New measures relevant to the information on this page are now in place in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Please see our dedicated Coronavirus (Covid-19) pages for all the latest information and guidance.

Short-term student visa

Last modified: 06 April 2021

Since 9 a.m. (Greenwich Mean Time) on 1 December 2020 this route is only for students who apply for entry clearance to do an English language course between six and 11 months long. For study of up to six months, you may instead be able to undertake this under the visitor route.

If you are an EEA citizen and:

  • are in or have been in the UK before 31 December 2020 see our Brexit information about applying instead under the EU settlement scheme; or
  • apply under this route before 11pm on 31 December 2020, any entry clearance granted will be valid from 1 January 2021. 

Am I eligible to apply for immigration permission as a short-term student?

You must have immigration permission in this category before you come to the UK (entry clearance). You can apply for entry clearance from any country outside the UK, but you must have permission to be in the country from which you apply. 

  •  You must be 16 or older when you apply (which is when you pay the immigration application fee).

Page 11 of the short-term students caseworker guidance also outlines the criteria for  accredited institutions. 

If the course is up to six months, you should instead check to see if you are eligible to study the course as a visitor.

  •  The course must be an English language only (which means it is a course that consists only of English language study and cannot be combined with other subjects). In addition:
  • The English language course does not need to lead to a specific qualification.
  • There are no minimum academic requirements for immigration purposes, the course can be at any level, but your course provider may have specific admissions criteria.
  • You are not required to have a minimum English language ability, but your course provider may have specific admissions criteria.
  • There are no minimum hours which you must be studying during your time in the UK. 

This information is for you if you are currently outside the UK and you want to come to study in the UK as a 'short-term student' because either:

  • you are not eligible to apply for Student permission; or
  • you have chosen not to apply for a Student permission as you meet the requirements for a 'short-term student' visa

This information explains what you need to do to get immigration permission in order to come to study in the UK as a 'short-term student', what you must do if you have it and what to do if you are refused permission. 

If you you are granted immigration permission

If you are successful, you will get immigration permission for 11 months. 

You will get a vignette (stamp in your passport) for 30 days, and then when you arrive in the UK you will need to collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) from a post office or from your institution (if they have arranged with the Home Office for the BRPs to be sent to them. You will be given entry clearance showing a 30-day window in which to enter the UK. You will need to follow the instructions on the accompanying letter about how to collect your Biometric Residence Permit. This usually needs to be collected within 10 days of arriving in the UK. However, there are some concessions in place due to the Coronavirus, which has increased the period of time a post office will hold a BRP to 90 days. 

What to do if your application is refused

Since 6 April 2021 refusals of short-term student permission no longer attract the right to apply for an administrative review.

You can apply for immigration permission again, if you are sure you meet all the requirements. If you do apply again you must declare the refusal, if you are asked, in this and in future immigration applications. 

Requirements you must meet while you are in the UK

See 'Applying for entry clearance' for information about the requirements you need to meet when making your immigration application.

While in the UK, you must only study on the course for which you were granted permission.  

You must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your study (if it is before the date your immigration permission ends). If you do not leave the UK within this time, it could affect any future immigration applications to the UK (such applications could be refused and a time-bar applied if the Home Office believes you exercised deception about your intention in your short-term student immigration application). If your study (as stated in the letter you presented to the Home Office as part of your short-term student immigration application) continues until the date that your immigration permission ends, you must leave the UK no later than the date your immigration permission ends.

You may be required to register with the police within 7 days of your arrival in the UK. If you are required to register with police this will be stated on your vignette (and biometric residence permit) or the letter which accompanies the vignette.  

As a short-term student, you cannot do any kind of work, work placement or work experience during your studies in the UK. In addition, you cannot engage in any business or professional activities in the UK. If you want to be allowed to work in the UK during your studies, you will need to apply to enter the UK as a Student or in another appropriate immigration category instead.

Short-term students are not allowed to apply to switch into any other immigration category while still in the UK, or extend their permission as a short-term student. If you wish to continue studying in the UK after your entitlement to remain in the UK as a short-term student has ended, you will need to return home and apply for entry clearance as a Student, or in another appropriate immigration category. However, there is a requirement that you should not intend to make the UK your main home. Frequent and successive use of this route may suggest that you are.

You have no recourse to 'public funds'.  'Public funds' are defined in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules as a list of specific benefits available. When applying for immigration permission to enter the UK, you must provide evidence that there is sufficient money available for your maintenance and accommodation, without having to claim any of these benefits - see applying for entry clearance.

Applying for entry clearance

Last modified: 06 April 2021

The UK Home Office has introduced some temporary measures around visa applications and immigration status in response to Covid-19. Our most up to date guidance about everything that has changed in response to Covid-19 is available in a dedicated section of our website. 

Click to go through to our dedicated COVID-19 page.

