Applying for a Short Term Student Visa
How to apply for a Short Term Student Visa
What is the Short-Term Study visa?
The Short-term Study visa route is intended for short periods of study in the UK. This can be for several reasons including: complete courses of less than 6 months (or 11 months for English Language courses); summer schools; medical electives; short UK visits as part of a longer distance learning course; resit periods; coursework hand in or vivas. You cannot switch into this category from within the UK and so must leave and reapply for Entry Clearance if already in the UK for any reason. As part of the application process you must confirm that you intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your course.
There are 3 Short Term Study visa routes available for students:
- Short-term Student (6 months) – for those over 18 who need to be in the UK for study reasons up to a maximum of 6 months
- Short-term Student (11 months) – for those over 18 who are studying an English Language course only of up to a maximum of 11 months
- Short-term Student (Child) – for those under the age of 18 and studying up to a maximum of 6 months
The Short-term study visa cannot be extended and prohibits taking any employment or work placement. If you are studying a distance learning course and need to be in the UK for multiple short periods e.g. several weekends spread over a year, you will need to apply for a new visa each time you come to the UK.
If you are a visiting or exchange student you will also be able to find information on the University's .
Further comprehensive information about the Short Term Student visa route can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website which provides a more detailed description.
Most students will need to apply for their visa before they come to the UK but a few countries can apply once they arrive at the airport. To find out whether you must apply before you arrive check the Gov.uk website. Students who can apply on arrival still have the option of applying for their visa before leaving home and we would recommend that you did this. Lots of our students do this as it removes the worry that you might be refused at the airport and makes your travelling less stressful!
Please note that all students applying for the 11 month short-term study visa must make the application in their home country irrespective of nationality.
Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
All students who are studying an ATAS course will not be required permission to do so via an ATAS Certificate. This Certificate will need to be included in your visa application.
If you are applying for a Short Term Study Visa in order to undertake a doctoral viva you may reuse an ATAS that you were granted to undertake the doctoral programme itself. This is clarified in the Home Office Guidance for Caseworkers relating to Short Term Students.
Healthcare in the UK for Short-Term Student Visa Holders
You need to check the information on healthcare in Wales to see if you are entitled to free hospital treatment during your stay in the UK. Many short-term student visitor visa holders are not entitled to free health care during their time in the UK and will need to secure private medical insurance for the length of their stay.
Not having private medical insurance will not affect your immigration application, however if you become an NHS debtor by using the health service in the UK as a visitor, and not paying for the treatment, this will have an effect on any future visa applications made and could lead to future applications being refused. There are some companies that offer specific insurance plans for international students so it may be worth having a look at those. Two of these are Insure2Study Overseas or Endsleigh Insurance though you can use any provider you wish.
Finances and Banking for Short Term Student Visa Holders
Some UK high street banks may not open an account for students holding a Short Term Student visa, particularly if the relevant period of study is less than 6 months. However, there is an account called a Unizest Account that you can open before you leave home and which will accept students on a Short Term Student Visa, it has a small monthly charge of a few pounds. You can find details about that on the Unizest Page.
We cannot tell you which bank is best for you so it is worth undertaking some research from home to look at your options.
It is also worthwhile making sure that you have an credit or debit card from home which you can use to spend or withdraw money in the UK. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Maestro are all popular providers that can be used at UK cash machines (ATM's). If you will need access for a large sum of money, to pay for private accommodation fees for example, please bring a Traveller's Cheque with you.
Do not travel with large sums of money. Never transfer money to someone that you do not know, or who only know a little bit, who is already in the UK. Banks are suspicious of this type of transaction and might close their account. If the person is taking money as they promise you a good exchange rate, this is very risky and you could lose all your money. Several students have recently lost thousands of pounds in this way. Always use a bank or reputable currency exchange company to convert your money for you.
Unless you are from North Korea, you will need to submit your application online, starting the process here
The Visas4UK website can be confusing, so make sure you choose the type of visa as follows:
- Reason for visit: Study
- Visa Type: Study (non Points-Based-System)
- Visa Sub-Type: Short-Term student ’6 months or less’ OR 'more than 6 months’ for the 11 month English Language route
Make sure that you have definitely selected the correct option if you are applying for the 11 month English Language course visa. This visa costs approximately £186 so if you get through the process and it is cheaper than that you have applied for the incorrect visa and will need to start again choosing the correct option!
Once your application has been submitted online, you will usually need to attend an appointment at a UK Visa Application Centre to submit your original documents and enrol your biometric information (fingerprints and photographs). It will then take approximately 2 to 8 weeks for your visa application to be processed. Current visa processing times for can be found on the Gov.UK website .
You should always carry the documents that you submitted with your visa application in your hand luggage when you travel to the UK. The Border Force Officer may ask to see these documents when you arrive in the UK.
