Visas for Short-term Exchange and Visiting Research Students

Information for international students attending an exchange of less than six months or visiting researchers

ISVAT are the only team authorised to provide immigration and visa advice at LSE

This page has information is applicable for students undertaking a short-term exchange at LSE such as:

- Erasmus exchanges (6 months or less);

- Undergraduate Department of Management exchange term

- CEMS exchanges;

- MBA exchange term;

- Visiting Researchers;

- LSE specialist short-term exchanges e.g. Dartmouth.

What visa do I need to attend a short-term exchange at LSE?

We recommend that if you do not already hold immigration permission, which permits study in the UK,  you can apply for the Standard Visitor to attend a short-term exchange at LSE.

From 15 November 2023 Qatari nationals will need an Electronic Travel Authorisation in place to travel to the UK as a visitor. From the 22 February 2024, nationals of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and UAE will need an Electronic Travel Authorisation in place.

Further details can be found on the UK government web pages:

Electronic Travel Authorisations

I'm an EU/EEA student.  Will I need a visa after the 1 January 2021?

From 1 January 2021, EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will need to immigration permission to come to the UK to study.  

I will only travel to LSE for my teaching and my exchange is for less than six months.  What options will I have after 1 January 2021?

EU/EEA nationals will be able to continue using the e-Gates to enter the UK after the 31 December 2020.  Entering via the e-Gates gives tourist permission for the UK.  You will be able to study for a maximum of six months on a tourist visa.

I am a visiting researcher/incoming exchange student and I will be at LSE for a period of more than six months.  What options will I have after 1 January 2021?

If you are planning to undertake a visting research period or exchange of more than six months, from the 1 January 2021 you will be required to apply for theStudent route visa, which was launched on the 5 October 2020.  You will not be able to study for the full length of your time at LSE without obtaining immigration permission in advance.  

What are the facts for Standard Visitors

  • You cannot extend your Standard Visitor visa in the UK
  • You cannot switch into another visa category in the UK e.g. Student Route or Graduate Route
  • You cannot undertake any work or business in the UK
  • You are not entitled to free treatment from the National Health Service 
  • You cannot use the Standard Visitor visa to study a full time degree programme by applying for successive visas.  
  • The 11 month Short-term Student route can only be used for English Language programmes where you are coming to the UK to learn English. It is not the right choice for a short-term exchange at LSE.

Do I need to apply for a visa

Depending on your nationality, you will either need to obtain your visa before travelling or you can request entry as a Short-term Student at the border. You can check if you need to apply for your visa before travelling on the website.

  • If you need to apply for a visa before travelling, you are known as a Visa National.
  • If you do not need to apply for a visa before travelling you are known as a Non-Visa National.

You can request your Standard Visitor visa letter from the following web page:

Standard Visitor Visa Letter Request

Applying before travelling to the UK: Visa Nationals

It currently costs £95 to apply for a  six month Standard Visitor visa at the embassy. You will be granted with a multi-entry sticker in your passport which will be valid for 6 months.  This means you can leave and re-enter the UK using the same Standard Visitor visa.

UK Visas and Immigration 


Applying for a Standard Visitor visa at the border: Non-Visa Nationals

If you are from a country which does not need to apply for a visa before travelling as a tourist, you can request to enter the UK as a Standard Visitor at the border.

You will need to ask the Border Force Office to enter as a Standard Visitor and show them the letter you have been given by LSE if you are just entering for studies.  Please make sure you have this in your hand luggage.

The stamp you receive at the border is only for a single-entry.  If you plan to travel outside of the UK and have further sessions of teaching to attend, you will need to request to enter as a Standard Visitor each time you arrive at the UK border.

If you are travelling through Ireland, this is known as the Common Travel Area.  You will not go through UK immigration controls so you will need to show that you have entered Ireland (e.g. a stamp in your passport) and provide your boarding pass as evidence of how you travelled to the UK.


The following nationalities can enter the UK using the e-Gates :

  • USA
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • EU/EEA/Swiss nationals

Please bring a copy of either your boarding pass or flight details to enrolment. If you enter via the e-Gates, LSE will need to record your date of arrival. 



Contact the Student Advice and Engagement Team (Visa Advice) Team

a student at the Student Service Centre drop in counter