Short-term study visa

What is the Short-Term Study visa?

The Short-term Study visa route is intended for short periods of study in the UK. This can be for several reasons including: complete courses of less than 6 months (or 11 months for English Language courses); short UK visits as part of a longer distance learning course; resit periods; coursework hand in or vivas. You cannot switch into this category from within the UK and so must leave and reapply for Entry Clearance if already in the UK for any reason.

There are 3 Short Term Study visa routes available for students:
  • Short-term Student (6 months) – for those over 18 who need to be in the UK for study reasons up to a maximum of 6 months
  • Short-term Student (11 months) – for those over 18 who are studying an English Language course only of up to a maximum of 11 months
  • Short-term Student (Child) – for those under the age of 18 and studying up to a maximum of 6 months

The Short-term study visa cannot be extended and prohibits taking any employment or work placement. If you are studying a distance learning course and need to be in the UK for multiple short periods e.g. several weekends spread over a year, you will need to apply for a new visa each time you come to the UK.

Further comprehensive information about the Short Term Student visa route can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website which provides a more detailed description.

Most students will need to apply for their visa before they come to the UK but a few countries can apply once they arrive at the airport. To find out whether you must apply before you arrive check the Gov.uk website. Students who can apply on arrival still have the option of applying for their visa before leaving home and we would recommend that you did this. Lots of our students do this as it removes the worry that you might be refused at the airport and makes your travelling less stressful!

Please note that all students applying for the 11 month short-term study visa must make the application in their home country irrespective of nationality.

How do I apply for the Short-Term Study visa before I travel to the UK?

Unless you are from North Korea, you will need to submit your application online, starting the process here

The Visas4UK website can be confusing, so make sure you choose the type of visa as follows:

  • Reason for visit: Study
  • Visa Type: Study (non Points-Based-System)
  • Visa Sub-Type: Short-Term student ’6 months or less’ OR 'more than 6 months’ for the 11 month English Language route

Make sure that you have definitely selected the correct option if you are applying for the 11 month English Language course visa. This visa costs approximately £179 so if you get through the process and it is cheaper than that you have applied for the incorrect visa and will need to start again choosing the correct option!

Once your application has been submitted online, you will usually need to attend an appointment at a UK Visa Application Centre to submit your original documents and enrol your biometric information (fingerprints and photographs). It will then take approximately 2 to 8 weeks for your visa application to be processed.Current visa processing times for can be found on the Gov.UK website .

You should always carry the documents that you submitted with your visa application in your hand luggage when you travel to the UK. The Border Force Officer may ask to see these documents when you arrive in the UK.

How do I apply for the Short-Term Study visa on arrival in the UK?

We would always recommend that you apply for your visa before coming to the UK. However, if you have checked the link above, are sure you can apply on entry and you decide to do so, the process is outlined below.

Applying for a Short-term Study visa on arrival to the UK:

On arrival to the UK, you will need to present your passport and your University offer letter to the UK Border Force Officer at the port of entry (airport). They may also expect to see proof of your finances, so we recommend that you carry a recent original bank statement or other proof of funding in your hand luggage. There are no set regulations around the amount of funds that you need to show but we would recommend that you use Tier 4 financial requirements as a guide. These are that you have £1015 for each month in the UK and this is to cover accommodation and living costs. If you will have accommodation provided in the UK, make sure you travel with evidence of that.

You should explain clearly to the Border Force Officer that you wish to enter as a Short-term Study visitor not a Standard Visitor. Your passport will be stamped with a 6-month stamp and sometimes the words “Study/Student/ or Short-term” may also be written by hand. Check the visa to make sure it is clear that it is a Short Term Student visa as this will be checked by the University at enrolment.

The stamp that you receive in your passport is your new visa and it is considered to be for a single entry. This means if you attempt to go in and out of the UK, you will have to show relevant documents again and may need to collect new ones in order to do so. You may also be questioned about your departure plans as a Short Term Student visa is not supposed to cover courses of more than 6 months. If you have multiple entry stamps in your passport this increases risk of refusal and in a worst case scenario, you could be denied entry to the UK and sent back to your home country immediately.

List of suggested documents for all Short Term Study visa applications

Application form – Available to complete online

Passport(s): – Your passport should be valid for the length of your proposed study visit.
You should also submit any passport(s) that you have ever used to enter the UK. If any of these passports has been lost or stolen, you will need to provide a police report and details of your previous visit(s) to the UK.

Photographs: 2 passport sized, colour photographs, taken within the last month and which meet UKVI requirements

Application Fee: currently £93 for a 6 month visa. All current visa fees can be found on the Gov.UK website

Short-term Study Visa Letter from the University of South Wales. For new taught students this letter will be available to you from the Enquiries & Admissions team. For research/PHD students this letter will be available from the Research Office. For continuing students, this letter can be requested from your Advice Zone.

Proof of finances: This can be in the form of bank statements or pay slips and should ideally cover 6 months transactions. You may also choose to include property ownership papers or documentation from parents or
other family members who provide you with financial support (include a letter from the family member confirming that this money can be used to support you).

Proof of accommodation and travel arrangements: If this has been organised you should provide proof of any University accomodation bookings, hotel bookings, tenancy agreements, or flight bookings. Please bear in mind that is it risky to make any non refundable bookings before you have recieved your visa. As long as you are able to show sufficient funds to cover reasonable costs then proof of bookings is often not required.

Evidence of Marital Status: if you are not single you will need to provide evidence of your marital status (marriage certificate etc.)

For a full list of required documents please see the GOV.UK website. Please note that all documents submitted must be originals; no scans, faxes or photocopies will be accepted and could lead to a refusal of your application.

Healthcare in the UK for Short-Term Student Visa Holders

You need to check the information on healthcare in Wales to see if you are entitled to free hospital treatment during your stay in the UK. Many short-term student visitor visa holders are not entitled to free health care during their time in the UK and will need to secure private medical insurance for the length of their stay in the UK. Not having private medical insurance will not affect your immigration application, however if you become an NHS debtor by using the health service in the UK as a visitor and not paying for the treatment this will have an effect on any future visa applications made and could lead to future applications being refused. Endsleigh provide insurance for international students so it may be worth having a look at their website.

If you have any queries about the Short Term Student visa route please make sure that you email the USW Immigration & International Student Advice team so that they can help and guide you.