This guidance relates to short term study visa UK. Accordingly, covers the rules, financial requirements and refusal reasons of UK short term study visa (aka UK student visitor visa and English language visa).

Short Term Study Visa UK Rules and Requirements

The short term student visa is for those, who intend to study a course in the UK with a duration of up to 6-month. Perhaps, for studying a English language course in the UK, the duration of UK student visitor visa can be up to 11-month. However, in any case, the course must not include work placement or a work experience. Accordingly, a short-term study visa UK is usually for:

  1. Study Abroad, Exchange or Visiting student
  2. English Language Programme
  3. Distance Learning Course, such as the Distance Learning MBA
  4. Re-sitting in examinations or re-taking a study module
  5. Attending a Summer School or other short course
  6. Conducting research related to degree-level study overseas
  7. Attending a PhD viva

UK Short Term Study Visa Requirements

To get a short term study visa UK, an applicant:

  1. must seek a genuine entry as a short-term student
  2. needs to be 16 years or above
  3. is accepted by an accredited institution or HEI as a short term student
  4. intends to leave the UK at the end of the study course or at the end of 6 or 11-months
  5. is able to maintain and also accommodate in the UK with own funds
  6. is able to meet the cost of onward/return journey
  7. has a valid entry clearance as a short-term student at the time of arrival in the UK if student is a visa national and/or is seeking to study for more than 6-month

English Language Student Visa UK

In fact, the English Language student visa is for those applicants who intend to come to the UK for studying ‘English Language’ for up to eleven 11 months. Quite clearly, for the purpose of short term study visa route ‘English Language Study’ is a course which teaches English as a Foreign Language only. And does not include any other subject(s). Accordingly, an English language student cannot study mixed courses under the short term study visa route. Moreover, an applicant needs to have an acceptance letter to study English Language from an accredited institution.

Additional Requirements for English Language Student Visa UK

All applicants applying for English language student visa for more than 6-months but less than 11-month, also needs to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge approx £150 at the time of the application. And if applicable also needs to submit the TB certificate with the English language student visa application at the UKVAC.

Moreover, a migrant on English language student visa needs to register with the police in the UK if the applicant is a national or citizen of a country or territory listed in Appendix 2 to the UK Immigration Rules or a stateless person or a person holding non-national travel documents.

Completing a part of a course

A genuine short-term student, who intends to complete part of a study course in the UK needs to satisfy that:

  1. he/she is studying outside the United Kingdom for a UK qualification. For instance, by distance learning
  2. the course is longer than six (6) months
  3. he/she needs to spend a period of time in the United Kingdom studying as part of the course
  4. he/she will not be spending more than six (6) months studying in the UK on any single occasion

A student who is re-sitting a formal examination or retaking a study module, or a postgraduate student who is taking oral (viva) examination, can also apply as a short-term student if the study course does not take more than six (6) months on any occasion.

Research Students

A research student can apply for a UK short term study visa for completing a short period of research or for learning research methods and techniques such as how to conduct research. However, in order to get the UK short term study visa, a research student needs to satisfy that he/she:

  1. is studying a course overseas which is equivalent to a UK degree level course. Therefore, may check if the overseas course is equivalent to a UK degree from UK NARIC. And the research is a part of the overseas course or is relevant to the overseas course. Moreover, a research student also needs to have a confirmation of the course and relevance of the research to the course from the overseas education institution
  2. has been accepted by a higher education institution (HEI) in the UK. And the HEI is funded by one of the following funding bodies in the UK for either conducting research or teaching research methods (i.e., research tuition):
    • Wales – Higher Education Funding Council
    • Scottish Funding Council
    • Northern Ireland – Department for Employment and Learning
    • England – Higher Education Funding Council

However, a short-term research student cannot:

  1. undertake a research assignment in any other circumstances
  2. get employed as a sponsored researcher. Perhaps, to do so, the research student needs to apply for a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa.

Ineligible Courses

Indeed, following types of courses are not eligible for UK short term study visa:

  1. English language course that lasts longer than eleven (11) months
  2. any other course that lasts longer than six (6) months
  3. a course that involves a work placement/experience

UK Short Term Study Visa Financial Requirements

In fact, unlike the Tier 4 student visa, there are no specified funds requirements for short term study visa UK. However, a short terms study visa applicant, like a visitor visa application, needs to demonstrate the availability of sufficient funds to cover the fee of the short term course, cost of living and accommodation and that of the return journey. Certainly, without working and recourse to public funds in the UK.

Cost of Living

Apparently, if a Tier 4 student is studying in London then needs to have £1,265 per month to cover the cost of living. Therefore, if an applicant is intending to study a short course in London then £1,265 is a good proxy for computing cost of living, inclusive of accommodation. However, if an applicant intends to stay with friends or family during the duration of study in the UK, then can include proof of accommodation in the UK. Accordingly, the inclusion of such accommodation proof reduces the cost of living in the UK.

Course Fee

Perhaps, the price of short term course depends on the length and nature of the course. Apparently, the min course fee usually starts at £150-200 per week. However, the course fee per week may go higher many folds. Accordingly, a 12-week short term course in the UK may usually cost a min of £2,500-4,000.

