Visitor visa

A Visitor visa can be used by students who need to enter the UK for a short study period of up to six months, re-take an examination or sit a viva. It can also be used by family or friends to visit you whilst you are here as a student or to attend your graduation.

Requirements

A visitor must be able to show that they intend to return to their home country.

They must not intend to remain in the UK longer than six months.

They must not be using this visa route to live in the UK, therefore, if they have held a Standard Visitor visa in the recent past and spent a significant amount of time in the UK, such as six months, they may need to provide additional evidence to prove they are not misusing the visa route. 

They must not work or conduct business whilst in the UK.

They must show that they have adequate funds for their visit.

Funds required

There is no official guideline on the amount of money which a person must have to visit the UK. 

The officer processing the application will look at the financial information provided and make a balanced assessment on whether this is enough for the visitor. They will look to see if there is enough money to cover the cost of travelling to the UK, remaining in the UK for the period specified, the activities they will pursue once in the UK and the return or onward journey.

Most guides recommend approximately £70+ per day for a visitor.

How to apply

Some nationals (called non-visa nationals) can obtain, or are automatically deemed to have if using the e-gates, a ‘Visitor’ visa on arrival to the UK. To find out if you or your visitors require a visa prior to travelling to the UK, use the UK government's interactive tool. There is no charge for those who are able to obtain the visa on arrival to the UK.

For nationals who do need to obtain the visa prior to travelling (called visa nationals), the application must be made online (those in North Korea must apply on a paper form, VAF1A (General)). 

The current fee is £95 and this is paid in the country where the application is made. 

All supporting documents must be provided with the application, and a list of these is available below.

Nationals of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates qualify under the Electronic Visa Waiver Scheme and so do not need to obtain a Visitor visa before travelling, but should apply under the EVW scheme.

Supporting documents

Supporting documents can be requested from non-visa nationals who require a visitor visa on arrival in the UK.

Students

The following documents are required for students who obtain a Visitor visa for a short study period or to sit a viva or re-take an exam:  

  • Passport
  • Financial evidence such as bank statements and for the past 3 months.
  • Evidence of accommodation in Liverpool
  • A student status letter or an offer letter from the University of Liverpool. If you are a new student of the University who will be using the Visitor visa to study for a short period, up to six months, then you should use your offer letter from the University as evidence of this. If you are currently enrolled with us and will be re-taking exams or sitting a viva you should request a letter confirming this from the Student Administration team, please email studentenq@liverpool.ac.uk.

Family/friends of students

The following documents are required for family/friends of students who are applying for a Visitor visa:  

  • Family/friend passport(s)
  • If your visitor is supporting themselves financially, they must submit bank statements and wage slips for the past three months
  • If you are supporting your visitor financially, you must submit bank statements for the past three months
  • Evidence of suitable accommodation arrangements such as a hotel booking confirmation or a letter from the landlord/accommodation provider (see A below)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport
  • A copy of your current student visa - your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • An enrolment or graduation status letter
  • A letter of invitation from you
  • A letter from your visitor
  • A letter from your visitor's employer or school confirming their employment/enrolment.

Accommodation

Your visitor must have suitable accommodation in the UK for the duration of their stay.

If you live in rented accommodation and intend for your visitor to stay with you, you will need your landlord's permission.

They will need to write a letter confirming that they are happy for the visitor to stay with you.

Enrolment or Graduation Status Letter

An enrolment status letter confirms details of your current study at the University of Liverpool. This can be requested through 'Liverpool Life'. Please note that these usually take between 3-5 working days to be processed. For further information, please see the Student Administration website.

A graduation status letter can only be requested after you have submitted your intention to attend your graduation ceremony through the graduation portal.

To request a graduation status letter please email gradenq@liverpool.ac.uk

A letter of Invitation from you

In order for someone to visit the UK it helps for them to show that they have been invited by you as a student of the University.

The letter of invitation should provide the following points:

  • Who you are and why you are in the UK
  • Who you are inviting to visit you, their relationship to you
  • How long you intend for them to visit you and the reason for the visit
  • If your visitor will accommodate and finance themselves, confirmation of this
  • If you intend to provide accommodation, confirmation of this
  • If you intend to provide finance, confirmation of this
  • That you know you will be standing as a sponsor and that you will ensure they return to their home country
  • That you hope the Standard Visitor visa will be granted.

A letter from your Visitor

The letter from your visitor should explain who they are, why they are visiting the UK, who you are, your status in the UK and what plans they have for their time in the UK. 

The letter should also provide details of their life in their home country, such as their employment, study or family and also explain that they will return home after visiting you. If your visitor is in employment, they should obtain a letter from their employer confirming their position in the company, that the period of leave for the visit has been agreed and confirmation that they will be expected to return to employment and that their position will remain open for them to do so.

If they are supporting themselves whilst in the UK, they should explain this. However, if you are supporting your visitor, either financially or providing accommodation or both, this should be explained in their letter.

Child visitors

If your visitor will be under the age of 18 years, the application requirements are very similar to the adult visitors, but in addition, the evidence must be shown which confirms:

  • Adequate arrangements are in place to ensure that the child remains safe during travel
  • Adequate arrangements are in place to ensure that the child has somewhere to stay whilst in the UK
  • Adequate arrangements are in place to ensure that the child will be cared for whilst in the UK.

For details of the additional evidence, in particular, if the child will not be travelling with their parent or other adults, please see the UK government webpage

If you have any questions about this, please contact International Advice and Guidance for further advice.

Additional information and support

Keep a copy of the full application and any supporting documents. This is important if their application is refused.

Please read the UK government website for full details of the requirements of each document needed.

If the application is refused, there is no right of appeal. A second application can be submitted, if so, please check the refusal notice carefully and ensure the reasons for refusal are addressed in the second application. 

Visitors in the UK

While in the UK, visitors cannot access free medical treatment through the NHS, with the exception of some limited services such as Accident & Emergency.

Your visitor must obtain medical health insurance before travelling to the UK.

Visitors cannot change (switch) to any other type of visa whilst in the UK.

Visitor visas cannot be extended and will expire on the date stated on the visa, or six months after entry if you are 'deemed' to hold Visitor leave due to using egates.