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Short-term Study visa (formerly known as 'Student Visitor Visa')

On 11 January 2018, UK Home Office Visas & Immigration announced changes to the short-term study visa route which will affect all applications decided on or after this date:

* This route is now open to applicants aged 16 and over (previously 18)

* Short-term study visa holders may remain in the UK for up to 30 days after the course end date, provided the total time spent in the UK does not exceed 6 months

* It is now possible to study consecutive and concurrent courses using the same short-term study visa provided the total time spent in the UK does not exceed 6 months

* It is now possible to come to the UK for Medical Electives using this visa if related to certain overseas degree level courses (medical, dentistry or veterinary degrees only), and students can undertake more than 1 Medical Elective during the 6-month validity of the Short Term Study Visa, as long as they declared both courses when they applied for this visa. Tier 4 will continue to be available for Medical Elective as an alternative option.

Note: From 6 July 2018, courses and periods of research under 6 months now require ATAS clearance. You are required to submit ATAS certificate as a part of your short term study visa application.

If you are a non visa national (who does not need to apply for a short term study visa), you will be required to carry the ATAS certificate with you when coming to the UK for studies. The Border Officer may decline your entry if your course requires ATAS and you do not hold a valid certificate. More information and which courses require ATAS is available on ATAS CLEARANCE webpage.

PHD Students please note: You do not need a new ATAS certificate if you are only going to come to the UK to do VIVA. The UKVI has provided the following information "Where you are applying for a Short-Term Study (STS) visa to take your Doctoral viva, you may reuse the original ATAS certificate you obtained to study towards the same Doctorate for which you now have a viva examination".

Jump to Section

Is a short-term study (STS) visa right for me?

What can I do on a short-term study visa?

What can't I do on a short-term study visa?

Length of Leave (visa) granted and the time you spend in the UK

Extended short-term study visas (11 months) for English Language courses

Information for non-visa nationals

Is a short-term study visa a multiple entry visa?

How do I obtain a short-term study visa support letter from the University of Warwick?

How do I apply for a short-term study visa?

What financial evidence do I need for a short-term study visa application?

What other supporting documents should I provide?

What endorsement will I receive in my passport?

What do I have to show to the University?

How do I complete online enrolment?

What if my application for a short-term study visa is refused?


Is a short-term study (STS) Visa right for me?

A Short-term Study visa can be a useful option if you are a non-EEA national and coming to the UK for study of less than six months, perhaps for one of the following purposes:

  • as a Study Abroad/Exchange/Visiting student (or up to 11 months for an English language programme such as PEPS, which is not to be combined with any other study and must be applied for through Entry Clearance);
  • to undertake elements of a distance learning course, such as the Distance Learning MBA
  • to attend the face-to-face element of a part time postgraduate course which is akin to distance learning
  • to re-sit examinations or re-take a module
  • attending a Summer School or other short course at Warwick
  • conducting research related to degree-level study overseas
  • attending a PhD viva - You do not need a new ATAS certificate if you are only coming for the VIVA, you can use the one granted for your previous visa application.

You must be aged 16 or over, and have access to sufficient financial resources to accommodate and maintain yourself for the duration of the visit. Students who are under 16 years old will need to apply for a Short-term Student (Child) visa. There are different requirements for this visa please contact the Immigration Team for further information on this type of visa.

What can I do on a short-term study visa?

On a short-term study visa you are permitted to:

  • Complete a period of study or research no longer than 6 months where you are fully enrolled on a degree level course taught overseas, as defined by the Home Office
  • Complete a period of research tuition (i.e. to learn about research) no longer than 6 months where you are fully enrolled on a degree level course taught overseas, as defined by the Home Office
  • Complete an elective where you are registered on a medicine, veterinary medicine and science or dentistry course overseas and this course is equivalent to UK degree level
  • Attend UK based components of a distance learning course (or a part time course which is akin to distance learning) where visits to the UK will not exceed 56 days in any 6 month period
  • Attend an oral (viva) examination for a Postgraduate course
  • Re-sit an exam or retake a module
  • Enrol on a full-time English Language course of more than 6 months using an extended 11 month Short-term Student visa

What can't I do on a short-term study visa?

