Skip to main content

Guidance for staff on Standard Visitor and Short-term study visas

This guide will help you to understand more about visas available to students coming on programmes or visits of up to 6 months

Standard Visitor visa overview

A Standard Visitor visa may be appropriate for students who:

  • study a short course for up to six months (part-time or full-time)
  • attend a short period of intensive teaching as part of a longer programme. For example, a distance learning summer school or winter school, or an induction week
  • re-sit an exam or module
  • undertake a viva
  • complete a study-abroad programme in the UK as part of an overseas course, where the programme is less than 6 months in length
  • research in the UK for up to six months where they are also studying abroad for a Bachelor's, Master's or doctorate degree which is relevant to their research visit to the UK
  • come to the University of Bath as a visiting postgraduate scholar (VPS)
  • attend a seminar or a conference

In any case, the whole duration of the visit will not exceed 6 months.

This visa should not be confused with a Student visa, which is for courses of more than 6 months in length.

Long-term Standard Visitor visa

If a student's period of study is longer than six months, they will not meet the requirements of the Standard Visitor route.

However, the Long-term Standard Visitor visa may be appropriate if they are studying a distance learning or part-time programme and they wish to come to the UK for short periods of study activities, such as summer or winter schools, induction weeks, sitting exams, meeting with a supervisor, etc.

The Long-term Standard Visitor visa allows multiple visits of up to 6 months at a time over a period of:

  • 2 years
  • 5 years
  • 10 years

Students wishing to apply for the Long-term Standard Visitor visa must meet all the Visitor rules.

Standard Visitor visa letter

The Student Immigration Service will also issue incoming students with an unconditional offer who wish to apply for the Standard Visitor visa with a Standard Visitor visa letter.

If a current student requires a Standard Visitor visa, they will receive a letter to support their application once their department has informed the Student Immigration Service of their study dates. This letter will be sent to their University of Bath email address, and they will need to print it out and use it for their visa application.

Additionally, students coming to undertake research or to be taught about research will need to prove that:

  • they are enrolled on a course of study abroad equivalent to at least degree level study in the UK and
  • they are coming to take part in research that is relevant to the course they are studying overseas

Standard Visitor visa rules and restrictions

The following restrictions apply to Standard Visitor visa holders:

  • they must apply for ATAS clearance if they are coming on a course or a period of research in eligible subjects (certain Science, Engineering and Design courses). They will need to provide the ATAS certificate as part of their visa application
  • no work permitted (paid or unpaid), although volunteering is permitted, provided it is for a registered charity and is for no longer than 30 days
  • they cannot apply for their Standard visitor visa while in the UK
  • they cannot undertake a work placement or internship

This visa does not require sponsorship and is not attached to an institution, so there is currently no requirement to monitor these students.

Visa nationals and non-visa nationals

Most non-UK students are visa nationals and will need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa before travelling to the UK. Some nationalities (non-visa nationals) can apply when they arrive at the UK border. This is also the case of EEA and Swiss nationals (except Irish nationals who do not need immigration permission to enter the UK).

Visit the Government website to check which countries are on the Visa National List in Appendix 2 of the Immigration Rules.

EEA and Swiss nationals (except Irish nationals), as well as travellers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America coming on a Standard Visitor visa are able to use the eGates.
However, as they will not receive a stamp on their passport, it is very important that they retain evidence of when they entered the UK. The Student Immigration Service recommends that these students keep their boarding pass. If they no longer have their boarding pass, they will be asked to keep evidence of their flight itinerary or e-ticket. This will be required of them if they are required to attend a Passport Checks and Visa Collection session and before they are allowed to start their course of study or visit.

The student must have proof of acceptance onto a course of study and finances with them at the port of entry. They must also have a valid ATAS certificate if the course requires it and they form part of the nationalities who require it.

More information about the Standard Visitor visa application process can be found on our student visa pages.

Short-term study visa overview

The Short-term study visa is available for students wishing to come to the UK to study English language courses lasting longer than 6 months and up to 11 months only.

Applications can only be made from outside the UK.

Requirements under the Short-term study visa

Under the Short-term study visa, students are subject to the following conditions:

  • they must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of their English language course, or at the end of 11 months, whichever is sooner
  • they do have no access to public funds or the State Pension
  • they are not eligible to work or carry out any business (this includes paid or unpaid work, work experience or work placements)
  • they cannot extend this visa
  • they cannot bring family members (dependants) with them on this visa
  • they may study only on the course for which they were granted permission
  • they cannot change their course while in the UK

When students arrive at the University


Applicants must have their passport and visa checked on entry to the UK. They can only upload a copy of their passport and visa and begin Registration Online (ROL) once this has been done.

During September arrivals, this is done in the wider passport check and visa collection process.

After this time, students must present their documents to the Student Immigration Service in Wessex House 8.30, between 10:00-12:00 and 12:00-14:00.

eGates nationals will also be required to provide evidence of their date of entry into the UK in the form of a boarding pass or flight confirmation.

Current students

Current students must have their passport and visa checked on arrival by the Student Immigration Service in Wessex House 8.30, between 10:00-12:00 and 12:00-14:00.

Requests for the student to present these documents upon arrival are included in their SAMIS Online correspondence and through subsequent reminders from the Student Immigration Service.

Doctoral College staff must remind current students to have their documents checked.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

On this page