Short-term Student visas (formerly ‘Student Visitor’)

From the 24th April 2015, outstanding applications for entry clearance or leave to enter as a student visitor will be considered under the Short-term Student rules

When is a Short-term Student visa an appropriate option?

A Short-term Student visa can be a useful option for a non-EEA national coming to the UK for study of less than six months, perhaps for the following purposes:

  • as a Study Abroad/Exchange/Visiting student (or up to 11 months for an English language programme such as PEPS, which is not to be combined with any other study and must be applied for through Entry Clearance);
  • to undertake a distance learning course, such as the Distance Learning MBA.
  • for current students to take re-sit examinations.
  • for students coming to University to attend the Summer School.

You must be at least 18 years old, and have the financial resources to accommodate and maintain yourself during the visit. Students who are under 18 years old will need to apply for a Short-term Student (Child) visa. There are different requirements for this visa please contact the Immigration Team for further information on this type of visa.

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, where possible, you should apply for a Tier 4 student visa.

You should ensure that a Short-term Student Visa is the most appropriate visa type for your circumstances to avoid any problems at the current time or at a later date.

Please note you can NOT extend or apply to transfer to a Tier 4 Visa within the UK from a Short-term Student Visa.

On a Short-term Student visa you CAN

  • Complete a period of study or research no longer than 6 months where student is fully enrolled on a degree level course taught overseas, in accordance with paragraphs A57C and A57D of the Immigration Rules
  • Complete a period of research tuition (i.e. to learn about research) no longer than 6 months where student is fully enrolled on a degree level course taught overseas, in accordance with paragraphs A57C and A57D of the Immigration Rules
  • Attend UK based components of a distance learning or part-time course (i.e. where frequent and successive visits to the UK are not required)
  • Attend a PhD viva (where the course is delivered exclusively overseas)
  • Re-sit an examination
  • Enrol on a full-time English Language course of more than 6 months using an extended 11 month Short-term Student visa

On a Short-term Student visa you CANNOT

  • Enrol on a full-time course of study longer than 6 months, other than an English Language course as stated above or a distance learning or part-time course akin to distance learning
  • Undertake placements or internships
  • Undertake employment, either paid or unpaid (*see separate note below on volunteering)
  • Apply to extend your Short-term Student leave
  • Apply to switch into another visa category from inside the UK
  • Bring family members to the UK as your Dependants
  • Intend to stay beyond the course of study end date given in the visa application (although your visa may be valid for longer)

*Volunteering: Holders of a Short-term Student visa may volunteer while in the UK provided that they:

– do not have a contract of employment

– do not take the place of an employee

– do not receive payment (travel reimbursement and/or subsistence allowance is permitted)

– do volunteer to help a charity or voluntary or public sector organization

You should ensure that a Student Visitor Visa is the most appropriate visa type for your circumstances to avoid any problems at the current time or at a later date.

Length of Leave (visa) granted and the time you spend in the UK?

If your application for a Short-term Student visitor is approved you will usually be granted entry clearance for 6 months (except where you have been issued an extended 11 month visa for an English Language course). If your intended visit period is less than 6 months and you are granted a visa for 6 months you should not spend longer in the UK than the duration of your course – you must intend to leave at the end of your period of study or the end of the 6 / 11 months, whichever is sooner. Staying in the UK beyond the visit date stated in your original visa application could be viewed by the Home Office as a breach of visa conditions and may lead to future visa applications being refused.

11 Month Short-term Student visas (for English Language courses)

Students applying for an 11 month Short-term Student visa for an English Language course will be liable to pay a mandatory £150 Immigration Health Surcharge before their application is considered. For more information, please refer to the Home Office website:

Nationals of certain countries issued an 11 month Short-term Student visa will also be subject to a condition which specifies their registration with the police on arrival to the UK.

Non-visa nationals

If you are classed as a non-visa national by the UK Home Office then you can enter the UK as a Short-term Student for up to 6 months without needing to apply in advance for entry clearance. It may however be helpful if you can provide evidence of your studies to immigration staff at the UK border. For this reason you may wish to carry an offer letter or Short-term Student visa letter in your hand luggage. Please note, non-visa nationals who enter the UK as a Short-term Student are subject to the same restrictions as stated above.

Is a Short-term Student visa a multiple entry visa?

A Short-term Student visa that is applied for overseas before you travel (Entry Clearance) is a multiple entry visa, whereas a Short-term Student visa issued at the port of entry to the UK (available only to non-visa nationals, check the Home Office website before you travel) is a single entry visa.

How to obtain a Short-term Student visa support letter from the University ?

