Students Staff

Inviting family and friends to visit you

If you would like to invite a relative or friend to come and visit you in the UK they may require immigration permission to enter the UK as a visitor. To find out if Entry Clearance is required please visit the Home Office website.

When making their application your visitor will need to supply certain original documents and should check exactly what is required by reading the application form and guidance notes. Along with other specified documents your visitor will usually have to provide:

  • specified evidence to show that they can pay for the trip and that they have enough money to support themselves without working or getting any help from public funds and;
  • evidence that they intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit (for example, a letter from their employer) and;
  • recent proof of your registration at the University of Essex, you can request a Certificate of Registration using the Student Documentation Ordering System and;
  • a copy of the photograph page in your passport and a copy of your UK visa (entry clearance sticker or Biometric Residence Permit) and;
  • a letter of invitation from you, see the guidance below. A formal letter of invitation from the University is not required.


If you wish to invite friends or relatives to visit you to attend your Graduation, together with your letter of invitation your guests could also supply copies of emails sent to you by the University confirming details of your ceremony.

If your student visa is no longer valid and you wish to return to the UK to attend your ceremony you will need to apply for a visitor visa for yourself. You can request a letter from the Graduation Office.

Your letter of invitation

Write a letter, addressed to the Entry Clearance Officer at the Embassy where your visitor is applying for their visa. Include in your letter:

  • the full name and date of birth of the proposed visitor(s) and their relationship to you (parent, friend, etc) and;
  • why they want to come and visit you (for a holiday, to attend your graduation, etc.) and;
  • how long they want to stay in the UK and, if possible, their proposed arrival and departure dates and;
  • where they intend to stay; if they plan to stay with you, give your full address (if you would like your visitor to stay with you in University accommodation you will need permission from your local accommodation office (please note this is usually only possible for a maximum of three days and may not be possible at all at certain times of the year) and;
  • your own immigration status in the UK (for example, Tier 4 (General) visa)

What to do next

Send your original invitation letter, copies of your passport page and UK visa and original Certificate of Registration to your friend or relative so they can include them with their visitor visa application.

More information

To find out more about making an Entry Clearance application to come to the UK to visit friends or family please see the Home Office.