Studying on a Visitor Visa

Standard Visitor visa is the most commonly used visa category – it covers many types of short stays in the UK including study, tourism, visits from family and friends or perhaps returning to the UK for your graduation ceremony.

Throughout the guide we refer to ‘visa’ and ‘immigration permission’ interchangeably as they are commonly understood to essentially have the same meaning.  As explained later some ‘non visa nationals’ do not require a ‘visa’ prior to travel but permission (or ‘leave to enter’) is still required and often it is readily granted by merely entering the UK.   

General information on visitor visas is provided by UKVI

When you might study as a Visitor

At Loughborough University you are only likely to need to study as a visitor if: 

    • You need to study at the University, and 
    • You need immigration permission to enter the UK and 
    • Your studies are not appropriate for the University to issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). If it is not appropriate to issue a CAS the University may provide you with a visiting student letter instead. The University will routinely issue a CAS for pre-sessional English language studies so that a Student visa can be obtained and extended for further studies as required. 

You may need to use visitor permission to study if you are: 

    • A student taking assessments without tuition, e.g. a taught student taking reassessment without attendance or a research student wanting to return to the UK just to take a viva voce examination and final thesis submission. 
    • A visiting student taking part in an exchange or partnership scheme who only needs to attend the University for less than 6 months at any given time. 
    • A student coming to conduct research studies as part of an overseas course that is equivalent to a UK degree. 
    • A distance learning student needing to attend the University for a short period for tuition and/or assessment. 

Requirements and application

You can find further information about the requirements and the application by having a look at the webpage linked below.

Visa permission: time limits and conditions

Permission will usually be granted for 6 months. If you enter the UK without getting a visa or stamp placed in your passport (e.g. via an eGate) you should keep records of your date of entry (e.g. flight confirmation) and avoid overstaying the time allowed. 

You will not be allowed to work but you can volunteer with a registered charity for up to 30 days in total. Work placements as part of a course are not permitted (there are exceptions for unpaid medical electives which form part of a visiting student’s overseas studies). 

You will not have access to public funds. 

Visitors are not required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, therefore you would not have free access to full NHS services (e.g. non-emergency hospital care) and it is advisable to take out your own travel insurance including medical cover for your trip. 

Staying longer in the UK

It is not possible to extend visitor permission beyond 6 months nor can you generally switch to another visa category while in the UK.

Applications for frequent and/or successive visits may be refused if there is little gap between such that your stays may appear longer than merely visiting. 

Family members

Any spouse/partner or child wishing to come to the UK at the same time may also apply as a standard visitor.

How can the University support you?

The Student Advice and Support Service (SASS) provides advice and support to all prospective and current international students. In addition to our guide our advisers can provide individual advice on the requirements and the application process. You should always use the webpages first however if you require advice or guidance beyond what is covered on the webpages you can contact the Student Advice and Support Service. 

Last Updated: 27th April 2023