Short Term Study Visa UK: what you need to know? Best Advice!

Student Visitor Visa UKThis relates to the short term study visa UK, which is also known as student visitor visa and English Language visa. Perhaps, there is more than one route to study in the UK. Therefore, at first, the post provides the details of UK student visa types. And afterwards, the details relating to short term student visa UK for studying short course up-to 6 months and English Language up-to 11 months in the UK. The post also explains the rules, requirements and changes in the Immigration Rules during 2018. Moreover, the post highlights the UK student visa refusal rate and refusal reasons. And also details of accredited institutions and higher education institutions (HEI) in the UK.

UK Student Visa Types: Short Term, Tier 4, Study on Visitor Visa

There are three routes to study in the UK:

  1. Short term study visa UK student visitor and English Language
  2. Tier 4 Student (and also Tier 4 Child Student)
  3. Studying on a UK visitor visa

Short Term Study Visa UK Student Visitor and English Language

The short-term student visa is for those, who intend to visit the UK to study a short duration course. However, the course does not include either a work placement or a work experience. The short-term student visa is previously called student visitor visa.

Types of Short Term Study Visa UK | Student Visitor Visa UK

There are three (3) types short-term student routes:

  1. short-term student six (6) months – applicants having an age of eighteen (18) years and more can study any suitable course in the UK for a maximum period of six (6) months. Moreover, the cost of short term student visa UK is £97.
  2. short-term student eleven (11) months – for applicants aged eighteen (18) and over for a maximum of eleven (11) months for studying an English Language course only. From April 6, 2018, the English Language Student Visa Application Fee is £186.
  3. short-term student (child) – for applicants aged under eighteen (18) to study a course in the UK for a maximum duration of six (6) months. The short term child student visa UK application fee is £97.

Tier 4 Student Visa UK | UK Student Visa Types

Those who intend to visit the UK to study one of the following types of courses are required to apply for a visa under the Point-Based System (PBS) Tier 4 route:

  • an English language course that lasts longer than eleven (11) months
  • any other course that lasts longer than six (6) months
  • a course that involves a work placement/experience

From April 6, 2018, the Tier 4 student visa application cost will increase by 3.9%. Therefore, after an escalation of £13, the price of Tier 4 student visa will increase from £335 to £348.

Can You Study in the UK on a Tourist Visa?

Yes, a person on a visitor visa to the UK for instance as a tourist or family visitor can pursue a course of study for up to thirty (30) days. However, studying should not be the main purpose of the visit. Moreover, if an applicant intends to visit the UK as an academic visitor then needs to apply for a Standard Visit Visa. From April 6, 2018, the UK academic visitor application cost is £186.

Purpose and Requirements of Student Visitor Visa UK

This study route enables a non-EEA national to study a course up to six months in the UK. In the case of an English Language course, the time duration is up to 11 months. A short-term study visa is usually for:

  • a Study Abroad, Exchange or Visiting student
  • an English language programme
  • distance learning course, such as the Distance Learning MBA
  • re-sitting in examinations or re-taking a study module
  • attending a Summer School or other short course
  • conducting research related to degree-level study overseas
  • attending a PhD viva

Short-Term Study Visa UK Requirements | Student Visitor Visa UK

The general requirements for short term student visa UK are:

  • an applicant must seek a genuine entry to study in the UK as a short-term student
  • the applicant need to be eighteen (18) years or above
  • either an accredited institution in the UK or HEI accepts the applicant as a short term term student. In case of a higher education institution (HEI) for research or learn about research for up to six (6) months
  • the applicant intends to leave the UK either at the end of the study course or at the end of six (6) months or eleven (11) months leave granted to the student, whichever is the earliest date
  • the applicant is able to maintain and also accommodate himself/herself with his/her own funds
  • applicant is able to meet the cost of onward/return journey;
  • the individual has a valid entry clearance to the UK as a short-term student (at the time of arrival in the United Kingdom) if he/she is a visa national and/ or the individual is seeking to study in the UK for more than six (6) month

