Can I study on a Standard Visitor visa?
The Standard Visitor visa is the most appropriate visa option if you're currently outside of the UK and wish to undertake one of the following:
- A course of up to 6 months (including short periods of study, e.g. attending a weekend course, viva or resit exam)
- A medical elective period in the UK of up to 6 months that is linked to a medical, veterinary medicine, dental or scientific degree-level course at an overseas Higher Education Provider (HEP)
- A study abroad programme of up to 6 months which is part of a programme you're currently studying at an overseas institution
- A period of research or receiving research tuition of up to 6 months, which will be used towards a qualification at degree level or above that you're currently studying at an overseas institution
- Resit exams which are held after your Student visa has expired
- Attend the graduation ceremony for your course if your Student visa expires before the date of the ceremony.
Important to know: If you have deferred (not resit) exams, you can't attend them on a Standard Visitor visa. You must apply for a Student visa instead.
How do I apply for the Standard Visitor visa?
The process for applying for a visa to come to the UK depends on whether you're a visa national or a non-visa national. To find out which one you are, please refer to the Visa national list of the UKVI’s Immigration Rules Appendix Visitors.
If your country of nationality is not on this list, you're a non-visa national.
If you're a visa national
You'll need to apply online before travelling to the UK. You can apply in any country apart from the UK. The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.
If you're a non-visa national
We would advise non-visa nationals to keep evidence of entry and exit dates (e.g. flight tickets) in case you need this information in the future.
You can find further guidance on applying for the Standard Visitor visa on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) webpages.
What documents will I need to provide during my application?
You'll need to submit the following original documents with your application:
- Current passport
- Visa support letter issued by King’s College London:
- New students (e.g. Study Abroad, electives, summer schools and new distance learners): this will be issued via the King's Apply portal
- Current students (e.g. resit students, distance learners mid-degree): this can be requested using the Short Term Student Visa Letter Request Form
- Student/alumni attending graduation ceremonies: see our article Visa assistance for your graduation ceremony
- Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in the UK. There are no specific requirements for how much this will be, but you will need to calculate tuition fees, accommodation, travel and living expenses (we would recommend showing at least £1334 per month living expenses) for the duration of your stay.
For further guidance on the supporting documents you'll need, please visit UKVI's Visiting the UK: guide to supporting documents webpage.
Do I need to apply for ATAS?
- You can't work in the UK (paid or unpaid), including work placements or internships
- You can't undertake any business activity in the UK
- Any family members can't be sponsored as your dependent(s) - they must apply for their own Visitor visa(s)
- You can't spend more than 6 months in the UK as a Visitor within one 12-month period
- You can't claim any public funds in the UK
- You can't study a course that is longer than 6 months
- You can't access the National Health Service (NHS) for free
- You can't extend your visa or switch into another visa category in the UK.
Do I need to have health insurance?
If you're coming to the UK on a visa that is for less than 6 months and you didn't pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, you won't be able to use the NHS for free. We strongly recommend that you purchase health insurance to cover you during your stay.
Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)
Some nationals are required to get an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) before travelling to the UK if they haven't applied for a visa in advance of travel. This is a form of 'pre-screening' that gives permission to travel.
This is not permission to enter - you'd still need to be permitted entry as a visitor on arrival to the UK, and you'd still be subject to the conditions of a Standard Visitor visa.
You can make an application online. If your application is refused you can't apply again, but you could apply for a Standard Visitor visa in advance of travel.
An ETA will allow multiple entries within a 2-year period. However, the restrictions on time spent in the UK as a visitor will still apply.
Important to know: your passport will need to be valid for the duration of your stay when you apply for an ETA.
I need further support
For further information on the international support you can access at King's, please read our article International student advice & support at King's.