Visiting Students

This information is for visitors coming in a visiting student capacity. The academic/research group that are inviting you should be able to help you establish whether you are coming as a visiting student or a visiting member of staff. If you are likely to be coming to the University in a visiting staff capacity, please visit the Human Resources webpage for information as visa options will be different.

If it has been established that you will be coming as a visiting student, we recommend that you at least start the visiting student application process with the relevant Faculty or School Office before seeking advice on the visa options. This is because you would need to meet a number of requirements (besides visa) in order to get an offer as a visiting student, and the visa options may be determined by which requirements you can meet. Below are the links to the different Schools and  Faculties' visiting student webpages that give information about the application process and criteria. If the department that the inviting research group is in is not listed below, please use the Schools and Faculties Directory to find the contact details of the relevant Faculty Office. 

Faculty of Arts: School of Arts visiting researchers page, School of Modern Languages visiting doctoral students page
Faculty of Engineering: Faculty of Engineering visiting research students page
Faculty of Health Sciences: Bristol Medical School visiting postgraduate student webpage
Faculty of Life Sciences: Visiting undergraduate students, Visiting research students
Faculty of Science: Faculty of Science visiting research students webpage
Faculty of Social Sciences and Law: School of EducationSchool of Sociology Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol School of Law, School of Economics, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol Business School 

Visa options for Visiting Students

Visiting students are ordinarily students registered on a degree-level programme at another institution who are coming to the University of Bristol for a short period of time to complete a period of research that or learn about research. The research must form part of, or be relevant to, the course at their main institution; the applicant should provide confirmation of this from their overseas education provider with their visiting student admission application. This confirmation will also be required for a Visitor visa application. 

Visiting students must apply to come to the University via their Faculty or School Admissions team. Visa options for visiting students will depend on the length of their period of study at the University of Bristol, and are listed below.  


Some subject areas will require ATAS clearance as part of the Student visa application and registration at the University of Bristol. Your Visit Visa Support letter or Student visa CAS issued by the Faculty Office should state if ATAS is required for your course, but please note that not all nationalities will need to obtain ATAS. Please visit our website for more information and make sure you allow enough time to apply for ATAS (if applicable) before submitting your Student visa application and coming to the UK. Although Visit visa applicants may not require ATAS for their visa application, it will be a requirement of registration at the University, so we strongly advise you obtain ATAS before you apply for the Visit visa and come to the UK. 

Visits for research internships

If you come to the University for a period of research or an internship, you will need to be clear about the nature of your activities at the University and if you will be registered as a student or as a member of staff so that you can determine the correct visa for your activitiy.  If you will be registered as a student and will be 'completing a period of research' or 'learning about research' you will be permitted to study on a Visitor visa, provided that the period of research is part of/is relevant to your studies at your home institution.
Full permitted activities that can be undertaken on a Visitor visa are listed in full in the Visit visa guidance. You are not allowed to receive payments for activities you are carrying out in the UK on Visit visa unless it is one of the permitted types of payments listed in V4.6 of Appendix Visitor. Unfortunately it is not clear if a stipend to study in the UK will be considered to be "reasonable expenses to cover the cost of travel and subsistence" by a UKVI caseworker, so we would recommend that students in receipt of a stipend from the University or a third part apply for a Student visa. It is up to you however if you still prefer to appy for a Visit visa, or request one at the border if you are a non-visa national. Any such application would be at your own risk.  
Work (paid or unpaid) is not permitted on a Visitor visa. If you are getting paid a salary for your academic activities in the UK and will be employed, you should be registered as a member of staff as this implies a work activitiy rather than study, and is not permitted on a Visit visa. The visiting student route and associated visa options will not be appropriate if your proposed internship is work/employment in a more traditional sense. It could be that routes like Government Authorised Exchange (Temporary Worker) or Academic Visitor visa would be suitable, and your supervisor should speak to our Human Resources about this as you would require sponsorship under this scheme. 
If it is unclear whether the visit can be done on a study or a work visa, the supervisor needs to read this information sheet and complete the form under 'ACTION'. The Human Resources team will then make an assessment of which visa route, if any, is suitable for the visit. 

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