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Short-Term Study Visa

Short-term Study visa
On the 24th April 2015 the Home Office removed the Student Visitor visa route and replaced it with the Short-term Study visa.


What is a Short-term Study visa?
There are 3 Short-term student routes:

  1. Short-term student (6 months) – for applicants aged 18 and over for a maximum of 6 months’ study
  2. Short-term student (11 months) – for applicants aged 18 and over for a maximum of 11 months’ English language study only
  3. Short-term student (child) – for applicants aged under 18 for a maximum of 6 months’ study


Who is eligible for a Short-term Study visa?
To be eligible for a Short-term Study visa (6 months) an applicant must:  
• be aged 18 or over
• have been accepted:
1. on a course of study by an accredited institution
2. by a UK Higher Education Institution to undertake research or learn about research (research tuition) (short-term student (6 months) only)

The following is also permitted on a short term study visa for 6 months only:
• Study outside the UK for a UK qualification (eg by distance learning)
• re-sitting an examination as long as the study does not take longer than 6 months on any occasion.

To be eligible for a short-term student (11 months) visa applicants must:  

• be aged 18 or over
• have been accepted:
1. on a course of study by an accredited institution (English language study only)

You must also not be intending to study in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive periods on any short-term study visas.

How long will the visa be issued for?
Short-term Study visas are issued for 6 months only. The only exception to this is for English language students who wish to attend exclusively English language courses. These students can apply for a Short term Study visa allowing a stay of up to 11 months.

What are the conditions of a Short-term Study visa?

  • You must be at least 18 years of age;
  •  You will have to show that you have enough money to pay your tuition fees and to fund your living costs(usually estimated at £820 per month)  and to meet the cost of your return journey. If you have already paid your tuition fees you will need to provide proof of this;
  • You must have an unconditional offer to study in the UK;
  • You must leave the UK at the end of your course or at the end of the 6 months or 11 months granted leave, whichever is the earliest
  • At the end of your visit it is not possible to extend a Short term Study visa or to switch into any other immigration category. Therefore if, after studying a short course, you wished to progress onto a longer course at a University, you would have to return home and apply for a Tier 4 student visa to return to the UK;
  • You will not be permitted to work in the UK (including a work placement or work experience); those students coming here to do medical electives should get in touch with us to discuss this further.
  • You are not able to bring family with you as dependants.


Do I need to apply for entry clearance (visa) as a Short-term Study student prior to arriving in the UK?

6 month Short- term Study: You must apply for entry clearance prior to arriving in the UK if you are a visa national. Non visa nationals may apply upon arrival.
11 month short-term study (English language only): You must apply for entry clearance prior to arriving in the UK regardless of your nationality.

I need to apply for entry clearance as a Short-term Study student. How do I apply?
You should read the detailed information on the Home Office website.
In most countries you have to make your application online (but if you are from North Korea you will need to apply using application form VAF1A April 2015 ).  
It is advisable to apply for a visa well in advance of your planned date of travel. You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK. You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. You can check the guide to visa processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in the country you’re applying from.

What documents will I need to prepare?
The Home Office list on their website the documents you should provide which you should download and read carefully prior to submitting your application.
You must submit these original documents along with a photocopy of each. You will also need to provide an acceptable translation of any documents which are not already in English.

What should I carry with me in my hand luggage when I travel?
If you are a non visa national and are coming for 6 months only then there is no requirement to obtain entry clearance prior to travelling to the UK. You can make your application for entry as a Short term Study student on arrival in the UK. There will be no charge for applications made on arrival in the UK by non-visa nationals.

You will still need to provide the Border Officer with a Short term Study supporting letter from the university (please contact your School or to obtain this letter). As stated on the Home Office website this letter should state the details of the course you’re studying, the duration and the cost. You will also need to show evidence that you can fund your living costs and pay (or have paid) your tuition fees.

It is also advisable for any student who has already obtained an entry clearance visa as a Short term Study student before travelling to the UK, to still carry all the documents that you submitted with their entry clearance application when you travel to the UK. The Border Officer may ask to see these documents when you arrive in the UK.

In the following circumstances non-visa nationals cannot get entry to the UK as a short- term study student without first obtaining a visa:
• English language students applying for 11 months leave as  a short-term study student will need to obtain a visa before entering the UK
• Students intending to enter the UK from the Republic of Ireland (also known as Southern Ireland), must obtain a short-term study visa before leaving home. This is because they are unlikely to encounter any Border Officers when they enter the UK through this route. Therefore, it will not be possible to apply for entry and be stamped in as a “short-term study student“ at the port of entry. Entry into the UK and studies will be permitted, but only for a maximum of three months. Keep any travel ticket or any proof of date of entry. At the end of the 3 month period, you would have to leave the UK and re-enter via one of the UK borders in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. More information on what to do if you find yourself in this situation is available here .
If you are a non-visa national you are also able to make an application for entry clearance prior to travelling in the same way as visa nationals. You may choose to do so for your own peace of mind and to avoid the possibility of delays upon arrival in the UK.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information herein, Cardiff University can accept no responsibility for errors or omissions. Cardiff University is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within. The government makes changes to the immigration rules and procedures on a regular basis, so it is important that you check the current guidance and rules when applying for a visa. For further information visit  UKCISA and the Home Office websites.