International students

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  3. Visa & immigration
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  1. Visitor Visas for Graduation

Visitor Visas for Graduation

You may need to apply for a visa to attend your own graduation or your family members may need to apply for visas to visit London as your guests at the ceremony.

The information provided here is only general guidance. Requirements may vary from country to country and you must check with your local Visa Application Centre, British Embassy or High Commission for exact details of required documentation.

How to apply for a visa for your own graduation

You can apply for a standard visitor visa online. It is helpful if you can provide evidence of the date of your ceremony (invitations to attend the Graduation Ceremony are emailed to graduating students approximately 6 weeks before the date of each ceremony).

Find help

If you have any questions about this, please contact City’s Graduation Team.

You can find more information on supporting documents for making a visitor visa application by the Home Office.

When your Tier 4 student visa expires before your graduation

If you are a visa national and your current Tier 4 student visa expires before your graduation date, you will need to leave the UK and apply for a Standard visitor visa to come back to attend your graduation ceremony.

Come back to the UK on your current Tier 4 student visa

If you leave the UK on completion of your course, and want to come back on your current Tier 4 student visa in order to attend a graduation ceremony (so within the 4 months additional time granted on top of your course-end date) you potentially risk facing problems at Border Control on re-entry.

Visas for your family to attend your graduation ceremony

If your family members need a visa to travel to the UK, they will also need to apply for a Visitor visa to visit you and attend your graduation ceremony in the UK.

Documents required by family members when applying:

Make sure all documents are translated to English

  • The application fee is £85 in local currency (£87 from April 2016)
  • Passport(s)
  • 2 passport sized colour photographs
  • Evidence that they have sufficient funds for their proposed visit (eg: at least 3 months' bank statements and/or payslips). If you are funding their visit, you will need to provide proof of your finances.
  • Evidence that they intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit (eg: a letter from their employer)
  • Evidence of their relationship to you (eg: a birth or marriage certificate or family book)
  • Evidence of suitable accommodation (eg: hotel reservations or a copy of your tenancy agreement if they will be staying with you)
  • A Student status letter from your School Office or City’s Student Centre confirming you are a student at City University London
  • Your graduation ceremony invitation email
  • An invitation letter from you (use this a sample letter as a guide)
  • Copies of your current passport and student visa.

How to apply

How to avoid problems at the Border Control

Although your Tier 4 visa might still be valid, you no longer meet the student immigration rules (because you are no longer enrolled on a full-time course of study). A border force official might consider that your circumstances have changed or that you are trying to enter the UK for a purpose other than that for which your visa was granted.

Meet student immigration rules

In our experience, as long as you carry with you in your hand luggage evidence that you have recently completed a course of study at City University, and evidence of your graduation ceremony (confirmation email from the University, electronic booking receipt), then you should be given re-entry on your Tier 4 permission.

If you don't want to risk any potential problems, you should remain in the UK to await your graduation ceremony or you should apply to return to the UK under Visitor conditions.