Visas and immigration

Short-term study visas

To ensure compliance with UKVI guidance and adherence to internal systems, documentation production and document-checking process was centralised on 1 November 2014. Short-term study visas were known as Student Visitor Visas until April 2015. 

A Short-term study visa may be appropriate for the following programmes:

  • part-time or full-time study abroad for a period of six months or less than six months
  • English language 11 month programme (11 month visa)
  • distance learners needing to attend periods of study at the University of Bath campus
  • visiting postgraduate scholars (VPS) – this is now the default visa, not Tier 4
  • other short programmes (e.g. Global Partnerships)
  • students who are at the end of their programme of study and may need to complete an exam, a final module or a viva

UKCISA website gives more detail on the conditions related to students' visas.

Rules and restrictions

Students on a Short-term study visa:

  • can't work at all (paid or unpaid)
  • can't apply for the Short-term study visa while in the UK
  • can't extend the Short-term study visa
  • must return home after the Short-term study visa expires

This visa does not require sponsorship and is not attached to an institution, so there is currently no requirement to monitor these students.

The visa lasts for six months, or 11 months for English language courses only.

Visa nationals and non-visa nationals

Visa nationals and non-visa nationals both need immigration permission to be here (either Short-term study visa or Tier 4 visa).

Non-visa nationals (like US or Canadian students) need permission. They must apply in advance for a Tier 4 visa, but can obtain a Short-term study visa at port of entry. It is important to have proof of acceptance onto a course of study and finances.

Visit the Government website to check if your country is on the Visa National List

Standard visitor visas

The Standard Visitor visa only allows for 30 days of study, however, this study must not be the main purpose of the visit. This can be used to return to attend graduation if a student's Tier 4 visa has expired.

Read more detailed guidance from the Home Office website

Short-term study Visa letters process

  • The production of Short-term study letters is centralised. The Student Immigration Service produces all letters.
  • A note is added to offer letters clarifying that offer letters are not to be used to obtain Short-term study visas. A separate Short-term study visa must be obtained.

Before students arrive at the University

The process for applicants

Central Admissions will issue letters to support the visa application process to:

  • unconditional firm students who are starting a programme of study of less than six months, and choosing to study on a Short-term study visa
  • unconditional firm students who are starting a part-time programme

These students will be picked up as part of our visa process, so there is no need to request the letter or contact the Student Immigration Service.

Students will need to upload a copy of their visa before they are invited to register. They must also show their original documents including passport and visa before gaining full registration.

The process for current students

If you require a Short-term study visa you will receive a letter to support your application once your department has informed the Student Immigration Service of your study dates. This letter will be sent to your University of Bath email address, and you will need to print it out and use it for your visa application.

Doctoral College: please send details of any courses where the student group will require Short-term study visas to the Student Immigration Service at

When students arrive at the University


Arriving applicants:

  • are asked to upload copy of passport and visa in order to begin Registration Online (ROL) process
  • must have their documents (passport and visa) checked on entry before they can complete ROL

During September arrivals, this is encompassed in the wider document-checking process. After this time, students must go to the Student Immigration Service, Wessex House 8.34 (Monday - Friday 10:00-12:00 & 14:00-16:00).

Current students

Current students are asked to visit the Student Immigration Service in Wessex House 8.34 (Monday - Friday 10:00-12:00 & 14:00-16:00) to have their passport and visa checked on arrival. Requests for the student to present these documents upon arrival are included in their Short-term study visa letter, in their SAMIS Online correspondence and through subsequent reminders from the Student Immigration Service.

The Doctoral College will remind students to have documents checked.