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 student 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 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.

The application process is different depending on whether you are a considered a ‘visa national’ or a ‘non-visa national’. The information below will help you determine which category you fall into, how to make your application, and the different options or risks associated with it. 

  Visa nationals Non-visa nationals
Definition You are a visa national if you are a citizen of a country on the Appendix 2: Visa National list  You are a ‘non-visa national’ if you are the citizen of a country not on the Appendix 2: Visa National list 
Applying for your visa You must apply for and be granted your Short-Term Study visa in advance  You can apply for your Short-Term Study visa in advance or request entry as a Short-Term Student at the airport. Most Non-visa nationals apply for their visa at the airport, but there are risks to this. You should look at both options. 

How to apply

Choose the correct category below for in-depth information on the different application routes: