Standard Visitor Visas
If you are coming to the UK to do a short course or a short period of research for 6 months or less, or re-sitting your exams without attendance, you will need to come to the UK as a visitor on a Standard Visitor Visa.
What is a Standard Visitor Visa route?
As part of the changes to immigration rules, from 1 December 2020, if you wish to come to the UK for short periods of study under 6 months you will need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa (this replaced Short-Term Study Visa). Students who may use this category include:
- Those enrolled on a course overseas equivalent to at least UK degree level, who are undertaking a period of study or research at City, for example Study Abroad students.
- PhD students undertaking a period of research at City that will contribute to their PhD studies
- Those coming to the UK for a resit examination or a PhD viva. NB If you are undertaking a resit but will subsequently be resuming your studies on your course if you are successful in your resit you will need to return home to apply for a Student Visa to continue with your course
- Those enrolled on a distance learning course coming to the UK for occasional periods, such as induction weeks, intensive face-to-face learning, one-to-one progress checks or to sit exams or assessments.
- Please note that it is no longer possible to obtain a visa for one of our short courses offered through our Short Courses department, as these courses are not accredited. If you already hold another visa (for example, you are in the UK as someone's dependant or here on a work visa) you may be able to take a short course with this visa, but check with our International Student Advice Team.
You should be careful not to use this route to live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home.
Students undertaking part-time courses at RQF level 7 will be required to obtain a Student Visa. Your Admissions officer will provide you with further details so that you can obtain a CAS for this. If you are not sure which visa is appropriate for you, check with an International Adviser. More detailed guidance can be found on UKCISA's website.
Conditions of a Standard Visitor Visa
Students using this category should be aware of the following:
- You are not able to undertake any work, paid or unpaid, while you are here on a Standard Visitor Visa
- You cannot extend your visa in the UK or switch to any other category. So, for example, if you have obtained a Standard Visitor Visa in order to undertake a resit and subsequently intend to resume your studies on a course which requires a Student Visa you would need to return home to apply for this.
- A visitor may undertake volunteering provided it lasts no more than 30 days in total and is for a charity that is registered with either the Charity Commission for England and Wales; the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland; or the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
You can find out if you are from a Visa National country by checking the Home Office website.
If you are a visa national, you need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa before you travel to the UK.
- You will need to provide formal documents to show that you have been accepted on a short course or resitting your exam at City, University of London, and have enough money to pay your tuition fees and living costs during your stay.
- An original confirmation letter from your School Office (or the Study Abroad team) which confirms your course/exam dates and tuition fees should be acceptable evidence.
Documents required (when you apply as a Visa National)
Documents required for making a Standard Visitor Visa application, (make sure your documents are translated into English):
- Apply via the Home Office’s online application form Application fee: from £95 in local currency
- A supportingletter from your course office or the Study Abroad Office. This will detail what you are coming to study and the dates of that study
- Evidence that you have sufficient funds for your proposed visit (e.g. at least 6 months' bank statements and/or payslips). 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.
- Evidence of suitable accommodation (e.g. hotel reservations or a copy of your tenancy agreement if you are renting privately)
- If possible, evidence you intend to leave the UK at the end of your stay, for example a flight booking or, if you are a Study Abroad student, a letter from your home institution to show you will be returning to a course there. If you are already working back home and are just coming over for a final resit we would recommend you get a letter from your employer confirming they are giving you time off for it, and when you are expected to return.
- An ATAS certificate: students studying on certain science-based courses at Masters level and above will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. You can find out more about applying for ATAS, and which courses require it, on our Student Visa pages. You must obtain this before you apply for your visa. Further guidance can be found on the ATAS website.
- Please see the list of supporting documents on the Home Office website
- Find out more on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)
If you are a non-visa national, you do not need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa before you travel. Instead you can present your papers to the immigration officials on arrival at an UK airport and have the visa stamped into your passport which will be valid for 6 months .
Nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America will be able to use the eGates for fast automated arrival.
Students from European Economic Area and Switzerland, who are not eligible for EU Settlement Scheme can also use eGates entrance as Visitors.
You will need to carry the following in your hand luggage:
- Your passport
- A supporting letter from City confirming your short course/resits
- Recent formal evidence that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your course (eg: bank statement/loan letter).
- If you have it, evidence you intend to leave at the end of your stay, for example a flight booking (if you are a Study Abroad student you may also take with you a letter from your home institution confirming you will be returning to a course there)
- Students studying on certain science-based courses at Masters level and above will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. You can find out more about applying for ATAS, and which courses require it, on our Student Visa pages. You must obtain this before you travel to the UK, as you cannot start study without it. You may also be asked to show this to border officials when you enter the UK, so should have this in your hand luggage. Further guidance can be found on the ATAS website.
If you are coming to the UK as a Visitor, you and your family are only entitled to limited free NHS treatment. You will have free emergency hospital treatment, but only the treatment given in a NHS Accident and Emergency department is free of charge. Once you are admitted on to a ward or given an outpatient appointment, charges will apply.
You will have to pay for any other treatment as a private patient. It is therefore very important that you take out medical insurance for the duration of your visit to the UK.