Short-Term Study visas.

Short-Term Study visas

Changes to the Immigration Rules affect applications from 11 January 2018.  These include: lowering the minimum age from 18 to 16 years old, work permitted for those in the UK for electives, clarification that students must leave 'within 30 days of the end of their study or at the end of 6 months, whichever is sooner', clarification that one or more consecutive or concurrent courses may be studied provided that they are completed within 6 month validity of visa.  We will incorporate these changes below on or after 11 Jan.

What is the Short-Term Study visa?

The Short Term Study visa is a 6-month maximum visa intended for short periods of study in the UK. It cannot be extended and prohibits taking up any employment. The UKCISA website provides more detail, including information about the 6-month limit and other conditions related to this visa.  You should also intend to leave the UK at the end of the study or the end of 6 months, whichever of these is sooner


Who is the Short-Term Study visa suitable for?

For university study, it is most popular for Study Abroad students coming to the UK for 1 semester only and students attending Summer Schools including the International Summer School.  It is also the correct visa to apply for if you are undertaking a PhD programme where you are based primarily abroad but need to visit the UK occasionally for short time-limited study periods or to attend a viva.

The Short-Term Study visa is not suitable for 2 semesters.  If you are considering 2 semesters then it would be best to apply for a Tier 4 visa in the first instance and then change to a 1-semester once you enrol at Exeter if you change your mind.  


Are there different rules depending on my nationality?

Yes. There are different rules depending on if you are considered a non-visa national or a visa national for UK immigration purposes. The list of visa national countries is on the Home Office website here (scroll down to Appendix 2). If your country of nationality (e.g. Australia) is not on the list then you are a non-visa national.

UKVI have advised non-visa nationals seeking to enter the UK on Short Term Study visas to see a Border Force officer at passport control and avoid using the eGates as these are solely for those seeking entry as visitors. You will need to see a Border Force Officer every time you enter the UK while you are here as a student.  

How do I apply for the Short-Term Study visa if I am a non-visa national?

If you are a non-visa national, you can request a Short-Term Study visa on entry to the UK rather than applying for it in advance. This makes it a very attractive and convenient option if you are coming for a single short visit. However, if you intend to travel in and out of the UK during your stay, or have recently visited the UK, there are risks of refusal on entry. The rules state that you cannot make frequent or successive visits to the UK. Student experience suggests that it is acceptable to have a weekend or short holiday home or to Europe if you leave and return before the end date of your course programme, but our recommendation is that you obtain a Short-Term Study visa in advance if you intend to travel in and out more than once, or wish to minimise the risk of refusal.


Requesting a Short-Term Study visa on entry to the UK:

On arrival to the UK, you will need to present your passport and your University offer letter to the Immigration Officer at your port of entry. 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. You should explain clearly that you wish to enter as a Short-Term Study visitor rather than a Standard Visitor. Your passport will be stamped with a 6-month stamp, and the Immigration Officer may add in pen "Study/Student/ or Short Term".

You should be aware that although you are called a ‘non-visa national’, this does not actually mean that you don’t need a visa, it just means that you do not need to apply for one in advance. The stamp in your passport is your new visa and it is considered to be for a single entry. If you exit and then return to the UK you will need to request a new Short-Term Study stamp so have your above documents ready to show again. A further 6 months is usually issued but note that you are expected to leave the UK at the end of your course programme and you may be questioned about your departure plans. As advised above, multiple entries with entry stamp visas risk refusal if considered too frequent. In a worst-case scenario, you could be denied entry to the UK and sent back to your home country immediately.


Applying for a Short-Term Study visa in advance:

Follow the same process described below for visa nationals.

You will want to consider this if you plan to do the following:

  • Travel in and out of the UK during your stay. 
  • You intend to enter the UK via the Republic of Ireland e.g. Dublin. The Republic of Ireland is part of a Common Travel Area with the UK (note that Northern Ireland is separate and is a part of the UK). If you enter the UK via Ireland, you will receive an Irish immigration entry stamp but you are unlikely to go through immigration control between Ireland and the UK. Your Irish entry stamp is valid only for 3 months, and you will need to leave the UK and re-enter at a UK port in order to be able to study.


How do I apply for the Short-Term Study visa if I am a visa national?

If you are a visa national then you will need to apply for and be granted the Short-Term Study visa before you travel to the UK. If you are a non-visa national but wish to apply for your Short Term Study visa in advance (see above), then you will follow the same process.

Unless you are from North Korea, you will need to submit your application online, starting the process here.

Follow the 'apply onlinelink and select Short-term student visa.

If you will be staying in University of Exeter accommodation the application form asks for the name of the accommodation officer. Please enter Helen Whyte.

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. It will then take about 2-8 weeks for your visa application to be processed, depending on the country. Current average processing times for visa applications are on the Home Office website here.


What documents will I need to submit if I apply in advance?

We are currently updating our documents checklist - please refer to the UK Visas and Immigration website in the meantime:

UK Visas and Immigration - Documents for Short-Term Study visas


What is the 11-month Short-Term Study Visa?

Although the Short-Term Study visa is usually granted for 6 months only, it is possible to apply for a Short-Term Study visa for 11 months if you are studying an English Language programme with no academic content. If you are undertaking this type of programme in the INTO Centre, they will provide you with further advice directly.


My course is 6 months or less but I was planning to apply for a Tier 4 visa, is this okay?

If you are attending a Summer School or you are a PhD student based abroad who visits the UK for short visits making up less than 50% of your course, the Short-Term Study visa is the only option for you.

However, if you are a Study Abroad student, you can apply for either the Tier 4 or the Short-Term Study visa. You should consider the Tier 4 visa if the following applies to you:

  • You want to work while you study (including unpaid work)
  • You are considering the possibility of attending the second semester


When will my Short Term Study visa expire?

Although it is possible that your Short Term Study visa will be granted just for the dates of your programme, you will usually be given a full 6-month visa, regardless of the length of your programme.


Can you answer questions about the Short-Term Study visa?

We can! Log an enquiry by emailing and one of our trained immigration advisers will help.