Graduation for international students

General information

As your time with us draws to a close, makes sure that you are reading the information we have provided on Coming to the end of your studies, as this will highlight what you need to think about before you leave the UK or whilst thinking about your future plans.

Graduation ceremonies

It is important to note that, even if you have enough time on your current visa to attend your graduation ceremony, you should not rely on being able to re-enter the UK on that visa if you choose to return home after the official end date of your course. This is because a Tier 4 visa is for studying a designated course only and a graduation ceremony is not classed as part of a course by the UKVI. If you try and re-enter the UK on a visa for a course that has officially finished (according to the end date on the CAS that was used to gain the visa) then it is likely that you will be turned away at the Port of Entry (e.g. the airport). You will need to apply for a general visit visa to re-enter the UK instead.

Equally, If you do not have enough time on your current visa to attend your graduation ceremony, you cannot extend your visa under Tier 4 but will need to leave the UK and apply for entry clearance as a general visitor to attend.

Applying for entry clearance as a general visitor to attend your graduation ceremony

To apply as a general vistor, you will need to complete the VAF1A visitor form, which is downloadable from the Home Office website.

The immigration rules state that a visitor must stay for no longer than six months, must have adequate funds to pay for accommodation, living expenses and return journey and must not take up employment in the UK. The length of time in which applications are processed varies, so it is advisable to contact the British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in your own country as soon as possible.

The full list of documents you need to provide is given on the application form and all of the documents should be originals and not photocopies. You should also provide the the following document to support your application:

  • Your invitation to graduation (which will be sent to you by email). Please make sure the University knows where to send this email by updating your faculty before you leave the UK.

Immigration support for family members who plan to attend your graduation ceremony

For all campuses guest letters for family members who are planning on traveling with you can be requested when you register your intention to attend the Graduation Ceremony. Further information relating to the Graduation Ceremonies can be found on the University Graduation web pages.