Standard Visitor visas

Members of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in an orchestral rehearsal with RCM students
Students coming to the RCM for periods of study six months or shorter are recommended to enter on a Standard Visitor visa. This category of visa is much cheaper and easier to obtain than a Student visa. This applies to students on the following courses:
  • RCM/NAFA BMus or BEd International Placement
  • Princeton Experience Programme
  • Boston Experience Programme
  • Exchanges lasting less than 6 months

Standard Visitor visas can also be used by applicants travelling to the RCM to attend an audition, or international students returning to the UK to re-sit an examination or attend a doctoral viva voce examination.

Applying in Advance

Students from some countries, known as ‘visa nationals’ need to apply for an entry clearance vignette before travelling.

Check if you need a UK visa on the website

You will need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken (known as ‘biometric information’) at a visa application centre as part of your application. 

All applications should be made online.

Apply for a Standard Visitor visa

The RCM will provide you with a letter confirming that you have an unconditional offer of a place. You will also need to provide details of your accommodation and travel plans, along with evidence that you have enough funds to support yourself during your stay. You can find the most up-to-date list of documents you need to provide on the UK Government website.

Applying on Arrival

If you are not a 'visa national' you can normally be granted permission to enter on arrival, without needing to apply for a visa in advance. You don’t have to fill out an application form or pay a fee. However, you will need to have your supporting documents available to show to the Border Force official at your port of entry, so make sure you carry them in your hand luggage.

E-gates at the border

Eligible travellers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the United States, the EEA and Switzerland are able to use the ePassport gates at 15 ports in the UK. If you enter via the e-gates you will not receive a stamp in your passport showing your date of entry to the UK.  You will need to provide evidence of your date of entry when you register at the RCM, such as your travel ticket or boarding pass.

Travelling via the Republic of Ireland

Non-visa nationals planning to travel to the UK via the Republic of Ireland should consult advice issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). You may require prior entry clearance. 

UKCISA advice

Visa conditions

Standard Visitor visas are granted for 6 months.

You can:

  • Follow a course of study for up to six months.
  • Exit and re-enter the UK if required.

You cannot:

  • Extend this visa.
  • Apply to switch into another visa category inside the UK.
  • Work during your studies.
  • Bring any family members with you as dependents.
  • Access public funds (such as unemployment benefit).
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