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  1. Short-term study visa
International students

Short-term Study Visas

If you are coming to the UK to do a short course or a short period of research for 6 months or less, or re-sitting your exams without attendance, you will need to come to the UK as a short-term student (formerly student visitor). How you do this depends on whether you are from a 'Visa National' country.

Who is a Short-term Student?

The Short-term Study category is designed for those coming to the UK for short periods of study of under 6 months. Students who come to the UK in this category will be prohibited from undertaking any work, paid or unpaid. Students who may use this category include:

  • Those studying a short course which lasts for less than 6 months, for example through our Short Courses department
  • Those enrolled on a course overseas equivalent to at least UK degree level, who are undertaking a period of study or research at City, for example Study Abroad students. This also applies to some PhD students undertaking a period of research at City that will contribute to their PhD studies
  • Those coming to the UK for a resit examination or a PhD viva. NB If you are undertaking a resit but will subsequently be resuming your studies on your course if you are successful in your resit you will need to return home to apply for a Tier 4 visa to continue with your course
  • Those enrolled on a distance learning course coming to the UK for occasional periods, though there are some restrictions on this: the course must mainly take place outside the UK, and students can enter the UK for limited periods totalling no more than 56 days in any 6-month period

You should be careful not to use this route for extended periods of "frequent or successive study" as this would lead to a visa refusal - UKVI explains this as follows:

  • successive use of the route if, for example, the student is seeking a second period of leave under the short-term study route where less than 2 months have passed since they last visited the UK for the purposes of short-term study
  • frequent use of the route if, for example, the student is applying for in excess of 5 periods of leave under short-term study within a 5 year period

Under new rules introduced in January 2018, students undertaking part-time courses at RQF level 7 will be required to obtain a Tier 4 visa. Your Admissions officer will provide you with further details so that you can obtain a CAS for this. If you are not sure which visa is appropriate for you, check with an International Adviser. More detailed guidance can be found on UKCISA's website.

Conditions of a Short-term Study Visa

Students using this category should be aware of the following:

  • You are not able to undertake any work, paid or unpaid, while you are here on a Short-term Study Visa.
  • You must leave the UK within 30 days of the end date of the course, or before the visa expires, whichever is sooner.
  • You cannot extend your visa in the UK or switch to any other category. So, for example, if you have obtained a Short-term Study visa in order to undertake a resit and subsequently intend to resume your studies on a course which requires a Tier 4 visa you would need to return home to apply for this.

How to apply for a Short-term Study Visa

You can find out if you are from a Visa National country by checking the Home Office website.

Applying as a Visa National

If you are a visa national, you need to apply for a short-term study visa before you travel to the UK.

  • You will need to provide formal documents to show that you have been accepted on a short course or resitting your exam at City, University of London, and have enough money to pay your tuition fees and living costs during your stay.
  • An original confirmation letter from your School Office (or the Study Abroad team) which confirms your course/exam dates and tuition fees should be acceptable evidence.
  • You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.

Documents required (when you apply as a Visa National)

Documents required for making a short-term study visa application, (make sure your documents are translated into English):

  • Apply via the Home Office’s online application form (make sure you select the correct visa category. Select 'Study' for Reason for Visit, select 'Student non points-based system' for Visa Type and select 'Short term student up to 6 months' for Visa Sub Type)
  • Application fee: £93 (from 6 April 2017) in local currency
  • Passport(s): 2 passport sized colour photographs
  • An exam confirmation letter from your School Office or an unconditional offer letter from Study Abroad team or Short Course team
  • Evidence that you have sufficient funds for your proposed visit (e.g. at least 6 months' bank statements and/or payslips). If your parents are funding your visit, you will need to provide proof of their finances and their relationship to you
  • Evidence of suitable accommodation (e.g. hotel reservations or a copy of your tenancy agreement if you are renting privately)
  • If possible, evidence you intend to leave the UK at the end of your stay, for example a flight booking or, if you are a Study Abroad student, a letter from your home institution to show you will be returning to a course there

To think about when applying for short-term study visa

In addition to the required supporting Short Term Study letter from the institution evidencing your course or resit, your visa application will be carefully scrutinized and an assessment made of your personal circumstances and whether you genuinely intend to leave the UK at the end of your proposed visit.

Former Tier 4 students - This is the case even if you have already spent several years in the UK as a Tier 4 student and have now returned home and are applying to come back for a short time e.g. to resit an examination.

Assessment of your current circumstances - Visa Officers will make an assessment of your current circumstances based on your answers to questions that are part of the online visa application form and they will assess whether what you say is a true indication of your circumstances.

Your current financial and work situation - Due to the assessment it is important to set out your current financial and work situation as fully as possible on the application form and provide independent supporting evidence as far as possible to back up what you are stating on the form.

The type of factors that visa officers will consider:

  • Proof of earnings in your home country if you have been working since returning home
  • Proof of your parents’ funds if you are relying on these and supporting evidence of the source of the funds in any bank accounts relied on eg proof of their earnings and/or evidence of money obtained from the sale of assets e.g. land.
  • How long you plan to be in the UK, and whether you plan to return. Although the Short Term Study visa is issued for a standard 6 month period, immigration officers are likely to be suspicious if you are coming to the UK for a long period when you are only studying for a short period (for example, resit examinations). If they are concerned that you may not be genuinely coming to the UK for the purposes of study then they can refuse your application

While it not easy to document specifically, it is important to show your strong family or economic ties to your home country e.g. a job offer for when you return home after the visit – especially if you are unmarried or not in a long term relationship with someone in your home country. Otherwise the Visa Officer is likely to make a judgement that you are not genuinely intending a short visit to the UK. If they think you intend to stay in the UK more long term then they may refuse your application.

If you are a Non-Visa National

If you are a non-visa national, you do not need to apply for a short-term study visa before you travel. Instead you can present your papers to the immigration officials on arrival at an UK airport and have the visa stamped into your passport. You should be stamped in for 6 months as a Short Term Student.

You will need to carry the following in your hand luggage:

  • Your passport
  • Your Short Term Study letter from City confirming your short course/resits
  • Recent formal evidence that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your course (eg: bank statement/loan letter).
  • If you have it, evidence you intend to leave at the end of your stay, for example a flight booking (if you are a Study Abroad student you may also take with you a letter from your home institution confirming you will be returning to a course there)

Applying for a pre-degree or Study Abroad course

If you are coming to complete a Pre-sessional English course before you can start your main degree programme, or for a Study Abroad programme, you may choose to apply for a Tier 4 student visa as it gives you the option to extend your stay for further study in the UK (subject to meeting certain requirements).

The International Student Advice team can help you to extend your Tier 4 student visa from within the UK. However, you cannot extend your visa in the UK if there is a gap of more than one month between the day your visa expires and the day your new course starts.

Medical insurance

If your course is less than 6 months long or you are coming back to the UK to resit your exam as a short-term student, you and your family are only entitled to limited free NHS treatment. You will have free emergency hospital treatment, but only the treatment given in a NHS Accident and Emergency department is free of charge. Once you are admitted on to a ward or given an outpatient appointment, charges will apply.

You will have to pay for any other treatment as a private patient. It is therefore very important that you take out medical insurance for the duration of your visit to the UK.