If you are coming to Imperial for a short period of study, you need to enter the UK under the Standard Visitor route

The Standard Visitor route allows students to come to the UK for a period of up to 6 months (per calendar year) in order to undertake a short course of study, or complete certain academic requirements of their course after their Student/Tier 4 visa has expired. The Standard Visitor Route is the required route for the following Imperial College students:

  1. Visiting / Occasional students on courses of 6 months or less
  2. Studying a medical elective
  3. Undergraduate / Masters students who need to return to resit exams
  4. Some PhD students who need to re-enter the UK only to attend their viva
  5. Summer School students
  6. Undertaking distance-learning programmes who need to come to the UK to attend a short induction or face-to-face module.

Please note that if you enter the UK as a Standard Visitor, you are not entitled to:

  • Work (paid, unpaid, voluntary or as part of a work placement or internship)
  • Extend your visa in the UK, or switch to a different visa category from within the UK
  • Bring dependants

Whether you need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa before you travel depends upon your nationality.

Visa national

Visa nationals

Citizens of some countries are designated as visa nationals (scroll to Immigration Rules Appendix Visitor: Visa national list - if your country is on the list, then you are a visa national) by the Home Office. Anyone who is a visa national must make an application for Entry Clearance as a Standard Visitor from outside the UK. The visa will be issued as a sticker in your passport. Please refer to the GOV.UK website for the Standard Visitor visa application. In addition to the application you will need some supporting documents. These include:

  • An original letter from Imperial College stating your personal details (name and CID number) and confirming the date(s) of your course / resit exams / viva. New students will get this letter automatically when they accept an unconditional offer of a place on a course.
  • Re-sit and viva students will need to request this letter by emailing Student Records. The Student Records Team will need confirmation in writing from your department of your resit / viva dates before they can prepare the letter.
  • Bank statements covering a period of at least 6 months which prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your time in the UK (we recommend at least £1350 per month that you intend to be in the country, in addition to any outstanding course fees).

We highly recommend that in addition to submitting these supporting documents with your visa application you also carry them with you when you travel to the UK, so that you can present them if asked to do so by an Immigration Officer at the UK Border.

Non-visa nationals

Citizens of certain countries are non-visa nationals (scroll to Immigration Rules Appendix Visitor: Visa national list - if your country is NOT on the list, then you are a non-visa national) are able to come to the UK as a Standard Visitor without first applying for Entry Clearance (a visa issued as a sticker in your passport). Instead, these citizens can be stamped in on arrival as at the UK border, or enter the UK through eGates. If you enter the UK as a Standard Visitor you can remain for a maximum period of 6 months in any one visit. 

EU / EEA / Swiss nationals

EU / EEA /Swiss nationals with a biometric passport are permitted to use the eGates in order to enter the UK as a visitor for up to 6 months. Those without a biometric passport, are permitted to enter the UK as a visitor for up to 6 months following admission by a Border Force Officer. In either case, you will not receive a stamp endorsed in your passport.

Acceptable evidence includes a passport plus evidence of your travel to the UK. Evidence of your travel to the UK can include a boarding pass, airline ticket or another type of booking confirmation that you may have. Given that evidence of your travel to the UK may be in a digital format, an original or copy is acceptable here.