Apply for a Short-term Study Visa in the UK

The UK is a well-known tourist destination for visitors from all over the world. It’s also a sought-after location for international study.

Last year, more than 276,000 Student Visas were granted, up 16 per cent from the year before. And around 460,000 international students attended British universities.

That’s a lot of people and lots of visa paperwork to process.

For some people though, long-term study overseas is not an option. Or they prefer to combine studying with being a tourist.

That’s where the Short-term Study Visa comes in.

This visa is for people that want to spend a short amount of time studying in the UK without the long-term commitment of making an international move. For example, English language students.

Studying on a short-term basis is also an opportunity to explore a new culture and meet different people from all over the world. All while learning a new skill.

But before we consider the practical details of applying for a student visa, here are a few more statistics about studying in the UK.

  • In 2019, eight per cent of all visas granted (including visitor visas) were for students
  • Sponsored study applications at universities increased by 11 per cent last year
  • Chinese and Indian nationals account for more than 50 per cent of all international student visas granted

Now, let’s take a look at what the Short-term Study Visa is all about.

Short-term Study Visa

This visa may have short-term study in the title, but it’s also for people that want to conduct research in the UK on a temporary basis. Like degree students from overseas.

There are a few rules though.

As this visa comes under the umbrella of the Tier 4 category, any studying must take place at a licenced Tier 4 sponsored education institution (or through a recognised organisation). Otherwise the visa cannot be granted. This could be a university, a college or an English language school.

There are also restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK with this visa.

The Short-term Study Visa allows people aged 16 or over to study in the country for up to six months. Or up to 11 months for an English language course.

Unlike the General Student Visa, you cannot work in the UK with this visa. It’s strictly for studying and being a tourist. That means you must have enough money to support yourself or have friends or relatives that can support you financially.

Plus, you will need proof that you can pay for an onward journey out of the UK when your study period ends.

Application fees and timelines

As with most visa applications, there is a fee for the Short-term Study Visa.

The application costs:

  • £97 (for a six-month visa)
  • £186 (for an 11-month visa)

The visa application form is online on the UK government website and you will also have to provide biometric information (fingerprints and photograph).

Most people get a decision within three weeks.

Students from EEA and Switzerland

Students from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland currently don’t need to apply for a visa to study in the UK. And are still eligible to pay home tuition fees (the same amount charged to UK citizens).

This will continue for students applying for the 2020-21 academic year. It’s not yet known what the new rules will be after that (post-Brexit).

Student life in the UK

The UK has a vibrant student community. In every student city and town you can find people from all over the world, and British universities are in high demand for study places.

For short-term students, learning English is the most popular study option because they can practice new language skills with native speakers. As well as make friends and get to know a new culture.

An important thing to remember though is that studying abroad is not cheap, even on a short-term basis. So, you should take into consideration the cost of rent, food, socialising and travel (if you plan to explore more of the country) before budgeting for your trip.

And if a Short-term Study Visa is not long enough, then you might need to apply for a General Student Visa instead.


Article Created By Hayley Maguire

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