  • If you are a visiting/exchange student, the Exchange team in the International Office will contact you regarding your visa options and send you a support letter if you decide to undertake your studies using a Short-term Student visa.
  • If you are a distance learning student at WBS, your relevant admissions team in WBS will prepare the letter for you a few months ahead of your university week.
  • For any other students, the letter will be prepared by the Immigration Service team at the request of your academic department. If you require a support letter, please get in touch with your academic department in the first instance and ask them to request a support letter (access is restricted to staff members) on your behalf.

Where do I apply for a Short-term Student visa?

Applications for Short-term Student visas are made online using the application form at

and select the following options

Reason for visit: Study

Visa type: Study (non Point-Based System)

Visa sub-type: Study- Short-term student 6 months

If you are a national of a country on the ‘visa national list’ (see UKvisas for this list), you must apply for a Short-term Student visa at a British Embassy (or High Commission or Consulate) or Visa Application Centre before you travel to the UK.

Information about where to apply in each country can be found from the Home Office website. It is possible to make an application for a and visitor visa from any country, not just your home country- contact your nearest British Embassy to see if they would accept an application.

If your country is not on the visa national list you can apply for a Short-term Student visa before travelling (as above), or you can make a Short-term Student visa application on arrival at a UK airport. You should also be able to provide evidence that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your time here. You must also 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.

To avoid any problems on arrival to the UK we recommend strongly that all non-EEA students coming for less than six months apply for a visa before leaving for the UK. This is the safest and most practical option.

What documents do I need to apply for a Short-term Student visa?

You need to show that you have sufficient funds available to support yourself during your visit to the UK. This should include evidence of money to pay for: course fees, accommodation, daily subsistence (meals, etc), onward or return flights. There is no set amount which the Home Office expect you to show for your living costs, but we generally advise applicants to apply the same cost of living as Tier 4 students, which is £250 a week. Money should be in an bank account in the applicant’s name.

  • If your study visit is being funded by your Academic Department or you are in receipt of a scholarship then you should submit an original letter which confirms what costs are being met. Unless the letter states explicitly that all your costs (fees, travel, accommodation, meals, etc) are covered, you will still need to provide financial evidence of your own funds.
  • If available, you should provide details of where you are staying in the UK, such as hotel or other accommodation booking confirmation.
  • You need to submit a Short-term Student visa Support Letter from the University  confirming that you have an unconditional offer to study here (see above re how to request this letter).
  • If you are enrolled at a University in your home country and are coming to university as part of an exchange/study visit, include a letter confirming the dates of your course and your registration status at your home institution.
  • If you are employed in your home country then you should provide full details of this in the application form; it may be useful to include a letter of support from your employer which consents to your visiting the UK and confirms your intent to return home at the end of the visit.
  • The application form also asks for the details of any friends or family you have in the UK and what you intend to do during your visit – you should answer fully and honestly.
  • You need to show that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your study or at the end of the 6 months whichever is sooner. We recommend that you include details of onward or return flights. It may also be helpful to provide evidence of other ties that you have in your home country, such as family, property of other assets.
  • We suggest that you also read full guidance from the Home Office website, especially if you have had a visa refusal in the past.

What endorsement will I receive in my passport?

If you have applied for a Short-term Student visa overseas before you travel, you should receive a Student Visitor visa vignette in your passport.

If you apply for a Short-term Student 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 or ‘STS’ for Short Term Student on the stamp. If they do not do this, you must ask if they will write this on 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?

If you have a Short-term Student visa, staff at enrolment or within your department will be looking for confirmation that you hold an appropriate visa which permits studying. You should bring your passport with you for staff to verify your immigration status.

Students on distance learning courses or students coming to do 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 Student 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 (for example, the Student Visitor visa support letter).

If you are unsure about which visa is the most appropriate for you then please contact the Immigration Servicewho will be able to help you.

How do I complete online enrolment if I will be studying using a Short-term Student visa (new students only)?

If you will be starting a new course at the University using a Short-term Student visa, you will be required to provide your passport and visa information during online enrolment.

  • If you will apply for a Short-term Student visa before you travel, and you have received an email invitation for online enrolment, you should complete online enrolment once you have received your visa. You should choose ‘student visitor’ as your visa type and enter its start date, expiry date and visa number (on the top right corner).
  • if you are a non-visa national and will request entry when arriving in the UK, and you have received an email invitation for online enrolment, you can complete online enrolment straight away. You should select ‘student visitor’ as your visa type; the start date should be the date you intend to enter the UK; the end date should be +6 months. You will not have a visa number, so just enter ‘to apply at the port of entry’. This will be corrected when you present your passport to a member of staff when you arrive at the university.

**Applicants who want to come to the UK to study one of the following courses should use Tier 4 of the points based system

  • an English language course that last longer than 11 months
  • any other full time course that lasts longer than 6 months
  • a course that includes a work placement or work experience