Standard Visitor Visas
If you have left the UK and would like to return to Durham for your Congregation Ceremony, you can apply for a Standard Visitor visa* before you travel.
Your family can also travel with you or visit the UK using a Standard Visitor visa*.
*Non-visa nationals (those that do not require a visa to visit the UK) may be granted entry as a Visitor on arrival. However, you must be able to provide the same evidence to show that you meet the requirements on arrival in the UK (see below). Check the UKVI website to see if you need a visa before you travel
Please note: You will not be able to undertake employment or apply for another visa whilst in the UK as a Visitor.
Returning to the UK to visit (or for Congregation)
You should apply for a Standard Visitor visa* up to 3 months before the intended visit date.
Please note: You should not travel to the UK using a previous Tier 4 (General) visa, even there is still time remaining on it. Immigration Officials may question your return to the UK under Tier 4 if your programme has ended and you may be refused entry to the UK.
You should provide the documents listed on the UKVI website.
These normally include:
- 3 months’ bank statements, payslips, or other evidence to show you can pay for your visit and have enough money to support yourself without assitance or working
- Evidence that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit (for example a letter from an employer or evidence confirming commitments requiring you to return home after your visit)
- Congregation Invitation Letter from the University (see below).
Congregation Invitation Letter
You can produce your own Congregation Invitation Letter to support a visa application for yourselves and your guests.
Go to Banner Self Service in DUO, click on Self-service Student Letters, then Congregation Invitation Letter. You will be asked to provide your address and the names of your guests, if required. The letter will then be published in pdf format on University letterhead and include the official University stamp.
Inviting your family to visit
If family or friends would like to visit you whilst you are in the UK, they may also need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa* before they travel.
They can apply up to 3 months before the intended visit date.
They should provide the documents listed on the UKVI website.
These normally include:
- 3 months’ bank statements, payslips, or other evidence to show they can pay for the visit and have enough money to support themselves without assitance or working
- Evidence that they intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit (for example a letter from an employer or evidence confirming commitments requiring them to return home after their visit)
- Copies of the photograph page in your passport and your UK visa or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
- Proof of your enrolment at Durham University: a Student Status letter, available from Banner Self Service in DUO.(Students on continuation or under exam may need to request the letter from Student Documentation Services)
- Your Congregation Invitation Letter, if appropriate (see above)
- A letter of invitation from you (see below)
They must provide an invitation letter from you, addressed to the Visa Application Office where they are applying.
Details to include in your invitation letter:
- The full name and date of birth of the proposed visitor(s) and their relationship to you (parent, friend, etc)
- Why they are visiting you (to attend your congregation, holiday, etc)
- How long they want to stay in the UK and arrival and departure dates (where possible)
- Where they will stay during their visit (if they are staying in hotel accommodation, provide details of the booking; if staying with you, give your full address)
- Details of your own immigration status in the UK (a copy of your current Tier 4 Student visa / BRP)
Use the invitation letter template below to help you:
- Standard Visitor Visa Invitation Letter Template (last modified: 22 February 2016)