Inviting friends and family to attend graduation (1)

Visas for family & friends to attend your graduation

If your parents, family or friends who will be attending your graduation as guests are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, they will need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa

*Certain nationalities are not required to formally apply for a visitor visa before travel and can get stamped in at the border. If the nationality is not listed in appendix 2 of the visa national list found here, then they are a "non-visa national" and can likely get stamped as a visitor at the border. If unsure, please check with us before travelling.

We recommend that those following this route still carry the same documentation ready to show at the border as evidence of your intention to visit. 

If your visitors are "Visa-nationals" meaning you must formally apply for a visa prior to travel, then they can follows these instructions below

How to apply

You must apply for a Standard Visitor Visa from outside the UK. It is not possible to switch in to this category from within the UK.

Applications are made online via UKVI application website 

If your country does not support online applications, the application forms are available from the Home Office website.


Graduation photo

Which other documents will they need?

  • Evidence that they have enough money to support themselves whilst in the UK, for example, bank statements, payslips, or a letter from their employer.  Unless you intend to support them financially during their visit (which is very unusual) they will not need your bank statements.
  • A short invitation letter from you, confirming your relationship with them and the reason you are inviting them to come to the UK.  Download a sample letter.
  • A letter from the University which confirms you are enrolled at Aston. If your guests are visiting for your graduation ceremony, your graduation ceremony date should be included in the letter. You can request a ‘Letter to Confirm your Degree Ceremony Date’ via the Graduation container in MAP for collection from The Hub Advice Zone.  (The option appears after you have completed graduation registration and have indicated that you will be attending your graduation ceremony. Remember to click on the link to confirm your graduation ceremony date).
  • If you are currently in the UK, you should send a photocopy of your passport (the photograph page), of your current student visa or biometric residence permit and of your police registration certificate if you have one.  Do not send originals.
  • Evidence that your family has every reason to leave the UK at the end of their visit, for example, a letter from their employer.
  • If you have plans (an itinerary) for their visit then write it down and give it to your visitors. For example Day 1: Collect from Birmingham airport. Day 2: Tour of Birmingham shops Day 3 Visit Worcester by train. Day 4 Coach trip to Warwick Castle etc. You can include hotel or tour bookings if you have any.

You can find further guidance on supporting documents on the Home Office website.

Use of E-Gates

The following nationalities when arriving in the UK are permitted to use the “E-Gates” for quicker entry into the UK.

-          Australia

-          Canada

-          Japan

-          New Zealand

-          Singapore

-          South Korea

-          USA

This means that if you are a national of any of the above countries you can choose to use the E-Gates at a UK airport instead of waiting in line to see a Border Officer. This is regardless of whether you have applied for your visa before travel or were planning to get stamped in at the border. It is not mandatory to use an E-Gate and you can still see a Border Officer if you want. More information here.

All other nationalities still must see a Border Officer and present their visitor visa/passport in person when entering the UK

Last updated 03/05/2019 VN