The Visitor Route allows you to come to the UK for a maximum of six months. Here, you’ll be able to check if Visitor immigration is appropriate for your course of study and how to apply for or request permission as a Visitor.
You must have sufficient funds to pay for your fees and all your living expenses whilst you are in the UK.
A holder of Visitor immigration permission is not permitted to work in the UK. Visitors can undertake volunteering provided it is for a registered charity and will be for no longer than 30 days in total. Visitors may not undertake voluntary (unpaid) work.
Visa nationals must apply for entry clearance as a Visitor before travelling to the UK.
Non-visa nationals may be eligible to request leave as a Visitor on arrival in the UK or may choose to apply for entry clearance from their home country if they have a complicated immigration history or criminal record.
You should not intend to study in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive periods as a Visitor.
Visitor immigration permission is not normally suitable for courses longer than 6 months.
Visitor permission could be suitable for you if you are:
If you are returning for re-sit exams or for a viva examination, we would suggest that you include evidence, and explain this in a cover letter to include with your Visitor visa supporting documents.
A course of study refers to one or more consecutive or concurrent programme(s) of study that will be completed within a six-month period. If you intend to undertake more than one course during the six-month validity period of your Visitor permission, you should declare all of them as part of your application.
You can find UKVI directory of Visa Application Centres here: www.gov.uk/find-a-visa-application-centre
The current application fee in local currency is £95.
You apply online, except if you are in North Korea. Apply online on the web page: www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/apply
As part of the application, you will usually need to give your biometric details at a Visa Application Centre. The staff there will scan your fingerprints and take a digital photograph of your face. Your application will be processed after you have given your biometric details.
For more information about Visa Application Centres in your country, see www.gov.uk/find-a-visa-application-centre
You can apply up to three months before the date of your intended to travel to the UK. It is a good idea to apply as early as possible within this time frame because it can sometimes take a long time for visa applications to be decided, especially during the busy Summer period.
If you are a non-visa national (your nationality is not listed on the visa national list), you can request permission as a Visitor on arrival in the UK.
As a non-visa national, when you travel to the UK you can request permission as a Visitor from a Border Force Officer when you arrive at the airport, seaport or international rail terminal. You may be asked to show evidence, listed in 'Supporting documents', so carry the relevant documents in your hand luggage.
You can usually be granted deemed permission as a Visitor by entering through the eGates if you are a national of an EU country, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the USA. If you enter through the eGates, then it is advisable to keep evidence of the date you arrived in the UK i.e. flight ticket and boarding pass.
You will not normally receive a stamp in your passport if you are an eGate national. You can demonstrate your Visitor status by showing evidence of the date that you arrived in the UK. You are subject to the Visitor conditions and are permitted to stay in the UK for up to six months. You should leave the UK before the end of the six month period.
As a non-visa national, you can request permission as a Visitor from a Border Force Officer when you arrive at the airport, seaport or international rail terminal. You may be asked to show evidence, listed in 'Supporting documents', so carry the relevant documents in your hand luggage.
We recommend, if possible, that you show evidence of where the funds have come from. For example, if you are showing money in your parent's bank account as evidence that you have sufficient funds, you might show proof of your parent's employment, business or property. This is not a requirement, but we are advising that you include this evidence if you can, because we have seen a number of refusals recently on the basis of not including this evidence.
Depending on your circumstances, you may also be required to include the following:
You can find more details of the requirements on the UKVI website.
If your immigration application is successful, your passport should be returned to you with a Visitor visa sticker.
If you are a non-visa national and are requesting Visitor permission at the port of entry to the UK, you can carry the above documents which are relevant to you in your hand luggage. You do not need to pay a fee.
There are some questions that students frequently ask us when completing the Visitor application form.
The application form asks some specific questions about your money, where it is coming from and what you will be spending it on. If you feel that the Entry Clearance Officer who assesses your application may not understand your financial situation, you can include a budget with your supporting documents. A budget may also help you plan your finances. For more information on writing a budget, we have a budget spreadsheet that you can personalise on our website, as well as useful money saving ideas.
The UKVI Guide to supporting documents for visiting the UK [PDF 191KB] includes a section ‘Information about your finances and employment’, which explains what financial documents are acceptable evidence of your funds. The guide mentions showing bank statements or payslips for up to six months prior to your application. However, the Immigration Rules for Visitors do not mention having to show that the funds have been held for a specific length of time, nor do they state which documents will be considered as acceptable evidence. The Immigration Rules only state that you must show you have enough money to pay for your living costs while you are in the UK and to pay for your return flight home. It would be reasonable to estimate your living costs based on the Student requirements, which is a minimum of £1334 for every month you will be in the UK. We would also advise you to provide evidence that you, or the person who is financially supporting you, has held the money for at least a 28 day consecutive period prior to making your application (this is the requirement for Student visa applications).
We advise that you write your course name exactly as it is on your offer letter.
If you are applying for Visitor permission to study abroad in the UK as an associate student or as part of the Queen Mary Summer School, you can say the name of the course and "no qualification" for the question about the qualification you will get. For example, you would write: "Associate student - no qualification" or "Summer School student- no qualification" depending on your situation.
If you are returning to the UK to undertake your resits, you should write the qualification you will obtain on successful completion of your course.
Normally, this would be the length of your course. However, if you are a distance learning student or a student undertaking re-sit exams or defending their viva, you should enter the time you are expected to be in the UK on this occasion (e.g. if you are undertaking re-sits, the start and end date of the exam period).
If you want to invite a relative or friend to visit you in the UK, and they need a visa, they will need to apply for a Visitor visa at their nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC). There is information about how to apply, and the documents required on the gov.uk website.
In addition, it is usually helpful for your visitor to provide: • proof of your enrolment at Queen Mary University of London or your graduation ceremony if applicable (see below) • a letter of invitation from you (see below)
Students sometimes ask us in Advice and Counselling for an additional formal letter of invitation for their visitor, but this is not necessary.
Proof of your attendance at Queen Mary
If you are a current student you can send your family your Student Status Letter. Your family should not use a letter that is more than a month old when they submit their immigration applications or travel to the UK.
Proof of your Graduation Ceremony
If you are inviting your family or friends to attend your graduation ceremony, and have booked your tickets you can print the order confirmation.
Your letter of invitation
Write a letter, addressed to the Entry Clearance Officer at the VAC where your visitor is applying for their visa. Include in your letter:
What to do next
Send your invitation letter and Student Status letter, or graduation order confirmation, to your friend or relative so they can include them with their visa application. Do not send it direct to the VAC. Again, you do not normally need any additional letter from Queen Mary, only proof of your student status or of your graduation ceremony.
For detailed information about the requirements