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Short term student visa Guide

Table of content


The Short-term Student (English Language) route is for people aged 16 or over who want to come to the UK to study an English language course with an accredited provider that will last longer than 6 months. Study of up to 6 months with an accredited provider is permitted as a visitor.

People should use the Student or Child Student routes if they want to come to the UK to study an English language course that lasts between 6 and 11 months and are aged below 16 or an English language course that lasts longer than 11 months.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible to apply under this route you must:

  • be aged 16 or over,
  • have been accepted on an English language course of study by an accredited institution and provide written evidence of this from the institution,
  • provide a passport,
  • be outside the UK,
  • intend to leave the UK either within 30 days of the end of your declared course of study or at the end of 11 months whichever is the earliest,
  • maintain and accommodate yourself out of funds available to you to meet the cost of your onward or return journey,
  • have paid your course fees on the date of application, or hold enough funds to pay your course fees and be able to demonstrate the availability of the required funds
  • hold a valid tuberculosis (TB) certificate where applicable

Intention to study as a Short-term Student

You are expected to demonstrate that you are genuinely seeking entry to study as a short-term student and you must satisfy the Home Office that you:

  • have given a true account of how long you intend to study in the UK,
  • do not intend to study at an academy or state-funded school,
  • do not intend to use frequent and successive periods of study as a means to live in the UK or to circumvent the requirements of the Student or Child Student routes,
  • have enough money to support yourself,
  • intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your declared period of study, or at the end of 11 months when your visa expires, whichever is soonest and
  • Your course will be completed during your stay

Accredited institutions

A short-term student must be accepted on and study an English course provided by an accredited institution which one which:

  • is a licensed Student sponsor listed on the student sponsor register
  • holds a valid accreditation from the relevant bodies such us Accreditation UK etc.
  • holds a valid and satisfactory full institutional inspection or
  • is an overseas higher education institution which offers only part of its programmes in the UK

UK visa requirements for students are dependent on three factors: the student’s nationality, how long they want to study for and which course they want to take.

Applicants from non-visa countries like Mexico can learn English in the UK for up to six months without a visa however for courses longer than six months, all international students need to apply for a visa before traveling to the UK.

There are two visas available to students: the short-term study visa, and the student visa. The short-term study visa allows students to study an English language course for between six and eleven months. If the study programme includes other subjects or if the student plans to study for longer than 11 months, a student visa will be required.

Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for your visa.

Financial requirement

Applicant does not have to pay the full tuition fees before making the visa application. Tuition fees depend on each learning institution; however, it can be within the following range: 11 weeks – cost for 22.5 hours is between £210 to £359 per week. A minimum payment of 10% of the full cost will be required before the college can issue a confirmation letter.

Unlike the Tier 4 student visa, there is no specific amount of money you must show when you apply for a short-term student visa. However, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself adequately without recourse to public funds and without working. This also means that you need to demonstrate the availability of sufficient funds to cover the fee of the short-term course, cost of living and accommodation and that of the return journey. The term ‘adequate’ is defined in the Immigration Rules as being a level of funds equivalent to a person being in receipt of income support "after income tax, national insurance contributions and housing costs have been deducted".

If the applicant is applying as a student or child student and they are relying on funds held in an account in the name of a parent or legal guardian, they must provide proof of that relationship and written consent from the parent or legal guardian to use those funds.

The most recently dated piece of financial evidence must be dated within 31 days before the date of application.

Where money is held in one or more foreign currencies, this will be converted into pound sterling (£) using the spot exchange rate which appears on www.oanda.com for the date of the application.

English language courses up to 11 months

For the purpose of this route, ‘English language study’ is a course that teaches English as a foreign language only and does not include other subjects. You cannot study mixed courses under this route.

You are not permitted to switch to a different provider, or switch onto a different course with your current provider.

TB certification

You will need to obtain a TB certificate if you are coming to the UK for over 6 months and have been present in one of the listed countries in Appendix T of the Immigration Rules for more than 6 months immediately prior to their application.

Application process and fees

A person seeking to come to the UK as a Short-term student must obtain entry clearance on this route before arriving in the UK.

