SOAS University of London

International Students

Applying for a Standard Visitor visa for study

Applying for a Standard Visitor visa for study

This visa is for those who only need to be in the UK for a maximum of 6 months and either do not want, or are unable to apply for a Student visa. It is more limited than a Student visa but is cheaper and generally easier to obtain.

You can study on a Standard Visitor visa if the following applies to you:

  • Your course of study is 6 months or less in duration
  • Your course of study is by distance and you need to enter the UK for face to face study for a short period
  • 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. These are as follows:

  • 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.
  • You are not covered by the NHS (National Health Service) so will require 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 (please see our guidance below for more information on documents). 
  • If you are a visa national then 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 make a Standard Visitor visa application

For information about how to make a visa application please see our guidance document.