Invite friends and family to visit the UK
If your spouse or partner, family or friends, are coming to visit you in the UK, and they are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, it is likely that they will need to apply for a visa.
*Certain nationalities are not required to formally apply for a visitor visa before travel and can get stamped in at the border. If the nationality is not listed in appendix 2 of the visa national list found here, 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.
We recommend that those following this route still carry the same documentation ready to show at the border as evidence of your intention to visit.
If your guests are visa nationals and require a visa- whether they are family or friends - they may apply for the Standard Visitor Visa if they intend to visit you for less than 6 months.
Please be aware that under this visa category your guests are not permitted to undertake any work, and it would not be possible for them to switch into another visa category within the UK.
You can find full information about the Standard Visitor visa on the Home Office website.
If your guests are planning to visit the UK in order to accompany you for your graduation, we have specific advice about inviting guests to attend your graduation
How do my friends/family apply for a visa?
Your friends and family can apply for their visas online on the UKVI application website.
For those countries where it is not possible to apply online, the paper application forms are available to download from the Home Office website.
What documents will they need?
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 too.
- 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 you intend to support them financially during their visit they will also need to provide (i) your bank statements with their application, and (ii) a letter from you confirming that you are able to maintain and accommodate them during their stay.
- 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 short invitation letter from you, confirming your relationship with them and the reason you are inviting them to come to the UK. Download a sample letter.
- A letter from the University which confirms you are enrolled at Aston. You can request this letter via MAP for collection from The Hub Advice Zone.
- A photocopy of (i) your passport (the photograph page), (ii) your current student visa or biometric residence permit and (iii) your police registration certificate if you have one. Do not send originals.
- 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.
- An itinerary (plan) for their visit. You can write this down and give it to your visitors. For example, Day 1: Collect from Birmingham airport. Day 2: Tour of Birmingham shops. Day 3: Visit Worcester by train. Day 4: Coach trip to Warwick Castle etc. You can include hotel or tour bookings if you have any.
Use of E-Gates
The following nationalities when arriving in the UK are permitted to use the “E-Gates” for quicker entry into the UK.
- New Zealand
- South Korea
This means that if you are a national of any of the above countries you can choose to use the E-Gates at a UK airport instead of waiting in line to see a Border Officer. This is regardless of whether you have applied for your visa before travel or were planning to get stamped in at the border. It is not mandatory to use an E-Gate and you can still see a Border Officer if you want. More information here.
All other nationalities still must see a Border Officer and present their visitor visa/passport in person when entering the UK
Page last checked 15/04/2019 VN