Visas for Graduation


This section includes information on how to return to the UK to attend graduation if you will leave or have left the UK after completing your course. 

If you intend to take further study in the UK please read the relevant section below, so that you can check if this is possible and what you need to do in terms of your immigration permission in the UK.

If you intend to work in the UK please see our webpage on working in the UK. 

You can return to the UK on a valid Student/Tier 4 visa. When you travel back to the UK, the border force officer may ask why you are re-entering the country after your studies have finished so you must tell them that you are returning to collect your results and attend your graduation ceremony. 

Important! If you have completed your course earlier than expected and your course completion has been reported to UKVI you must not use your current Student/Tier 4 visa to travel to the UK as your immigration permission may have been curtailed and may no longer be valid - even if the expiry date has not passed yet. In such cases, you will have been sent an e-mail by the Student Immigration Team notifying you of the report made to UKVI and this email will tell you not to travel back to the UK on your Student/Tier 4 visa if you have left the country.

You should carry in your hand luggage evidence that you are going to graduate, for example emails/letters from your School with your results or information about your graduation ceremony such as your invitation and confirmation of your gown hire.

You can also request an 'expects to graduate' letter from the Student Services Centre that confirms when you are due to graduate by completing the Student Services Enquiry Form.

If you no longer have valid Student/Tier 4 immigration permission and you are planning to return to the UK to attend your graduation ceremony, you will need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa. This is also the case if you completed your course earlier than expected and you have received an email to confirm that we have reported this to the UKVI. This means that it is not safe to travel on your Student/Tier 4 visa and you should instead apply to return on a Visitor visa.

Please see this website on how to apply for the Standard Visitor visa along with the information on the UKCISA website.

If you are a non-visa national you can obtain this visa at the UK border for free, whereas if you are a visa national you must apply online before you travel. You can check if you are a non-visa national on the UKVI website. If you apply online or if you request entry at the border you need to be able 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; and
  • you have enough money to support yourself while you are in the UK without working or having recourse to public funds.

If you are eligible to enter via the eGates you will not receive a visitor stamp in your passport so you must retain evidence of your arrival in the UK such as a boarding pass or flight ticket.

You should include in your application (visa national), or carry with you when you travel (non-visa national) the following evidence:

  • Original bank statements for the last six months from your UK account or from an account in your home country to show that you have sufficient funds available to cover all your living expenses while you are in the UK. 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, such as your graduation invitation or confirmation of gown hire.
  • Evidence proving your intention to leave the UK e.g. return flight tickets or intended flight bookings, a letter from an employer expecting you back by a certain date.