Short-Term Student Visa

Update: E-Gates (a new way of entering the UK at the airport)

If you are entering the UK as a short term student and you are from one of the following countries you must NOT use the E-Gates at the airport because you will not receive a stamp in your passport:-

Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, USA

You must not use the E-Gates and you should follow the sign for 'see an officer' instead so you can speak to a border force official and obtain your short term student visa stamp. If you do not receive your visa stamp you will not be permitted to study in the UK.

This visa is for short periods of study in the UK. You should apply for this visa if the following circumstances apply to you:

  • Your programme of study is 6 months or less in duration (or is an English language course of less than 11 months) and you do not need a Tier 4 visa; or
  • You are a distance learning student who is required to be in the UK for face-to-face study for a period of 6 months or less and you do not need a Tier 4 visa; or
  • You are required to take resit exams and you need to be in the UK for 6 months or less*;
  • You are returning to sit your PhD viva.

*If you have resits in August you can apply for a Tier 4 visa to return to the UK as long as you will have continued participation within 60 days of the next academic period starting which means you must have returned to full study within 60 days of the resit exams. However, if you fail to progress to the next academic year you will be reported to UKVI and your Tier 4 visa will be curtailed. Please contact us for advice if you have need to apply for a visa for resit examinations.

If you are a Masters student and you need more time in the UK to complete your dissertation you should apply for a Tier 4 visa but you must apply from outside the UK because you will not meet the UKVI rules on academic progression.

If you are a postgraduate visiting student and you will be studying a course that requires ATAS clearance your short term student visa letter will confirm this along with your CAH code that you will need to apply for your ATAS certificate. If ATAS is required you must apply online through the ATAS website and you need to apply as early as possible as applications can take at least 20 working days to be processed. You must include your ATAS certificate in your visa application or carry it in your hand luggage to show the border force staff if you are applying for your short term student visa at the arport when you arrive. You will not be permitted to start your course without ATAS clearance. There is further information about ATAS here.

For more information about the Short-Term Student visa route read the UKVI guide.

You can apply for the Short-Term Student visa from any country but you need to stay in the country you apply from while you wait for your visa application to be processed. It costs £97 to apply for the short term student visa from overseas but you will need to pay extra if you want to use the visa priority services offered by the visa application centre to have your application processed within 3 - 5 working days.

The Short-Term Student visa is generally easier to obtain than a Tier 4 visa but does have some limitations, these are as follows:

  • You cannot switch into another visa category once you are in the UK. That means you must leave the UK before the visa expiry date; and
  • You are not allowed to work (paid or unpaid) in the UK; and
  • You are not allowed on work placements or work experience as part of your course, e.g. clinical placements in hospital (you would require a Tier 4 visa); and
  • You are not covered under the National Health Service (NHS), which means you will need to make sure you have adequate medical insurance to cover your stay in the UK; and
  • You cannot bring your family with you as your dependants.

Students from most nationalities must apply for their Short-Term Student visa before travelling to the UK. A small number of nationalities are able to apply for their Short-Term Student visa on arrival; these students are called non-visa nationals. 

You must check whether your nationality is one that is required to apply for a visa before travelling (visa national) or whether you are a non-visa national. 

If you get your Short-Term Student visa upon arrival you should carry the necessary documents (listed in the next section) in your hand luggage, in particular the visa letter from your Academic School and your ATAS certificate (if required). If you apply upon arrival your visa will not be multiple entry so you must meet the requirements for the Short-Term Student visa every time you re-enter the UK. There is no cost for applying for a short term student visa at the airport.

If you require a short term student visa stamp when you arrive in the UK and you are from one of the following countries you must NOT enter through the e-gates at the airport because you will not receive a stamp in your passport:-

Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, USA

Please don't use the e-gates and instead follow the signs for 'see an officer' to obtain your short term student visa stamp otherwise you will not be permitted to study in the UK.

You should apply online through the UKVI website and answer all of the required questions.

You will either need to submit your documents to the Visa Application Centre or your documents will be scanned and returned to you when you attend your appointment:-

