Students Staff



University of Essex

Letter request to support a visa application for students only 

If you wish to return to the UK to attend your graduation ceremony and your Tier 4 visa has already expired, you should be able to apply to enter the UK as a visitor and may require a letter of invitation from the University. If you are not sure whether you need a letter from the University, please contact your local Visa Application Centre or Embassy for confirmation. Information on applying for entry clearance as a visitor is available from the Home Office including where you can apply. The final decision to grant entry to the UK remains with the Home Office and the University is not able to influence their decision. Our advisers are authorised to provide immigration advice regarding the UK's student immigration rules so cannot provide advice about applying for a visitor visa.

If you have a Tier 4 visa that is still valid, UK Border Force should allow you to use this for re-entry into the UK. You should carry details of your graduation ceremony. Please note that the University is not able to sponsor students under Tier 4 to extend their visa to attend their graduation ceremony.

Family and friends

If you wish to invite guests to attend your graduation who will need to apply for a visitor visa, you can write them a letter of invitation. Read our guidance on writing a letter of invitation for your guests. A letter from the University is not a requirement when applying for a visitor visa for this purpose.

Requesting a letter for yourself

If you require a letter for yourself and you have to apply for a visitor visa overseas, we strongly advise that you make an online request 3 months before your graduation ceremony, this is due to the time it can take for the Home Office to process your visa application. Please note that the immigration rules require you to submit 'original' documents, however, in our experience the Home Office are accepting colour PDF versions of our letter. Our letter will confirm that you are eligible to graduate and are invited to attend Graduation.

Please follow this link to request your letter: Letter Request

We aim to provide the letter within five working days from the date of your request. The letter will be emailed to you as a PDF document.