Standard Visitor visa

The Standard Visitor visa may be for you if you want to study a course that lasts six months or less.

Short-term study for visitors

As of 1 December 2020, short term study is permitted under the standard visitor route.

Who is it for?

Students who need to consider this visa route are usually:

  • on a short course, like an English Language course
  • taking distance-learning modules
  • on a student exchange for up to six months
  • re-sitting an assessment or retaking a whole module – but where it's not possible for us to issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

Where to apply for a visit visa

Non-visa nationals

Non-visa nationals can seek entry as visitors on arrival in the UK (unless entering as academic visitors for more than 6 months – see below). However, if you have been refused entry or experienced any immigration problems in the past, please consider applying for entry clearance.

Please see Arriving in the UK for important information about the use of eGates.

Visa nationals

Visa nationals must apply for entry clearance as visitors before travelling to the UK.

Please see Applying outside the UK for information on how to apply for a visit visa, including completing the online application form and paying the fee.

Supporting documents required

In addition to the supporting documents requested by the Home Office, you will need to provide a letter from UWE Bristol containing full details of your course of study. Please contact an Immigration Adviser for help with this.

Under 18s

If you are under 18 years of age there are additional requirements that you must meet. See this dedicated government web page for details.

Conditions of the Standard Visitor Visa

The conditions of your visit permission are the same regardless of where the visa application is made.

  • You cannot extend your visa, or switch to another visa category, within the UK
  • You are not allowed to take employment of any kind (except volunteering, in certain circumstances)
  • You cannot apply to bring family members as dependants – they must apply as visitors in their own right if they wish to accompany you
  • You are not allowed to use frequent and successive visits to effectively live in the UK and circumvent student visa requirements.
  • You must obtain Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance if your nationality, level and subject of study require it.

Academic visitors

You can apply for a 12-month visa as an academic visitor if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You must intend to carry out one of the following activities:
    • take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts (including doctors)
    • carry out research for your own purposes if you are on sabbatical leave from your home institution
    • if you are an eminent senior doctor or dentist, take part in research, teaching or clinical practice provided this does not amount to filling a permanent teaching post.
  • You must be highly qualified within your own field of expertise 
  • You must be working currently in your field of expertise at an academic institution or institution of higher education overseas
  • You must provide a valid medical certificate showing you are clear of pulmonary tuberculosis if you have been present for more than six months in one of the countries listed in Appendix T of the Immigration Rules.

Academic visitors are not required to pay the immigration health surcharge, so they must ensure that they arrange appropriate medical insurance.

Exceptionally for visitors, academic visitors can be accompanied by a dependent partner or child.

You must apply for an entry clearance in advance of your trip, even if you are a non-visa national.

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