Which immigration route should I apply for?

In the following, we will cover:

  • Student or Visitor immigration permission
  • How to apply
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
  • Medical and dental students taking electives
  • MBBS Malta students undertaking SSCs in the UK
  • The Queen Mary Summer School
  • Associate Research students
  • Postdoctoral researchers and other employees
  • Law flexible courses

Student or Visitor immigration permission?

There are two main types of immigration permission which you can apply for to study a course at Queen Mary University of London. You should read the full description before making a decision on which category of immigration permission to apply for. Please refer to Home Office's page for latest fees.

StudentStandard Visitor
Can be granted to non-visa nationals on entry to the UKNoYes
Visa application fee£363 (outside of the UK); £490 (in-country extension or application)£100 (short, up to 6 months)
How long you will be able to stay in the UKThe full length of your course plus additional time at the start and end of your courseUp to 6 months. You must be able to complete your course within this period.
Employment (including paid or unpaid work experience)Full time work is allowed out of term time and during a work placement that is part of your course at Queen Mary. Part time work is allowed during term time for students studying full-time (the max number of hours per week will be stated on your BRP). Students who have Student (part-time) immigration permission are not permitted to work at all during their studies.No work allowed. Volunteering is allowed provided it lasts no more than 30 days in total and is for a charity that is registered with the Charity Commission. Please note this is not the same as voluntary work which is not permitted.
Can be extended in the UKYes, if you meet the requirementsNo
Can switch to other categories in the UK (E.g. Skilled Worker Route)Yes, if you meet the requirementsNo
Type of course that can be studiedRestricted to full-time courses above a specified academic level. The Admissions Office can tell you if your course is at the appropriate level. Part-time courses leading to a qualification at RQF level 7 or above can be studied with Student immigration permission, although these students would not be permitted to work or bring their dependants.Full-time or part-time courses at any level. This can also be to conduct research or to receive tuition on how to conduct research towards your studies at an academic institution outside of the UK. You must be able to complete the course or courses within the validity of your 6 month immigration permission.
Can bring family members as dependantsIn some circumstances - please check our guidance (https://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/guides/student-dependants/#d.en.542123) about the requirements for bringing dependant family membersNo

How to apply

We have guidance about applying for Visitor permission.

For detailed guidance on applying for Student immigration permission, please see our Guide to applying for Student Immigration Permission

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

Paying the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your immigration application gives you free access to the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK. The surcharge is paid by anyone who applies for entry clearance to come to the UK for more than six months. If you are coming for six months or less you do not pay the surcharge. You can read more information about the surcharge in our student advice guide Applying for Student Immigration Permission

Medical and dental students undertaking electives

If you are studying medicine, veterinary medicine and science or dentistry abroad, you will be able to undertake electives in the UK with Standard Visitor permission provided these are relevant to your course of study abroad, are unpaid, and do not involve any treatment of patients.

MBBS Malta students undertaking SSCs in the UK

You can undertake your SSCs with Standard Visitor permission provided they are unpaid and involve no treatment of patients. You can also choose to be sponsored for the full length of your programme with Student immigration permission which would allow you to enter the UK any time during your course, provided that you are entering for the purpose of study. Periods of study in the UK should be arranged with your School Office and you should request a letter each time you come to the UK confirming your period of study to show to the Border Force Officer.

Please see the table above to compare the two different types of immigration permission.

You can apply for your immigration permission in the country where you are living. 'Living' means that you are there lawfully for a reason other than a short-term visit, so if you are living in Malta for the purpose of studies, you can make your immigration application in Malta.

You submit your visa application online, and then attend an appointment at the Visa Application Centre in Valletta.

The Queen Mary Summer School

If you are coming to join us for the Summer School, you would normally apply for Standard Visitor permission.

In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible for you to apply for Student immigration permission instead of Standard Visitor immigration permission. Students should refer to our guide Applying for Student immigration permission for detailed information on the application process.

Associate Research students

An Associate Research student is normally seen as a student for the purposes of UK immigration, not staff (although we understand that in your home country you may be considered staff). Therefore you should use this table to decide whether it is most appropriate for you to apply to enter the UK as a Standard Visitor, or as a Student. The Standard Visitor rules allow someone to undertake research or be taught about research at a UK institution for up to six months provided that the research or research tuition is relevant to the course of study that they are enrolled on overseas, and that they will not be employed at the UK institution.

Postdoctoral researchers and other employees

If you will be coming to the UK to work for Queen Mary, for example as a postdoctoral researcher, you will need to contact the university's Human Resources department for information about applying for immigration permission which would allow you to work in the UK.

To find the appropriate person to contact, visit the Human Resources website.

Law flexible courses

Those requiring immigration permission to study in the UK will be offered a six month variant of this course. Visa nationals can apply for Visitor permission in advance, and non-visa nationals, including EU nationals, can request Visitor permission on entry to the UK


Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.

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