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Short-term study visas

The Short-Term Study (STS) visa is a 6 month maximum visa intended for short periods of study in the UK for non-EU/EEA passport holders. This visa cannot be extended and work is prohibited (with the exception of students on medical electives). 

A short-term study visa is suitable if you are:

  • based overseas but need to visit the UK occasionally for short periods of study. For example, those coming to the UK for a period of research or electives as part of their studies overseas.
  • a current PhD students on Distance Learning.  Note: you can spend a total of no more than 56 days in the UK in any 6 month period.
  • attending an exam in the UK then returning home. For example, current students coming to the UK for a resit exam or to attend their PhD viva voce examination. A Tier 4 visa is also an option.
  • attending 1 semester on a Study Abroad course.  A Tier 4 visa is also an option, and is essential if you are planning to work during your studies or are considering 2 semesters of study.
  • attending the International Summer School

Short-Term Study vs Tier 4

  Short-Term Study visa  Tier 4 (General) visa

Entry Clearance: £97

Leave to Enter: free (non-visa nationals only)

Entry Clearance: £348

Entry Clearance: multiple entry

Leave to Enter: single entry (non-visa nationals only)

Multiple entry

6 months*

You should leave within 30 days of the end of your study or at the end of the 6 months whichever is sooner.

1 week either side of official course dates
Extensions Cannot be extended Restricted

No restrictions.

You can study any short course in any combination as long as you finish within 6 months.

Restricted. You are usually restricted to one course.
Work Work not permitted Restricted to 20* hours per week during term time

Volunteering permitted

Voluntary work not permitted

Volunteering permitted

Voluntary work hours included in the restricted hours mentioned above

*INTO students and part-time Tier 4 students: duration and work restrictions can differ.

For more details on working and volunteering, see our dedicated page Working in the UK.

Different rules depending on nationality

There are different rules on how and where you can apply depending on your nationality. If you are from a country listed in Appendix 2, read through the information for visa nationals. If your nationality is not on the list, read through the information for non-visa nationals.

» Visa national list

You are considered a visa national if you have a passport from a country listed in Appendix 2.

» Visa national

Find out how to apply if you are a visa national.

» Non-visa national

Find out how to apply if you are a non-visa national.