The ordinary ‘short-term student’ category will allow you to come to the UK if you are 16 years or older, and want to enter:
- for up to 6 months to study a short course. According to Home Office guidance, this can include: people on distance learning courses who only want to come to the UK for a limited period at a time, provided you meet restrictions in the Home Office guidance. The guidance also provides for students to use the route if the study is no longer than 6 months on any one occasion if coming to: undertake a study-abroad programme in the UK as part of an overseas course; re-sit an exam or re-take a module; or undertake a viva if they are a postgraduate student. Read pages 11 -12 of the Home Office guidance carefully for a warning about not using the route for extended periods through frequent or successive use of the route; or
- for up to 11 months to study an English language course; or
- if you are enrolled on a course abroad that is at least equivalent to the level of a UK bachelor’s degree, for up to 6 months to do research, or to receive tuition on how to conduct research, at a UK institution; or
- for up to 6 months to do electives relevant to a course of medicine, veterinary medicine, and science, or dentistry that you are doing abroad. The course abroad must be equivalent to at least a bachelor’s level in the UK. You must have been accepted by a ‘higher education provider’ (HEP) – see ‘Definitions’ – to undertake the electives. The electives must be unpaid and involve no treatment of patients.
English language course maximum of 11 months
The Immigration Rules usually allow short-term students to come to the UK for a maximum of 6 months. However, there is a special provision in the Immigration Rules that allows people to come as short-term students for up to 11 months if they want to study a course that is purely an English language course
If you want to come to the UK under this extended route, you must meet all the following requirements:
- You are at least 16 years of age, provided you meet certain extra requirements if you are 16 or 17. See Short-term student visa above
- You have enough money to support yourself while you are in the UK. You need to show you can pay for your tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses
- You already have an unconditional offer to study an English language course in the UK
- You intend to study an English language course only (you are not allowed to combine an English language course with any other studies)
- Your English language course will be completed within 11 months
- holds a Tier 4 sponsor licence, or
- is accredited by a Home Office approved accreditation body , or
- is inspected, reviewed or audited by a Home Office approved inspection body, or
- is an overseas higher education institution offering only part of their programmes in the UK It cannot be an academy or state-funded school.
- You intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of the study (you gave details of as part of your immigration application wither at the UK border or as entry clearance) or the end of 11 months, whichever of these is sooner. If you do not leave the UK within this time it could affect any future immigration applications to the UK (future applications could be refused if the Home Office believes that you exercised deception about your intention in your short-term student immigration application)
- You do not intend to study in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive periods as a short-term student. Pages 11 -12 of Home Office guidance give examples of when a student may be considered to be using the route for extended periods for frequent or successive use of the route (which is prohibited). The guidance also says that you should not intend to use frequent and successive periods of study as a means to live in the UK or to circumvent the requirements of Tier 4 leave.
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 not be allowed to do any kind of work, work experience or work placement (even if it is part of your course, or is unpaid). You will not be allowed to do any business or professional activities in the UK.
You may be required to register with the police within 7 days of your arrival in the UK. If you are required to register with police this will be stated on your vignette or the letter which accompanies the vignette.
If you are coming to the UK for more than six months and you have been in one of the countries listed in Appendix T of the Immigration Rules for more than six months immediately preceding your entry clearance application then you will need to provide a medical certificate from an approved clinic confirming that you are clear of tuberculosis (TB).
The UK Home Office has introduced some temporary measures around visa applications and immigration status in response to Covid-19. Our most up to date guidance about everything that has changed in response to Covid-19 is available in a dedicated section of our website.
As a short-term student, you have the same conditions, whether you applied for entry clearance or not.
If you have successfully applied for entry clearance, check the vignette (sticker) in your passport for the date that your entry clearance is valid from. Do not enter the UK before this date.
If you applied under the provision for those coming for English language courses of between 6 and 11 months, you will have been given entry clearance showing a 30-day window in which to enter the UK. You will need to follow the instructions on the accompanying letter about how to collect your Biometric Residence Permit within 10 days of arriving in the UK.
As a short-term student, you have following conditions:
- if you apply for immigration permission for up to six months (either as entry clearance, or at the UK border) for the short-term student route (not the short-term student (child) route) from 6 July 2018 and:
- are 18 or older at the time your leave is granted; or
- will be 18 before your leave expires
and your course leads to a qualification at Masters or doctorate level, or a postgraduate qualification abroad you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate. This will affect you if you are on a relevant course and come to the UK using this route to undertake a course, research or research tuition, an elective, a viva, a re-sit exam, a re-take module or part of a course under the distance-learning provision. You should obtain this clearance (issued as a certificate) before you make your immigration application (at the UK border or as entry clearance), as the Home Office guidance says you will need to provide the certificate with your application. Therefore, you will need to apply for the ATAS clearance as early as possible.
- you cannot work or do work experience while you are in the UK. This includes paid or unpaid work. However, seeShort-term student visa for immigration applications made (for entry clearance or at the border) as a short-term student (not as a short-term student (child)) on or after 11 January 2018
- you cannot do a work placement as part of your study. If this is a requirement of your course, you should apply for entry clearance as a Tier 4 student instead, if you are eligible to
- you cannot do any business or professional activities in the UK
- if you have been granted entry clearance for up to 11 months under the short-term student category, you may be required to register with the police within 7 days of your arrival in the UK. If you are required to register with the police, your entry clearance vignette will state this. Not all 11-month short-term students are given entry clearance that is subject to this condition
- you have no recourse to ‘public funds’. ‘Public funds’ are defined in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules as a list of specific benefits available. When applying for immigration permission to enter the UK, you must provide evidence that there is sufficient money available for your maintenance and accommodation, without having to claim any of these benefits.
You cannot extend your stay in the UK, or switch into any other immigration category while you are still in the UK as a short-term student.