Standard Visitor visa - for short-term study

Standard Visitor visa can be a useful option for EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA nationals coming to the UK to study a full-time or part-time course lasting no more than six months, perhaps as a visiting/exchange student.

Can London Met issue letters of support for Standard Visitor visa applications?

Yes, London Met is on the Home Office register of Student Visa sponsors, and therefore, your short-term study visa letter of support from London Met will confirm this. Please be aware that these letters cannot be used to make an application under the student route.

Can I apply for a Standard Visitor visa to come to the UK?

If your course lasts six months or less, or you are re-sitting your exams, you will need to come to the UK as a ‘visitor’.

Before applying, it is important you are aware that if you have a standard visitor visa:

  • You cannot study a course that is longer than six months unless you're coming to study an English language course
  • You must leave the UK on or before the date that your immigration permission ends and cannot live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
  • If you are unable to complete your course on the Standard Visitor visa you will not be able to leave and return to extend the time in the UK. Your course must be completed within the original six month period
  • You cannot make an application in the UK to switch to another type of visa
  • You will not be allowed to do any kind of work or work placement during your studies
  • You will not be allowed to bring your family to the UK as your dependants, marry or register a civil partnership

What are the advantages of a Standard Visitor visa?

  • There is no need for the course to be full-time.
  • There is no minimum level for the course and it does not need to lead to a qualification.
  • There are no minimum academic requirements for immigration purposes.
  • There are no minimum English language level required.

How do I apply for a Standard Visitor visa?

  • Please read the standard visitor visa section on the Home Office website and pay close attention to the Study for Visitors section
  • Complete the online application form
  • The current application fee in local currency ranges from approximately £95 to £822
  • You'll need your current travel document eg passport
  • Provide evidence of your unconditional offer to study in the UK eg your admissions letter or Certificate of Unconditional Acceptance
  • Evidence of previous qualifications such as certificates or transcripts, if applicable (they will be listed on your offer letter)
  • You'll need to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you're applying for postgraduate study or research that requires this
  • Details of where you intend to stay and your travel plans – you shouldn’t pay for accommodation or travel until you get your visa
  • You'll need to show that you have enough money to support yourself during the time you will be in the UK – this includes any course fees, accommodation fees and the cost of an onward or return journey. Evidence of this should be in the form of your own personal bank statements or payslips for the past six months. We recommend that you should provide evidence that you have at least £1,334 for each month of your stay to cover living costs plus all of the tuition fees due.

What will the visa look like?

Visa national – apply for visa before travelling to the UK

If you are a visa national (someone who needs to apply for a visa before they arrive in the UK) you will need to apply in advance and be granted your visa in order to enter the UK. You will need to apply online. You can find out if you need a visa before you travel on the Home Office website.

You will need to submit biometric information (fingerprints and photo) at a visa application centre. 

***visa nationals are not permitted to use the e-Gates (see below) and will require to see a Border Force officer on arrival to activate your Standard visitor visa vignette***

Visa national right to study: Your Standard visitor visa will get stamped (activated) by a Border Force officer on arrival to the UK, London Met will request copy of this at the time of enrolment.


Non-visa national – apply on arrival in the UK

If you are a non-visa national you can apply for a standard visitor visa upon arrival in the UK. To see if you can apply for a visa upon arrival please see the Home Office website

 ***citizens from the EEA, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or USA do not have to see a border force officer on arrival as you are permitted to use automatic ePassport gates (see below).***

Non-visa national right to study: citizens using the e-Gates will automatically be granted permission as visitors, you must bring a copy of your flight boarding pass to enrolment for us to see and add to your record. We will not be able to enrol you without it.


What do I have to show to the University?

Staff at enrolment will be looking for confirmation that you hold an appropriate visa that permits you to study. You should bring your passport with you for staff to verify your immigration status. If you entered using the e-passport gates (see below), you will need to also bring your flight ticket and boarding pass from your flight to the UK.

Students on distance learning courses or students coming to re-sit exams will be required to show their visa to staff at the University each time they commence a period of study engagement (this includes examinations, modules, etc).

If you applied for your Standard Visitor visa when you entered the UK, it is also useful to bring with you the confirmation you showed the immigration officer confirming your intention to study here.

If you're unsure about which visa is the most appropriate please contact one of our international student advisers who will be able to help you.

ePassport Gates at the airport

Nationals of some countries are able to use the eGates at some UK airports, meaning less time is spent at border control.

To find out about eligibility to use the eGates, visit UKVI website here

If you enter through the eGates, you will not receive a stamp in your passport confirming you have a Standard Visitor visa. In this case, you will be expected to show a flight ticket or boarding pass at enrolment in order for the University to know when your six month period starts and ends.

Important information for students taking re-sit examinations

Students who are returning to the UK to take a re-sit examination can use the Standard Visitor visa route. 

Further information on the Standard Visitor visa can be found on the UK Council for International Affairs website.