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  1. Visitor Visas for Graduation
International students

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.

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. If you are a non-visa national (someone who does not need a visa to come to the UK for a short visit) then you can request entry as a Visitor when you arrive at the airport, but you should carry with you evidence of your graduation, evidence you have sufficient funds for your visit, and evidence you intend to leave again within 6 months.

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). If you have any questions about this, please contact City’s Graduation Team. If you are a non-visa national (someone who does not need a visa to come to the UK for a visit of less than 6 months) you do not have to apply for a visa in advance, but can request entry as a Visitor at the airport. You still need to ensure you have all the documents below with you in your hand luggage. You can find out whether you are a visa national here.

Documents required when applying:

  • The current application fee can be found on the Home Office website
  • Passport(s)
  • 2 passport sized color photographs
  • Evidence that you have sufficient funds for your proposed visit (eg: at least 3 months' bank statements).
  • Evidence that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit (eg: a return flight)
  • Evidence of suitable accommodation (eg: hotel reservations)
  • Your graduation ceremony invitation email
  • Official English translation if any documents are not in English

How to apply

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.

If you chose elective options, you will have been reported to the Home Office and your visa will have been curtailed (cancelled) as your official end date will have changed to July rather than September. If you were reported to the Home Office for early completion you will have received an email from our Visa Compliance team confirming this. You would therefore need to get a Standard Visitor Visa to come back for graduation.

If not, you should be allowed to re-enter the UK if you have travelled abroad before your current visa expires. UK Visas and Immigration have advised us that you are entitled to leave and return to the UK as often as required during the four months after the end of the visa "known as the "wrap up period". As long as you leave on or before the day your visa expires you should be able to re-enter with the visa you have. However, they have also advised us that you may be questioned by Border Force Officers on whether you intend to adhere to the conditions of your visa. You might also be asked why you are coming back to the UK if you have completed your programme of studies. This is because it is their job to check what you intend to do in the UK. For students specifically, they may want to know your reason for re-entering using your Tier 4 visa if you have finished the studies for which it was granted, so when you re-enter the UK you must ensure you arrive prepared to show evidence of your graduation date. You should also be able to provide evidence of a flight ticket out of the UK.

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 Standard Visitor visa to visit you and attend your graduation ceremony in the UK, unless they are a non-visa national (someone who does not need a visa to come to the UK for a short visit).

Documents required by family members when applying:

  • The application fee is £89 (from 6 April 2017) in local currency
  • 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 of 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
  • Official English translation if any documents are not in English

How to apply