Short-term study visas guidance for staff
An overview of what a short-term study visa is, the rules and regulations around them, and the processes that you will need to advise students to follow.
Overview of short-term study visas
To make sure that we are compliant with UKVI guidance and adherence to internal systems, the University's documentation production and document checking process is now centralised. This has been the case since 1 November 2014.
A short-term study visa may be appropriate for the following programmes:
- part-time or full-time study for a period of six months or less
- English language 11-month programme (11-month visa)
- other short programmes (e.g. Global Partnerships)
Some other students may also require a short-term study visa, such as:
- distance learners needing to attend campus for periods of study of no more than 56 days in any 6-month period
- visiting postgraduate scholars (VPS)
- students who are at the end of their programme of study and may need to complete an exam, a final module or a viva
This visa should not be confused with a Tier 4 visa.
Rules and restrictions
The following restrictions apply to short-term study visa holders:
- they must apply for ATAS clearance if they are coming on a course or a period of research in eligible subjects (certain Health, Science, Engineering and Design courses). They will need to provide the ATAS certificate as part of their short term study visa application, or at the border if they are a non visa national asking for permission to enter the UK on arrival
- no work permitted (paid or unpaid)
- they cannot apply for their short-term study visa while in the UK
- they cannot extend their short-term study visa
- they must return home after their short-term study visa expires
- they cannot extend their study end date beyond 30 days from the end date originally provided as part of their visa application
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. The United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides more detail on the conditions related to students' visas.
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 (such as US or Canadian students) need immigration permission. They must apply in advance for a Tier 4 visa, but can obtain a short-term study visa at port of entry. The student must have proof of acceptance onto a course of study and finances with them at the port of entry. They must also have a valid ATAS certificate if the course requires it.
Non-visa national students on a short-term study visa who are eligible to use eGates should avoid using the eGates and instead see a Border Force officer at passport control. This is to ensure their entry visa gets stamped to their passport.
Visit the Government website to check which countries are 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 visa 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's website.
Short-term study visa letters processes
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 cannot be used to obtain a short-term study visa. A separate short-term study visa letter must be obtained instead.
Before students arrive at the University
Central Admissions will issue offer 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.
The Student Immigration Service will issue a short-term study visa letter to eligible students. If a student requires ATAS clearance, the visa letter will only be issued once a valid ATAS certificate has been provided.
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.
If a student requires a short-term study visa, they will receive a letter to support their application once their department has informed the Student Immigration Service of their study dates. This letter will be sent to their University of Bath email address, and they will need to print it out and use it for their visa application.
If a student requires ATAS clearance, the visa letter will only be issued once a valid ATAS certificate has been provided.
Doctoral College staff must send details of any courses where the student group will require short-term study visas to the Student Immigration Service.
When students arrive at the University
Applicants must have their passport and visa checked on entry to the UK. They can only upload a copy of their passport and visa and begin Registration Online (ROL) once this has been done.
During September arrivals, this is done in the wider document checking process.
After this time, students must present their documents to the Student Immigration Service in Wessex House 8.29, between 10:00-12:00 and 12:00-14:00.
Current students must have their passport and visa checked on arrival by the Student Immigration Service in Wessex House 8.29, between 10:00-12:00 and 12:00-14:00.
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.
Doctoral College staff must remind current students to have their documents checked.