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Visitor visas

Visitor visas

Visitor visas

Visitor visas

The Visitor visa allows short periods of study for up to 6 months. This visa cannot be extended and work is prohibited (with the exception of students on medical electives).

Depending on your nationality you will either:

  • be able to visit the UK for up to 6 months without a visa, however you still need to meet the eligibility requirements and you are still entering as a Visitor when you pass through border control OR
  • have to apply for a Visitor visa before you travel to the UK

If your nationality is not on the Visa national list, you are considered a non-visa national and you will not need to apply for a visitor visa before you travel, you can enter as a Visitor on arrival to the UK. This includes EU/EEA/Swiss nationals.

Entering as a Visitor on arrival to the UK

What you need to know if you are entering as a Visitor on arrival to the UK

If your nationality is on the Visa national list, you will need to apply for a Visitor visa before you travel to the UK.

Visitor visa for short courses: Applying in advance

Information on how to apply for a Visitor visa in advance

Eligibility

A Visitor visa or entering as a visitor is suitable for a short period of study if you are:

  • attending one semester on a Study Abroad course.  A Student visa is also an option, and is essential if you are planning to work during your studies or are considering two semesters of study. See our comparison table for more details OR
  • undertaking a period of UK study/research as a Visiting postgraduate research students towards a research degree outside the UK OR
  • a distance-learning student attending occasional campus-based events such as residentials or supervisor meetings OR
  • attending an exam in the UK then returning home. For example, current students coming to the UK for a resit exam or to attend their PhD viva voce examination. A Student visa may also be an option OR
  • attending the International Summer School

This page relates only to applying for a Visitor visa for the purposes of short periods of study up to 6 months, not for visiting the UK as a tourist. Information about inviting your friends and family to visit you in the UK, or applying for a Visitor visa to attend graduation after your Student/Tier 4 visa has expired, is in a separate section of our website: Tourist visas.