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You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you only intend to stay inside the UK for up to 6 months and are undertaking certain types of study. 

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Types of study permitted

As a visitor, you are permitted to undertake the following types of study under this route:

  • An accredited short course of study at St George’s for six months or less, for example, Frontiers In Human Health Summer School
  • A period of research at St George’s that forms part of your overseas study (which must be equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s degree)
  • Medical elective
  • Erasmus study
  • Re-taking exam or coursework or need to attend a viva and need to re-enter the UK after your Student visa has expired
  • Distance learning - there may be some occasions where you are required to come to the UK as part of your course. For example you may need to attend induction weeks or sit exams and assessments. 

There is no minimum English language level required to apply for this type of visa and you can study full or part-time.

Overview of the process
  • Request a visa letter from the International Student Advising Team at student.immigration@sgul.ac.uk.  The letter will confirm that you have been accepted onto a course with us and other information required for visa purposes.
  • Decide when and where to apply - this will depend upon whether you are a visa national or non-visa national. 
  • Prepare your supporting documents 
  • Apply – before you travel or when you arrive
Visa National

You are a visa national if you are a national of one of the countries listed on GOV.UK.

If you are a visa national, you will need to apply for a visa before you travel to the UK. 

It is a good idea to carry with you all the documents that you submitted with your visa application when you travel to the UK.  The Border Force Officer may ask to see these documents when you arrive in the UK. 

Non-Visa National

You are a non-visa national if you are a not a national of one of the countries listed on GOV.UK.

If you are a non-visa national it is not compulsory to apply before you travel to the UK. You can obtain entry at the border (at no cost) by providing a copy of your offer letter and other supporting evidence to the Border Force Officer.  Some non-visa nationals do not need to see a Border Force Officer because they can gain automatic entry via the ePassport Gates (see below).

Non-visa nationals still have the option of applying before travelling to the UK if they prefer.  In these circumstances, you should follow the process of a visa national.

EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals

Nationals from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are also non-visa nationals for the purposes of visiting the UK for a period of six months or less. 

If you are a national from one of these countries, you have the choice whether or not to apply before you travel or at the port of entry in the UK.  You should be permitted to enter via the ePassport gates on arrival.

How to apply

Before travelling to the UK

You have to apply for a Standard Visitor visa online on the GOV.UK website.  The current application fee in local currency is £95.

You must submit original supporting documents.  You will also need to provide a translation of any documents which are not already in English. 

You must submit your completed immigration application to your nearest UK visa application centre.  You do not need to apply in the country where you live. 

On arrival in the UK

Unless you are permitted to use the ePassport Gate, your passport will be checked at border control.  At this point, you’ll usually be asked by a Border Force Officer why you’re coming to the UK.  You must produce your visa letter and supporting documentation.  They will be assessing whether you are a ‘genuine’ student.  You will receive a stamp in your passport.

Supporting documents

As well as your visa letter you must provide evidence that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay, including any tuition and accommodation fees, in addition to living costs. 

There are no specific requirements which state the amount of money you must have available but we recommend that you use the ‘student visa’ maintenance requirements as a guide which is £1334 per month for the duration of your studies.  If you will be staying with friends or family while in the UK, it would be reasonable to decrease your living costs if you can provide evidence of this. 

You should also provide evidence that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit and you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey.  All other supporting documents are outlined in the Home Office’s website on supporting documents.

Dependants

The UK immigration rules do not allow visitors to bring family members to the UK.  The only exception to this is for academic visitors who are permitted to bring an accompanying partner or child.

If you have a spouse, partner, child or other person who wants to come with you to visit the UK, they must also apply in their own right as standard visitors.

Arrival in the UK

ePassport Gates

You can use the automatic ePassport gates if your passport has a ‘chip’ on it and you’re from:

  • an EEA country or Switzerland
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • United States

These gates use facial recognition technology to check your identity against the photo in your passport. 

As your passport will not be stamped by a Border Force officer, you will be required to provide us with evidence of your date of entry (e.g boarding pass) to the UK.

When you cannot use an ePassport gate

Your passport (and visa if you have one) will be checked at border control. You’ll usually be asked why you’re coming to the UK and get a stamp in your passport.

Medical insurance

As your course is less than six months long, you are only entitled to limited free NHS treatment. You will have to pay for any other treatment as a private patient. It is therefore very important that you take out medical insurance for the duration of your visit to the UK.

Some countries have a reciprocal agreement with the UK which may entitle you to some free healthcare on the NHS but you should seek advice from the health authorities in your home country about what treatment will be covered. EEA nationals should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Your visa when in the UK

As a visitor, there are various activities that are prohibited:

  • you cannot do any kind of work or work placement/internship even as part of your studies
  • you are not permitted to access public funds
  • you cannot apply or switch to any other category of visa while in the UK, and cannot extend your visa.  You would need to leave the UK and apply for a fresh visa if you need to return to the UK.

 

    You can find more information about the Standard Visitor Visa on the GOV.UK website and the UK Council of International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

    For more help, contact us at student.immigration@sgul.ac.uk

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