Short-Term Student & Visitor Visas

Students wanting to study in the UK for six months or less can apply for a Short-Term Student visa. Study for 6 months or less will then be possible under a Visitor Visa when the Short-Term Student Visa arrangements are changed on 01 December 2020.

COVID-19 Update

The information on this webpage is affected by new temporary guidance that has been released by UKVI in light of the situation with COVID-19. There is a summary of how this affects usual procedures here.

Eligibility

You can apply for a short-term student visa if you are:

  • an exchange student
  • a PhD student returning to the UK for a viva
  • returning to the UK to resit exams or repeat a module
  • a Medical Elective (providing you meet the conditions)
  • coming to the UK to study for a maximum of 6 months (the course(s) must be completed within the period your visa is valid) 
  • from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
  • a distance learning or remote location student who needs to visit the UK occasionally. You can only come to the UK for a maximum of 56 days in any 6 month period under distance learning.

Students applying for a short-term student visa must have an unconditional offer or already be registered on their course.

How to Apply

1) Check if you need a visa

Where you are a visa national you must apply for a visa before travelling to the UK.

Where you are a non-visa national you do not need to apply in advance and can obtain your visa from immigration officials at the UK port of entry, providing you have all the relevant documents with you.

However, we strongly advise that non-visa nationals do apply in advance to ensure you are registered as a short-term student and not as a general visitor.

If you travel to the UK without entry clearance, and you are a national of a country that is able to use e-gates, it is vital that you do not use e-gates if you wish to enter the UK as a Short-Term Student. 

2) Prepare supporting documents

  • You must apply for a short-term study visa letter from the University and include this in your visa application.
  • Where you wish to apply for more than one course, this must be outlined in your short-term study visa letter.

You will not be able to add another course after receiving entry clearance.

  • Where your course requires Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance, you must include your ATAS certificate with your visa application.

New students can request a visa letter from:

Continuing students can request a visa letter from:

3) Submit your application

  • Once you have prepared your supporting documents you can apply for your short-term student visa online.
  • If you are applying from North Korea you must apply on paper.

Apply for Short-Term Student Visa Online

Apply for Short-Term Student Visa from North Korea

You cannot apply for more than five short-term student visas within any five year period. There should be a gap of more than two months between visiting the UK on two subsequent short-term visas.

Responsibilities

Where you are on a short-term visa you cannot:

  • extend your stay in the UK
  • work in the UK (including paid/unpaid internships or work placements)
  • apply with dependants (dependants must apply separately as General Visitors or Child Visitors)
  • claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance provided by the government

You must:

  • leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your study or by the expiry date of your visa (whichever is sooner)

Entering the UK & Registration

Please read the information below and ensure that you enter the UK correctly and take the necessary documentation to registration at the University.

Your nationality and the way you apply for your visa will determine what documents you are required to bring to registration at the University.

  • If you apply for your visa before travelling to the UK you will receive a visa vignette in your passport.

You must show your passport and vignette as part of registration at the University.

  •  If you are a non-visa national you have the option to apply for your visa before travelling (as above) or can request entry at the border. If requesting entry at the border, you must present your passport and visa letter to an immigration officer and request entry as a Short-Term Student to obtain the correct stamp in your passport.

You must show your passport and visa stamp as part of registration at the University.

Entry using eGates:

If you are from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the United States you may be able to enter the UK using eGates.

  • If you apply for your visa before travelling to the UK you will receive a visa vignette in your passport.

You must show your passport, vignette and evidence of your travel (flight booking or boarding pass) as part of registration at the University.

  • If you intend to request entry at the border, you must not use an eGate. Instead, follow the signs for “See an officer” when you arrive to obtain the correct stamp in your passport. You can print out and present a 'Request for a passport stamp' ('see also section below) document to help you ensure that you get a stamp.

You must show your passport and visa stamp as part of registration at the University.

Errors

If you do not obtain the correct visa endorsement as a Short-Term Student when you enter the UK you will need to take action to correct this. You will need to leave the UK, re-enter and obtain the correct type of visa endorsement.

Travelling Outside the UK

  • Where you applied for entry clearance as a short-term student, your visa will outline whether it is a single or multi-entry visa.
  • Where your visa can be used for multiple-entry, you can travel within and outside the Common Travel Area (UK, Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and the Republic of Ireland) and return to the UK on an unlimited number of occasions during the validity of the visa.
  • Where you are a non-visa national and applied for your visa at the UK port of entry, your visa will no longer be valid if you leave the Common Travel Area.
  • To re-enter the UK you will need to apply for a visa either when you arrive at the UK port of entry or beforehand.

Medical Insurance

Where you have an extended short-term study visa (11 months) you are entitled to apply for Immigration Health Surcharges on your visa application which gives you access to the NHS.

This does not cover any dependants you may have with you in the UK.

Visitor Visas & Study (New Rules From 1 December 2020)

For most students, the Short-Term Student Viisa category will be discontinued on 1 December 2020. The extended Short-Term Student Visa for those studying English Lanaguage courses of 6-12 months will remain in place.

If you are studying in the UK for 6 months or less, please see the following:

  • If you are a visa national you will be able submit a visa application to come to the UK as a visitor from overseas from 1 December 2020.
  • If you are a non-visa national and a non EU/EEA national, you will be able to travel to the UK from 1 December 2020 without a visa and enter the UK as a visitor for the purpose of study of up to 6 months. In your hand luggage, you should carry evidence of your course of study, and finances to show that you can support yourself during the course and afford the cost of your return or onward journey from the UK.
  • If you are an EU/EEA national and you are entering the UK before 23:00 on 31 December 2020, you can still enter the UK on the same basis as before the UK left the EU. You will not be entering the UK as a visitor, and we would advise you to then apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • If you are an EU/EEA national and your are coming to the UK from 01 January 2021, you will be able to travel to the UK from this date without a visa and enter the UK as a visitor for the purpose of study of up to 6 months. In your hand luggage, you should carry evidence of your course of study, and finances to show that you can support yourself during the course and afford the cost of your return or onward journey from the UK.

If you are a national of a country that can use egates to enter the UK (Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, United States, all EU/EEA countries and Switzerland) there will no longer be any need to specifically ask to see a Border Force Officer when you enter the UK.

We will know more details about types of study that will/will not be permitted under the visitor visa arrangements when the full rules and guidance are published. More information can be found in the UKVI statement on the new immigration system below.

See also:

UKVI information on who can use e-gates

Request for a passport stamp

Contact International Student Support

UKVI Short-Term Students Guidance (PDF, 519 kb)

UKVI Statement on the New Immigration System (Studying & Visitor Visas)