Your application must include:
  • The completed application form. You have to fill this in online. You will be asked to 'Confirm your visa type'. Choose 'Short-term student'
  • The current application fee in local currency is £186 and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee which is £470
  • Your current travel document or other travel document which shows your identity and nationality
  • A letter of acceptance from an accredited institution (see page 11 of the short-term student caseworker guidance to see which institutions are accredited institutions) stating that you have been accepted onto an English language course and the length of the course (which can be no longer than 11 months).  
  • Evidence of funds which show:
    • that you have enough money to support yourself while you are in the UK.  There is no specific amount of money you must show when you apply for a short-term student visa. However you must show that you have enough money to support yourself  adequately without recourse to public funds and without working. The term ‘adequate’ is defined in the Immigration Rules as being a level of funds equivalent to a person being in receipt of income support "after income tax, national insurance contributions and housing costs have been deducted". Detailed guidance on what the Home Office considers 'adequate' support is available in the caseworker guidance on financial requirements.
    • that you can pay your course fees. If you have already paid the fees, you need to include evidence of this with your application 
    • you can meet the cost of your return or onward journey from the UK

    The funds must be shown as specified in Appendix Finance 

  • If you have been in one of the countries listed in Appendix T of the Immigration Rules for more than six months immediately preceding your entry clearance application then you will need to provide a medical certificate from an approved clinic confirming that you are clear of tuberculosis (TB)

  • If you are under 18  you must show that:
    • there are suitable arrangements in place for your travel to the UK, reception in the UK and care while you are in the UK; and
    • both your parents (it can be one parent if that parent has sole legal responsibility for you) or legal guardian confirm in writing that they consent to your application and to these arrangements

    See pages 14 and 15 of the Short-term students caseworker guidance for further information about the requirements that short-term students who are under 18 need to meet.

You will need to provide a translation of any documents which are not already in English. 

You must also provide your biometrics (fingerprints and facial image). You will receive instructions about how to do this.

As part of the assessment of your application, the Home Office will consider whether you genuinely intend to study as a short-term student as your reason for travelling to the UK. 12 of the short-term student caseworkers guidance outlines the factors the Home Office Page will consider when they assess whether they believe you are a genuine short-term student. These factors match the requirements of the route, and if you are refused on the basis that the Home Office doesn’t believe you are genuinely coming to the UK to undertake studies as a short-term student, they must clearly set out why they are not satisfied the requirement is met.

The short-term student caseworkers guidance gives guidance on pages 12-13 on how Home Office caseworkers will assess 'frequent and successive' use of the route, which may (but will not automatically) lead to a refusal of permission.

If you use the route on multiple occassions, the Home Office will generally be expecting each course you study to be "a higher level of English Language proficiency against the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR)" each time. The short-term student caseworkers guidance says, for example, the course could be B1 level on the first instance then B2 level on the second instance. It also says: "However, there may be circumstances where an applicant requires a further period of study at the same level, for example a student who hasn’t achieved the English proficiency in the previous application."

Short-term student (six months) before 1 December 2020

Last modified: 02 December 2020

This information is for you if you have permission under the short-term student route - six months which you applied for (either at the border or as entry clearance) before 9 a.m. on 1 December 2020.. 

  • If you applied for immigration permission for up to six months (either as entry clearance, or at the UK border) for the short-term student route (not the short-term student (child) route) and:
    • are 18 or older at the time your leave is granted; or
    • will be 18 before your leave expires

    and your course leads to a qualification at Masters or doctorate level, or a postgraduate qualification abroad you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate before you start your studies. This will affect you (and you will need this clearance) if you are on a relevant course and are in the UK using this route to undertake a course, a study abroad programme in the UK as part of an overseas course, as research or research tuition, an elective, a viva, a re-sit exam, a re-take module or part of a course under the distance-learning provision. It is advised that you obtain this clearance as early as possible. 

  • You will be able to undertake more than one course in the six month period you were granted (either at the same time or consecutively), provided that:
    • each course meets the requirements of the short-term student route;
    • undertaken together, the programmes of study will be completed within a six-month period; and
    • you presented an unconditional offer letter for each of the courses (from the institutions where you will be studying) with the dates of each course specified when you requested your immigration permission (either as entry clearance or at the UK border). If you undertake any additional study after having obtained permission (either at the UK border or as entry clearance), this must be completed within 30 days of the latest end date of the course(s) you gave details of when you applied for your immigration permission (either at the UK border or as entry clearance). 
  • You should not intend to study in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive periods as a short-term student or intend to use frequent and successive periods of study as a means to live in the UK or to circumvent the requirements of the Student route.
     
  • You must leave the UK within 30 days of the end of the study (you gave details of as part of your immigration application either at the UK border or as entry clearance) or the end of six months, whichever of these is sooner. If you do not leave the UK within this time, it could affect any future immigration applications to the UK (such applications could be refused and a time-bar applied if the Home Office believes you exercised deception about your intention in your short-term student immigration application).

  • You must study all courses at an education provider which:

    It cannot be an academy or state-funded school.  

