Entering the UK as a Short-Term Student or Visitor  

Entering the UK as a Short-Term Student or Visitor

It is important that you choose the correct visa route based on your main purpose for visiting the UK.

It is not possible to study on a Standard Visitor visa so if there is any possibility you will need to study when in the UK, you should obtain either a Tier 4 Student Visa or a Short-Term Study Visa.

The Standard Visitor visa is the appropriate visa for you if you need to come to the UK to attend an interview for a place on your course at London Met but it would not allow you to remain in the UK to start your studies.

Short-Term Study Visa information

 

When is a Short-Term Study visa an appropriate option?

A Short-Term Study Visa can be a useful option for a non EEA national coming to the UK to study a full or part-time course lasting no more than six months, perhaps as a Visiting/Exchange student. If you want to study an English Language programme that lasts longer than 6 months you can also use this route to remain in the UK for up to 11 months.

If you wish to undertake a distance learning course or are a continuing student and wish to come back to take re-sit examinations then this route will be the appropriate option.

You must be at least 18 years old, and have the financial resources to accommodate and maintain yourself during the visit.

You should be aware that if there is any chance you may need to extend your stay to complete your studies or you wish to work whilst in the UK you should apply for a Tier 4 Student visa.

 

Length of Time allowed with a Short-Term Study visa ?

A short-term study visa is valid for six months or up to 11 months for someone studying an English language course. 

 

Can London Met issue letters of support for Short-Term Study visa applications?

Yes, London Met is on the Home Office Register of Tier 4 sponsors and therefore your Short-Term Study Visa letter of support from London Met will confirm this  . Please be aware that these letters cannot be used to make an application as a Tier 4 general student.

 

What are the limitations of a Short-Term Study Visa?

It is not possible to switch from a Short-Term Study Visa into Tier 4, or any other immigration category in the UK (you would have to leave the UK and apply for Entry Clearance from overseas). 

All student visitors are prohibited from working (including work placements or internships, paid or unpaid)

It is not possible for anyone to be admitted as the dependant of a Short-Term Study Visa holder.

 

What are the advantages of a Short-Term Study Visa?

  • There is no need for the course to be full-time
  • There is no minimum level for the course and it does not need to lead to a qualification
  • There are no minimum academic requirements for immigration purposes
  • There are no minimum English language level required

How do I apply for a Short-Term Study Visa?

If you are a national of a country on the ‘visa national list’ (check here Do I Need A Visa?), you must apply for the Short-Term Study Visa before you travel to the UK.

Applications are made online unless you are applying from  North Korea  in which case you must apply in person.

You can start the application process by first registering for an online account and then completing the application online here .   You will also need to have your biometric details (fingerprints and photograph) taken at a visa application centre  .

It is possible to make an application for a Short-Term Study Visa from any country, not just your home country.

If your country is not on the visa national list you can apply for a Student Visitor Visa either before travelling (as above), or you can make a Short-Term Study Visa application on arrival at a UK Border . 

You must declare your intention to study to the Immigration Officer by showing a letter from the University confirming the details of the course you are intending to follow. The University will not be permitted to allow you to study if this declaration is not indicated on your visa.   You should also be able to provide evidence that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your time in the UK.

All non-EEA students coming for less than six months are however advised to consider applying for a visa before travelling to the UK. This is the safest and most practical option.

 

How much money do I need to have to apply for a Short-Term Study Visa?

You will need to show that you have enough money to support yourself during the time you will be in the UK, this includes any course fees, accommodation fees and the cost of an onward or return journey. This should be your own personal bank statements or payslips for the past six months.   We recommend that you are able to provide evidence that you have at least £1020 for each month of your stay to cover living costs plus all of the tuition fees due.

Please see the Home Office UKVI website here for details of all documents you must provide

Please carefully read the Home Office UKVI Guide to Supporting Documents - Visiting the UK

 

What type of endorsement will I receive in my passport?

The Visa will be a sticker or vignette in your passport.

If you are not a Visa National and you apply for the visa at the port of entry to the UK, the Immigration Officer will stamp your passport with a visitor visa stamp and should then handwrite 'VST' for Visiting Student . If they do not do this, you must ask if they will write this on for you. It is important that if you apply for the visa when you enter the UK you make it clear to the Immigration Officer that you intend to study here.

 

What do I have to show to the University?

Staff at enrolment will be looking for confirmation that you hold an appropriate visa which permits studying. You should bring your passport with you for staff to verify your immigration status.

Students on distance learning courses or students coming to do re-sit exams will be required to show their visa to staff at the University each time they commence a period of study engagement (this includes examinations, modules, etc).

If you applied for your Short-Term Study Visa when you entered the UK, it is also useful to bring with you the confirmation you showed the Immigration Officer confirming your intention to study here.

If you are unsure about which visa is the most appropriate for you then please contact the International Student Adviser who will be able to help you.

Important information for students taking re-sit examinations:

Students who are coming to the UK to take a re-sit examination can use the Short-Term Study Visa route. At London Met, we are unable to issue a CAS for a Tier 4 visa application to a student taking a re-sit exam. 

 

Further information on the Short-Term Study Visa can be found here on the UK Council for International Affairs website.

Standard Visitor visas information

Standard Visitors can come to the UK for up to six months in any 12 month period, so this type of visa would be suitable for anyone coming to the UK to visit you for a holiday, to attend your graduation or to stay with you for a short period of time.

Standard Visitor visas cannot be extended and Standard Visitors are not entitled to work or study during their stay if study is the main purpose of the visit. However, study of up to 30 days is permitted in some circumstances. Further details are available on the Gov.uk website. Standard Visitors must be able to show that they will return home by the end of the six month period.

Nationals of countries on the visa national list, which you can also find on the Gov.uk website, must apply for a General Visitor visa before travelling to the UK. 

Applications can be made online on the Gov.uk website unless you're applying from North Korea, in which case you must apply in person.   

It's possible to apply for a Standard Visitor visa from any country and not just your home country.

If your country is not on the visa national list you can either apply for a Standard Visitor visa before travelling (as above) or you can make a Standard Visitor visa application on arrival in the UK. You will need to show evidence that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your time here.

To avoid any problems on arrival we would recommend applying for a Standard Visitor visa before leaving for the UK. This is the safest option.

Can my family visit the UK to attend my graduation ceremony?

Your family can apply for Standard Visitor visas to attend your graduation ceremony. You should wait until you receive the official invitation to the ceremony and provide a copy of this for your family to submit with their visa application. If your graduation ceremony is in July 2016 you should receive the official invitation by the end of April 2016.

Visit our award ceremonies page for further details.

Applying for a visa on arrival at the airport

If applying on arrival, visitors should show the following documents to the immigration officer: 

  • evidence of sufficient funds to cover the cost of their stay
  • a document confirming the purpose of their visit, eg an invitation letter from the person who has invited them
  • the data page from the passport of the person who has invited them to the UK (if applicable) together with evidence of their immigration status in the UK
  • evidence of any accommodation booked
  • evidence that the visitor will leave the UK at the end of the visit (for example a letter from their employer and details of their return travel arrangements)

Applying for Entry Clearance

Please read the information on the Home Office UK Visas and Immigration website carefully.   

The standard documents required for a standard visitor visa application are:

  • one recent passport colour photograph in the required format
  • current passport or other valid travel identification
  • evidence that the visitor has access to sufficient funds to cover the costs of accommodation and living expenses for the visit, for example, bank statements or payslips from the last six months
  • evidence that the visitor will leave the UK at the end of the visit (for example a letter from their employer and details of their return travel arrangements)
  • a letter from the person they are visiting explaining their relationship with them and the purpose of their visit
  • a copy of the passport data page (the page containing their photograph) of the person they are visiting and, if applicable, evidence of their immigration status in the United Kingdom. 
  • evidence of accommodation arranged, such as a contract or hotel booking
  • a tuberculosis (TB) test certificate for nationals of some countries where there is a high incidence of TB who are coming to the UK for more than six months (for more details visit the Gov.UK website)

Further information on providing supporting documents for your application can be found in the Home Office's Guide to Supporting Documents.

Length of visa

Visitors can usually enter and leave the UK any number of times while the visa is still valid. They can only stay for up to six months on each visit. Visitor visas issued overseas can be valid for six months or up to 10 years if you can prove you need to make repeat visits over a longer period.

Medical insurance

Those coming to the UK for less than six months are not entitled to use the National Health Service (NHS). Therefore visitors should purchase adequate travel insurance before travelling, which includes cover for any medical costs for the duration of the visit.

Contact details

The International student advisers are available for advice on a range of issues including visas and immigration.

The service is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)

International student advisers

email: adviceinternational@londonmet.ac.uk

telephone:       +44 (0)20 7133 4186

appointments:  +44 (0)20 7133 4186

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