Standard Visitor Visa for Study

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa / enter the UK as a visitor to carry out a short course of study. Those coming to the UK to study an English Language course between 6 and 11 months long should apply for a Short-term Study visa instead.

This visa has a validity period of 6 months, if applying in advance, or until you leave the Common Travel Area (UK and Ireland) if you are eligible to apply on arrival at a UK Border.

You need to read the information on the UKCISA website and on the UKVI website before you apply.

This visa is suitable for:

  • A short course of study of up to 6 months, such as an exchange programme as part of a degree you are studying overseas;
  • A period of research as part of a degree you are studying overseas (you would need to be registered as a visiting student);
  • Resit exams, if you do not already have another visa;
  • Attend a viva examination only, if you do not have another visa [note you would not be eligible to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route (post study work) visa with a visitor visa]. You cannot use a visitor visa to complete minor or major corrections so these would need to be completed from home or on a student visa;
  • Attend a workshop or other teaching event on campus as part of a distance learning programme;
  • Attend your graduation ceremony, if you do not already have another visa

With this visa you cannot:

  • Do any paid or unpaid work in the UK;
  • Live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent or successive visits;
  • Extend this visa in the UK;
  • Switch to another visa type e.g. if you are an exchange student and you want to extend your course for another semester you will need to return home to apply for a student visa;
  • Claim public funds (state benefits);
  • Do a course of study that lasts more than 6 months - in this situation, you need a Student visa;
  • Marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of the same. You will need a Marriage Visitor visa instead;
  • Apply with dependants - any dependants you have will need to submit separate visitor visa applications;
  • Access NHS treatment without charge. You should therefore purchase adequate travel insurance that includes cover for any medical costs for the duration of your visa before you enter the UK.

If you wish to enter the UK using a Standard Visitor visa to study on a programme that requires ATAS approval, you are required to provide your ATAS certificate as part of the application process unless you are an exempt nationality (see below).

Students who are nationals of EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America do not need an ATAS certificate. The requirement for ATAS clearance applies to all other students on courses flagged for ATAS clearance, regardless of their country of residence.

If you need to apply for an ATAS certificate please read the information on our website about how to apply.

If you are applying for a Standard Visitor visa to take your viva examination, you may require a new ATAS certificate so contact us for more information.

Students from most nationalities must apply for their Visitor visa before travelling to the UK. Some nationalities, including EEA nationals, are able to apply for their Visitor visa on arrival; these students are called non-visa nationals. 

You must check whether your nationality is one that is required to apply for a visa before travelling (visa national) or whether you are a non-visa national. 

If you are a non-visa national or an EEA/Swiss national, you will be able to enter the UK as a Visitor either via the e-Gate (eligible nationalities only) or by seeing an immigration officer on arrival. You must carry your visitor visa letter or your offer letter from the University of Manchester that confirms the details of your course in your hand luggage so you can present it to the border official at the airport.

It is important that you retain some form of evidence of your date of arrival in the UK if you use the eGates such as your boarding pass. This will help you remember the exact duration of your six month stay in order to avoid overstaying. You will also be required to email us this evidence for Right to Study when you arrive at the University of Manchester.

You should apply online through the UKVI website once you have obtained all the necessary documents and answer all of the required questions.

You must NOT choose 'academic visit' as the reason for the visit in your application form as this will lead to you being issued with an academic visitor visa which is the incorrect type of visitor visa. You must apply for a standard visitor visa and choose 'study' as the reason for your visit.

You will either need to submit your documents to the Visa Application Centre or your documents will be scanned and returned to you when you attend your appointment:-

