Advice for living in Cardiff and the UK, Before you graduate, More

Visas for graduation

Kristina, from our International Student Support Team shares some important visa information for international students who will be attending graduation and inviting family.


So you’re on your way to successfully completing your course and earning your qualification. First of all – Congratulations! It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point.

Now you are probably thinking about graduation, about attending your ceremony and bringing your family along to share in your proud moment. As well as booking your gown, for those of you from outside the EU, you will need to think about making sure you and your family have a valid visa for the event. We’re here to help!


Will I need a visa?

If your Tier 4 visa expires before the event, or if you are planning to travel home and your Tier 4 leave will be close to expiry when you plan to return, then you will need to apply for a new visa.


Which visa?

You and your family members who will be attending should apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. The good news is that the process is a lot simpler than applying for your Tier 4 leave! You can find information about the process and the documents you’ll need on the ISS intranet pages (search for ‘How family or friends can apply for a visa to visit you in the UK’). You can also find official guidance from the Home Office here.


Evidence of Graduation

In support of your application, you will need to submit a Visitor Letter confirming the details of your graduation event. You will get this letter from the University. If you are an undergraduate student, you can request it through Ask Cardiff. If you are a postgraduate student, you’ll need to email the Graduation Team. Make sure you supply the following information when you make your request:

  • Your student number
  • Your full name
  • The address to which the visitor letter should be sent
  • Delivery method:
    • Post or Air Mail
    • DHL Courier – you will have to pay for this
  • Collect – please give name of person collecting

Some important points to remember

The Standard Visitor Visa has very different regulations than your Tier 4 visa. Remember that you won’t be able to work when you are here with this leave and that you won’t be able to switch your visa while in the UK. If you are thinking about further study or work in the UK it would be a good idea to plan for this in advance. Contact International Student Support if this applies to you and we can help you understand the options and regulations.


Have any questions or concerns?

All the information that you need about Graduation Week is available on the Graduation webpages here.

If you have questions about the visa application process, contact the team here at International Student Support. We’ll be happy to help.


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Your feedback and help please

Have you found this blog post useful?  Please help us by commenting in the comments bar below, and  if there is anything further you’d like to know ask your questions there too.

We’d also be grateful if you can share this information by re-tweeting or sharing with your fellow students who may find this useful – you can do this by using the share buttons or via twitter and facebook.


Best wishes,
Kristina, International Student Support Team.


Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice and MoneyCareers and EmployabilityCounselling, Health and Wellbeing, Disability and Dyslexia and International Student Support. The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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