Visa & immigration update

Studying on a visitor visa

Following discussions with the Home Office visa policy team last year, a new version of UKVI's visit guidance has been published, dealing amongst other things with the right to study for holders of long term visit visa holders.

As the immigration rules do not allow a person to hold two forms of leave at any time, English UK along with other UKCISA had spent a number of months making the case for long term visit visa holders to be allowed to use their visa to complete a short course of study. 

The new guidance confirms (pages 23-24) that, on occasion, long-term visit visa holders can use their visas to enter the UK mainly or solely in order to undertake study, as long as their main reason for holding the visa remains a permitted purpose other than study.

"A visitor who holds a long-term, multiple-entry visit visa may wish occasionally to come to the UK solely to study for a short period of time (up to 30 days). This can include but is not limited to, persons who are pursuing a course of study overseas (including a UK course by distance learning) who are required study in the UK as part of this."

The main changes as set out on the last page of the document are:

  • Visit visa applications from persons with Right of Abode to be refused
  • Clarified that evidence is required when refusing on mandatory grounds
  • Example of when an applicant may be considered to have few or no ties to their home country
  • Exception on study as a visitor for long-term visit visa holders
  • Clarified that escorting a private medical treatment is not a permitted visitor activity
  • Deleted reference to two year China visit visa scheme pilot
  • Cancelling and curtailing visitor visas and leave


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