Short-Term Study Visa UK Requirements

Requirements 6 month ST Student 11 month ST Student ST Child Student
Entry clearance mandatory Visa nationals only All applicants Visa nationals only
Short term study visa UK form AccessUK online application form
Entry clearance endorsements Cat C: ST student ST student Code D

Cat C: ST student – child




Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Not required Required Not required
Leave to enter endorsements 6 months: ST student Code 3: 11 months: ST student Code 3: 6 months: ST student
Length of leave 6 months 11 months 6 months
Conditions of leave to enter No work
No recourse to public funds
ATAS certificate required (if applicable)
Not Required TB certificate (if applicable) Not Required
Are dependants allowed? Not permitted
Is switching into this category permitted? No
Is the Immigration Health Surcharge payable? No Yes No
Can you apply for further leave to remain (in country) after this visa? No
Does police registration apply? No Yes No
Does this category lead to settlement (ILR)? No
Knowledge of language and life Not required

Student Visitor Visa UK Duration and Extension

The applicant can live up to 6 months – for any short course (including English language courses), or a short period of research if an applicant is 18 or over. The applicant can live up to 11 months – if he/she is 18 or over and taking an English language course. However, applicants can not bring family members (‘dependants’) as they must need to apply separately.

Short Term Student Visa UK Extension

Short term students in the UK can’t extend their visa. Accordingly, an application for leave to remain as a short-term student is refused under paragraph 322(1) of the Immigration Rules. Most noteworthy: there is no provision in the Rules to grant a leave to remain in the UK for the purpose of short term study in the UK.

Short Term Study Visa UK Financial Requirements

Unlike the Tier 4 student entry clearance application, there are no specified funds requirements for short term student visitor visa UK. However, applicants must demonstrate the availability of sufficient funds to cover the price of short term course, cost of living and accommodation and that of the return journey. Certainly, without working in the UK and recourse to public funds.

Cost of Living for Student Visitor Visa UK

A Tier 4 student requires £1,265 per month for living costs for studying in London. 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 for Short Term Study Visa UK

Moreover, the price of short term course depends on the length and nature of the course. 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 weeks or 3 months short course may usually cost a min of £2,500-4,000.

Computing Min Financial Requirements for Student Visitor Visa UK

In the light of the above, the financial requirements for a 3 months 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 Multiple Entry Student Visitor Visa UK

Certainly, all visa nationals need to apply for an entry clearance visa to study a short course or English Language in the UK. Accordingly, the UK short term study visa for entry clearance is a multiple entry visa. The multiple entry short term study visa enables a student to enter and exit the UK on more than one occasion during the validity period of the visa. However, short term study visa grants on arrival in the UK to non-visa nationals is a single entry visa and is usually at the most for six months.

Can a Student Visitor Visa Work in UK?

In the UK, short-term students are not allowed to work, either in a paid or an unpaid employment/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.

Voluntary workers

  • often have 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 specific/particular tasks;
  • are also usually remunerated in kind;


  • do not have a contract of employment;
  • must not receive payment in kind but are reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence expenses;
  • must not take the place of an employee;
  • generally, help a charity or voluntary or public sector organisation.

Statement of Changes Jan 11, 2018, Short-Term Study Visa UK

In terms of Statement of Changes announced on Dec 7, 2017, and effective from January 11, 2018, the min age of an applicant for short-term study visa is now 16 years, previously it was 18 years. Moreover, now a student on a short-term study visa can:

  • 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;
  • 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; and
  • come to the United Kingdom for studying elective courses related to certain overseas degree level courses.