Average Financial Requirements

In light of the above, the financial requirements for a 3-month short term student visa UK may hover in the range of £6,000 to cover course fee and cost of living in the UK. Moreover, add up the return ticket cost to get an idea about the approximate final financial requirement. Preferably, an applicant may provide a bank statement to cover the financial requirements for short term study visa UK. 

UK Short Term Study Visa Documents Checklist

Perhaps, a tentative list of supporting documents for UK short term student visa, including English language, may include:

  1. a print out of the short term study visa online application form
  2. a valid travel document such as a national passport with at least one page blank on both sides and a min validity of 6-months
  3. certified translation of documents that are not in English/Welsh
  4. evidence of maintenance funds to meet the cost of living in the UK such as bank statements for the last 6 months
  5. accommodation details in the UK
  6. details of the travel plans such as booking of flight tickets
  7. tuberculosis (TB) test certificate – if the course is longer than 6-months and the applicant is resident of a listed country
  8. if the applicant is under 18 years then contact details for at least one parent or guardian in the home country
  9. Proof of the short term course. For instance, a letter of acceptance on the official letter head of the educational institution stating the course’s name, duration and fee. If applicable, the acceptance letter may also mention the cost of accommodation and the payment terms
  10. Additional documents depending on the circumstances of a short term student, such as evidence of:
    • previous study, for instance academic certificates, references or transcripts
    • English language qualifications, for instance certificates or awards
    • details of accommodation and travel plans
    • the resident status if an applicant is not a national of the country from which he/she applying for a short term study visa UK. For instance, an Indian national applying from UAE needs to furnish the details of the UAE residence permit
    • financial sponsor such as occupation, income, savings or funds to support an applicant’s studies in the UK 

Application Fees and Processing Time

Quite clearly, an applicant needs to apply for short term student visitor visa UK online. Moreover, the short-term study visa fees for adult and child is £97. And the cost of English language student visa for more than 6 months but not more than 11 months is £186. Evidently, the UK short term study and English language visitor visa processing time is usually within 15 working days. However, a few applications may take more than 15-30 working days. Perhaps, all 100% of the short term study and English language visitor visa applications are processed within 60 working days. 

Conditions of Stay

In fact, a short term student also has to meet the requirement relating to the conditions of stays in the UK. Accordingly, a short term student or an individual on English language visa is not permitted to:

  1. study a course at a state-maintained school/institution
  2. study a course in the UK for an extended duration through frequent/successive visits as a short-term student. However, there are certain exemptions for a student completing a degree.
  3. seek paid or unpaid employment in the UK including work placements and work experience
  4. get self-employed or involved in business/any professional activities in the UK
  5. seek recourse to public funds

However, since Jan 2018, a student on a short-term study visa can:

  1. remain in the UK for up to 30 days after the course end date, provided that the student’s total time spent in the UK does not exceed six (6) months
  2. study consecutive and concurrent courses using the same short-term study visa provided that the total time spent in the United Kingdom does not exceed six (6) months
  3. come to the United Kingdom for studying elective courses related to certain overseas degree level courses 

Can a student work in the UK on English language visa?

In the UK, short-term students are not allowed to work, either in a paid or unpaid employment or a job. The short-term students are not allowed to enrol in a course of study that includes either a work placement or a work experience. Short-term students can volunteer but are not allowed to undertake voluntary work.

In fact, a voluntary worker often has a contract with the employer, which means the employer is required to provide work. And the voluntary worker is expected to attend at particular times to carry out some specific tasks. And also usually remunerated in kind. However, a volunteers does not have a contract of employment. And also does receive payment in kind but are reimbursed for reasonable travel and subsistence expenses. Moreover, volunteer does not take the place of an employee. And generally, a volunteer helps a charity or voluntary or public sector organisation.

Frequent Visits

The UK short term study visa is a multiple entry. Accordingly, a student can enter or exit the UK on more than one occasion during the validity period of the visa. However, the short term study visa on arrival to a non-visa national is a single entry visa. And is usually at the most for six months. Therefore, for a visa national, it is possible to make frequent visits to the UK for completing a short term course. For instance, student spending some months studying in the UK then leaves the UK for a few days and then return for a further period of study. In fact if a student is spending multiple periods in the UK, then needs to clarify that the frequent/successive study visits do not mean that the student is undertaking a full-time study in the UK. 

