Planet Earth

International graduands


If you're from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you may require a Visa to attend Graduation.

I'm planning to leave the UK after I have finished my course. Can I return to the UK to attend my graduation ceremony using my current visa if it's still valid?

To return to the UK using your student visa, you must still meet the requirements of the UK Visa and Immigration Office. If your studies have ended and you don't intend to apply for another course, you could face difficulties showing that you meet the immigration rules when you return to the UK.

The Entry Clearance Officer may determine that you don't meet the requirements and may refuse you permission to enter the UK. Permission to reutrn to the UK on your student visa is at the discretion of the Entry Clearance Officer at the airport, so travelling this way is at your own risk.

We would reccomend that if you're leaving the UK and intend to return for the purpose of attending your graduation ceremony, you obtain a Visitor (Standard) Visa to avoid the risk of being refused entry to the UK. You should be aware that it isn't possible to switch from a Visitor Visa to another visa category within the UK and this may therefore impact your decision whether to leave the UK before graduation or not.

If you do decide to attend graduation on your current student visa, as long as the university hasn't withdrawn your CAS, you should bring the following in your hand luggage:

  • Evidence that you've been studying (e.g a Graduation Visa Letter)
  • Evidence of a return ticket, leaving the UK;
  • Evidence that you'll be attending your graduation ceremony (e.g. a print-out of the confirmation email from the Graduation Ceremony Team.

You should avoid mention of work if at all possible, without being dishonest, as this often raises doubts in a Border Force Officer's mind about your intentions for re-entering the UK. Remember this is at your own risk.

I'm planning to leave the UK after I have finished my course and my student visa is no longer valid. How can I get a visa to return to the UK to attend my graduation ceremony?

If you no longer have a valid student visa and you're planning to return to the UK to attend your graduation ceremony, you'll need to apply for a Visitor (Standard) Visa.To apply, you'll need to show:

  • That you wish to visit the UK for no more than six months
  • That you intend to leave the UK at the end of the visit
  • You have enough money to support yourself while you are in the UK without working or having recourse to public funds.

You can apply online for the Standard Visitor Visa and you'll need the following documents to support your application:

  • Original bank statements for the last six months from your UK account or from an account in your home country. This will show that you have sufficient funds available to cover all your living expenses while you are in the UK.
  • Evidence that you've completed your studies and will be attending your graduation ceremony (e.g. a Graduation Visa Letter)

When you arrive in the UK you may be asked by an Immigration Officer for the reason for your visit, so you should carry any relevant paperwork in your hand luggage with you to be able to confirm this.

Non-visa national students

If you're a non-visa national, you don't need to apply for immigration permission before travelling to the UK. Instead, you'll have to show the above documents at immigration control when you arrive in the UK. You should be 'stamped in' as a standard visitor on arrival for a maximum period of six months.

For support with your visa application or to ask any further questions, please contact the International Student Support Office

Inviting Guests

You can also request a Graduation Visa Letter to support your guest's visa application. All you need to do is provide the name of your guests and their relationship to you to complete a request.