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.
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 , for example visiting friends and family or attending a conference.
- 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 (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 instead.
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
If you’re applying to study for up to 6 monthsYou must prove one of the following:
- you’ve been accepted onto a course of no more than 6 months provided by an (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
To study or research certain subjects, you may need an . 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 .
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
- 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 https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/apply.
You must have your fingerprints and photograph (known as 'biometric information') taken at a Visa Application Centre https://www.gov.uk/find-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 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-uk-visa-to-visit-or-for-short-term-stay-form-vaf1a.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 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.