We would always recommend that you apply for your visa before coming to the UK. However, if you have checked the Gov.uk website, are sure you can apply on entry and you decide to do so, the process is outlined below.
Applying for a Short-term Study visa on arrival to the UK:
On arrival to the UK, you will need to present your passport and your University offer letter to the UK Border Force Officer at the port of entry (airport). They may also expect to see proof of your finances, so we recommend that you carry a recent original bank statement or other proof of funding in your hand luggage. There are no set regulations around the amount of funds that you need to show but we would recommend that you use Tier 4 financial requirements as a guide. These are that you have £1015 for each month in the UK and this is to cover accommodation and living costs. If you will have accommodation provided in the UK, make sure you travel with evidence of that.
You should explain clearly to the Border Force Officer that you wish to enter as a Short-term Study visitor not a Standard Visitor. The UK Border Force have produced a E-Gate visual aid that you can print out and carry with you to show at the airport to help them understand what you need. Your passport will be stamped with a 6-month stamp and sometimes the words “Study/Student/ or Short-term” may also be written by hand. Check the visa to make sure it is clear that it is a Short Term Student visa as this will be checked by the University at enrolment.
The stamp that you receive in your passport is your new visa and it is considered to be for a single entry. This means if you attempt to go in and out of the UK, you will have to show relevant documents again and may need to collect new ones in order to do so. You may also be questioned about your departure plans as a Short Term Student visa is not supposed to cover courses of more than 6 months. If you have multiple entry stamps in your passport this increases risk of refusal and in a worst case scenario, you could be denied entry to the UK and sent back to your home country immediately.
Please note that if you asking for Entry Clearance at Port of Entry you cannot use the E-Gate facility and must follow an admissions queue that enables you to speak to a member of the Border Force. This is because it is very important that you get the correct stamp in your visa via the Border Force. If you do not get a visa stamp on entry, by law, you will not be able to enrol at the University and will have to leave and re-enter the UK before you can start your course. This can be both stressful and costly so please make sure that you are avoiding the E-Gates and getting a stamp!
If you have opted to come into the UK via the Republic of Ireland, you may find that there is no Border Force Officer available to issue you with a Visa stamp. This can cause you problems as it will not be possible for you to evidence that you have the right to be in the UK if asked. The University can let you enrol for a temporary amount of time but you must leave the UK and re-enter, getting the correct visa stamp, within 3 months of your initial entrance. You should bring evidence of your travel (e.g. travel bookings, flight tickets, boarding pass) to enrolment to prove when you came into the UK. You will, by law, have to be suspended from the University if you have not rectified your immigration situation within those 3 months. For the reasons stated, you may prefer not to travel via the Republic of Ireland if you are choosing this visa route, as this will avoid any potential issues. Further information can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.
The following list are suggested documents to include in all applications both outside the UK and at the Border
Application form – Available to complete online
Passport(s): – Your passport should be valid for the length of your proposed study visit.
You should also submit any passport(s) that you have ever used to enter the UK. If any of these passports has been lost or stolen, you will need to provide a police report and details of your previous visit(s) to the UK.
Photographs: 2 passport sized, colour photographs, taken within the last month and which meet UKVI requirements
Application Fee: currently £97 for a 6 month visa. All current visa fees can be found on the Gov.UK website
Short-term Study Visa Letter from Swansea University. For new taught students this letter will be available to you from the Admissions Department. For continuing students, this letter can be requested via MyUniHub. If you do not fall into either of these categories and do not know how you get this letter please email the International @Campuslife team with as much information about your situation as possible and they will try to help you.
Proof of finances: This can be in the form of bank statements or pay slips and should ideally cover 6 months transactions. You may also choose to include property ownership papers or documentation from parents or
other family members who provide you with financial support (include a letter from the family member confirming that this money can be used to support you).
ATAS Certificate: Some but not all students will need to get a Certificate stating they have been approved for study in the UK under the Academic Technology Approval Scheme. Find further information about ATAS on the Gov.uk website or via the ATAS tab found on the bottom half of the University’s Making a Tier 4 visa application page.
Proof of accommodation and travel arrangements: If this has been organised you should provide proof of any University accommodation bookings, hotel bookings, tenancy agreements, or flight bookings. Please bear in mind that is it risky to make any non refundable bookings before you have received your visa. As long as you are able to show sufficient funds to cover reasonable costs then proof of bookings is often not required.
Evidence of Marital Status: if you are not single you will need to provide evidence of your marital status (marriage certificate etc.)
For a full list of required documents please see the GOV.UK website. Please note that all documents submitted must be originals; no scans, faxes or photocopies will be accepted and could lead to a refusal of your application.