Visits from family and friends

Find out if visitors need visas and what they need to do if they are coming to see you.

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You may want to invite family or friends to visit you in the UK whilst you are studying. We cannot invite your family or friends on your behalf, but we can suggest documents they could prepare as evidence they plan to visit you during their trip to support their application.

The following information is to help your visitors apply for a Standard Visitor visa. We also recommend that your guest speaks to their local Embassy, High Commission or Consulate if they need further information.

Non-visa nationals

Non-visa nationals are allowed to request a visitor visa at the point of entry to the UK. However, they should still make sure they have the relevant documents with them in their hand luggage to show to border officials.

If the nationality is NOT listed on the visa national list, then they are a non-visa national and can likely get stamped as a visitor at the border. If unsure, please check with us before travelling.

Some visitors may be able to access the e-Gates for faster entry into the UK. The e-Gates are an automated self-service barrier operated by the UK Border Force and are an alternative to getting documents checked at the desk by an officer. You can find out who has access to the e-Gates by reading the Home Office guidance.

Your visitor should enter their information at to find out the process relevant for them.

EU/EEA nationals (except Irish Nationals) are also subject to immigration control and require visitor permission to enter the UK.

Visa nationals

If your guests are visa nationals and require a visa – whether they are family or friends – they may apply for the Standard Visitor Visa.

The Standard Visitor Visa allows your guests to visit the UK for a maximum of 6 months.

The earliest they can apply is 3 months before they travel to the UK. They should ensure that they give themselves plenty of time to make their application and receive their visa. You can find out how long it takes to process a visa in your home country on the UKVI website.

Apply online

Your friends and family can apply for their visas online on the UKVI application website.

They should 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.

Documents needed

Your friends and family will need to prepare some or all of the following documents before their application. Please make sure to read the guidance the Home Office website carefully.

The information we have provided you with here is just a guide, your guest should check what other documents they need to submit. Remind them that any documents not in English should be accompanied by an authorized translation.

  • Passport
  • The visa fee in local currency
  • Evidence that they have enough money to support themselves whilst in the UK, for example, bank statements, payslips, or a letter from their employer
  • If they will be staying with you, you may also need to provide proof of your accommodation and that they have permission to stay with you
  • A letter which confirms you are enrolled at Goldsmiths
  • A photocopy of your current passport, your current student visa or biometric residence permit. Do not send originals
  • If your visitor is attending your graduation, a letter from Goldsmiths confirming the dates of your
  • Evidence that your family have every reason to leave the UK at the end of their visit. For example, a letter from their employer to show they will be returning to their home country
  • A short invitation letter from you, confirming your relationship with them and the reason you are inviting them to come to the UK. You can use our Visitor visa template letter (Word) tailored to include your information.

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 and 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 e-Gates.

Please be aware that under this visa category your guests are not permitted to undertake any work.

What to do next

Send your invitation letter, proof of registration (student status letter), copy of your passport, visa, and any other applicable documents on the list of suggested documents to your friend or relative, so they can include them with their visa application. Do not send it directly to the Embassy.

You can contact us if you have questions or concerns regarding a UK Standard Visit visa application.