Visitor visas for graduation

Graduating student with familyYou and your guests may need visitor visas to attend your graduation ceremony. You can apply for a visa to stay up to six months. 

Countries that need a visa

A visa is needed to visit the UK if you are a visa national

This list is subject to change so you and your guests should check when planning a visit.

If you do not need a visa

Nationals of countries that do not need a visa will still need to prove that they are genuine visitors when they enter the UK. To do this, they will need to show proof that they intend to leave the UK and that they have the money to support themselves without working for the time they are in the UK. The supporting documents listed below should be carried in hand luggage in case the immigration officer requests them. 

How to apply for a visitor visa

The UKBA website will tell you if should you make your application online or by submitting a paper application.  It also explains the process in your country including visa fee and waiting times.

You have a choice of applying for either a 'Family Visitor visa' or a 'General Visitor' visa. If you qualify for a Family Visitor visa we recommend that you apply for it, as it gives you the right to appeal if you are refused. To check if you qualify as a 'family member' see page 10 of the VAF 1B Family visitor (PDF - 175 KB).

If you must submit a paper application, you will need to complete one of the following forms:

Supporting documents

From the graduating student

You should provide the following documents for your guests to include with their visa application:

  • An up to date letter from the University confirming your graduation date and the fact that you can bring up to two guests to your graduation ceremony. You can get this letter by visiting Enquiry Services directly, or if you are away from Birmingham by making an online request
  • A letter from you, explaining your relationship with them and the purpose of their visit. ISAS have provided a sample letter (PDF - 21KB)
  • A copy of the bio-data page (the page containing your photograph) and the visa page in your passport, or a copy of both sides of your Biometric ID Card
  • If you will be supporting them financially during their visit, or paying for the cost of their visit, your original payslips, bank statements, or some other evidence to show that you have enough money to support them. We advise that these documents should cover several months before the date of application.
  • Professional translations of any of the above documents that are not in English or Welsh (see translation requirements)

From the person making the application

The person making the visa application should provide the following original documents:

  • Passport or travel document
  • A recent passport-sized colour photograph which meets the UKBA photo standard (PDF - 317KB). These are only needed if they are applying before coming to the UK.
  • Bank statements, payslips, or other financial evidence showing that they can pay for the trip and that they have enough money to support themselves without working. We advise that these documents should cover several months before the date of application.
  • Evidence that they intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit (for example, a letter from their employer to say that they have a job to return to, or a return flight ticket).
  • Professional translations of any of the above documents that are not in English or Welsh (see translation requirements)

 

 

Visitor visas: the facts

Visitor visas allow you to stay in the UK for a maximum of six months. You are not allowed to work, study, or to claim UK benefits in this time.