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Standard Visitor Visa Route - Staff Guidance

Section 1: Purpose and Contents of this page:


This page has been made to provide guidance to staff on the Standard Visitor Visa Route under the Immigration Rules. The Standard Visit Visa route now replaces the Student Visitor Route as the visa route for the majority of students attending University for six months or fewer.


Section 2: Introduction to the Standard Visitor Visa Route


To enter the UK, you must hold valid permission to do so.


The Standard Visitor Visa Route allows successful applicants to enter the UK under this route for the purpose it was issued for. The activities permitted under this route have been amended to allow study periods of up to six months which would previously have required a Student Visitor Visa.

Students may apply for a Standard Visit Visa before travelling to the UK (called 'entry clearance') or on arrival to the UK if they are a non-visa national. Students granted entry clearance should enter the UK within the dates of their Standard Visit Visa and not before.

Please be aware that the Student Visitor Visa route is now only to be used by students applying for entry clearance to study an English language course between six and 11 months long.


Please click on the following link for more information about the revised Standard Visit Visa route:


GOV.UK | Visas and Immigration

Section 3: What is permitted under the Standard Visit Visa Route?


What kinds of study can be undertaken on a Standard Visit Visa?

This visa is suitable for an potential Warwick Student, or, a current Warwick Student who wishes to:

  • Attend UK based teaching as part of a distance learning programme of more than six months duration.

Please note the UKVI definition of 'distance learning' is as follows: "Applicants will be studying for the majority of their time outside of the UK for a UK qualification... but may be required to be in the UK for short periods of time for certain activities, such as induction weeks, intensive face-to-face learning, one-to-one progress checks or to sit exams or assessments... a course can be both a distance learning and a part-time course.. as long as the above criteria are met..."

  • Attend an interview or sit an entrance exam for a course at Warwick
  • Attend a course of study for up to six months duration
  • Undertake a period of research or receive research tuition, if enrolled on a course overseas equivalent to at least degree level in the UK and the research undertaken in the UK is relevant to that course
  • Attend a PhD viva examination, if they do not already hold a visa that allows this
  • Re-sit an exam(s), if they do not already hold a visa that allows this
  • Attend an on campus portion of study as part of a distance learning course which is longer than six months duration, if they do not already hold a visa that allows this
  • Undertake electives if enrolled on a medicine, veterinary medicine, science or dentistry course overseas equivalent to at least degree level in the UK, and the electives are relevant to that course and will not involve the treatment of patients
  • Complete a student exchange or study abroad programme of less then six months; study in the UK must make up part of the overseas course

Holders of a Standard Visit Visa may also:

  • Visit for tourism, for example, a holiday or to see family and friends, or to attend graduation
  • Undertake certain business activities, for example, attending a meeting
    • Receive private medical treatment
    • Volunteer for up to 30 days with a registered charity

    Holders of a Standard Visit Visa may not:

    • Undertake a course of study designated as part-time; please be aware of the difference between 'part-time' and 'distance learning' and refer to the UKVI definition of 'distance learning' stated above.

    A part-time course requiring regular periods of study in the UK over a long period of time, for example, three days a week, every week, over a five year period, would not meet the UKVI definition of 'distance learning' and therefore cannot be undertaken using the standard visit visa route. This is not to be confused with part-time distance learning which is permitted.

    Check the course name on SITS, part-time and distance learning programmes are often named as such in the course description, and contact the Immigration Service for further advice if you have any concerns as to whether a standard visit visa is the correct route for your student/course

    • Live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visit
    • Switch to a student or work visa

    Please note:



    • Holders of this visa who do not have access to the NHS should, therefore, purchase adequate travel insurance before travelling, which includes cover for any medical costs for the duration of the visit.

    Section 4: When and where can students apply for a Standard Visitor Visa?


    Non-Visa Nationals

    Students who are Non-Visa Nationals can apply for a Standard Visitor Visa at the Immigration Desk on arrival at a UK Border.

    They will need to present the same application evidence as stated in "Section 6: What are the application requirements for the Standard Visitor Visa Route?" below.

    Non-Visa Nationals need to re-apply each and every time they enter the UK Border, regardless of whether they already have a stamp that has not expired yet.

    Visa Nationals

    Students who are visa nationals need to apply for their visa in advance of visiting the UK.

    They can apply:

    • No more than 3 months before the date they intend to travel.
    • Students can specify the date they want the visa to be valid from, but it is usually valid from the date of issue. Therefore, if coming for a short course or a period of visiting research of 5-6 months duration, there is a risk that the visa will not cover the whole length of the course if issued more than 1 month before the course start date.
    • Visa nationals can apply from any country where they are legally resident

    A standard overseas UK visa application currently takes up to 15 working days, which is around a month.

