TEF Silver Award

How can I attend graduation if my student visa expires before the ceremony?

If your student visa expires before your graduation ceremony you will need to return home and apply for a Standard Visitor Visa to return to the UK. You cannot apply for a Standard Visitor Visa from within the UK.

Visa Nationals must obtain a visitor visa before leaving their home country. Non-visa nationals may apply before leaving their home country or on arrival in the UK. To check how you should apply please visit the UKVI web page.

Standard Visitor Visas cannot be extended and it is not possible to switch into any other immigration category from within the UK.


To apply for a standard visitor visa you must be able to show that you: –

  • Intend to visit the UK for no more than six months
  • Intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit
  • Have enough money to support and accommodate yourself (a General visitor visa does not allow work)
  • Can meet the cost of your return/outward journey

More information on the requirements can be found at the UKVI web page Standard Visitor Visa information.


Information on the documents accepted by the UKBA can be found on their web page Standard Visitor Visa Documents required.

On this page you can view a full list of supporting documents that you may wish to provide.

Normally you should expect to provide the following documents as a minimum for a visitor visa application: –

  • Information about you (current valid passport, Passport photo as appropriate)
  • Information about your finances (bank statements covering a period of several months or payslips)
  • Accommodation and travel details (provides information of where you intend to stay e.g. in a hotel or with friends. If staying with friends you should provide a letter from them confirming this. You should also provide details of when you expect to arrive and leave the UK )
  • Information about your visit (letter from the university to confirm course details and the graduation ceremony dates, transcript of results to show you have successfully completed your course)
  • Evidence that you do not intend to stay in the UK after your visit


More information on the application process from your country can be found on the UKVI web page Standard Visitor Visa – How to apply.

How can I invite my Family/Friends to attend my graduation?

If your family members need to travel to the UK to attend your graduation they should apply for a standard Visitor visa as detailed above. Please check the UKVI web page Standard Visitor Visa information for information on how to apply. In addition, you will need to provide a letter to formally invite them to visit you for your graduation.

An example letter is available here; you should include the dates of your graduation and any accommodation arrangements if applicable. You should also supply the following: –

  • Photocopies of your passport and immigration document(s)
  • Evidence that you are a student at the university (request a To Whom It May Concern letter from student services)
  • Evidence that you have been invited to attend graduation


Last Updated: May 2017.