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Travel visas

Important updates
For the latest immigration news, including Covid-19 concessions, as well as other key updates for international students, please see our Immigration and International Updates page.

As UK immigration specialists, we are unable to offer immigration advice for countries other than the UK, but we can provide limited information on travelling to the 26 Schengen countries Europe.

We have also put together information on applying for a Visitor visa to travel to the UK for a short trip.  This will help you invite your friends and family to come and visit, or you might need to apply for one yourself to attend graduation.

A Schengen visa allows you to visit multiple European countries on a short visit, but you do need to plan a few months in advance, particularly if you'd like to go to Europe during the popular Easter or summer holidays!

Not all European countries are part of the Schengen agreement, and not all nationals need visas to visit some European countries, so do check with that country’s embassy website directly.

Download factsheet: ISSO Schengen fact sheet 2021

How to apply

Each European embassy has its own list of required documents so it is very important that you refer to the embassy website directly.  Here are some links to the most popular destinations:

Country Where to apply
France TLScontact London
Germany Visametric
Italy VFS Global
Spain BLS International

UKCISA provide more guidance on Schengen visas and useful information about travelling in Europe.


Don’t forget you will need to ensure you have a suitable insurance policy in place for your travel.  Many companies will offer this, including The Post Office, however always check the terms and conditions and insurance policy are suitable for your personal needs before you make any payment.

A Visitor visa is usually 6 months long and is designed to allow a person to come to the UK for a short trip.  For example, your friends and family may need to apply for this visa if they want to visit you for a holiday or to attend your graduation ceremony. 

How to apply

To apply for a Standard Visitor visa, there are some documents you must provide to them (confirming your current study and immigration status), and there are a number of documents that they will need to prepare. Our Visitor visa factsheet will help you to help them with their visa applications, but if you do still have questions please do not hesitate to contact us. 


There are different rules depending on if a person is considered a visa national or a non-visa national for UK immigration purposes.

If your visitors' country of nationality is not on this list (e.g. Australia), then they are a non-visa national and have the option of applying for this visa in advance of travelling, or at a UK border. Your visitors should still prepare their supporting documents and carry these with them in their hand luggage ready to show at the border if requested.

Download: Visitor visa factsheet

Important note: The University cannot provide invitation letters for your visitors and these are NOT required for their visa applications.

If you have a valid Student/Tier 4 visa, you can re-enter the UK as long as you carry a copy of your Graduation letter in your hand luggage to show the immigration officer if asked. It is also advisable to carry a copy of your onward flight tickets to show that you will be leaving the UK before your visa expires.

If you your Student/Tier 4 visa is no longer valid, you will need to apply for a Visitor visa to return to the UK for your graduation.

Completing early

If you have completed your course early and have left the UK, your Student/Tier 4 visa may not be valid anymore.  Read through the information on Interrupting, withdrawing, completing early for details.  If you think you may be affected by this, contact us before travelling. 

If your visa is not valid anymore, you will need to apply for a Visitor visa instead - read the section above.