Visit and for further detailed information. If you have further questions about this information, you can email us at

You can come to the UK as a Standard Visitor:
  • for tourism, for example on a holiday or to see your family and friends;
  • for certain business activities, for example attending a meeting;
  • to do a short course of study up to 6 months;
  • to take part in research or an exchange programme as an academic;
  • for medical reasons, for example to receive private medical treatment.
You may not have to apply for a visa. What you need to do depends on your nationality and what you plan to do in the UK.
Check if you need to apply for a UK visa.

How long can you stay?

You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months.

What you can and can't do

You can visit the UK to do certain activities, for example visiting friends and family or attending a conference.
You cannot:
  • do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person;
  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits;
  • claim public funds (benefits);
  • do a course of study that lasts longer than 6 months;
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership. You’ll need a Marriage Visitor visa instead.

Read the guidance for more information about what you can and cannot do with a Standard Visitor visa.


You must show that:
  • you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
  • you’ll not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home
  • you’re able to support yourself and your dependants during your trip (or have funding from someone else to support you)
  • you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey (or have funding from someone else to pay for the journey)
  • you have proof of any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the Visitor Rules

If you’re applying to study for up to 6 months

You must prove one of the following:
  • you’ve been accepted onto a course of no more than 6 months provided by an accredited UK institution (this cannot be an academy or state-funded school)
  • you’re at least 16 years old and have been accepted by a UK higher education institution to take part in research that’s relevant to the course you’re studying overseas
  • you’re at least 16 years old and are doing an ‘elective’ (an optional additional placement) as part of an overseas medicine, veterinary medicine and science, or dentistry course
You must already be enrolled on a course that is the equivalent of a UK degree, before applying to do research or a placement in the UK.
To study or research certain subjects, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. You need to apply for the ATAS certificate before starting your course.

Documents you must provide

You must provide a passport or travel document. Your passport should be valid for the whole of your stay in the UK and contain a blank page for your visa.
You’ll be told what other documents and information to provide when you apply online.
You must provide certified translations of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.
You’ll need to provide the following information:
  • the dates you’re planning to travel to the UK
  • details of where you’ll be staying during your visit
  • how much you think your trip will cost
  • your current home address and how long you’ve lived there
  • your parents’ names and dates of birth (if known)
  • how much you earn in a year (if you have an income)
  • details of any criminal, civil or immigration offences you may have committed
You might also need to provide:
  • details of your travel history for the past 10 years
  • your employer’s address and telephone number
  • your partner’s name, date of birth, and passport number
  • the name and address of anyone paying for your trip
  • the name, address and passport number of any family members you have in the UK

How to apply

You must apply online at

You must have your fingerprints and photograph (known as 'biometric information') taken at a Visa Application Centre as part of your application.

You may be able to get your visa faster depending on what country you are in - check with your Visa Application Centre.

If you can't apply online you will need to apply by downloading the following paper form -

If you/your family member are visiting for your graduation ceremony, you can request a letter online through 'My Student Record', or from the Graduation Office by emailing This will help support your visa application.

If your family member is making a general visit to see you and it is not specifically for your graduation ceremony, you can create your own invitation letter. Please see our example invitation letter. This is an example only. You can also provide a copy of your current visa and a student status letter. You can request a student status letter from your College Helpdesk.

Example Invitation Letter

<Your name>
<Your UK address>

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is to confirm that I am inviting my mother and father to visit me in Sheffield. I am a student at Sheffield Hallam University and am studying MSc International Hospitality Management. Please find my student status letter attached.

I wish my parents to visit me because we have a university summer vacation period.  My parents will be visiting me for two weeks and will be staying with me in my accommodation. I am very excited to show my parents where I study and the city I live in. My parents are coming for a short visit only because I must continue with my studies, and they also need to return to their commitments at home.

I miss my family and hope that they will be granted a visa to be able to visit so we can spend some time together.

Yours sincerely,