  On a short-term study visa you are NOT permitted to:

  • Enrol on a full-time course of study longer than 6 months, other than an English Language course as stated above or a distance learning or part-time course akin to distance learning
  • Undertake placements or internships
  • Undertake employment, either paid or unpaid (*see separate note below on volunteering)

*Volunteering: Holders of a short-term study visa may volunteer while in the UK provided that they:- do not have a contract of employment

- do not take the place of an employee

- do not receive payment (travel reimbursement and/or subsistence allowance is permitted)

- do volunteer to help a charity or voluntary or public sector organisation

  • Extend your short-term study visa
  • Switch into another visa category from inside the UK
  • Bring family members to the UK as your Dependants
  • Intend to stay beyond the course of study end date given in the visa application (although your visa may be valid for longer)

You should ensure that an STS visa is the most appropriate visa type for your circumstances to avoid any problems at the current time or at a later date.

Length of Leave (visa) granted and the time you spend in the UK

If your application for a short-term study visa is approved you will usually be granted entry clearance for 6 months (except where you have been issued an extended 11 month visa for an English Language course). If your intended visit period is less than 6 months and you are granted a visa for 6 months you should not spend longer in the UK than the duration of your course - you must intend to leave at the end of your period of study or the end of the 6 / 11 months, whichever is sooner (Note: if your application for a short-term study visa was granted on or after 11 January 2018 then you must leave the UK within 30 days of the course end date or at the end of the 6 month grant of leave, whichever is earliest).

Staying in the UK beyond the visit periods stated in your original visa application (including staying in the UK for longer than 30 days after the course end date) could be viewed by the Home Office as a breach of visa conditions and may lead to future visa applications being refused.

Extended short-term study visas (11 months) for English Language courses

Students applying for an 11 month short-term study visa for an English Language course will be liable to pay a mandatory £150 Immigration Health Surcharge before their application is considered. For more information, please refer to the Home Office website: www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application

Nationals of certain countries issued an 11 month short-term study visa will also be subject to a condition which specifies their registration with the police on arrival to the UK. Further details can be found at: www.gov.uk/register-with-the-police, and on the University of Warwick website: www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/international/admissions/offerholders/arriving/police

Information for non-visa nationals

If you are classed as a non-visa national by the UK Home Office then you can enter the UK as a short-term student for up to 6 months without needing to apply in advance for entry clearance. It may however be helpful if you can provide evidence of your studies to immigration staff at the UK border. For this reason you may wish to carry an offer letter or Short-term Study visa support letter in your hand luggage.

Please note, non-visa nationals who enter the UK on a short-term study visa are subject to the same restrictions as stated above.

Non-visa nationals may not apply for the extended 11 month short-term study route for English Language courses on entry to the UK; these applications must be made in advance of travel.

Is a short-term study visa a multiple entry visa?

A short-term study visa that is applied for overseas before you travel (Entry Clearance) is a multiple entry visa, whereas a short-term study visa issued at the port of entry to the UK (available only to non-visa nationals, check the Home Office website before you travel) is a single entry visa.

If you enter as a short-term student at the border and then leave the UK during your Warwick registration period you will need to re-apply as a short-term student when you re-enter; for this reason you should always travel with your short-term study visa support letter. Alternatively if you think you are likely to leave and re-enter the UK during your course you should apply for a multiple entry short-term study visa in advance of travelling to the UK.

How do I obtain a short-term study visa support letter from the University of Warwick?

  • If you are a visiting/exchange student, the Exchange team in Global Engagement will contact you regarding your visa options and send you a support letter if you decide to undertake your studies using a Short-term Study visa.
  • If you are a distance learning student at WBS, your relevant admissions team in WBS will prepare the letter for you a few months ahead of your Warwick week.
  • For any other students, the letter will be prepared by the Immigration Service team at the request of your academic department. If you require a support letter, please get in touch with your academic department in the first instance and ask them to request a support letter on your behalf - please note access to this webpage is restricted to University of Warwick staff members.

How do I apply for a short-term study visa?

Applications for Short-term Study visas are made online using the application form at https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/apply-visa-type/tier4

Select the option: Short-term Student visa

We advise that you use the guidance notes availble from the links on the right hand side of this page to assist you with completing the application.

