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International students

Applying as a Standard Visitor to attend graduation

Last updated: 8 February 2021

The university is not permitted to extend a Tier 4 Student visa simply to allow a student to remain in the UK until graduation. If, therefore, your Tier 4 visa is due to expire before the date of your graduation ceremony, please be advised that you will need to return home and submit a new immigration application as a ‘Standard Visitor’ in order to return for the ceremony.

Please note: if your graduation ceremony falls within the period of your Tier 4 leave, but you leave the UK at the end of the course, we strongly advise that you apply for fresh entry clearance as a Standard Visitor and do not attempt to re-enter on your Tier 4 visa in order to attend graduation. In this instance, Immigration Officers could decide that you no longer meet the requirements for Tier 4 and refuse you entry to the UK.

When to apply

Applications for a ‘Standard Visitor’ visa can be made up to three months before the intended date of travel. For an indication of how long it may take for the application to be processed, please use the UK Visas and Immigration guide to processing times.

Please note that during peak periods it can take much longer for applications to be processed overseas, so you should try to submit your application as early as practically possible, to avoid disappointment.

How to apply

For everywhere apart from North Korea, you will need to submit your application online.

When you apply, you must choose the option that best describes why you are coming to the UK, e.g. choose ‘general’ if you’re visiting on holiday.

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of your application.

Documents required for application

You should supply all relevant documents listed on the UK Visas and Immigration website. The following documents are normally required:

If you require a letter confirming your eligibility to attend graduation, please send a request by email to

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