    Students should ensure they have enough time to make the application, receive the visa and travel to the UK.

    Section 5: Application requirements (including visa supporting letter templates for departments)


    Students will require the following:

    • Valid passport
    • Written confirmation that you have been accepted on your course. Please note, the Immigration Service are no longer providing bespoke letters to support applications to this visa route. Since the requirements have been standardised, we are instead providing letter templates which department staff may use as and when required:

    Staff should click here for a template letter to be used for non-degree level short courses (where the whole duration of the course including periods delivered overseas, is 6 months or less).

    Staff should click here for a template letter to be used for undergraduate or postgraduate level distance learning students (including part time) attending modules taught in the UK.

    Please note the following UKVI definition of 'distance learning' is as follows: "Applicants will be studying for the majority of their time outside of the UK for a UK qualification... but may be required to be in the UK for short periods of time for certain activities, such as induction weeks, intensive face-to-face learning, one-to-one progress checks or to sit exams or assessments... a course can be both a distance learning and a part-time course.. as long as the above criteria are met..."

    Visiting research students will be provided with an offer confirmation letter by Postgraduate Admissions and so will not require a separate letter from their academic department.

    Students considering applying for a Standard Visit Visa in order to attend a PhD viva or to re-sit examinations are advised to contact the Immigration Service beforehand for further advice to ensure that this is the most appropriate type of visa for their circumstance.

    • If coming to the UK for research, the letter from Warwick must confirm the relevance of the UK research to the student's main course of study overseas and that they will not be employed by us as a sponsored researcher or otherwise
    • If undertaking medical electives in the UK, a letter from the student's overseas institution which confirms these electives are relevant to the student's main course of study and also a letter from Warwick which confirms the electives are unpaid and will involve no treatment of patients
    • Financial evidence showing the applicant has access to sufficient funds to support themselves when in the UK
      • ATAS certificate: if the course is at Postgraduate level and is listed in Appendix ATAS of the Immigration Rules, students will be required to include an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate (ATAS) certificate with their visa application, or at the border if seeking permission to enter on arrival to the UK. They can apply for an ATAS certificate up to nine months before the start date of the course and it is valid for six months from the date of issue. Nationals from the EU, EEA, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA are exempt from obtaining ATAS clearance.

      Section 6: Arriving in the UK and completing enrolment


      Students applying for leave on arrival to the UK:

      • Must carry application evidence in their carry on luggage
      • Must visit the Immigration Desk, on arrival at the UK Border
      • Must state the purpose of the visit, e.g. short period of study under 6 months, attending a viva, etc.
      • Must provide any documentary evidence requested by the Border Force official

      If successful, the student's passport will be endorsed with and ink stamp similar to the image here

      If the student entered via an e-Gate:

      The student will not have obtained an entry stamp, and will not be able to obtain a new one without leaving the Common Travel Area.

      In order to clear enrolment checks the student will need to provide a boarding pass to confirm their date of arrival in place of an entry stamp.

      If the student entered via the Republic of Ireland:

      The period of leave that the student will automatically be considered to have (if they are a non-visa national without entry clearance and are not an excluded person, as outlined in Article 3 of the Order) will increase from three to six months.

      This will be reduced to two months if the student enters the Republic of Ireland from the UK at a time when they still have permission to be in the UK but that permission expires while in the Republic of Ireland.

      Any immigration permission the student is granted on arrival in the Republic of Ireland is for the Republic of Ireland, not for the UK.

      Students who have been granted leave in advance of travel:

      • Must enter the UK after the start date of their Standard Visit Visa and not before

      Students who enter the UK before the start date of their visa will be required to exit the Common Travel Area and re-enter the UK within the validity of their Standard Visit Visa before they are permitted to complete enrolment and commence study

      • Must present their Standard Visit Visa to a UK Border Force official so that it is endorsed with an entry stamp

      Enrolment advice for new students

      Students need to have completed online course enrolment within 2 weeks of their course start date, 4 weeks if a PGR student.

      • Students can do this as soon as they receive the 'invite to register' email, even if they are not in the UK yet, or, have not made an application or received their visa yet
      • If students do not complete online registration by the deadline, they will be withdrawn from the course

      Students need to ensure they arrive in the UK by their course latest arrival date - for more information, click here

      • Students who do not arrive by their course latest arrival date will not be permitted to register and you will be withdrawn
      • Once they have cleared Border Control, students need to upload a clear and legible scan or photo of their activated visa vignette, or entry stamp to their enrolment portal

      Section 7: If you have further queries and useful links:


      University staff can contact the Immigration Service by email at immigrationservice@warwick.ac.uk

      Please include a student ID number with your query where possible.


      Please click on the following links for more information


      University of Warwick:


      UK Government:


      Other contacts: