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Immigration and Visas

Travelling abroad and returning to the UK after your studies

Some students may plan to travel outside the UK after they finish their programmes, and come back to the UK to either look for jobs, or attend their graduation ceremony (e.g. masters students to attend January ceremony). Please understand this may have some risks. 


  • Returning to the UK for graduation on your Tier 4 Student visa after your results have been released:

We advise students not to do this if possible. The reason for this is: if you have finished your studies, the immigration officer may refuse you entry based on the fact you are no longer entering for the same reason the visa was issued (i.e. study). If this happens, you would need to return home and make any visa applications to return to the UK from home.

Some students have re-entered successfully on their Tier 4 visa for the purpose of attending their graduation, however please note that if you do decide to try to re-enter on your Tier 4 visa you do so at your own risk, and you must be honest about your intentions in the UK at the border. If you do decide to risk entering on your Tier 4 visa, we advise you to carry a visa assistance letter, confirming the date and that you will be attending. You can order this when you book your ceremony tickets. For further information, contact the Graduation team. You should ensure you also have with you evidence that you intend to leave the UK before your visa expires (e.g. a plane ticket), or that you intend to apply for another visa in the UK.

Please be advised that if a border force officer considers that your circumstances have changed, or that you are attempting to re-enter for a purpose other than that for which your leave was granted, your immigration permission can be cancelled and you may be required to leave the UK. 

We would recommend if you have already left the UK, that you obtain a Standard Visitor visa in order to avoid any risk in being refused entry to the UK when attending your graduation ceremony. You should be aware that it is not possible to switch from a visitor visa to another visa category within the UK. For more information on applying for the Standard Visitor visa and what documents you will need, please visit the website listed below: 

As explained above, you can get a letter inviting you to your graduation for the purposes of you and your family’s application.  


  • Returning to the UK to study another course or look for jobs after your results have been released: 

Another common situation is that students might want to come back to the UK for another course after they finish their studies at King's or would like to look for jobs or switch to Tier 2 visas if they have already secured a position from a Tier 2 sponsor. In either case, students would want to re-enter the UK on their Tier 4 visas and then to extend or switch to another category.  

We advise you not to leave the UK before extending or switching your visas if possible. If the immigration officer decides to refuse your entry on your Tier 4 or let you in but on a visitor visa, you would then not be able to switch to any other visa category from inside the UK.

Again, please understand if you decide to try to re-enter the UK on a Tier 4 visa for the above purpose, you do so at your own risk. We recommend if you plan to extend your Tier 4 or switch to another visa category, you should prioritise your next visa application and try to avoid leaving the UK before the new visa application is granted.    

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