You cannot do any kind of work, work experience or work placement (even if it is part of your course, or is unpaid). You will not be allowed to do any business or professional activities in the UK. However, you will be able to undertake electives relevant to your course if you:

  • are enrolled on a course abroad which is equivalent to at least degree-level in the UK, where you are studying medicine, veterinary medicine and science, or dentistry; and
  • have been accepted by a 'higher education provider' (HEP) to undertake the elective

The electives must be unpaid and involve no treatment of patients.  

Short-term student (11 months) before 1 December 2020

Last modified: 02 December 2020
This information is for you if you have permission under the short-term student route - 11 months which you applied for before 9 a.m. on 1 December 2020.
  • The course must be an an English language course only (you are not allowed to combine an English language course with any other studies)
  • Your English language must be completed within 11 months
  • You must study at an education provider which:

    It cannot be an academy or state-funded school.

  • You must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of the study (you gave details of as part of your immigration application wither at the UK border or as entry clearance) or the end of 11 months, whichever of these is sooner. If you do not leave the UK within this time it could affect any future immigration applications to the UK (future applications could be refused if the Home Office believes that you exercised deception about your intention in your short-term student immigration application)
  • You must not intend to study in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive periods as a short-term student. The Home Office guidance give examples of when a student may be considered to be using the route for extended periods for frequent or successive use of the route (which is prohibited). The guidance also says that you should not intend to use frequent and successive periods of study as a means to live in the UK or to circumvent the requirements of the Student route. 

You will not be allowed to do any kind of work, work experience or work placement (even if it is part of your course, or is unpaid). You will not be allowed to do any business or professional activities in the UK.

You may be required to register with the police within 7 days of your arrival in the UK. If you are required to register with police this will be stated on your vignette or the letter which accompanies the vignette. There are concessions in place because of the Coronavirus. See the Home Office  Covid-19: Guidance for Student sponsors, migrants and short-term students

Research or research tuition (six months) before 1 December 2020

Last modified: 02 December 2020
This information is for you if you have permission under the short-term student route to undertake research or research tuition which you applied (either at the border or as entry clearance) for before 9 a.m. on 1 December 2020.
  • You must be undertaking your research or research tuition with a 'higher education provider' (HEP) - see definitions
  • If you applied for immigration permission for up to six months (either as entry clearance, or at the UK border) for the short-term student route (not the short-term student (child) route) and:
    • were 18 or older at the time your leave is granted; or
    • will be 18 before your leave expires

    and your course leads to a qualification at Master's or doctorate level, or a postgraduate qualification abroad you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate before you commence any relevant research/research tuition.

  • You must not be employed at the UK institution as a sponsored researcher under Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange), or Tier 2, of the UK's Points Based System for immigration
  • You must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of the research or research tuition or the end of 6 months, whichever of these is sooner. If you do not leave the UK within this time it could affect any future immigration applications to the UK (future applications could be refused if the Home Office believes that you exercised deception about your intention in your short-term student immigration application)
  • You do not intend to study in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive periods as a short-term student and should not intend to use frequent and successive periods of study as a means to live in the UK or to circumvent the requirements of the Student route.

You cannot do any kind of work, work experience or work placement (even unpaid). You will not be allowed to do any business or professional activities in the UK. However, you will be able to undertake electives relevant to your course if you:

  • are enrolled on a course abroad which is equivalent to at least degree-level in the UK, where you are studying medicine, veterinary medicine and science, or dentistry; and
  • have been accepted by a 'higher education provider' (HEP) to undertake the elective

The electives must be unpaid and involve no treatment of patients.  

Short-term student (child) - before 1 December 2020

Last modified: 02 December 2020
This information is for you if you have permission under the short-term student (child) route which you applied for (either as entry clearance or at the border) before 9 a.m. on 1 December 2020. 
  • You must not intend to study in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive periods as a short-term student or intend to use frequent and successive periods of study as a means to live in the UK or to circumvent the requirements of the Student route.
  • You must leave the UK before the end of your six month immigration permission 

You will not be allowed to do any kind of work, work experience or work placement (even if it is part of your course, or is unpaid). You will not be allowed to do any business or professional activities in the UK.

Dependants

Last modified: 16 October 2020

The immigration rules do not allow a short-term student to bring family members to the UK, because there is no such category as 'dependant of a short-term student'.

Therefore, if you are applying as a short-term student and you have a spouse, partner, child or other person who wants to come with you to the UK, they must apply to come to the UK in their own right as standard visitors.

A standard visitor will be granted a maximum of 6 months' immigration permission, even if you have been granted immigration permission for more than 6 months. They will not be allowed to work, but will be allowed to study if the study meets certain requirements.

If you are eligible, and choose, to apply under the Student route, then your family might be able to apply as your dependants (see Dependants for more information about this).

Definitions

Last modified: 02 December 2020

Student sponsor licence

Home Office approved accreditation bodies

Home Office approved inspection bodies

Overseas higher education institution

Academy or state-funded school


Top