If you are a national of a country on the ‘visa national list’ (see UKvisas for this list), you must apply for a Short-term Study visa at a British Embassy (or High Commission or Consulate) or Visa Application Centre before you travel to the UK.

Information about where to apply in each country can be found from the Home Office website. It is possible to make an application for a visitor visa from any country, not just your home country, provided the Embassy in question accepts visit visa applications - contact your nearest British Embassy for more information.

If your country is not on the visa national list you can apply for a Short-term Study visa before travelling (as above), or you can apply to enter as a short-term student on arrival at a UK airport. You should also be able to provide evidence that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your time here. You must also declare your intention to study to the Immigration Officer by showing a letter from the University confirming the details of the course you are intending to follow. The University will not be permitted to allow you to study if this declaration is not indicated on your visa. Please refer to our information on visas suitable for study.

To avoid any problems on arrival to the UK we recommend strongly that all non-EEA students coming for less than six months apply for a visa before leaving for the UK. This is the safest and most practical option.

What financial evidence do I need for a short-term study visa application?

  • You need to show that you have sufficient funds available to support yourself during your visit to the UK without working or claiming public funds; this should include evidence of money to pay for: course fees, accommodation, daily subsistence (meals, etc), onward or return flights. There is no set amount which the Home Office expect you to show for your living costs but you should show that you can cover these expenses. If you were to use the Tier 4 application requirements as a general guide, you should allow at least £1,000 a month for expenses. Entry Clearance Officers will take into account your regular outgoings (e.g. mortgage payments, financial support of dependants) as well as the source of your funds (e.g. your personal salary or that of your parents) when assessing if you have the necessary money to support yourself while in the UK.
  • You should provide evidence of where your income comes from (e.g. payslips, 3rd party bank statements as evidence of transfer of funds.) Where you are being funded by a family member we suggest that you provide evidence of your relationship to them. If you provide insufficient evidence relating to the origin of your funds it is possible that your application may be refused
  • There is no specific length of time that the funds must have been held in your account. However, Entry Clearance Officers are told to make further checks to establish the origin of money where it has not been held for long.

Third Party Support

  • You should declare support from a third party on your application form.
  • Maintenance and/or accommodation support can be provided by a third party providing that they:
    • have a genuine personal or professional relationship with you
    • are not (and will not be) in breach of UK Immigration laws
    • can and will provide support for the intended duration of your stay in the UK.
  • You should provide written confirmation from the third party confirming they will be responsible for your maintenance and accommodation and their relationship to you.
  • If your study visit is being funded by your Academic Department or you are in receipt of a scholarship then you should submit an original letter which confirms what costs are being met. Unless the letter states explicitly that all your costs (fees, travel, accommodation, meals, etc) are covered, you will still need to provide financial evidence of your own funds.

What other supporting documents should I provide?

  • Please refer to Home Office guidance on what you should provide and avoid including documents which are not necessary
  • You need to submit a short-term study visa support letter from the University of Warwick confirming that you have been accepted on a course of study with us (see above re. how to request this letter)
  • You should provide details of where you will stay during your visit, although we do not advise paying for any accommodation until you have obtained your visa; if you are staying with a friend or family member then you should include a letter from them which confirms this
  • If you are enrolled at a University in your home country and are coming to Warwick as part of an exchange/study visit, include a letter confirming the dates of your course and your registration status at your home institution
  • If you are enrolled at a University in your home country and are coming to Warwick to do research (mostly for postgraduate students) or receive research tuition (mostly for undergraduate visiting students), the research must be directly relevant or related to the course, and you must provide confirmation of the course and that the research relates to it from your home institution
  • If you are coming to the UK to undertake a permitted medical elective then you will need to provide details of the course you are enrolled on overseas and how it relates to your study in the UK
  • If you are employed in your home country then you should provide full details of this in the application form; it may be useful to include a letter of support from your employer which consents to your visiting the UK and confirms your intent to return home at the end of the visit
  • If you are applying for an 11 month extended short-term student visa for an English course then you may also need to provide a valid TB certificate with your application; see the Home Office website for more details
  • The application form also asks for the details of any friends or family you have in the UK and what you intend to do during your visit - you should answer fully and honestly
  • You need to show that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your study or at the end of the 6 months whichever is sooner. We recommend that you include details of onward or return flights. It may also be helpful to provide evidence of other ties that you have in your home country, such as family, property or other assets
  • Applicants aged 16 or 17 will also need to provide details of travel, accommodation and care arrangements in the UK and written consent from a parent or legal guardian
  • We suggest that you also read full guidance from the Home Office website, especially if you have had a visa refusal in the past

What endorsement will I receive in my passport?

