You can apply for a Short-term study visa if:
- you’re doing a short course of study in the UK
- you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
- you meet the other eligibility requirements
What you can and cannot do
- do a short course of study in the UK, such as an English language course or a training course
- do a short period of research as part of a degree course if you are studying abroad
- study at a state-funded school
- work or carry out any business (this includes work experience or work placements, unless the placement is an eligible medical, veterinary or dentistry elective)
- extend this visa
- bring family members (‘dependants’) with you – they must apply separately
- get public funds
How long you can stay
You can stay in the UK for the length of your course or research.
You may be allowed to stay an extra 30 days if your total stay in the UK would be no more than 6 months, or no more than 11 months if you’re both:
- 16 or over
- studying an English language course
Your visa will say how long you are allowed to stay in the UK.
If you do not normally need a visa to visit the UK, you can study for up to 6 months without applying in advance. You must see a border officer when you arrive in the UK – do not use the ePassport gates.
If you want to study for longer than 6 months, you must apply for a Short-term study visa in advance.
- £97 for a 6 month visa
- £186 for an 11 month visa
How long it takes
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.
You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.
You must prove that you:
- have been offered a place on a course in the UK at an accepted place of study
- have enough money to support yourself without working or help from public funds, or that relatives and friends can support and house you
- can pay for your return or onward journey
If you’re under 18 you must also:
- have made arrangements for your travel and stay in the UK
- have permission from your parent or guardian to study in the UK
Where you can study
You must be accepted on a course with an education provider that holds a Tier 4 sponsor licence.
Otherwise your course will need to be held at an educational institution listed by one of the following:
- Accreditation Body for Language Services
- Accreditation Service for International Colleges
- Accreditation UK
- British Accreditation Council
- Education and Training Inspectorate (in Northern Ireland)
- Estyn (in Wales)
- Education Scotland
- Independent Schools Inspectorate
- Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
- Office for Students
- Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
Learning English as a foreign language
You can apply for an 11 month Short-term study visa to learn English as a foreign language if you:
- are at least 16 years old
- have been accepted onto a course that teaches it
If only part of the course focuses on teaching English as a foreign language, and the rest of the course teaches something else, you can only apply for a 6 month Short-term study visa.
Visiting the UK as part of an overseas course
You can apply for a Short-term study visa if you’re at least 16 years old and studying at an overseas higher education institution and part of your course is in the UK.
Your institution must:
- hold its own national accreditation
- offer only part of its educational programme in the UK
- offer programmes that are equivalent to a UK degree
Researching in the UK for a short time
You can come to the UK for a short period of research if already enrolled on an overseas degree course.
To be eligible:
- your course must be equivalent to a UK degree
- you must be carrying out the research at a UK higher education provider
- you must be at least 16 years old
Medical, veterinary or dentistry electives
You can apply for a Short-term study visa to do an ‘elective’ – an optional additional placement for certain courses.
You can only do this if your main course of study is medicine, veterinary medicine and science, or dentistry.
To be eligible:
- your overseas course of study must be at least equivalent to a UK degree
- the elective must be relevant to your main course of study
- you must have been accepted onto an elective by a higher education provider
- the elective must be unpaid, and must not involve treating patients
When you apply you need to provide:
- a current passport or other valid travel identification
- evidence that you can support yourself during your trip, for example bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months
- details of where you intend to stay and your travel plans – you should not pay for accommodation or travel until you get your visa
- your tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test and you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months
- contact details for at least one parent or guardian in your home country (if you’re under 18 years old)
You also need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.
You need a blank page in your passport for your visa.
Documents about your course
You must provide proof of the course you’re studying, for example a letter of acceptance from the educational institution – on official headed paper, stating the course’s name, duration and cost (including accommodation).
You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances, such as evidence of your:
- previous study, for example academic certificates, references or transcripts
- English language qualifications, for example certificates or awards
- accommodation and travel plans
- permission to be in the country you’re applying from (if you’re not a national)
- financial sponsor’s occupation, income, savings or funds that will support your studies
To study or research certain subjects, you’ll also need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. You need to apply for this before applying for your Short-term Study visa. Find out if you need an ATAS certificate.
If you’re under 18
If you’re under 18 you need to provide additional documents if:
- you’re travelling on your own
- you’re travelling with someone who is not your parent or guardian
Travelling on your own
You can travel to the UK without an adult (someone 18 or over).
Your parent or guardian needs to provide their:
- written consent for you to travel to the UK
- full contact details
They also need to provide proof that you have somewhere suitable to live during your stay in the UK, including:
- the name and date of birth of the person that you will be staying with
- an address where you will be living
- details of your relationship to the person who’ll be looking after you
- consent in writing so they can look after you during your stay in the UK
You must provide a letter from the school confirming it has notified the local authority of your visit and the details of who’ll be caring for you if:
- you’re under 16 (or under 18 if you have a disability)
- you’ll be looked after for more than 28 days by someone who is not a close relative (called ‘private foster care’)
You must include the reply from the local authority if the school has received one.
Travelling with an adult
When travelling to the UK with an adult (someone 18 or over), you need to identify them in your visa application.
Their name will appear on your visa, and you’ll be refused entry to the UK if you arrive in the UK without them.
You can identify up to 2 adults in your visa application, and your visa will only be valid if you travel with at least one of them.
The adult can apply for a visa at the same time, but you must each complete separate applications.
You must apply online for a Short-term study visa.
You need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of your application.
Find out how to get your visa decision faster – this depends on what country you’re in. Check if your visa application centre offers faster decisions and other services.
You cannot apply online if you’re living in North Korea.
To apply from North Korea you must:
Countries in the EU and EEA
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 countries. It operates an internal (or single) market which allows free movement of goods, capital, services and people between member states.
The EU countries are:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
The European Economic Area (EEA)
The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.
Switzerland is not an EU or EEA member but is part of the single market. This means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.
Citizens’ rights after the UK leaves the EU
There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens currently living in the UK until 30 June 2021.
You can read about the rights and status of UK nationals living in the EU after the UK leaves the EU.