  • Passport(s)
  • Visa application fee of £97, or £186 if you are an English language student whose course is 6-11 months long which you will pay online;
  • A visa letter from your Academic School that confirms all the details (and dates where possible) of your course - you need to contact your course or admissions administrator, who should visit the relevant section of our staff intranet page to find the template of the visa letter to provide you with;
  • ATAS certificate if you are studying a course that requires ATAS clearance (the visa letter that you receive from your school will confirm if you need an ATAS certificate and what your CAH code is);
  • Bank statements, payslips, or other financial evidence to show that you can pay for the trip and that you have enough money to support yourself without working or getting any help from public funds - we recommend that you use the Tier 4 maintenance amount as a guide (£1015 per month for living expenses for the duration of your stay);
  • You should provide evidence of where your funds are coming from ie. you need to explain where deposits in your bank account are from and submit additional evidence of this, such as payslips from your employer that confirm that the deposits in your account are your wages or 3rd party bank statements if the deposits are from someone else. If you are using someone else's funds such as a family member you should submit their original bank statements along with evidence of your relationship to them such as an original birth certificate and a letter from them confirming that they are happy for you to use their funds for your studies in the UK. If you do not provide evidence of the origin of your funds your visa application could be refused;
  • If you are sponsored by an organisation such as your home University or your employer you need to provide an original sponsor letter that confirms that they are covering your tuition fees and living costs in the UK with details of exactly how much money they are giving you. The sponsor letter should be original and should be signed by an official from your University or employer;
  • Evidence that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit (for example, a letter from your employer, or your your home University or a return flight to your home country);
  • If you are an exchange or visiting student and you are coming to the UK to study as part of a degree you are doing overseas you need a letter from your employer or home University that gives you permission to study in the UK and that confirms you will return to your job or course;
  • If you are applying for the 11 month visa to study an English Language course you will also need to provide a TB certificate depending on the country that you applying from. Please refer to the UKVI website for more information and to check if you need a TB certificate.
  • There is further information about the documents that are required on the UKVI website.

If you have applied for a Short-Term Student visa overseas before you travel, you should receive a Short-Term Student visa vignette (sticker) in your passport. If you have applied for the 11 month Short-Term Student visa for English Language purposes you will receive a 30 day vignette that will allow you to travel to the UK. Once you are in the UK you will need to collect your BRP card from a local Post Office or from the University. 

Your 30-day vignette will be accompanied by a letter. When you enter the UK you should show the border force officer your 30-day vignette and this letter. You should also have copies of your financial documentation with you.

When you apply for your Short-Term Student visa you should include our ACL code (2HE372) for you to select the University of Manchester as the delivery location for your biometric residence permit (BRP). You should enter this code when completing the Tier 4 visa application in the relevant section. We strongly suggest that you use this code in your visa application as this is the most convenient option. 

If you apply for a Short-Term Student visa at the port of entry to the UK, the Border Force officer will stamp your passport with a visitor visa stamp and should then handwrite 'STS' for Short-Term Student on the stamp. If they do not do this, you must ask if they will write this on for you. It is important that if you apply for the visa when you enter the UK you make it clear to the Border Force officer that you intend to study while in the UK.

UKVI will assess whether you meet the requirements of the Short-Term Student visa. This means ensuring that you do not intend to use the Short-Term Student visa for frequent and successive periods of study. This means that you are not able to apply for a second Short-Term Student visa where less than two months have passed since you last visited the UK on a Short-Term Student visa and you cannot apply for five Short-Term Student visas within five years.

If you intend to study a course of 6 months of less you should be granted a Short-Term Student visa that is valid for the full 6 month period. The earliest date that you can travel to the UK is 7 days before the start of your course. If you have been issued with the incorrect dates on your visa ie. your visa does not cover the duration of your course you need to contact the staff at the Visa Application Centre that you applied to in order to have your visa corrected. If you cannot amend your visa from overseas we may be able to help you to correct it from the UK.

If you are going to study an English Language course of 6 - 11 months duration you can apply for a Short-Term Student visa and you will be granted a visa for 11 months, instead of 6. You will be issued with a 30 day visa to allow you to travel to the UK and then you will be able to collect your BRP card containing your Short-Term Student visa when you arrive in the UK. You will also be liable to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge to qualify for free hospital treatment in the UK and the cost will be £300. There is more information about the immigration healthcare surcharge here. You may also be required to register with the police when you arrive in the UK but this will depend on your nationality. Please read our section on police registration for more information and to check if you will need to register with the police.

You must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of your course finishing or before your short term student visa expires (whichever is soonest).

In addition to the documents listed above you need to show:-

  • that suitable arrangements have been made for your travel to, reception and care in the UK 
  • that you have a parent or guardian in your home country or country of habitual residence who is responsible for your care and who confirms that they consent to the arrangements for your travel, reception and care in the UK

If you are 16 or 17 and you want to apply for a Short-Term Student visa please contact us so we can advise you further.

If you are a national of Oman, Kuwait, Qatar or UAE you can travel to the UK as a short term student for up to six months if you have obtained an electronic visa waiver (EVW). However, you must apply for leave to enter as a short term student at the airport in addition to applying for the EVW before you travel. The cost if the EVW visa is £15 and it is only valid for a single journey to the UK. You can apply for the EVW from 3 months to 48 hours before you travel to the UK through the UKVI website and you do not need to enrol your biometrics or attend a visa application centre. The visa is issued in an electronic format and you will need to present the visa to the border officials on your entry to the UK. If you want to apply you need to read the information on the UKVI website.