If you have applied for a short-term study visa overseas before you travel, you should receive a student visitor visa vignette (sticker) in your passport which will be valid for 6 months.

If you apply for a short-term study visa at the port of entry to the UK, the Immigration Officer will stamp your passport with a short-term study visa stamp or they may handwrite 'VST' for Visiting Student or 'STS' for Short Term Student on a visitor stamp. If the stamp in your passport does not clearly show that you sought entry as a short-term student then you must ask the Immigration Office to make sure it does. It is important that if you apply for the visa when you enter the UK you make it clear to the Immigration Officer that you intend to study here and that you are not entering as a tourist or general visitor.

What do I have to show to the University?

In order to become fully enrolled on your course you will have to complete online enrolment and present your passport at an in-person 'right to study' event where your visa will be checked and a scan taken (this is in compliance with the University's duties as a Tier 4 sponsor licence holder.) More information about enrolment requirements can be found here.

Students on distance learning courses or students coming to do re-sit exams will be required to show their visa to staff at the University each time they commence a period of study engagement (this includes examinations, modules, etc).

If you applied for your short-term study visa when you entered the UK, it is also useful to bring with you the confirmation you showed the Immigration Officer confirming your intention to study here (for example, the student visitor visa support letter).

If you are unsure about which visa is the most appropriate for you then please contact the Immigration Service who will be able to help you.

How do I complete online enrolment?

If you will be starting a new course at the University of Warwick using a short-term study visa, you will be required to provide your passport and visa information during online enrolment.

  • If you will apply for a short-term study visa before you travel

Wait to complete online enrolment until you have received your visa. You should then choose 'student visitor' as your visa type and enter the start date, expiry date and visa number (on the top right corner in red); provide a scan of your passport data page and the visa vignette

  • If you are a non-visa national requesting entry as a short-term student on arrival to the UK

You can complete online enrolment at any point prior to your arrival. Select 'student visitor' as your visa type; the visa start date should be the date you intend to enter the UK, the end date should be +6 months (this will be checked and can be corrected when you present your passport in person); you will not have a visa number, so just enter 'to apply at the port of entry'. Please note, the online enrolment form will require you to upload a scan of your visa before you can complete the process - upload a second copy of your passport, we will scan your visa at an in-person 'right to study' event.

What if my application for a short-term study visa is refused?

If your visa application is unsuccesful you will receive a refusal notice which sets out the reason the caseworker did not approve the application and grant the leave. The most common reasons for visa refusals in the short-term study visa category are:

  • the caseworker did not believe that the intent to study was genuine
  • the applicant did not demonstrate access to sufficient funds to finance their visit, or the caseworker did not believe the source of funds demonstrated was genuine
  • the caseworker did not believe that the applicant intended to leave the UK at the end of the proposed study period

You can also be refused on general grounds, such as failure to disclose information about previous visa applications or breaches of leave.

There is currently no admin review or appeals process in the short-term study route, so the caseworker's decision is final.

If you decide to reapply you will need to read the refusal notice carefully to see how you can address the reasons for the refusal and include new documents where needed. You must declare the original refusal in any subsequent visa applications.

**Applicants who want to come to the UK to study one of the following courses MUST use Tier 4 of the points based system**

  • an English language course that lasts longer than 11 months
  • any other full time course that lasts longer than 6 months
  • a course that includes a work placement or work experience

Quick Links

Request a Short-term Study Visa Support Letter (staff access only)

Short-term Study application guidance (for students)

Short-term Study information leaflet(for students)

Home Office - Short-term Students, guidance for caseworkers

Home Office - Supporting documents for Visitor Visas

Home Office - Immigration Rules for students