Short-Term Student Visa

From 24th April 2015, this category of visa replaced the Student Visitor visa.

Who can apply for a Short-term student visa

If you are coming to the UK to study for a maximum of 6 months, a distance learning or remote location student that needs to visit the UK occasionally or if you are returning to the UK to resit exams, you can do this using a short-term student visa.

If you are coming to study for 6 months or less as an exchange student, you can either apply for a short-term student visa or a Tier 4 student visa. The short-term student visa is cheaper but you will not be able to extend this visa in the UK should you decide to remain in the UK. Depending on which category you decide to apply for, Admissions will send you the appropriate visa document.

Students applying for a short-term student visa must be over 18 years of age and have an unconditional offer or be already registered on their course at the University.

Visa Nationals

Visa nationals must have a visa, even if coming to the UK for 6 months or less. You must apply for entry clearance before you leave home. A list of visa national countries can be found from the following link (Appendix 2).

Non-Visa Nationals

We strongly advise that you apply for entry clearance before you leave home. It is possible to get this visa from immigration officials at the airport/port of entry but there are often problems if you request this visa on arrival. Experience shows that students who enter the UK without obtaining previous entry clearance are often given a General Visitor stamp in error, rather than a short-term student stamp even if a student declares that they intend to study. If you are given a General Visitor stamp in error, you will not be able to study for more than 30 days. There is no option to correct this error in the UK.

If you enter the UK with a General Visitor Visa, the University can only register you if your study is for a period of up to 30 days. This measure is for your own protection. If you were studying for a period of more than 30 days on a General Visitor Visa you would risk being accused of using deception and face an entry clearance ban of up to 10 years.

As it would be difficult for you to prove that you have declared your intentions you would put yourself at risk of being accused of deception. Therefore we strongly advise against entering the UK without entry clearance.

Applying for a Short-term student visa

The Home Office website confirms whether you need to use the paper application form or complete an application form online. Further information is available at UKCISA's website.

Applying for entry clearance (a visa): Application

  • If you are a new student you will need a visa letter to support your application from shefapply@sheffield.ac.uk
  • If you have already been registered on your course for 6 months or more, you need to request a Certificate of Student Status from SSiD to support your application.

Restrictions on a short-term student visa

As a short-term student, you have the same conditions, whether you applied for entry clearance or not. If you have a short-term student visa, you cannot:

  • Work in the UK (this includes any work placements or internships paid or unpaid)
  • Apply to extend your stay in the UK (you cannot switch from student visitor to Tier 4 or any other immigration category in the UK)
  • Apply with dependants (any family members that wish to accompany a short-term student will need to apply separately for General Visitors or Child visitors in their own right)

Travelling and re-entering the UK on a short-term student visa

If you applied for entry clearance as a short-term student, your visa will say on it whether it is a single or multi-entry visa. If it says that it is multi-entry you can travel in 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.

If you are a non-visa national who applied for leave to enter at their port of entry to the UK, if you leave the Common Travel Area, your visa is no longer valid. To re-enter the UK you will either need to apply for entry clearance before returning, or make a new application as a student visitor at your port of arrival to the UK. You should carry all the required documents in your hand luggage.

Please note - The UKVI's Short-term Student Visa Guidance does not make it clear how soon you can enter the UK on a new short-term student visa after being in the UK on a previous short-term student visa. It is advisable to apply for entry clearance to reduce the risk of problems on arrival in the UK.

Medical insurance

If you have a 6 month short-term student visa, you are not covered under the National Health Service (NHS), even if you have previously paid the Immigration Health Surcharge when you have had a different category of visa.  This means you will need to make sure you have adequate medical insurance to cover your stay in the UK.

If you have an extended short-term study visa (11 months) then you were entitled to apply for Immigration Health Surcharges (IHS). However, if you have dependant(s) - wife, husband and/or children - with you in the UK on a standard visitor visa, they will not be covered and if they use NHS services such as hospital treatments then they will be charged. Therefore, you must make sure that they have a valid medical insurance. This is very important.

Medical insurance for your dependant(s) should be sorted before they travel to the UK.

We cannot recommend any insurance company but you can search on-line and find out which one is best for their needs. If you have any questions or encounter any problems when applying for a short-term student visa, contact us using the relevant option from the following link.