My course is six months or less

International students (from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland) require a visa (also known as ‘entry clearance’) to study in the UK. You will need to apply for the correct permissions to study in the UK even if you are a ‘non-visa national’. Non-visa nationals can choose whether to apply for entry clearance for Short-term study in advance of travelling, or to wait until arriving at the port of entry to the UK (e.g. at the airport Border Control) and make your request there.

Is a Short-term Study Visa right for me?

A Short-term Study Visa may be an option if:

  • You are at least 16 years of age; and
  • Your period of study within the UK will be completed within 6 months (if you are studying a short course); or within 11 months (if you are studying an English language course);

Please note: Short courses include:

  • Students needing to come to the UK to re-sit an exam
  • Students returning to the University of Birmingham following a Leave of Absence
  • Distance Learning students that occasionally need to visit the UK or
  • Students enrolled on a course abroad that is the equivalent of a UK Bachelor’s degree that wish to come to the University of Birmingham for research or tuition (e.g. Study Abroad students)
  • You have an unconditional offer to study at the University of Birmingham.

If for any reason the Short-term Study Visa will not be suitable, please read the nformation about applying for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa.

How to Apply

If you are a national of a country which requires a visa to enter or remain in the UK, you will need to apply before you travel by completing the online application form.

To find if you are a Visa National, please visit the following UK Government website:

Visa nationals country list

You must apply for and receive a short term student visa before you travel to the UK.

If you are a non-visa national intending to study for up to six months, then you can apply at the port of entry providing you have arrived from outside of the UK/ Republic of Ireland.

However, if you intend to study an English Language course for up to 11 months on a Student visitor visa, then you will need to apply before you travel, even if you are a non-visa national.

For more information please visit this page:

Short-term Study Visa

Documents that you must provide

  • Your current passport as well as any previous passports you have used to travel to the UK
  • You will need 1 passport sized colour photograph which meets the UKVI requirements (see requirements)
  • Evidence that you can support yourself during your trip, eg bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months. This should include evidence of money to pay for: course fees, accommodation, daily subsistence (meals, etc), onward or return flights
  • A ‘Short-term study Visa letter’ from the University of Birmingham which can be requested from the University admissions department if you are a new student or via Student Services if you are a continuing student (for example returning to resit an exam)
  • Translations of any documents that are not in English
  • Details of where you intend to stay and your travel plans - you should not pay for accommodation or travel until you get your visa;
  • Your Tuberculosis (TB) test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test and you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months.
  • If your course leads to a qualification at Master's 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 ATAS 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.

Please see the UKCISA short-term study visa web page for detailed information on how to apply and the documents needed. 

Advantages & Disadvantages of a Short-term Study Visa


  • The application fee for this visa is less than for a Tier 4 visa
  • The UKVI do not require you to meet English language test requirements


  • This visa will be given for a maximum of 6 months (or 11 months if studying an English language course), this means 6 months from the date the visa is granted, NOT the date you enter the UK. If your course is exactly 6 months long this visa is not suitable for you
  • Under no circumstances can you extend this visa in the UK or switch into another category. If you think you may need more time in the UK, you should not apply for this visa
  • You cannot undertake any work or work placement that is part of your course
  • You cannot bring family members with you as dependants

Which visa should I apply for?

You should carefully read the above information and consider your future plans, if there is any possibility that you might need extra time for your course, you must apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa.

If you need further help please contact the ISAS.