Graduation_ Visitor visas

I am outside of the UK and I need a visa for my graduation

If you are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you may require a visa to attend graduation.  

If the only purpose of your visit is to attend graduation and perhaps have a short holiday in the UK, you may apply for a Standard Visitor Visa.

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

You should not apply for a short-term study visa because these visas are for students coming to the UK to take a short course.

*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 you are a visa national meaning you do need to apply for a visitor visa from overseas (e.g. your Tier 4 visa has already expired) then you can follow the rest of these instructions

Graduation photo 1

How do I apply?

For full information about Standard Visitor Visas, including how to apply, is on the UK Government website.

How do I get a letter to confirm the date of my graduation?

 You may need a letter from the University to confirm the date of your graduation. This is available on MAP.

There is an option inside the 'Graduation' container of MAP that allows you to request  a  ‘Letter to Confirm your Degree Ceremony Date’.

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 outside of the UK and would like the letter to be sent to you via DHL, please follow the guidelines on our website.

Note: If your family or friends are also intending to visit the UK in order to attend your graduation ceremony, you will need to order extra copies of this letter for each of their visa applications too.

What other documents do I need?

The Home Office give guidance on supporting documents and further information on their website


I am in the UK and I only need to invite my friends/family

If you are currently inside of the UK and only need to invite your family for your graduation, the information will be slightly different.

Click here for more information

Graduation 3

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 7/02/2019 JCD