Information on the standard visitor visa for University guests, exchange students and international students wishing to invite their family members.
The University is required to have records of all international visitors that are subject to the Immigration Rules.
If you are visiting us as a University guest, please complete the forms linked below.
We welcome academics and researchers as well as students from our international partnership universities.
International students who have studied at Bath Spa are likely to be able to attend their graduation ceremony within the immigration permission granted on the student visa.
However, if you've studied online from outside the UK you may not have valid student permission at the time of graduation. You can instead apply for a visitor visa to re-enter the UK and participate in a graduation ceremony.
If your nationality means that you need to apply for a visitor visa rather than enter via the eGates, we suggest that graduating students include a document confirming the details of the graduation ceremony and confirmation of being eligible to graduate in the supporting evidence.
If you enrol in one of our low residency courses which does not qualify for a student visa, you may be able to study overseas and apply for a visitor visa for when you need to make campus visits.
Depending on your nationality and method of visitor visa application, you may choose to apply for a new visitor visa for each visit or you may choose to apply for a visitor visa that is longer in duration. It is possible to apply for a visitor visa for two years.
We will be able to issue you an invitation letter with all the required dates you need to be on campus. This will be handy when crossing the border and also as part of your supporting documents for the visa application (if applying in advance).
University guest forms to complete
If you are visiting us as a University guest, we ask that you kindly complete the two forms linked below.
Please complete the International Visitor Form before you apply for your visa or arrive to the UK. We will need your details, the reason for your visit and a passport copy.
This form also gives you the option to apply for an invitation letter from the University. You can use this in your visitor visa application as supporting evidence or have it handy with you at the border if applying there.
Other types of visitors
Studying for 6 months
Students that are studying at Bath Spa for one semester as part of an exchange are allowed to visit the UK and study on a visitor visa for up to 6 months.
Studying for a year
Students hoping to study at Bath Spa on exchange for longer than 6 months and up to a year are required to apply for a student visa.
An advantage of being on a student visa during an exchange is that you may be allowed to work. Student visa holders are normally allowed to work 20 hours a week during term time and full time during the holidays.
Initially coming to study for 6 months but extending to a year
If you initially come to study on a visitor visa and wish to extend your exchange for a further semester, studying at Bath Spa for a year in total, you'll need to apply for a student visa.
It's possible to apply for a student visa to complete the second semester, but you'll need to return to the country you normally live in and apply for the student visa from there. This is because those on a visitor visa are not allowed to apply for a student visa from inside the UK.
We understand that you may like your family members or friends to visit you in the UK once you've started your course and settled in.
The University does not issue invitation letters to guests of students. This is because you are inviting them as your own personal guest.
However, you can apply for a Student Status Letter via MyServices. This letter will confirm that you are a student at Bath Spa and include limited details on your course. If your guest needs to apply for a visitor visa, they can include this with the supporting evidence in the visitor visa application.
As part of the application you can write your own invitation letter for your guest to include in the application.
How to apply for a visitor visa
How the application is made will depend on whether the Home Office consider you a 'visa national' or 'non-visa national'.
The Home Office maintain a visa national list that advises which nationalities need to apply for a visa before arriving to the UK.
If you're a visa national then you must apply for entry clearance as a visitor before you travel to the UK.
For the application, you will need:
- To complete the online application
- A valid travel document
- To pay the visitor visa application fee. The current application fee is £100 for a six month visitor visa but you can also pay for longer visas which are £376 for a two-year visa, £670 for a five-year visa and £837 for a ten-year visa.
- Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself while you are in the UK, including accommodation, living expenses and tuition fees (if you are coming to study).
- There are no specific requirements which state the amount of money you must show when you apply for a visitor visa but it would be reasonable to show that you have the equivalent of £1,023 per month, or £1,334 per month if staying in London, for the duration of your visit.
- If you'll be staying with friends or family while in the UK, which will decrease your living costs, you can include evidence of this.
- The Home Office have a guide to supporting evidence for your application.
- If you're coming to study at Bath Spa for an exchange, you'll also need an acceptance letter confirming that you'll be studying with us.
You must submit original documents. You'll also need to provide a translation of any documents which are not already in English.
Once you've applied online, you must then submit your completed immigration application with your supporting evidence to your nearest UK visa application centre. You do not need to apply in the country where you live.
If you're a non-visa national it is not compulsory to apply for entry clearance before you travel; instead you can apply to enter the UK as a visitor on arrival to the UK.
To do this you'll need to produce the same documentation which visa nationals need to include as supporting evidence in a visa application. The difference however, is that you can apply at the border rather than making the application online and visiting a visa application centre.
When you arrive to the UK border you'll need to present all of your supporting evidence to the Border Force Officer.
If you are from an EU country, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the USA, you have the option of using the eGates instead of applying for entry clearance or permission to enter in advance online or applying with documents at the border.
If you use the eGates to enter the UK as a visitor, you won't receive a stamp endorsed in your passport as you do not have to see a Border Force Officer in order to use one. Following using the eGates, you'll be permitted to enter the UK as a visitor for a period of six months.
In order to use an eGate, your passport must have a biometric symbol on the cover and you must be above the age of twelve in order to use one. Visitors between the ages of twelve to seventeen must be accompanied by an adult.
It's important that you retain some form of evidence of your date of arrival in the UK if you use the eGates such as an e-ticket or paper or electronic boarding pass. This will help you to remember the exact duration of your six month stay. If you're coming to the University as a guest or to study, we'll also need to see your boarding pass as evidence of arrival to the UK.
What you can and cannot do
All visitors should be aware of certain activites that are permitted and prohibited on a visitor visa.
You can visit the UK as a Standard Visitor:
- for tourism, for example on a holiday or vacation
- to see your family or friends
- to volunteer for up to 30 days with a registered charity
- to pass through the UK to another country (‘in transit’)
- for certain business activities, for example attending a meeting or interview
- to take part in a school exchange programme
- to do a recreational course of up to 30 days, for example a dance course
- to study, do a placement or take an exam
- as an academic, senior doctor or dentist
- for medical reasons.
- do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person
- claim public funds (benefits)
- live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent or successive visits
- marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership - you’ll need to apply for a Marriage Visitor visa.
Contact the Immigration Advice Service
You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to help.