In order to make a valid application under the Short-term Student (English Language) route, an applicant must:

  • apply online
  • pay an application fee and Immigration Health Charge
  • provide any required biometrics
  • be aged 16 or over on the date of application

The visa application for a Short-term study visa costs £186 in addition to £470 for the Immigration health surcharge and the visa processing time can take up to three weeks.

Some visa application centres offer a priority service for an additional fee, though service times are not guaranteed. Students should apply for their visa at the earliest possible opportunity, up to three months before their planned travel date.

After submitting the application form and required documents, most students need to book an appointment at their nearest UK visa application centre to provide their biometric data: their photo and fingerprints. Furthermore, you may be required to attend an interview, you should check your email regularly, including the junk folder to ensure you do not miss the invitation.

If you wish to find out more about your immigration matters, our team of experienced lawyers is happy to assist.

Conditions of permission

Someone granted entry clearance under the Short-term Student (English Language) route can study on an English language course (that does not cover any other subject areas) for up to 11 months.

Once the visa is approved, you will be allowed to live and study in the UK for the length of your course plus an extra 30 days as long as your stay is no longer than 11 months.

The Immigration Rules do not allow short-term students to be extended. However, you may reapply outside the UK where there are exceptional circumstances such as where an applicant requires a further period of study at the same level, for example a student who hasn’t achieved the English proficiency in the previous application.

With a Short-term study visa, you cannot:

  • study on any other course or change your course while in the UK
  • study at a state-funded school
  • work or carry out any business
  • extend this visa
  • bring family members
  • access public funds

As a short-term student you are not allowed to work in the UK, either in a paid or an unpaid job. You are not allowed to enrol on a course of study that includes a work placement or work experience.

Short-term students can volunteer but may not do voluntary work. Voluntary workers often have a contract with their employer and are also usually remunerated in kind while a volunteer does not have a contract of employment and does not receive payment in kind but reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence expenses is allowed.


The immigration rules do not allow a short-term student to bring family members to the UK, because there is no such category as ‘dependant of a short-term student’.

Therefore, if you are applying as a short-term student and you have a spouse, partner, child or other person who wants to come with you to the UK, they must apply to come to the UK in their own right as standard visitors.

A standard visitor will be granted a maximum of 6 months’ immigration permission, even if you have been granted immigration permission for more than 6 months. They will not be allowed to work, but will be allowed to study if the study meets certain requirements.

Supporting documents:

  • A current valid passport.
  • A letter of confirmation from a UK government-approved accredited institution: this needs to include the course name, duration and cost, including accommodation.
  • Details of where the student plans to stay in the UK. If accommodation is booked through the school, details including cost should be included in the confirmation letter.
  • Evidence of enough money to pay for course fees, accommodation and living costs and for her return or onward journey
  • Certified translations are required for any documents that are not in English.
  • You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances, such as evidence of your:
    • permission to be in the country you’re applying from (if you’re not a national)
    • financial sponsor’s occupation, income, savings or funds that will support your studies
      • previous study, for instance academic certificates, references, or transcripts
    • details of the travel plan such as booking of flight tickets
    • tuberculosis (TB) test certificate – if the course is longer than 6-months and the applicant is resident of a listed country

Right of appeal

Since 6 April 2021 refusals of short-term student permission no longer attract the right to apply for an administrative review.

You can apply for immigration permission again, if you are sure, you meet all the requirements however, you must declare the refusal, if you are asked, in this and in future immigration applications.

If you have a question about your visa, we can help. Immigration Rules are complex and given the effort required to make the application and the level of Home Office non-refundable fees, it is important that you proceed with the best advice. We can advise on the options available and can support you through the process.

For a free visa assessment, speak to us. To make an enquiry you can call our dedicated Immigration enquiry line on: +44(0)7869806506 or by email at info@kassolicitors.uk

To discuss your UK visa application with one of our immigration lawyers, contact our immigration lawyer team or select one of our packages below.

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We assist clients to appeal a refusal of their visa application to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum)

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Our highly experienced team of lawyers assists clients to navigate the constantly evolving areas of UK immigration law.

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