Standard Visitor Visa

If you are applying for UK immigration and will study for less than 6 months, you can apply for a Standard Visitor visa.

As a Standard Visitor in the UK you are allowed to:

  • Study for up to six months at an accredited institution, provided that study is not at a state funded school or academy (Edinburgh Napier University is an accredited institution);
  • You must be aged at least 16 years of age or above at the date of application;
  • You must be enrolled on a course of study abroad equivalent to at least degree level study in the UK;
  • You must have been accepted by a higher education provider in the UK;
  • Obtain an ATAS certificate if required. See Undertake a short course of study for six months or less.
  • Undertake electives relevant to their course of study overseas, providing these are unpaid, involve no treatment of patients, and the visitor is:
    • aged 16 years or over; and
    • enrolled on a course of study abroad equivalent to at least degree level study in the UK; and (c) studying medicine, veterinary medicine and science, or dentistry as their principle course of study;
    • Undertake research or be taught about research at a UK institution, which you are enrolled on a course of study abroad equivalent to at least degree level study in the UK;
    • Visit friends and family, or take a holiday (outside of the times you are expected to study);
    • Attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews.
  • If you are studying a course overseas and you wish to complete a study abroad programme of less than six months, this can be done as a visitor. The study abroad programme in the UK must make up part of your overseas course.

Prohibited activities:

You must not work in the UK, including:

  • Working for an organisation or business in the UK;
  • Conducting business activities in the UK. This includes running or setting up a business as a self-employed person;
  • Doing a work placement or internship (including as part of a course of study);
  • Providing goods and services;
  • Direct selling to the public.

You will not be permitted to access public funds during your stay in the UK as a visitor. 'Public funds' are defined in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules as a list of specific benefits available. As you will be unable to work during your stay in the UK, you must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to maintain and support yourself without having to claim any of these benefits also.

You are also not permitted to access medical treatment in the UK other than private medical treatment.

If following finishing your studies as a visitor, you wish to study a further course of studies for a duration of six months or more, you will not be permitted to switch into the Student route in the UK. You will need to apply for entry clearance in order to do this. Please refer to Applying for a Student route visa outside the UK for further details. You will also be prohibited from switching into most working routes in the UK - see Working after studies

Extending your stay as a visitor is permitted except under the following circumstances:

  •  Visitors in the UK who wish to re-sit the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board Test. 
  • Overseas medical, dental or nursing school graduates who intend on undertaking unpaid clinical attachments or dental observer posts in the UK are also permitted to extend their stay in the UK.
  • Marrying, forming a civil partnership or wishing to give notice to marry or form a civil partnership are also prohibited as a visitor. 
If you wish to do any of these activities, you must have prior entry clearance specifically endorsed for one of these purposes.

Receipt of payment for any activity carried out in the UK is also prohibited as a visitor. Whilst there are limited exceptions to this, which include the receipt of reasonable expenses in certain circumstances, this is generally prohibited.

All visitors to the UK must satisfy the genuine visitor requirements. This means that:

  • You will leave the UK at the end of your visit;
  • You must not intend to live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits. You must also not intend to make the UK your main home. The visitor guidance lists factors such as the number of visits that you have made over the last twelve months, including the length of stay on each occasion in assessing whether or not your visits to the UK are frequent and successive;
  • You must be genuinely seeking to enter the UK for a purpose and activity permitted as a visitor;
  • You must not undertake any of the prohibited activities for a visitor.
  • You must have enough money to support yourself whilst you are in the UK. This includes the cost of your return or onward journey and any permitted activities that you have planned. You will not be able to work or access public funds in order to support yourself. In assessing this requirement, the visitor guidance states that your income and savings will be looked at minus any financial commitments that you have. The remaining sum must be sufficient to meet the likely costs that you will incur in the UK and also your reasonable expenditure. You can rely on another person to help you demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover your travel, maintenance and accommodation whilst in the UK. You must have a genuine professional or personal relationship with this person however, and they cannot be in breach of any immigration laws at the time the decision on your application is made or by the time you wish to enter the UK as a visitor. This person must also be able to support you for the duration of your visit; 
  • Any funds that you wish to rely upon must be held in a financial institution permitted under FIN 2.1 in Appendix Finance

In assessing genuineness, the visitor guidance confirms that caseworkers will be looking at factors such as your personal circumstances and your travel and immigration history. Failure to comply with another country's immigration history in the past for example, is given as one reason for doubting the genuineness of an application to the UK as a visitor.

As well as satisfying the general genuine visitor requirements, if you wish to study in the UK as a visitor, you must also meet the genuine study requirements. This means that the proposed course of study that you wish to do must be credible and genuine. The visitor guidance sets out some of the factors that caseworkers may look at in assessing whether or not your proposed course of study is genuine. 

These factors include, the length of time you intend to study in the UK and how this will impact upon your personal circumstances in your home country. Whether or not the course is also available elsewhere and whether it is available online are also other factors that caseworkers will consider.  


The Immigration Rules do not allow visitors to bring family members to the UK. The only exception to this is for academic visitors who are permitted to bring an accompanying partner or child.

If you are applying as a Standard visitor and you have a spouse, partner, child or other person who wants to come with you to visit the UK, they must also apply to come to the UK in their own right as standard visitors.

As a Standard visitor, the same rules on permitted and prohibited activities will also apply to your family members. As such, they must also meet the genuineness requirements and will not be permitted to work in the UK. They will however be able to study as outlined above