They are also eligible to use Global Business Mobility visas.

Is there any difference between a UK Graduate Trainee visa and Graduate Visa?

Yes, the UK Graduate Trainee visa and Graduate Visa are different types of visas. The Graduate Visa is a visa that allows international students who have completed a degree or higher qualification to stay for up to two years to find employment in the UK. Like the application purpose, the application process differs entirely from the UK Graduate Trainee visa.

Is there a language requirement to get into Graduate Training Programme?

No, this type of Global Business Mobility visa doesn’t require English proficiency.

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