Graduation is a special occasion. If you are an international student, or you have guests coming from abroad to share this special occasion, you should make sure you are prepared and that you and your guests hold a valid visa where required so you can best spend this day with your loved ones.
Standard visitor visa
If you (or your friends and family) wish to come to the UK to attend graduation and do not hold a current UK visa, you/your guests may need to apply for a ‘Standard Visitor visa’. Please make sure you have enough time to gather relevant documentation and apply for visas. You can view the Home Office's current processing times for visas on their website.
1. Identify whether a visa is needed and whether you and/or your guests are eligible.
- Graduation attendees who don't already hold a relevant visa/right to travel to the UK may be able to visit the UK as ‘visitors’ on a Standard Visitor visa.
- To find out who needs a visa to travel to the UK and how to apply please see the Home Office website. You will be eligible for a standard visitor visa if you can demonstrate to the entry clearance officer that you meet the specified criteria.
2. Identify supporting documentation needed for the visa. The Home Office website details what supporting documents are required, however we have additional information to help you and/or your guests below.
- There is a full list of documents on the UK government’s website that the visa applicant needs to provide.
- What documents are needed is dependent upon the visa applicant's circumstances. Check the list to find what information visa applicants need to provide as part of the visa application.
3. Request relevant documentation from the University. As part of the application you will also need to provide a letter stating that you are eligible to attend graduation. This letter is called “Proof of study showing graduation dates”. Make sure your contact details are up-to-date before requesting the letter as these details appear on the letter you will receive and ensures that the University posts your letter to the correct address (if applicable).
- You can order this letter from askUS if you are a student who was registered this academic year: see our Letter Requests page for how to request a letter as a current student
- If you deferred your graduation and haven’t been a student during this academic year, you need to order a letter via our online shop: see our Letter Requests page for how to request a letter as a graduate
4. Create a letter inviting your family and friends to the UK for your graduation if you have any guests who need this documentation for their visa application. We have provided an invitation letter template that you may wish to use.
5. Complete the 'Standard Visitor visa' application form. You will also need to make an appointment to submit your application, your supporting documents and to submit your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph).