Short-term study visa

When is a short-term study visa an appropriate option?

short-term study visa can be a useful option for a non-EEA national coming to the UK to study a full-time 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 six months you can also use this route to remain in the UK for up to 11 months.

You must be at least 18 years old and have the financial resources for accommodation and the cost of living 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.

How long can I stay 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 to a Tier 4 student visa 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, you must apply for the short-term study visa before you travel to the UK. Check whether you need a visa.

Applications are made online unless you're 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. 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 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. Evidence of this should be in the form of your own personal bank statements or payslips for the past six months. We recommend that you should provide evidence that you have at least £1,265 for each month of your stay to cover living costs plus all of the tuition fees due.

Please see the Home Office UKVI website for details of all documents you must provide. Please also read the Home Office's 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're 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 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 that permits you to study. You should bring your passport with you for staff to verify your immigration status.

Students on distance learning courses or students coming to 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're unsure about which visa is the most appropriate please contact one of our international student advisers who will be able to help you.

e-Gates at the airport

Nationals of some countries are able to now use the e-Gates at some UK airports, meaning less time is spent at border control. If you are a student with a Short Term Study visa, then you cannot use the e-Gates and must see a border officer to receive the correct stamp in your passport. If you do use the e-Gates, then you are classed as a visitor/tourist and will need to leave the UK within 30 days to return through border control to collect the correct stamp in your passport.  

To find out about eligibility to use the e-Gates, visit UKVI website here

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 on the UK Council for International Affairs website.