Visitor visas

Short-term study visas

Short-term study visas are for:

  • part-time or full-time courses of less than six months
  • English language courses of less than 11 months (part-time or full-time)
  • courses where study takes place overseas but which require defined short periods of attendance at the University (a maximum of six months in one year)

You should not apply for a Short-term study visa if you are coming to take a pre-sessional English language course at the University that leads to a degree course. You will need a Tier 4 visa so that you can extend it in the UK.

Short-term study restrictions

  • You are not allowed to work (paid or unpaid) during your stay
  • You will not be able to extend your stay in the UK
  • You should expect to answer questions about your studies in the UK by immigration officers and should carry student status and finance documents in your hand luggage
  • Immigration permission to enter the UK that is obtained on arrival in the UK by non-visa nationals expires when you leave the UK. You will need to request new permission if you return
  • You cannot switch to a visitor visa from a Tier 4 visa in the UK


Visa nationals

Visa nationals (see appendix 2) must always apply before arriving in the UK. You will need to apply online, or for some nationals in person. The application fee is £87. You will then need to attend a Visa Application Centre to submit your supporting documents and have your biometric information taken.

Non-visa nationals

Nationals not on the Visa Nationals list (see appendix 2) coming for less than six months and studying part-time or full-time courses can apply for permission to enter on arrival. You must request Short-term student permission to enter the UK to allow you to study.

You can also apply before you come. This is uncommon, but can be helpful if you plan to leave the UK frequently during your stay for short trips as it does not expire when you leave the UK. Permission to enter obtained on arrival in the UK expires every time you leave the UK. The embassy may encourage you to apply on arrival in the UK, but you do have the right to apply for entry clearance if you wish to.

You are strongly advised to check at your nearest British mission (embassy/consulate) for information on which visa you should apply for.

Supporting documents

  • A letter from the University with details of your course (this is different to your offer letter). You will be sent this letter automatically as part of the admissions process.
  • Bank statements showing finances.
  • If you have accommodation, evidence of this is required.

View the full list of supporting documents.

Check UKVI information on supporting documents and UKCISA information on making an immigration application as a short-term student.

Other visitor categories

UKVI provides information on other visitor categories, such as standard visitor visas (this includes academic visitors) and permitted paid engagements (eg for external examiners).

It is your responsibility to obtain the correct visa. Processing times at British missions may be lengthy, you should apply for a visa in good time.