  • Passport(s);
  • Visa application fee of £115 for a standard application or you can pay an extra £250 to receive a decision within 5 working days. Contact the Visa Application Centre for details of their priority services.
  • A visa letter from your Academic School that confirms all the details (and dates where possible) of your course - you need to contact your course or admissions administrator, who should visit the relevant section of our staff intranet page to find the template of the visa letter to provide you with. Ideally the letter should state how much the course fees are and if you have paid them all. If your letter doesn't confirm any fees information you should submit a receipt from the University to confirm that all the fees have been paid;
  • If you have booked your accommodation in advance you should provide evidence of this such as hotel bookings or other private accommodation bookings;
  • ATAS certificate if you are studying a course that requires ATAS clearance (the visa letter that you receive from your school will confirm if you need an ATAS certificate and what your CAH code is) and you are not an exempt nationality;
  • Bank statements, payslips, or other financial evidence, to show that you can pay for the trip and that you have enough money to support yourself without working or getting any help from public funds - we recommend that you use the student maintenance amount as a guide (£1023 per month for living expenses for the duration of your stay);
  • You should provide evidence of where your funds are coming from i.e. you need to explain where deposits in your bank account are from and submit additional evidence of this, such as payslips from your employer that confirm that the deposits in your account are your wages or 3rd party bank statements if the deposits are from someone else. If you are using someone else's funds such as a family member you should submit their bank statements along with evidence of your relationship to them such as a birth certificate and a letter from them confirming that they are happy for you to use their funds for your studies in the UK. If you are relying on your parents' bank statements you should also submit evidence of their employment and income such as wage slips and show these funds going into their bank account or a letter from their employer. If you do not provide evidence of the origin of your funds your visa application could be refused;
  • You must ensure that if you are a student and you are not employed that you show how you support yourself financially in your home country ie. the funds you state that you receive from your parents in your application form match the amounts shown in your own bank statements.
  • If you are sponsored by an organisation such as your home University or your employer you need to provide a sponsor letter that confirms that they are covering your tuition fees and living costs in the UK with details of exactly how much money they are giving you. The sponsor letter can be original, scanned or copied but it should be issued on headed paper and signed by an official from your University or employer;
  • Evidence that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit (for example, a letter from your employer, or your home University or a return flight to your home country);
  • If you are an exchange or visiting student and you are coming to the UK to study as part of a degree you are doing overseas you will need a letter from your employer or home University that gives you permission to study in the UK and which confirms that you will return to your job or course. The letter should also confirm that you are a registered student at the University and confirm that the course you are studying in the UK is equivalent to degree level in the UK;
  • Family ties - you should confirm in your application if you have family members that you need to return to ie. dependant children or spouse or parents;
  • If you are intending to come to the Uk as part of a summer or winter programme and you will be travelling in a group you should include a letter from your University stating this which also includes the names of the co-ordinators of the trip.

There is further information about the documents that are required on the UKVI website

If you have applied for a Standard Visitor visa overseas before you travel, you should receive a Visit visa vignette (sticker) in your passport.

If you apply for a Visitor visa at the port of entry to the UK and speak with an Immigration Officer, the officer will stamp your passport with a Visitor visa stamp that is valid for 6 months.

If you enter via the EGates at the airport you will not receive a stamp in your passport so you need to retain your boarding pass and flight tickets as evidence of the date that you entered the UK and you will need to email it to us as part of Right to Study when you arrive in the UK.

UKVI will assess whether you meet the requirements of the Visitor visa. This means ensuring that you do not intend to use the Visitor visa for frequent and successive periods of study.

If you intend to study a course of 6 months of less, and you apply for the visa before travelling, you should be granted a Visitor visa that is valid for the full 6 month period. The earliest date that you can travel to the UK is 7 days before the start of your course. If you have been issued with the incorrect dates on your visa i.e. your visa does not cover the duration of your course you need to contact the staff at the Visa Application Centre that you applied to in order to have your visa corrected. If you cannot amend your visa from overseas we may be able to help you to correct it from the UK.

You must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of your course finishing or before your Standard Visitor visa expires (whichever is soonest).

In addition to the documents listed above you need to show:-

  • that suitable arrangements have been made for your travel to, reception and care in the UK 
  • that you have a parent or guardian in your home country or country of habitual residence, who is responsible for your care and who confirms in writing that they consent to the arrangements for your travel, reception and care in the UK

If you are 16 or 17 and you want to apply for a Visitor visa please contact us so we can advise you further.

The electronic visa waiver has been replaced by the electronic travel authorisation (ETA). If you are a national of Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE or Saudi Arabia you can travel to the UK as a visitor for up to six months if you have obtained an electronic travel authorisation (ETA).  The cost of the EVW visa is £10 and it is only valid for a single journey to the UK. You must apply for the ETA before you travel to the UK through the UKVI website or the UK ETA app and you do not need to enrol your biometrics or attend a visa application centre. You should receive your ETA within 3 working days. The visa is issued in an electronic format and you will need to present the visa to the border officials on your entry to the UK. If you want to apply you need to read the information on the UKVI website.