Skip to main content

Visitor visas

Visitor visas

This webpage details the Visitor visa route and their uses. Please read the page carefully as the same visa is used for different circumstances with different requirements.

Please note that the Short-Term Student visa is now only for English language courses of 6-11 months in length.

Some types of study are now permitted on the Visitor visa. If you have a question regarding this, please contact the International Student Support Office.

If you are coming to the UK to study for 6 months or less, you may require a Visitor visa. The most common situations where you would require a Visitor visa are:

  • Re-sitting exam(s)
  • Taking a viva
  • Undertaking some short research
  • Study abroad/exchange programme

You must not have successive visits/uses of a Visitor visa, so please do contact the International Student Support Office if you believe that you will need to enter the UK frequently for advice. 

Note that no dependants are permitted on a Visitor visa and there are also no work rights. 

You may not need to apply for a Visitor visa in advance of travelling to the UK if you are a non-visa national. Details on non-visa nationals can be found here

Further guidance on the Visitor visa and how it can be used for study can be found on UKCISA's webpages.

Your visitors may need to apply for a visa before coming to the UK. They can check here whether they need a visa.  If they do need a visa, they must apply on the Home Office website - choosing ‘Tourism’ as their reason for coming to the UK. There is guidance here about the documents they will need to support their application. As well as the documents listed, your visitor will need to submit a copy of your Student Status Certificate from Campus Connect.

If your visitors do not need a visa, they will still need to show that they meet the requirements to enter as a Standard Visitor when they arrive at UK Border Control. If asked, they should have evidence of:

  • the reason for their visit:
  • the length of their stay
  • the funds to pay for their stay (best to use the funding amounts for the Student visa as a guide)
  • their relationship with you as a visitor

Standard Visitors can usually stay in the UK for up to six months. During this time, they must not:

  • work
  • study (unless they are only studying for up to 30 days and this is incidental to the main reason for their visit)
  • get married or register a marriage
  • apply for further visas (for instance, they can’t stay in the UK as your dependant.)
  • seek medical treatment on the National Health Service
  • engage in business, or receive payment from a UK source for business activities in the UK, except as permitted in Home Office guidance

You can also help your visitors by sending them the following:

  • an invitation letter from you giving the reason for their visit. You may find this Invitation Sample Letter useful as a starting point. Make sure your letter includes details of:
    • your visitor’s full name
    • your relationship to them (parent, friend, etc.)
    • their planned arrival and departure dates
    • where they intend to stay; if they plan to stay with you, give your full address
    • your own immigration status (for instance, student until 2017)
  • copies of your current passport and student visa/Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • a colour copy of your Student Status Certificate from Campus Connect

If you leave the UK after your study has finished, then you may encounter problems returning to the UK on your Student visa, even if you have time left on it. We always advise students to return on a Standard Visitor visa for their graduation if they have left the UK in between the ceremony and their programme ending.

If you are inviting friends or family to the UK for your graduation ceremony, you will need to complete an online request form for a supporting letter from the Student Services Centre to include in the visa application. To request this letter, please complete the online request form here.

If you leave the UK after your study has finished, then you may encounter problems returning to the UK on your Student visa, even if you have time left on it. We always advise students to return on a Standard Visitor visa for their graduation if they have left the UK in between the ceremony and their programme ending.

If you are inviting friends or family to the UK for your graduation ceremony, you will need to complete an online request form for a supporting letter from the Student Services Centre to include in the visa application. To request this letter, please complete the online request form here.

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today