The information that we provide is based on the Immigration Rules and on the information from the Home Office website.We try to update the information as soon as any changes are made by the Home Office but we recommend that you always read this information alongside the information on the Home Office website. Also, if you choose to print any of our webpages, we advise that you read them alongside the most up-to-date information provided by UKCISA and the Home Office.
What is a Standard Visitor Visa?
A Standard Visitor visa is for people visiting the UK:
- for leisure, eg on holiday or to see your family and friends
- for business, or to take part in sports or creative events
- for another reason, eg to receive private medical treatment
In April 2015 the Standard Visitor Visa replaced the:
- Family Visitor visa
- General Visitor visa
- Child Visitor visa
- Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists
- Sports Visitor visa
- Entertainer Visitor visa
- Prospective Entrepreneur visa
- Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa
- Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa
If you need a visa to attend your graduation or if you have family or friends that would like to visit you in the UK whilst you are studying, the most appropriate visa to apply for is the Standard Visitor Visa.
If you have completed your course and you are currently outside of the UK, without a valid UK visa, you will need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa in order to attend your graduation. If your family/friends will also be attending, they will require the same Standard Visitor Visa.
If you have completed your course you should not apply for a Short-Term Study Visa because this visa is for students coming to the UK to take a short course. The graduation ceremony is not classed as study.
Can I apply for a Standard Visitor Visa in the UK?
No, you must be outside the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man to apply for this visa.
How do I apply for a Standard Visitor Visa?
You must apply online for a Standard Visitor Visa unless you are from North Korea. You need to complete an online application form which you can find on the Home Office website.
When you apply, you must choose the option that best describes why you’re coming to the UK, e.g. choose ‘general’ if you’re visiting on holiday.
You’ll need to:
- register for an account
- fill in the application form in English
- pay for the visa fee online (in most cases)
- print out your form
- book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre (have you fingerprints and photograph taken)
You also need to:
- have all the supporting documents you need for your visa
- translate any supporting documents and include them with the originals if they are not in English
You may need to get a TB test, depending on where you’re applying from – check if you need a TB test.
Check where your appointment will be before you apply – it may be in a different country.
How much does a Standard Visitor Visa cost?
For up-to-date prices please follow this link to the Home Office visa fee tool. You will need to follow the steps to find out the visa application fee. You will need to select the country you are making an application from; select the visa category as ‘visit'; select the visa type as ‘general visitors’ and then select the visa sub-type as ‘short-term visitors’ (if you are coming to the UK for less than 6 months). The Home Office should then provide the fee in the currency of the country where you plan to make your application.
How long does it take to get a Standard Visitor Visa?
Follow this link to the Home Office visa processing times, follow the instructions and it will give you an estimated processing time.
What supporting documents do I need for a Standard Visitor Visa?
The Home Office provides list of documents for all Visit Visas however they state that the list ‘is not a list of documents that you must submit. We do not expect you to provide all of the documents listed, it is for you to decide which documents are most relevant to your application’.
On the Home Office website they state that you need the following supporting documents:
- a current passport or other valid travel identification
- 2 passport size colour photographs
- evidence that you can support yourself during your trip, eg bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months
- details of where you intend to stay and your travel plans – you shouldn’t pay for accommodation or travel until you get your visa
You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.
You’ll need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.
Read the guidance for a full list of documents you can provide. The Home Office also provide a translation of the list of supporting documents in Simplified Chinese.
Can the University provide an invitation letter for my family or friends?
The Student Support Centre can provide a letter which proves you are a student at the University. On this letter they can also write the names of the people you wish to invite for a visit. The names of the people visiting you must be written exactly as they are in their passport. If you would like to request a letter you can either email Student Support at email@example.com or speak to a member of staff in the Student Support Centre. A letter request can take two working days however during peak enrolment times (September-October) this might take longer.
Does University provide an invitation letter, to prove that I am attending graduation?
If you are invited to a graduation ceremony you should receive an invitation from the Graduation Team by email. Click here to read more about the University’s graduation ceremonies. If you have any questions about your graduation ceremony you can contact the Graduation Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Student Support Centre can provide you with a Certificate of Study that shows the start and end dates of your course. On this certificate they can write the date you are due to graduate however they can only do this when it has been confirmed that you will be graduating. To request a Certificate of Study you can either email Student Support at email@example.com or speak to a member of staff in the Student Support Centre. A letter request can take two working days however during peak enrolment times (September-October) this may take longer.