The Visitor visa is a short visa that allows you to visit the UK. From 1st December 2020, a visitor visa will also allow you to study at Aston University for 6 months or less.

Do I require a Visitor Visa?

The following situations are when you will likely need a Visitor visa:

Repeating assessments

If you are on a longer course at Aston but you are asked by your school of study to repeat assessments without attendance (for example - just sitting the exams in January or June), you may need to leave the UK and return with a Visitor visa to complete your assessments. If you think this applies to you, please contact an International Student Adviser to discuss the situation.

Exchange Programme

If you are currently studying a degree course overseas and have been accepted to study in the UK as part of an exchange programme of less than 6 months, then the Visitor visa may be the appropriate visa to get. For example, you are currently studying a bachelors course overseas and you will be coming to Aston for 1 semester.

Distance Learning

If you are currently registered as an Aston student studying a distance learning course overseas, and need to enter the UK to partake in a short period of UK based study as part of the course. For example, you are completing an MBA overseas via distance learning and need to enter for 1 week for mandatory UK based tutorials. 

Period of overseas research at Aston

If you are currently studying a PhD at an overseas University and have been invited by Aston University to partake in some research as part of your thesis.

How do I apply for a Visitor Visa?

Your School at Aston University will supply you with Visitor visa letter confirming your course details and other information. You will need to submit this letter with your application.

You will generally also need the following documents to support your application, try and get these documents before you apply online:

  1. Passport 
  2. Evidence that you can financially support yourself during your stay in the UK. There is no mandatory amount of money you have to hold and it is your responsibility to prove to the UKVI that you reasonably have enough money available to cover the costs of your stay and journey. We recommend that you follow the Tier 4 rules if you are unsure and try and show you have at least £1015 available per month for the length of stay.   
  3. Proof of accommodation. Or show that you have enough to pay for accommodation as it is not recommended that you pay for accommodation before getting your visa 
  4. Official Visitor offer letter from Aston University.
  5. Proof of overseas study (if coming on an exchange programme)
  6. Certified translations if any of your documents are not in English
  7. *From 6th July 2018, some Engineering exchange programmes may also require an ATAS certificate. Please refer to our guidance if you do require an ATAS certificate.
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Please refer to the UKVI website for more in depth information about what documents you need for this visa application 

To apply online, please visit the UKVI application website.

Please select "Apply Now" to start this application

Please note that a CAS number is not required for a Visitor visa application.

Please email astoninternational@aston.ac.uk for further advice about the Visa application if you are unsure of anything.

Visitor Visa Conditions

  • You cannot undertake any employment or work in the UK. You might be able to "volunteer" but please contact us for advice before you commit to any work. 
  • You will be granted a 6 month visa by default but you must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your course or at the end of the 6 month period, whichever is earliest. Not leaving the UK within this time frame may affect future visa applications.
  • You can only do permitted activities as a visitor in the UK. See Appendix 3: Permitted Activities for all visitors, for more information.

I heard that I do not need to apply for a Visitor Visa


If you are a national of any of the countries listed in "Appendix Visitor: Visa national list" here, then you will definitely need to apply for the Visitor Visa before you travel to the UK. This is known as applying for Entry Clearance.

If you are a national of a country that is not on the above list (e.g. USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia etc) then you are considered a Non-Visa national. This means that instead of applying for a Visitor visa before you travel, you have the option of obtaining Visitor permission at the UK border when you cross through immigration.

We recommend that everyone utilising this route apply for entry clearance before travelling to the UK as it reduces the risk of mistakes being made at the border, which may well prevent you from undertaking your studies here.

However, if you are a non-visa national and you wish to just get stamped in at the border, you must bring all of the same documents to present at the border that you would have used if you applied for entry clearance. You must make it very clear to the Immigration official that you wish to enter as a Visitor and present all of your documents. This means that you must carry all documents in your hand luggage.    

If you are successful, then your passport will be stamped with an "Entry Stamp" which will bear the date you entered the UK.

*We recommend that all nationals apply for a Visitor visa (entry clearance) in order to avoid confusion at the border.

 E-Gate expansion

The UKVI have announced plans to expand the use of E-Gates for certain nationalities at several UK airports and the Eurostar train terminals. The proposal will mean that that eligible nationals from all EU/EEA countries, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America can use the automated e-Gates on arrival into the UK, free of charge. Nationals from these countries will also no longer need to complete a landing card on arrival.

The aim is to make entry slightly easier for those eligible nationalities as they would not be required to see a Border Officer at the Immigration desk.

If you use the E-Gates, then you will automatically enter as a visitor but you will not receive any stamp in your passport. In order to enrol onto your course, we need to confirm the date of your entry therefore, we advise that you retain evidence of your travel (e.g. flight ticket) ready to show us at enrolment.

Arriving via Ireland

If you planned to just travel to the UK and get stamped in as a visitor visa at the airport, then we strongly advise to not arrive via the Republic of Ireland. This is because you would enter the "Common travel area" first and your connecting flight to England will be a domestic flight. This means that you will not pass through a UK immigration desk or an E-Gate when you get to England.

Instead, you will be stamped with a 90-day visitor stamp when you arrive at Ireland and this visa stamp will not be appropriate for short periods of study in the UK.

More information can be found here.

Medical Insurance 

As you will only be coming to the UK for less than 6 months, you will not be asked to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge to help cover healthcare costs in the UK. This means that if you require certain healthcare services in the UK, such as hospital aftercare, then you will be liable to pay for this and this can be extremely expensive. 

We highly recommend that before you travel to the UK, you arrange private medical insurance to cover medical costs in the UK should you require it. Please see this page for further information.