If you are coming to the UK to study for 6 months or less, you may have the option to apply for a short-term study visa.

A short-term study visa is only usually applicable to students participating in an undergraduate one-semester study abroad programme, summer study and customised programmes, a visiting researcher, or for existing students requiring re-assessment. However, it could also be an option for other short-term programmes that are less than 6 months or for a PhD viva.


Arriving via the Republic of Ireland

If your course is shorter than six months and you are a non-visa national who intends to obtain a short-term study visa on arrival in the UK, you should not travel to the UK via the Republic of Ireland. If you do this, you will not pass through UK immigration control and you will not be able to obtain a visa to study.

About the short-term study visa

  • The visa can be valid for up to 6 months
  • You must leave when your visa expires
  • Visa nationals must apply for the visa before travelling to the UK
  • You must meet the requirements and have the correct documents when entering the UK and/or applying for the visa
  • You cannot work or carry out any business in the UK
  • You must have private healthcare insurance, as you will be responsible for all your healthcare costs
  • If your course requires an ATAS Clearance Certificate, you must have one for this visa
  • You cannot extend this visa
  • You cannot apply for another type of visa in the UK
  • You cannot bring your family members (dependants)
  • You cannot get public funds
  • You cannot marry or register a civil partnership

You are not allowed to do paid or unpaid work. This also includes work placements as part of a course. If you decide you want to do another course in the UK, you must leave the UK to apply for a Tier 4 visa. This includes extending your study abroad programme from one semester to a full year.

Non-visa nationals


If you are a non-visa national (from a country that does not need to apply for a visitor visa before travelling to the UK), then you can get your Short-term study visa at the port of entry (for example, at the airport) when you enter the UK. This will be a stamp in your passport. However, we recommend that you apply for a Short-term study visa before you travel to the UK.

It is essential that you get a Short-term study visa, as this will allow you to study. If you get a Standard Visitor visa (tourist visa), you will not be allowed to study at UEA. Inform the immigration officer that you need a Short-term study visa and make sure you give them your letter confirming your place on the course at UEA. It is also recommended that you check the stamp in your passport when the immigration officer hands your passport to you.

You need to meet the requirements and have the correct documents to show the immigration officer, so keep them in your hand luggage. See the requirements below.

The visa start date will be the date you enter the country, and you may be able to stay for an additional 30 days after the end of your period of study, as long as you spend no more than 6 months in the UK in total.

ATAS Clearance Certificates

If you are required to have an ATAS Clearance Certificate, you must have it every time to enter the UK when getting a Short-term Study visa. This include any trips outside the UK, while on the visa.


You can travel outside the UK with a Short-term Study visa stamped in your passport, however you will need to get a new Short-term Study visa. You must be prepared each time to re-enter the UK with the necessary documents.

Visa nationals


If you are a visa national, you must apply online* and get your visa before travelling to the UK.

Check the Visa National list.

In the Immigration Rules Appendix V: visitor rule, look under Appendix 2 - Visa National List

Most countries will apply online, however a few countries cannot (as of March 2014 these are Cuba and North Korea).

How to apply


If you are applying for a Short-term study visa before you travel to the UK, you will need to apply online. Once you have completed the online form, you will need to book an appointment at a visa application centre or other designated office, and pay your application fee. Next you will need to print your document checklist that you must take with your supporting documents to your appointment.

If you require help with your application form, you can contact the Student Life (International) team with any questions. They can also look at your supporting documents, if you send an electronic copy to the team.


  • You must be at least 16 years old
  • Your period of study in the UK must be completed within 6 months
  • You must be able to prove you have enough money to support yourself while in the UK, including your tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses and your return/onward travel.
  • You must have an unconditional offer to study in the UK
  • Medical students can study an elective under this visa
  • You can be issued up to five short-term study visas in five years, provided there is a two month gap between each visa

There is not an English language requirement for this visa.

Supporting documents


Here is a list of possible supporting documents you may need to include. Please note that this is only to be used as a guide, as each application is unique.

  • Passport
  • Information about your visit (travel and/or accommodation details)
  • Money (income and/or savings, such as a bank statements or payslips for the past 6 months)
  • Details about your course in the UK (confirming the course and length, cost of the course and proof of payments, details about your accommodation and any proof of payments made)
  • Previous or current studies in your home country if studying abroad
  • English language qualification (if applicable)
  • Current employment details
  • Proof of your home address (if applicable)
  • Evidence of any assets (if applicable)
  • Any additional information of your marital status or family members staying in your home country
  • Tuberculosis (TB) test results (if applicable)
  •  If you are not applying from your home country, evidence of permission to be in that country (for example a visa or residence permit) (if applicable)

More details can be found on the government Short-term study visa webpages as well as UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs).