Short-term student visa

Last modified: 21 May 2024

A Short-term Student visa allows you to study an English language course in the UK between six and 11 months. If your course lasts up to six months, you may be able to use the Visitor route. 

You must apply for and receive a Short-term Student visa before you arrive in the UK. You can apply from any country outside the UK, but you must have permission to be in the country from which you apply. 

You can only make your application once you have been accepted onto an English language course at an accredited institution and you must not study at an academy or state-funded school. The information below gives details about accredited institutions, state-funded schools and academies as well as other eligibility criteria. 

Am I eligible for a Short-term Student visa?

Last modified: 21 May 2024

If you are currently outside the UK and you want to come to study in the UK as a Short-term Student you need to meet the following criteria: 

  • You must be 16 or older when you apply (which is when you pay the immigration application fee). 
  • You must be accepted onto an English language course which is at least six months and no longer than 11 months in duration at an accredited provider.
  • The course must consist only of English language study and cannot be combined with other subjects. 
  • The English language course does not need to lead to a specific qualification. 
  • There are no minimum academic requirements for immigration purposes, the course can be at any level, but your course provider may have specific admissions criteria. 
  • You are not required to have a minimum English language ability, but your course provider may have specific admissions criteria. 
  • There are no minimum hours which you must be studying during your time in the UK.  
  • You will need to provide evidence of funds which show that you have enough money to support yourself while you are in the UK. 

What is an accredited institution? 

What is a state-funded school or academy? 


My course is up to six months, what immigration permission do I need to come to the UK? 

If your course is up to six months, you cannot use a Short-term Student visa and should instead check to see if you are eligible to study the course as a visitor. 

How do I apply for a Short-term Student visa?

Last modified: 03 May 2024

To apply for a Short-term Student visa, you’ll need to include the following as part of your application:  

  1. The completed online application form. You will be asked to 'confirm your visa type'. Choose 'Short-term Student'.
  2. The application fee, currently £200 converted into your local currency and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee which is currently £776.
  3. Your current travel document, such as a passport or other travel document, which shows your identity and nationality.
  4. A letter of acceptance from an accredited institution stating that you have been accepted onto an English language course and the length of the course which lasts at least six months and no longer than 11 months.
  5. Evidence of funds which show:
    • That you have enough money to support yourself while you are in the UK. There is no specific amount, however you must show that you have enough money to support yourself adequately without recourse to public funds and without working. 
      • The term ‘adequate’ is defined in the Immigration Rules as being a level of funds equivalent to a person being in receipt of income support "after income tax, national insurance contributions and housing costs have been deducted". Detailed guidance on what the Home Office considers 'adequate' support is available in the caseworker guidance on financial requirements.
    • That you can pay your course fees. If you have already paid the fees, you need to include evidence of this with your application. 
    • You can meet the cost of your return or onward journey from the UK.
  6. You will need to evidence your funds in a specific way, as specified in the Immigration Rules Appendix Finance. Note that the evidence of funds must be in your name (either alone or as a joint account holder), or provided by an 'official financial sponsor', or a combination.  
    • The term 'official financial sponsor' in the Immigration Rules relates only to certain, specific groups. These are outlined in paragraph FIN 8.4 of Appendix Finance of the Immigration Rules. They are: His Majesty’s Government; the applicant’s national government; the British Council or any international organisation; international company, university or Independent School.
    • Funds in the name of your parent, or legal guardian will be accepted if you also provide proof of your relationship and written consent from the parent or legal guardian to use those funds. 
  7. If you have been continuously present in one of the countries listed in Appendix Tuberculosis of the Immigration Rules for six months and some part of that time was within the last six months before your Short-term Student application then you will need to provide a valid medical certificate from an approved clinic confirming that you are clear of tuberculosis.
  8. If you are under 18 you must provide written confirmation from both your parents (it can be one parent if that parent has sole legal responsibility for you) or legal guardian that they consent to your application and to both:
    • Your living and care arrangements in the UK.
    • Your travel to, and reception arrangements in, the UK.  

You must provide evidence of your relationship to your parent(s)or legal guardian who provide this consent and your parent(s)/legal guardian must also provide their contact details.  

Guidance about meeting this requirement can be found under the heading 'parental consent requirement' in the Home Office guidance on Appendix Children. 

You will need to provide a translation of any documents which are not already in English.  

  1. You must also provide your biometrics (fingerprints and facial image). You will receive instructions about how to do this.

As part of the assessment of your application, the Home Office will consider whether you genuinely intend to study as a Short-term Student as your reason for travelling to the UK. The Short-term Student caseworkers guidance outlines the factors the Home Office will consider when they assess whether they believe you are a genuine Short-term Student. These factors match the requirements of the route, and if you are refused on the basis that the Home Office doesn’t believe you are genuinely coming to the UK to undertake studies as a Short-term Student, they must clearly set out why they are not satisfied the requirement is met. 

The Short-term Student caseworkers guidance gives guidance on how Home Office caseworkers will assess 'frequent and successive' use of the route, which may (but will not automatically) lead to a refusal of permission. 

I’ve been granted a Short-term Student visa, what happens next?

Last modified: 03 May 2024

If you are successful, you will get permission to study in the UK for 11 months.  
You will get a vignette (stamp in your passport) for 90 days. When you arrive in the UK you will need to collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) from a Post Office or from your institution (if they have arranged with the Home Office for the BRPs to be sent to them.)  

You will need to follow the instructions on the accompanying letter about how to collect your BRP. This usually needs to be collected before the date on your vignette expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later.    

If you are an EEA national who has used the UK Immigration: ID Check app you will receive your permission in the form of an online digital status and will not receive a vignette. This digital status can be shared with anyone who needs to check your permission. 

Requirements you must meet while you are in the UK

Last modified: 03 May 2024

There are several requirements you must meet while you’re in the UK on a Short-term Student visa. 

  • You must only study on the course for which you were granted permission.   
  • You must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your study (if it is before the date your immigration permission ends). If you do not leave the UK within this time, it could affect any future immigration applications to the UK). If your study (as stated in the letter you presented to the Home Office as part of your Short-term Student immigration application) continues until the date that your immigration permission ends, you must leave the UK no later than that date. 
  • You cannot do any kind of work, work placement or work experience during your studies in the UK. In addition, you cannot engage in any business or professional activities in the UK. If you want to be allowed to work in the UK during your studies, you will need to apply to enter the UK with a different visa such as the Student route.  

You are not allowed to apply to switch into any other immigration category while still in the UK, or extend your permission as a Short-term Student. If you wish to continue studying in the UK after your Short-term Student visa ends, you will need to return home and apply for entry clearance on the Student route, or in another appropriate immigration category.  

You have no recourse to ‘public funds’ (defined in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules as a list of specific benefits available).  

I want to study another course; can I apply for another Short-term Student visa?

Last modified: 03 May 2024

If you use the visa on multiple occasions, the Home Office will generally be expecting each course you study to be "a higher level of English Language proficiency against the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR)" each time. The Short-term Student caseworkers guidance says, for example, the course could be B1 level on the first instance then B2 level on the second instance.  

It also says: "However, there may be circumstances where an applicant requires a further period of study at the same level, for example a student who hasn’t achieved the English proficiency in the previous application." 

What to do if your application is refused

Last modified: 03 May 2024

If you are not granted a Short-term Student visa, you have the right to apply for an administrative review. You will need to decide between one of the following two options: 

  1. You can apply for an administrative review. You will need to do this within 28 days of the date you are refused, and it costs £80. 
    • If this is successful, you will no longer have a refusal on your immigration record, but should declare it on future immigration applications if asked about refusals, explaining it was overturned. The problem with this process is that it could take some time, which could mean you miss the start date of your course. 
  2. You can apply for immigration permission again, but this will mean that you will have an unchallenged refusal that you must declare if you are asked in future immigration applications. 

Can I bring my family?

Last modified: 03 May 2024

The Immigration Rules do not allow a Short-term Student to bring family members to the UK. 

Therefore, if you are applying as a Short-term Student and you have a spouse, partner, child or other person who wants to come with you to the UK, they must apply to come to the UK as standard Visitors. 

A standard Visitor will be granted a maximum of six months' immigration permission, even if you have been granted immigration permission for more than six months. They will not be allowed to work but will be allowed to study if the study meets certain requirements. 

If you are eligible, and choose, to apply under the Student route instead, your family might be able to apply as your dependants.