UK Student Visitor Visa Refusal Rate and Reasons

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 Short Term Study Visa 2015-17

Year 2015 2016 2017
Applications for short term study visa UK 72,954 102,402 118,911
Resolved 73,077 101,415 118,331
Granted 62,608 87,353 106,840
Success Rate 85.67% 86.13% 90.29%
Refused 10,297 13,881 11,236
UK Short Term Study Visa Refusal Rate 14.09% 13.69% 9.50%
Withdrawn 161 176 255
Lapsed 11 5 0

Student Visitor Visa UK Grants During Q2 2018

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 short term visas were granted.

Immigration Statistics Student Visitor Visa UK Q2 2018

Total 55,780
China 16,558
Russia 10,448
Turkey 7,508
Saudi Arabia 6,230
India 2,451
Ukraine 1,937
Kazakhstan 1,408
Thailand 1,312

Common Reasons for UK Student Visitor Visa Refusal

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 lead to application refusal. Perhaps, the most common reasons for UK short term study visa refusal are:

Genuine Intentions to Study on the Student Visitor Visa UK

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 lead to application refusal. Therefore, an applicant needs to establish genuine intentions to study in the UK on a course that will be either 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.

No Intentions of Studying at Public Expense on Student Visitor Visa UK

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.

Not Enough Funds to Support Cost of Living and Study in the UK

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.

Intentions to Return to 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.

Refusal on General Grounds Student Visitor Visa UK

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

Intention to Work in the UK and 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.

Short Term Study Visa Rules UK | Student Visitor Visa UK

A short-term student {six (6) months} can come to the United Kingdom for up to six (6) months for studying a course, completing a period of research and completing research tuition (for instance, to learn about research/methods and techniques).

Applicants intending to apply for an entry clearance or leave to enter to either study or conduct research thesis as a short-term student (six months) are required to meet all the requirements of paragraphs A57C and A57D of the UK Immigration Rules.

Acceptance Letter for Short Term Study Visa UK

If a short-term student (6 months) is coming to the UK to study, he/she needs to be accepted for a course of study at an accredited institution. The applicant is required to furnish an acceptance letter from an accredited institution with the necessary details of the study program/course in the United Kingdom.

Short-Term Study in the UK as Part of a Course

genuine short-term student applicant, who intends to complete part of a study course in the UK needs to satisfy the following criteria in the visa application:

  • studying outside the UK for a UK qualification (for instance, by distance learning);
  • course that is longer than six (6) months;
  • the student is required to spend a period of time in the United Kingdom studying as part of the course;
  • the student is not spending more than six (6) months studying in the UK on any single occasion;

A student who is either re-sitting a formal examination or retaking a study module, or a postgraduate student who is taking his/her 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.

If the student is spending multiple periods in the UK, then he/she needs to clarify that his/her frequent/successive study visits do not mean he/she is full-time studying in the UK. For instance, student spending some months studying in the UK, leave the UK for a few days and then return for a further period of study.

Research and Research Tuition on Student Visitor Visa UK

If a short-term student (six months) is intending to visit the UK for completing a short period of research or for learning research methods and techniques i.e. how to conduct research, then an applicant is required to satisfy the following requirements for a successful visa application:

  • the student must be studying a course overseas which is equivalent to a UK degree level course:
    • the applicant may check if the overseas course is equivalent to a UK degree from UK NARIC;
    • the research should be either part of the overseas course or is relevant to the overseas course;
    • the applicant is required to provide confirmation of the course and relevance of the research to the course from his/her overseas education provider/institution;
  • the applicant/student has been accepted by a higher education institution (HEI) in the UK. And the HEI is funded by one of the following funding bodies/councils 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;

A short-term student (six months) is not allowed to:

  • undertake a research assignment in any other circumstances;
  • be employed as a sponsored researcher- to do so, he/she is required to apply either under Tier 2 or Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) of the points-based system (PBS)

English Language Student Visa UK to Study English Language Course

English Language Student Visa UK is for those applicants who intend to come to the United Kingdom for studying ‘English Language’ for more than six (6) months but not more than eleven (11) months.

Definition of English Language Study

For the purpose of this route ‘English Language Study’ is a course which teaches English as a Foreign Language only and does not include any other subject(s). An applicant is not allowed to study mixed courses under this study route.

Requirements for Entry Clearance or Leave to Enter

A short-term student for studying the English Language in the UK is required to meet the conditions stated in Paragraph A57C and A57E of the Immigration Rules. An entry is likely to be refused to those applicants who do not have entry clearance as a short-term student (eleven months). Moreover, any other type of application under this route, including applications to undertake research as a short-term student (eleven months), is likely to be refused.

Acceptance Letter for English Language Student Visa UK

The applicant is required to be accepted for a course of study at an accredited institution. The applicant is to provide an acceptance letter from the institution with details of the course.

Police Registration for English Language Student Visa UK

All applicants under the Short Term Student (eleven months) route are required 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;
  • stateless person;
  • person holding non-national travel documents.

Health Surcharge £150 for English Language Student Visa UK

All Short Term Student (11 months) for English Language Study in the UK are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge at the reduced rate for students (£150 for every 12 months of leave) at the time of making the application for entry clearance.

Accredited Institutions for Short Term Study Visa UK

A short-term student is only accepted on a study course offered by an accredited institution.

An accredited institution in the UK falls into either one of the categories:

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

Definition of 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:

Short Term Study Visa UK Higher Education Institutions (HEI)

Country Website
England Office for Students (see the Register section of the website)
Scotland Scottish Funding Council.
Wales Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
Northern Ireland Department for the Economy

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;

Accredited Overseas Higher Education Institutions

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

  • the overseas institution offers only part of its study programmes in the United Kingdom;
  • the overseas institution holds its national accreditation and offers study programmes that are equivalent level to a United Kingdom degree.

Can I Study in the UK on a Visitor Visa?

A person on standard visitor visa can study in the UK. Accordingly, this section relates to permitted Study for Visitors and covers the following topics:

  • Study Should Not be the Main Purpose or for more than thirty (30) Days
  • Allowed Exceptions for Long-term Visit Visa Holders
  • Permitted Activities for Educational Exchange Visits
  • State Education – dependant children of the Visiting Academics in the UK for 12 months

Study Should Not be the Main Purpose of Visiting the UK

As per the Immigration Rules visitors can study for a maximum period of thirty (30) days; however, the study should not be their main purpose of visiting the UK. For instance, if a visitor is coming to the UK for holidays and for a max period of thirty (30) days can undertake an English language course. The permitted thirty (30) days may either be in one time period or multiple periods totalling not more than 30 days, for instance, a study on 30 separate days. However, there are some exceptions for Long-Term Visit Visa.

Visitors Not Allowed Frequent Visits to the UK for Study

The applicants are not allowed to make frequent or repeat visits to pursue a longer study course – especially for such a study course which does not meet the requirements of the relevant student route.

If an applicant is intending to visit the UK for undertaking a study course for more than permitted thirty (30) day period or study is the main purpose in coming to the UK then the visitor should apply under the short-term study route.

Recreational and Non-Recreational Short Courses

A bona fide Institute in the UK can offer recreational courses, for instance, horse riding or a dancing course. Courses that could lead to a formal qualification are not generally considered recreational. Requirements for this purpose do not include attendance certificates.

Can I Study English with a Tourist Visa UK?

Non-recreational short courses, such as English language courses or study that is a part of a course of study overseas, are only allowed if the provider meets the criteria of Appendix 3 of the visitor rules.

Allowed Exceptions | Long-term Visit Visa Holders

A holder of a long-term, multiple-entry, visitor visa may occasionally wish to visit the UK entirely to study for a short period up to thirty (30) days. This could include – but is not limited to – persons who are undertaking a course of study overseas (inclusive of a UK course by distance learning) and may be required to study in the United Kingdom as part of the course.

