Below you will find information on the Standard Visitor Visa.

From 1 December 2020, the Visitor visa replaced the Short-term study visa for students coming to study in the UK for up to 6 months. 

Can I study on a Standard Visitor Visa?

You will be allowed to study at GCU for up to 6 months if you apply for a visa or enter the UK as a visitor on or after 9 am on 1 December 2020. This route has replaced, for most people, the short-term student route. This will affect European Economic Area and Swiss nationals who enter the UK on or after 11 pm on 31 December 2020, if you are not eligible to apply under the EU settlement scheme - Brexit - EU Settlement Scheme.

This route may be suitable for students who need to return to UK to complete part of a course, or finish their course. (For example to resit exams or re-submit coursework).

You will need to prove that you have enough money to cover all reasonable costs of your visit without working or accessing public funds, including the cost of the return or onward journey.  

The advantage of this change from the short-term student route is that you do not have to see a border force officer on arrival if you are permitted to use automatic ePassport gates - see uk-border-control.

Full details of all changes are set out in Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC 813.

If you have any questions about your suitability for this visa type to undertake your studies, please contact the VISA Team. 


You can remain in the UK under your Student visa until the date of completion of studies according to your CAS with an additional period up to 4 months to allow you time to complete any arrangements e.g Graduation, re-sits, looking for sponsored employment. If you return to your home country during this period be aware that UKVI may cancel any remaining time on your visa and you may be refused re-entry to the UK on arrival. If you are returning please contact the VISA Team on for advice before travelling.

If your Student visa does not allow you to remain in the UK for your Graduation (within the period following completion of studies) you will be required to return to your home country and apply for a Standard Visitor visa to re-enter the UK.

Family members

If you would like family members to visit you in Glasgow or London or attend your graduation ceremony, they will need to apply to come to the UK as Standard visitors. They should visit the UKVI website to find out how to apply from their country. A standard visitor visa can last a maximum of 6 months, and cannot be extended. They can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the date of travel to the UK.

Documents you should send to your family
  • Photocopies of your passport and visa (passport ID page, visa (entry clearance) used to enter the UK, current visa (BRP) if issued/extended in the UK.
  • Confirmation of Student Status Letter - Letter from Registry confirming your student status, course of study, and expected date of Graduation (if relevant). You can request this from the online My Service post portal. Please ensure you request a Confirmation of Student Status letter with your expected date of Graduation from the Campus Life Desk or by emailing Registry:
  • Proof of address - 2 items: Copy of lease/letter confirming tenancy agreement (do not send your original lease). Original utility bill (e.g Gas, Electricity, Mobile Phone etc); Health centre card or voting card.
  • Proof of funding - Last 6 months' bank statements; Sponsorship letter if you are financially supporting your family while they stay in the UK.
Invitation letter

Typed A4 sheet of paper, letter is addressed to your family (one letter per individual family member) and written by you. This should include the following:

  • Full names of all people coming to visit
  • Their date of birth(s)
  • Their nationality
  • Their passport number(s)
  • Their relationship to you (e.g. mother, father etc.)
  • How long they will be in the UK
  • The purpose of their visit (e.g. attend your Graduation, or to visit you during your studies)
  • Where they will stay and confirmation if you are responsible for their accommodation (i.e. they are staying with you)
  • State if you are financially supporting your family during their stay in the UK.
Further Information
  • You are required to submit bank statements to show you can support your visitors during their time time here. If they are funding the trip themselves, this should be specified in the invitation letter, and they should be able to submit bank statements that support this.
  • Remember that employment of any kind is not permitted on a visitor visa, so the funding of your visitor's entire trip should be accounted for before they come to the UK.
  • You do not require an invitation letter from GCU; this should come from you. The only letter that GCU can provide is the Confirmation of Student Status.
  • The UKVI's information on the Family Visitor Visa Application states that your family members can only apply as family visitors if you are "permanently settled in the UK". This means that if you are on a Tier 4 or Short-term study visa, they should apply as standard visitors.
  • If you would like VISA to check your documents and invitation letter, come to a drop-in session or email us: or GCU London:
Visiting academics

There are several visa options for overseas academics wanting to visit the UK to interact with institutions.

An Academic visitors leaflet has been produced by the UKVI to explain the different visa routes and conditions.

6-month visa

Academics and researchers applying for the 6 month visit visa (standard) may:

  1. gather information and facts for a specific project which directly relates to their employment overseas;
  2. attend a conference/meeting
  3. share knowledge or advise on an international project that is being led from the UK, provided the visitor is not carrying out research in the UK.
  4. accompany students on a study abroad programme<

Please contact VISA on or GCU London: for further advice and support.

12-month visa

An academic applying for a 12 month visit visa (standard) must intend to do one (or more) of the permitted activities:

Academics may:/p>

  1. take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts (including doctors);
  2. carry out research for their own purposes if they are on sabbatical leave from their home institution;
  3. if they are an eminent senior doctor or dentist, take part in research, teaching or clinical practice provided this does not amount to filling a permanent teaching post.

and must:

  1. be highly qualified within their own field of expertise; and
  2. be currently working in that field at an academic institution or institution of higher education overseas; and
  3. if required, provide a TB certificate

Please contact VISA on or GCU London: for further advice and support.