UK visa requirements

Visas for short periods of study

International students can come to the UK as a Visitor for a short period of study which does not exceed 6 months.

Important: From the 1 December 2020, the Short-Term Study route is only for students who are coming to the UK for 6-11 months to study an English language course.

You can use the Visitor route if you are:

  1. An online course student who needs to come to the UK to attend a study weekend or sit an assessment.

  2. A student who needs to return to the UK to attend a resit examination.

  3. A student who needs to resit part of your course and the study period is less than 6 months.

Please note that you cannot use the Visitor route to come to the UK for study purposes if you are studying a course that is longer than 6 months in duration, even if the amount of time you will spend in the UK is for less than 6 months. This is not allowed under the Immigration Rules and the only exceptions are (1), (2) and (3) above.

If you do need to come to the UK as a Visitor, you should first check whether UK Visas and Immigration consider you a Visa National or Non-Visa National by viewing this document. If your country appears on the list, you are a Visa National. Otherwise, you are a Non-Visa National.

You must make a visa application (also known as Entry Clearance) before travelling to the UK. The visa you will need to apply for is the Standard Visitor visa. Please see this webpage for information on how to apply in your country. The visa application fee is currently £95. You will need to include an immigration letter from the University when you submit your visa application. You can request a letter by emailing our Visa Compliance Team.

You should also include the following supporting documents with your application:

  • Passport
  • 2 UK passport sized colour photographs
  • Evidence that you have sufficient funds for your visit (for example, a bank statement that covers at least 3 months)
  • Proof that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit (for example, your return flight details)
  • Evidence of where you will be staying in the UK (for example, hotel reservation).

Once your application has been processed and your passport is returned, please make sure that you have been issued the correct visa. The vignette (sticker) will say C – VISIT in the Remarks section. If it has a different endorsement, please email International Student Advice with a scan of your visa for further guidance.

You do not have to apply for a visa before you travel to the UK, but must request entry as a Visitor when you arrive. There is no fee for applying to enter as a Visitor at the UK border.

You will need to carry a letter to show to the Immigration Officer when you arrive in the UK. You can request this letter by emailing our Visa Compliance Team.

You should also carry the following in your hand luggage:

  • Evidence that you have sufficient funds for your visit (for example, a bank statement that covers at least 3 months)
  • Proof that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit (for example, your return flight details)
  • Evidence of where you will be staying in the UK (for example, hotel reservation).

The Immigration Officer will endorse your passport with an entry stamp to confirm when you entered the UK and how long you are permitted to stay.

Please make sure you are aware of the following conditions which apply to Visitors:

  • You are only allowed to spend a maximum of 6 months in one year in the UK as a Visitor. This can be a single trip or multiple trips, but it cannot exceed 6 months.
  • Although you can spend up to 6 months as a Visitor, the Home Office expects you to leave the UK as soon as your period of study is completed.  You should leave the UK no later than 1 month after you have completed your period of study.
  • You cannot engage in any paid or unpaid work while you are in the UK. This includes internships, voluntary work or work experience.
  • If you are a Visa National, your visa will be multi-entry and so you can travel in and out of the UK while it is valid.

If you are a Non-Visa National, your immigration stamp will only be valid for that visit. If you leave the UK and return, you have to make a new request for entry as a Visitor. If you will be making multiple trips outside the UK, we recommend that you apply for a multi-entry visa in your passport. Please see the guidance above for Visa Nationals.

  • You will not have access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) during your visit and so we recommend that you purchase private medical insurance before you travel.
  • If you are a Non-Visa National, we strongly recommend that you do not travel to the UK via the Republic of Ireland. The Republic of Ireland has a ‘Common Travel Area’ with the UK, which means there is no immigration presence when arriving in the UK from Ireland. You will be unable to request entry as a Visitor and this may cause problems with UK immigration.

If for any reason you have to travel to the UK via the Republic of Ireland, we recommend that you apply for entry clearance (a visa) before you travel. Please see the guidance above for Visa Nationals.

If you already hold immigration permission or a visa which you believe allows you to study in the UK, it is very important that this is verified by us in advance. Please email a scan of your biometric residence permit/visa to our Visa Compliance Team.

If you have applied to enter the UK through the Electronic Visa Waiver, you do not have to apply for entry as a Visitor. You must bring a copy of the email confirming you have been granted the Electronic Visa Waiver to your campus.

Please note that each time you attend any face-to-face element of your course, the University must make sure that you have the Right to Study in the UK. Your campus will contact you before you travel to confirm whether you need to report to them to have your immigration documents checked. Failure to complete this process will mean you cannot attend any assessments or teaching at the University.