Since a person cannot hold two (2) types of leave at the same time i.e.

  • a long-term visit visa; and
  • a leave as a short-term student;

Therefore, short-term visitor visa as a short-term student cannot be simultaneously granted without cancelling the long-term visit visa, if the validity of a long-term visit visa and that of a short-term study leave are concurrent. Therefore, a long-term visit visa holder might be allowed to enter to take a course or period of study longer than 30 days. However, the course or period of study should meet the requirements of paragraph 25 of Appendix V of Immigration Rules; therefore, the course should not exceed 30 days at a stretch, unless it is a recreational course, conducted place at an accredited institution.

Moreover, the main purpose of holding a long-term visitor visa should continue to be to undertake permitted activities as a visitor. And visits must continue to be mainly for permitted activities other than study i.e. time spent studying in the United Kingdom must not exceed the time spent carrying out other permitted activities. In case if the visits are not mainly for permitted visitor activities, the visitor visa could be cancelled, and entry is likely to be refused.

If a visitor is making repeated visits to complete a longer course of study and there is a confirmation of acceptance for such a course, then it is quite apparent that the visitor’s main purpose in visiting the UK is to study. Such study should be carried out under either the short-term student route or Tier 4 of the points-based system (PBS) as a short-term student should not intend to study in the UK for extended duration through frequent or successive periods as a short-term student.

The exception does not apply to holders of single entry visitor visas and to non-visa nationals, who are applying for leave to enter as a visitor at the border. For such visitors, the study must not be the main or sole purpose of the visit.

Permitted Activities: Educational Exchange Visits

The children should be full-time students in their home country and adults accompanying the group – either their teachers or other adults – should be employed overseas.

Student Exchange Programmes and Educational Visits are generally aimed at broadening horizons and deepening intercultural understanding. Although, these visits are not limited to thirty (30) days; however, the nature of the visit for longer duration visits is scrutinised so as to assess that the proposed exchange programme does not amount to a course of study, which should be carried out under the study routes. Moreover, schools are allowed to decide the precise nature of the visit; however, evidence of a programme of cultural visits or other activities is required to be provided for assessment at the application stage.

State Education – dependant children of the Visiting Academics in the UK for twelve (12) months

The requirement that a visitor should not intend to study at a maintained school might be waived for a dependant of a visitor that has entered the United Kingdom for the purpose of accompanying his/her parent, who is a visiting academic on sabbatical leave and undertaking research for up to twelve (12) months in the UK.

Admission to maintained schools is not an immigration matter. The Department of Education has a policy responsibility for admissions to schools in England. Admissions policy elsewhere in the United Kingdom is a question for the devolved administrations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Therefore, the responsibility for deciding whether or not to admit a child to an individual maintained school lies with the school’s admission authority i.e. a local authority in case of a community or voluntary controlled school and school’s governing body in the event of foundation school or voluntary aided school.


Related: UK visitor and temporary visas:

Standard Visitor Visa UKC Visit Business Visa UKLong Term Visitor Visa UKUK Medical VisaMarriage Visitor Visa UKUK PPE VisaParent of a Tier 4 Child VisaChild Visitor Visa UK Requirements and Short Term Student Child Visa UK. And also UK Visit Visa 2018Switch Visitor Visa UK, UK Visitor Visa CancelledUK Visit Visa ExtensionUK Visit Visa Eligibility RequirementsUK Multiple Entry Visa RulesUK Visitor Visa Sponsor DocumentsUK Tourist Visa 2019: how to apply and reapply successfully?, UK Visa Refusal Reasons, and UK Visa Supporting Documents

Perhaps, to know more about UK Visa and Immigration please refer: UK Priority Visa Service, UK Settlement Visa Processing Time, UK Tourist Visa Processing Time After Biometrics, UK Visa Delay Reasons, UK Visa Reapply or Appeal, UK Immigration Appeal Waiting Time and UK Visa Appeal Solicitors