SOAS University of London

International Students

Applying for a Standard Visitor visa

Applying for a Standard Visitor visa

This visa is for those who only need to be in the UK for a maximum of 6 months and are unable to apply for a Student visa. It is more limited than a Student visa but is less expensive and generally easier to obtain.

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa:

  • if your course of study is 6 months or less in duration
  • if you need to enter the UK to take re-sits, resubmissions or a viva

The Standard Visitor visa has some limitations compared to the Student visa:

  • you cannot extend this visa or switch into another visa category in the UK and must leave the UK by the end date on your visa (or within 6 months of the date you entered the UK if traveling through an eGate).
  • you are not allowed to work (part-time or full-time)
  • you are not covered by the NHS (National Health Service) so will require private medical insurance.
Do I have to apply for this visa before I enter the UK?

Depending on your nationality you may not have to apply for this visa before entering the UK. The UK separates nationals of countries into the following two categories: non-visa nationals and visa nationals.

  • Non-visa nationals do not need to apply for this visa before entering the UK. All you need to do is ask for a Standard Visitor visa stamp at the immigration desk when entering the UK or enter via an eGate if your nationality is listed. You can obtain this visa upon entry to the UK from any country of departure. It is still advisable to have all the necessary documents required in case you need to show them upon arrival (please see our guidance below for more information on documents). 
  • If you are a visa national, you must apply for this visa before entering the UK.

You can check whether you need to apply for a visa in advance or not using the UKVI visa check website

How to apply for a Standard Visitor visa

For students who are only attending the IFCELS English courses, please contact the IFCELS General Office to request a confirmation letter for the purposes of obtaining a Standard Visitor visa.

For students who are enrolling for one term only as a Visiting Research Student, please email dsadmissions@soas.ac.uk

For students who are enrolling for one term only as a Study Abroad or Exchange Student, please email studyabroad@soas.ac.uk 

Covid-19 Travel Restrictions: please read

Please be aware that if you are travelling from or through a 'red list' country you cannot enter the UK on a Standard Visitor visa and will require a Student visa. For more information please see this Gov.UK webpage.