How to invite your family to visit you or attend your graduation ceremony
Your relatives should check with the nearest British Embassy/High Commission to find out if they require a visa to come to the UK. Alternatively, they could check the UK Border Agency (UKBA) website.
Even if they do not need a visa, they may like to apply for entry clearance as this can make their arrival in the UK quicker and easier.
Your family members may be able to make an online application depending on where they live, or may need to complete a VAF1A form. More information and the copy of the application form is available in the 'How to Apply' section of the UKBA website.
The type of visa they will be applying for is a ‘General Visitor’. For more information about this category, you may wish to read the information provided by the UKBA.
This type of visa will allow them to stay in the UK for up to 6 months.
To help your relatives apply, you should send them:
A photocopy of your passport (visa page and photo page)
A photocopy of your University registration letter, showing your course title and dates or a graduation letter giving the date of your ceremony—you can get these letters by asking at the Reception in the Fielding Johnson Building, but please allow 3 days.
- A letter of invitation
This is a letter that you should write which is typed, dated and addressed to the British Embassy in your home country and includes the names and details of family members, when they will visit and what arrangements will be made for them. If your family are to stay with you in private accommodation, you should ask your landlord for their permission. It would be helpful if your landlord wrote a letter confirming that he/she does not mind your family staying in the house with you while they are in the UK.
Below is an example of an invitation letter that may help you write your own letter:
British Embassy, Beijing
11 Guanghua Lu
7th February 2008
I would like to request that my family can visit me in the UK in order to attend my Graduation Ceremony held at the University of Leicester on 9th July 2008. My family would like to stay with me in the UK from 7th-21st July 2008 and the members I wish to invite are:
· CHEN, Jianyu (date of birth: 09/09/1959) , relationship: father
· JIA, Xiaoli (date of birth: 15/01/1962), relationship: mother
They will be staying with me at: 33 Evington Road, Leicester, LE2 3TH. This is a private rented house and I have included a letter from my landlord, which gives permission for them to stay with me during this period.
What else will they need to do?
The requirements for a visitor are:
They plan to visit for no more than 6 months
They intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit
They have enough funds to support themselves whilst in the UK
To prove this your family should also prepare financial information showing how they will fund their visit (e.g. their bank statements, payslips) and any documents which prove that they plan to leave the UK at the end of their visit (letter from employer at home, evidence of property in their home country, return flight tickets etc.).
You will not need to provide your own bank statements unless you will be sponsoring them (paying for their visit).
For a full list of documents needed for the visa application, please see the UKBA guidance for visitors.
Your family can travel with you in Europe but they will need to apply for any necessary visas before they leave home, not in the UK.