International students Standard Visitor visa

The Standard Visitor visa is suitable for the following groups of students:

  • Single-semester exchange students
  • Students undertaking resit exams
  • PhD students undertaking their viva
  • Students and their family members returning to attend their graduation ceremony.

The visa permits up to 6 months of study.    It is important to note the following:

  • You cannot undertake work or work placements
  • You cannot extend this visa
  • You cannot switch to a different visa category
  • You cannot bring dependants;  they can apply for their own visa but will also be unable to work.  Children will not be permitted to enrol in school.

Whether you need to apply for this visa in advance will depend on your nationality;  please click on the appropriate section below for details.

If your nationality is not listed here, you are considered to be a non-visa national.

If you are a non-visa national it is not compulsory to apply for entry clearance before you travel, if you wish to come to the UK to study as a visitor for up to six months.  If you choose not to apply for entry clearance then you can apply to enter the UK as a visitor on arrival at the port of entry.

If you do not obtain entry clearance before you travel, you will need to produce all the documents to support your application to enter the UK as a visitor to the Border Force Officer when you arrive at the port of entry in the UK.  This includes your acceptance letter from your institution confirming the study that you wish to do in the UK as a visitor, an ATAS certificate if applicable and evidence of your finances in order to satisfy the genuineness requirement.

Please refer to our guidance on the use of E-Gates before travelling to the UK.

Visa nationals are those who require entry clearance in advance of travel to the UK for any purpose. 

If you are a visa national and will be travelling to the UK for less than 6 months, you are required to apply for a Standard Visitor visa in advance of travel to the UK. 

You can check if you are a visa national using the Visa national list on the UK Government website. 

Visa nationals will be required to be seen by a Border Force Officer on arrival in the UK.

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) applies to all international students (apart from exempt nationalities) who are subject to UK immigration control and intend to study (or continue study) at Masters or Doctoral level in certain sensitive subjects (mostly in Science and Engineering).

If your course requires ATAS clearance, you must apply for and obtain an ATAS certificate before you can be permitted to start your studies in the UK.  You do not need to do this before you apply for Standard Visitor visa, but you will need to provide the certificate before registration with the University is permitted. 

If you are unsure if ATAS is required for your course, please check with the University's Admissions Team.

Documents required for making a Standard Visitor visa application for the purpose of study for less than 6 months:

  • Apply via UKVI’s online application form
  • Application fee: 115GBP
  • Valid passport: your passport should be valid for the entire duration of your stay in the UK.
  • A supporting letter from the University. This will include your course details and the dates of your study.
  • Evidence that you have sufficient funds for your proposed visit (e.g. at least 3 months' bank statements and/or payslips). You can find further guidance on how UKVI caseworkers assess the financial requirements on the UK Government website.  If your parents are funding your visit, you will need to provide proof of their finances and their relationship to you.  The form asks you to specify where your funds are coming from and if you are being funded by another person or an organisation (such as an employer) it requires you to explain why they are funding you.
  • If possible, evidence you intend to leave the UK at the end of your stay: This could be a flight booking confirmation or, if you are a Study Abroad student, a letter from your home institution to show you will be returning to study there.  If you are working and are travelling to the UK for a final resit, we would recommend you obtain a letter from your employer confirming they have authorised time away from work and when you are expected to return.
  • ATAS certificate: students studying on certain science or engineering based courses at Masters level and above will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.  You can find out more information on applying for an ATAS certificate and which courses require it on our ATAS webpage.  Further guidance can be found on the UK Government's ATAS webpage.
  • You must provide certified translations of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.
  • Please refer to the supporting document guidance on the UK Government website.