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Standard visitor visa

Find out how to apply for a Standard visitor visa if you are coming to study for a short period in the UK.

Who needs a Standard visitor visa

The Standard Visitor visa allows you to come to the UK for a maximum of six months to:

  • study a short course
  • attend a short period of intensive teaching as part of a longer programme
  • re-sit an exam or module
  • undertake a viva as part of your postgraduate course
  • complete a study-abroad programme in the UK as part of an overseas course
  • research in the UK where you are studying abroad for a Bachelor's, Master's or doctorate degree which is relevant to your research visit
  • attend your Graduation ceremony if your Student visa has expired

UKCISA has published useful information about the Standard Visitor visa.

Your family members can also apply for a Standard Visitor visa if they are coming to the UK to visit you for short periods of time.

Long-term Standard Visitor visa for study

If your period of study is longer than six months, you will not meet the requirements of the Standard Visitor route.

However, the Long-term Standard Visitor visa may be appropriate if you are studying a distance learning or part-time programme and you 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

You must meet all the Visitor rules in order to apply for the Long-term Standard Visitor visa.

Documents for your application

You will need to provide the following documents with your Standard Visitor visa application:

  • proof of the purpose of your visit - the Student Immigration Service will provide you with a letter
  • evidence of your accommodation for the duration of your visit, such as an accommodation contract, or evidence of temporary accommodation where you will stay
  • evidence that you are able to support yourself during your trip and have enough funds to cover your return journey, such as bank statements, a scholarship letter, or educational loan document
  • a valid ATAS certificate (where applicable)
  • evidence that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit, such as return flight tickets

Additionally, if you are coming to undertake research or to be taught about research (including as part of a Study Abroad exchange), you will need to prove that:

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

The Student Immigration Service will issue incoming students who hold an unconditional offer with a Standard Visitor visa letter by email. You should submit this letter with your supporting documents as part of the visa application.

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

How to apply

You can apply online before travelling to the UK. You will need to attend a visa application centre to provide biometrics and supporting documents. Please make sure you include the Standard Visitor visa letter which the Student Immigration Service has provided to you. You should aim to apply for your visa around three months before you intend to travel.

Please use our online instructions to help you complete the application form.

If your nationality is listed in Immigration Rules Appendix Visitor: Visa nationals list, you must apply for your visa before you travel.

If your nationality is not listed in Appendix Visitor, you have the option of applying before you travel or applying when you arrive at the UK border. If you are able to apply when you arrive in the UK, you must travel with all the supporting documents listed above.

EEA and Swiss 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. As you will not receive a stamp on your passport, it is very important that you retain evidence of when you entered the UK. We recommend that you keep your boarding pass or evidence of your flight itinerary.

Prohibited and permitted activities

You are not allowed to work in the UK with a Standard Visitor visa. This includes but is not limited to:

  • unpaid work
  • establishing or running a business as a self-employed person
  • doing a work placement or internship

You are also not allowed to:

  • claim public funds
  • access medical treatment, other than private medical treatment or to donate an organ
  • get married or form a civil partnership, or give notice of intention to marry or form a civil partnership

If you would like further advice on whether you should apply for the Standard Visitor visa for your studies, please contact the Student Immigration Service.

When you arrive at the University

If you are a new student, you must have your passport and visa checked on entry to the UK. You can only upload a copy of your passport and visa and begin Registration Online (ROL) once this has been done.

During September arrivals, this is done in the wider passport check process. If you arrive after this time, you must present your documents to the Student Immigration Service in Wessex House 8.16, between 10:00 -16:00.

eGate 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.

Visiting family members

If your family or friends want to visit you for a short stay in the UK, they’ll need a Standard Visitor visa. This type of visa is suitable for coming to see graduation ceremonies, or other short visits.

Your family members can provide the following documents with their application:

  • a letter from the University proving your status as a full-time student and details of who you’re inviting
  • a personal letter of invitation written by you, and addressed to your visitors
  • copies of your passport pages
  • copies of your bank statements or sponsors' letters (optional, but we recommend this if you are funding the visit yourself)
  • proof of accommodation, such as a copy of your tenancy contract, or a hotel reservation
  • evidence of their intention to return home, such as details of business or study commitments
  • proof of their salary or financial independence
  • a return ticket, or enough money to buy one


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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