Guide to Post Study Work Visa (Tier 1 PSW) Application

Written by Faizan Patankar

This post explains the process of applying for a Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) Visa under the UK Border Agency Points Based System (PBS). Please note that this scheme will end in April 2012.

What is PSW visa?

Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) is an immigration status that allows international students to stay and work in the UK for up to two years after obtaining a degree from a UK institution. Please check with your university that they are able to provide the letter.

Postgraduate Certificates and Postgraduate Diplomas are not eligible.

Students who have already been in the UK under Post Study Work are not eligible.

When can I apply for PSW visa?

You can only apply for a PSW visa once your institution has decided your degree qualification. It does not mean after your graduation day, it means once the exam board has met and your results have been announced to you.

Under the points based system, you have to apply for a PSW visa within 12 months of your degree award. It is good practice to apply 1 month before your current visa status expires. But you can apply up to the penultimate day of the expiry of your current visa status.

If you send your application form and application fee by post, the date of application is the date of posting. This is decided by the postmark. If the postmark is illegible or missing, the date of postage is taken as being at least 1 day before it is received by the Border Agency.

Eligibility criteria for a successful application to PSW?

  • Under the points based system, the applicant must score at least 75 points, or his/her application will be refused.
  1. 20 points for relevant UK Qualification
  2. 20 points for relevant UK Insitution
  3. 20 points for having valid immigration status during the tenure of UK stay (Student Visa)
  4. 15 points for applying within 12 months of award of degree
  5. If you have 75 points from above in that order, then 10 points for English language
  6. 10 points for maintenance fund (GBP 800 for each and every day of the past 90 days prior to application)
  7. Total 95 points will improve your chances of a successful application.
  • The aggregation of 75 points does not mean you will be issued a visa, it is a minimum requirement.

How can I apply for PSW visa?

Applying from inside the UK

Applications may be made by post, courier, or in person at one of UKBA’s Public Enquiry Offices. To apply in person, you must make an appointment.

To apply in person – download the application form, it has up-to-date costs and posting address. Click on this link here.

To apply by courier – download the application form, it has up-to-date costs and posting address. Click on this link here.

To apply in person – you have to book an appointment online and pay higher fees. Click here to know more.


Applying from outside the UK

Applications made from outside the UK have completely different fees and documentation. Please follow this link to the UKBA website for information on this type.


Documents checklist (minimum required for PSW visa)?

Minimum documents required for a complete application include:

  • UK Qualification Degree Certificate (or Transicpt, or Letter from your University stating the award of qualification)
  • PSW Letter from the University, or degree awarding institution
  • Passport(s)/Travel documents
  • Passport size photos (2)
  • Bank statements/Bank Letter (no print-outs of online accounts) for maintenance fund proof

The above is a minimum of the must-have documents to be enclosed with the PSW application form. But you may have the need to attach or enclose more documents, as relevant to your case, from the application form sections.

Help with filling PSW application form

The University of East London have very kindly made this interactive PSW application form for guidance. It is a .pdf version of the actual application form, with comments to help you solve any confusion you might have about the question/section. I have personally used the interactive form and it is very easy to use.

The interactive form can be downloaded from the download section of Career Geek blog.


The information produced in this post is available in the public domain. All the information aggregated is produced in good faith and accurate to the date 8 September 2011. Please note: the PSW scheme will end in April 2012, after which date this post will be deleted or the information will be completely useless.

Photograph: Alamy (via

About the author

Faizan Patankar

I started Career Geek Blog in 2011 to share my experience in job-hunting. I now focus on careers industry and blogging is just a tool to share that info. Love hacking careers. During the day I focus on my hobby - Engineering.