As a Standard Visitor, you have the option to travel to the UK for a maximum of six months to engage in various study-related activities.
The approved activities include:
- studying at an accredited institution (including courses in English)
- conducting research relevant to the course you’re doing overseas
- participating in an elective placement if you are studying medicine, veterinary medicine and science, nursing, midwifery or dentistry
- sitting entrance exams, retake exams, or undertaking PhD oral exams (viva)
- completing an unpaid clinical attachment if you are a graduate from a medical, dental or nursing school
- taking OSCE and PLAB tests
Eligibility requirements for visiting the UK to study as a Standard Visitor
As a general rule, if you want to study in the UK for more than six months you will need to apply for a visa. An exception to this can be distance learning courses longer than six months, but which only require you to be present in the UK for exams, inductions, progress checks or certain other learning-related activities.
You will also need to prove you have been accepted onto a course at an accredited UK institution that is not an academy or state-funded school.
- For English language courses up to 11 months, you need to apply for a Short-Term Study visa
- For courses that are run by licensed student sponsors, you need to apply for a Student Visa
- If your child is between the age of 4 and 17 years old, they can study in the UK on a Child Student visa
If you are intending to undertake a short piece of research in the UK, it is possible to do this as a Standard Visitor, providing that:
- You are at least 16 years old
- You are enrolled on a course overseas that is the equivalent of a UK degree
- You are able to provide confirmation that the research you wish to undertake is relevant to your overseas course, and that a higher education institution in the UK has accepted you to take part in this research
Visiting the UK as a Standard Visitor to do an elective
To be eligible to visit the UK as a Standard Visitor to do an elective, you must be 16 years or older and be enrolled onto a course overseas in medicine, veterinary medicine and science, nursing, midwifery or dentistry that is equivalent to a UK degree.
You will also need to prove your acceptance at a higher education institution in the UK to do your elective, and provide a written statement from that institution that you will not be paid, nor will you be treating patients.
Visiting the UK as a Standard Visitor to do an unpaid clinical attachment or dental observer post
To be eligible to visit the UK as a Standard Visitor to do an unpaid clinical attachment or dental observer post, you must be an overseas medical, dental, or nursing graduate.
You cannot have done any dental observer posts or clinical attachments in the UK before and will need to provide written confirmation of your offer.
You cannot treat patients as part of your observer post or clinical attachment.
If you want to stay longer than 6 months to undertake the observer post or attachment, you will need to pass the PLAB test and apply to stay in the UK.
Visiting the UK as a Standard Visitor to take the OSCE or PLAB test
- For the OSCE test, you need to provide a letter from the Nursing and Midwifery Council confirming your registration.
- For the PLAB test, you need to provide a letter from the General Medical Council confirming your registration.
- If you do not pass the PLAB test, you can apply to extend your stay with another 6 months in order to retake the test.
- If you pass, you can apply to stay in the UK to do a clinical attachment or dental observer post as long as it is unpaid.
- You can extend your stay up to 18 months in total from your first day of entry to the UK
How much does it cost to study in the UK as a Standard Visitor?
Visiting the UK to study as a Standard Visitor for up to six months is free.
If you need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa, the fee is £115.
Travel to the UK to study checklist
- Ensure your study-related activities are permitted as a Standard Visitor
- Prepare any documents you may need to prove you satisfy the eligibility requirements
- Check that you also meet the basic eligibility requirements for a Standard Visitor
- Check if you need to make an application for a Standard Visitor visa
- If you visit the UK often, you can apply for a Long-term Standard Visitor visa instead
If you’re unsure whether you need a visa or how to apply, you can seek advice from one of our qualified migration agents below.
Neveen is a UK Immigration Solicitor with over 20 years experience in UK Immigration Law. She represents corporate and individual clients seeking assistance with any visa category to the UK. Neveen is a graduate of Westminster University, from which she was awarded the 2021 Westminster Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award.
Neveen’s rapid career trajectory saw her progress at pace from paralegal to Head of Department level, and then to earning a place on her firm’s Board of Directors by the age of 28. This achievement was recognised by Who’s Who placing her in their directory of ‘Britain’s Business Elite’ in 2008. Neveen then went on to establish her own boutique Immigration Law Firm in the City of London in 2015. She also co-founded the Hexagon Legal Network in 2017.
Neveen is passionate about all aspects of UK immigration law, and is committed to providing bespoke residence and citizenship solutions to citizens across the globe that wish to relocate to the UK. Neveen’s immigration advisory services are predominately geared towards highly skilled workers and companies wishing to have a UK presence, however she and her team of experienced immigration advisors can also assist with partner-based applications, student visas and all other personal and business immigration matters.
If you would like to discuss your UK immigration matter or have any questions about your options for immigrating to the UK, you can book a consultation here.