International family and friends visits

Many international students invite family and friends to attend graduation or to visit the UK for holidays.

Your family or friends can find out if they need a visa to visit the UK by filling in this online questionnaire

If they do need a Standard Visitor visa they must carefully read the guidance notes before applying.

Visitors aren't eligible for NHS health treatment, so they should arrange their own travel and health insurance before travelling.

Online application

Your family or friends must complete the Standard Visitor visa application online.


Your visitor will need to show UK Visas & Immigration that they:

  •     want to visit the UK for six months or less
  •     intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit
  •     have enough money to support themselves
  •     do not intend to work in the UK.

There is no specific list of documents they must show to get this visa, however we suggest you submit the following supporting documents:

1. Purpose of visit

You need to send your visitor (family or friends coming to your graduation) a copy of:

  • your passport details page
  • the visa page in your passport or a copy of your Biometric Residence Permit.

2. Student registration status certificate

You'll also need to send a Student Registration Status Certificate from the University, which confirms you are a full time registered student. Choose the option for ‘travel visa’ and confirm whether the document is for you or someone else. 

3. Graduation invitation

If you're inviting your visitor for your graduation ceremony you should request a Student Registration Status Certificate and choose the option for ‘graduation invitation’. This letter includes details of your ceremony. You can also submit a copy of your confirmation email you receive when you book your graduation.

4. Financial support

Your visitor needs to prove that they have sufficient money available to cover the full cost of the trip including flights, accommodation and living costs. There are strict rules about what financial evidence is acceptable, so always read the guidance.

There is no specific amount of money that you or they must hold, but we suggest you use the Student visa requirements as a guide.

If you're financially supporting your visitor you'll need to send an original bank statement, to demonstrate your funds. Speak to your bank about obtaining an original bank statement.

5. Accommodation 

If your visitor is staying with you then you must send your accommodation contract/tenancy agreement to show you have room for them. If they're staying in a hotel then you can submit a hotel booking, or they can book their own hotel or show that they have funds to do so.

6. Intention to leave

Your visitor will need to show they will leave the UK at the end of their visit. Documents which could be provided include; a letter from their employer, school or university, return flight tickets, evidence of property ownership or marriage certificate. (Certified translations of such documents will be required.) 

7. Invitation letter

To help your visitor to get a visa you can write them an invitation letter and provide them with some supporting documents. Send these by post to your family or friends and they can submit them with their visa application. Each person you invite will need their own original letter and documents from you.

You can copy out the invitation letter template below. You will need to change it to reflect your personal situation.

Invitation letter template

Use this as a template to invite your visitor. Make sure to change it to reflect your situation.

[Your UK address]   

Date ………………

To Whom It May Concern:

I, [your name] [your date of birth], would like to invite my [friend/wife/husband/mother etc.] [their name] to stay with me as my visitor during my stay in Leeds/attend my graduation ceremony..  I am a full-time registered student studying in the department of [insert name of department] at the University of Leeds.

I have adequate accommodation and sufficient funding to sustain him/her/them during his/her/their visit. Or I have enclosed a hotel booking.

I am enclosing the following documents:

    A copy of my passport and/or Biometric Residence Permit showing my present visa conditions

    A Student Registration Status Certificate

    A copy of my accommodation contract / tenancy agreement (if your visitors are staying with you)

    A copy of a recent bank statement and sponsorship letter (if you will be supporting your visitors)

Yours faithfully,

Signature and name

Your visitor should take the above documents, their passport and visa fee to their nearest visa processing centre.