Accredited Institutions

A short-term student is only accepted on a study course offered by an accredited institution. Perhaps, an accredited institution in the UK has a:

  1. Tier 4 PBS sponsor licence
  2. valid accreditation from:
    • Accreditation UK
    • ABLS – the Accreditation Body for Language Services
    • BAC – the British Accreditation Council
    • ASIC – Accreditation Service for International Colleges
  3. valid full institutional inspection by any one of the following bodies:
    • Estyn
    • Education Scotland
    • Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
    • Ofsted
    • The Independent Schools Inspectorate
    • Education & Training Inspectorate Northern Ireland
    • The School Inspection Service

Higher Education Institution (HEI)

A UK HEI is a recognised body or a body, which receives public funds as a higher education institution from at least either one or more of the followings:

Moreover, HM’s Home Office also accepts the following educational institutions as HEIs:

  • Richmond, the American International University in London as it is recognised in the statute in the Education Order 2006 (Recognised Awards) (Richmond The American International University in London)
  • Health Education South London as an HEI for sponsored students who were assigned a certificate of acceptance for studies (CAS) between 1 July 2015 to 31 October 2016 to undertake a recognised Foundation Programme for postgraduate doctors and dentists
  • Health Education England as an HEI for the sponsored student to take a recognised Foundation Programme for postgraduate doctors and dentists from 1 November 2016

An overseas higher education institution (not applicable to the short-term child student) can be accredited if the overseas institution:

  1. offers only part of its study programmes in the United Kingdom
  2. holds its national accreditation and offers study programmes that are equivalent level to a United Kingdom degree

Statistics 2015-17

The number of applications for short term study visa UK has increased from 72,954 to 118,911 during 2015-17. Accordingly, 73,077, 101,415 and 118,331 applications for short term study visa UK resolved during 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively. Moreover, the number of short term study visa UK grants increased considerably from 62,608 to 106,840. However, the number of total short term study visa refusal hovered in the range of 10-13K. Therefore, the short term study visa UK success rate increased from 85.67% to 90.29% and refusal rate decreased from 14.09% to 9.50%. Perhaps, in the light of UK immigration statistics, 9 out of every 10 applicants are likely to get a short term study visa UK.

UK Student Visitor Visa Statistics 2015-17
Year 2017
Applications 118,911
Resolved 118,331
Granted 106,840
Success Rate 90.29%
Refusals 11,236
Refusal Rate 9.50%
Withdrawals 255
Lapsed 0
Short Term Study Visa Grant 2018 Q2

The short term study visa UK due to its flexibility has become very popular, especially amongst the Chinese, Russian, Turkish, Saudi and Indian nationals. Accordingly, during the Q2 2018, as many as 55,780 applicants get the UK short term study visa, which is approx 62.20% of the total study visa grants of 89,673. Therefore, in fact, the UK short term student visitor visa is more popular than the long term Tier 4 student visa.

Country Total Study Visa ST Study Visa
China 40,921 16,558
Russia 10,579 10,448
Turkey 7,729 7,508
Saudi Arabia 7,416 6,230
India 3,154 2,451
Thailand 2,481 1,312
Ukraine 1,965 1,937
Kazakhstan 1,441 1,408
United States 1,248 119
Other Countries 12,739 7,809
Total 89,673 55,780

Extension

A student on a short term study visa can’t extend his/her visa in the UK. Perhaps, an application for leave to remain as a short-term student is usually refused under paragraph 322(1) of the Immigration Rules as there is no provision to grant a leave to remain for the purpose of short term study in the UK.

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Refusal Reasons

In order to mitigate misuse of the short term study visa UK route, an applicant needs to establish his/her credentials as a genuine short term student. Therefore, if an applicant is not able to establish himself/herself as a genuine short term student then this usually leads to application refusal. Perhaps, the most common reasons for UK short term study visa refusal are:

  1. Doubtful intentions to study
  2. Doubtful intentions of studying at public expense
  3. Not enough funds to support the cost of living and study
  4. Doubtful intentions to return to the Home Country
  5. False documents and representations
  6. Intentions to work or recourse to public funds

1. Doubtful intentions to study

If an applicant fails to furnish a true account of the intentions for the duration of study in the UK as a genuine student then this usually leads to application refusal. Therefore, an applicant needs to establish genuine intentions to study in the UK on a course that will be completed during the stay in the UK or in agreement with the provisions set out for study in the UK for part of a course. Moreover, an applicant must provide verifiable evidence for studying a course at an accredited institution. 

2. Doubts about studying at public expense

Moreover, an applicant must clearly establish that he/she is not intending to study at a state maintained institution. A stated maintained institute is one that provides free education and is mainly funded through public funds. However, a short-term student can study at a UK Higher Education Institution (university) if the student pays fees. 

3. Not enough funds to support the cost of living and study

An applicant must demonstrate that he/she has enough money to support himself/herself during the duration of short term study visa UK. However, if an applicant fails to establish the proof of funds then it may lead to short term study visa refusal. 

4. Doubtful intentions to return to the Home Country

Perhaps, an applicant needs to prove ties to the home country so as to establish that he/she will leave the UK at the end of the study period. Moreover, this may also help establish that the applicant does not intend to live in the UK through frequent and successive periods of study in the UK. 

5. False documents and representations

If the application falls under general grounds for refusal then this leads to short term study visa UK refusal. 

6. Intentions to work or recourse to public funds

Short term students cannot seek paid as well as unpaid employment in the UK. And also work placement, work experience, self-employment, business and any professional activity in the UK. Therefore, all applicants need to clearly establish their credentials so as to satisfy the caseworker that they will not seek employment, work and business in the UK on the short term study visa UK. Similarly, if an applicant fails to satisfy that he/she will not seek recourse to public funds then the short term study visa UK application is usually refused.

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