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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. 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
Work Work not permitted Restricted to 20* hours per week during term time

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.

*INTO students: duration and work restrictions can differ.

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.