Immigration Guidance for Short Courses

This important information applies to short course students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland only. The EEA is made up of the European Union (EU) countries, and also Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

You must present your passport and valid visa/proof of entry clearance to the Short Course Office before the start of your course. Instructions on how to do this will be sent to you when you book your course. Your immigration documents will be checked, and providing these are valid for study, you will be able to start your course.

Please note we cannot allow you to start your course if you do not have the correct immigration permission. 

The information below applies to students who are coming to the UK to study a short course and require a Short-term study visa.


What is a Short-term study visa?

A Short-term study visa will allow you to come to the UK for a period of up to six months to take a short course/courses. If you are 18 or over, you apply as a short-term student, and if you are under 18 you apply as a short-term student (child). 

For more information, please visit www.gov.uk/study-visit-visa/overview.  

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When should I apply for a Short-term study visa?

You can apply up to three months before the date that you intend to travel to the UK. The length of time it takes to issue a visa varies so we recommend you check visa processing times for your country

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How do I apply for a Short-term study visa?

Only 'visa nationals' need to apply in advance for a Short-term study visa.

I am a visa national:

You must apply for entry clearance as a short-term student before you travel. We strongly recommend that you read the Home Office's guidance on supporting documents before making an application. 

Online applications: When you apply online for your Short-term study visa, make sure you apply for the correct type of visa. Please select the following options:

  • Reason for visit: Study
  • Visa type: Study (non point-based system)
  • Visa sub type: Study - Short-term student 6 months* 

* If you are under 18, select Study - short-term student child 6 months from the visa sub type list.

Please do not apply for a PBS Tier 4 General Student Visa

Please submit your completed visa application and supporting documents to your nearest visa application centre. Your visa will be in the form of a sticker placed in your passport, and it will specify the category it has been issued for, eg C-Visit-Student or Short-term student. Please check you have been given the correct type of visa and that it has been issued for the correct length of time.

When you travel to the UK, bring all the documents that you submitted with your visa application as you may be asked to present them to officials at the UK Border.

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I am a non-visa national:

You can apply for a Short-term study visa either before you travel to the UK or request permission to enter as a short-term student upon arrival at a port of entry to the UK, eg London Heathrow Airport.

If you decide to apply upon arrival at a port of entry to the UK, you must declare that you are here to study and show UK Border Force Officers the visa letter we send you when you book your course. Please also be ready to provide evidence that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your time here and to present any supporting documents if asked.

Explain to the UK Border Force Officer that you want to enter the UK as a short-term student and ask that the stamp in your passport indicates you are here as a short-term student.

Failure to obtain the correct stamp upon entry to the UK may result in you not being able to study here for more than 30 days.

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Arriving via the Republic of Ireland?

If you plan to enter the country via the Republic of Ireland, please read this important advice from the UK Council for International Student Affairs.

What do I need to know about the conditions of the Short-term study visa?

  • You will have to leave the UK once you have completed your course or before your visa expires, whichever is sooner.
  • You will not be given permission to work (this includes unpaid work and internships).
  • You cannot apply or switch to any other immigration category whilst in the UK, and you cannot extend this permission.
  • You will not be entitled to free treatment from the National Health Service (NHS). This means that you will need to have medical insurance to cover your stay in the UK.

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Can I enter the UK more than once as a short-term student?

There are guidelines about how often and how long you can stay in the UK on a Short-term student visa. For example, you may be refused entry to the UK if:

• you have already spent five or six months in the UK and then return to the UK for a few months or more after a short break in your home country;
• you are living in the UK for successive short periods of time, broken up by short periods out of the country. For example, if you live in the UK during the week and then leave the UK at weekends.

We strongly recommend that you do not visit the UK for more than 180 days (6 months) in any 12 month period. Immigration officers may think that frequent, successive visits to the UK amount to residence here, and you may be refused when you try to enter the UK.

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I already have a visa; can I study a short course at University of the Arts London

It depends on your individual circumstances and the type of visa you have:

  • Tier 4 (General) Student/Child: you are allowed to study a short course as supplementary study to the main course for which you have been given a Tier 4 visa.
  • Standard Visitor Visa (C-Visit): yes, you are allowed to study for a maximum of 30 days either in one go, or over a number of shorter periods, provided the main reason for holding this visa is not to study. If you are planning to study for a total of more than 30 days, you need to apply for a Short-term study visa.

It is illegal to enrol on a short course if you have a Short-term student (11 month) visa. This visa only allows you to study an English language course.

If you are not sure that the visa you currently have allows you to study a short course, please email the Immigration Compliance Administrator ara@arts.ac.uk.

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Information for students on a preparation course

If you are applying to join a preparation course (taking place in the summer, immediately before the start of your main course), you may be able to apply for a Tier 4 visa, and we will send you further details. 

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What if I have any further questions?

Email the Immigration Compliance Administrator at ara@arts.ac.uk

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Useful links

UAL's Student Advice Service has advisers who are specially trained on immigration issues and can assist you with enquiries about visa and immigration matters. 

The UKCISA and GOV.UK websites have the most up-to-date visa information. 

Please read UAL's short course booking terms and conditions carefully before you make a booking. 

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Where do our international students come from?

We've welcomed short course students from the following countries:

Afganistan        AlgeriaAmerica
AngolaAntiguaArgentina
ArmeniaAustraliaAustria
AzerbaijanBahamasBahrain
BangladeshBarbadosBotswana
BelarusBelgiumBenin
BoliviaBrazilBrunei
BulgariaBurkina FasoBurma 
CambodiaCanadaChad
ChileChinaColombia
CongoCroatiaCyprus
CzechoslovakiaDenmarkDominica
HollandEcuador Eygpt  
EstoniaEthiopiaFinland 
FranceGermanyGhana
GreeceGrenadaGuatemala
GuyanaHondurasHungary
IcelandIndiaIndonesia
IranIraqIsrael
ItalyIvory CoastJamaica
JapanJordanKazazhstan
Kenya KyrgyzstanLatvia
LebanonLiberiaLithuania
LuxembourgMacedoniaMadagascar
MalawiMalaysiaMaldives
MaltaMauritiusMexico
MoldovaMongoliaMorocco
MozambiqueNamibiaNepal
NetherlandsNew ZealandNicaragua
NigeriaNorwayOman
PakistanPanamaPeru
PhilippinesPolandPortugal
QatarRomaniaRussia
RwandaSenegalSerbia
SeychellesSierra LeoneSingapore
SlovakiaSloveniaSomalia
South AfricaSouth KoreaSpain
Sri LankaSaint Kitts and NevisSudan
Swaziland                 SwedenSwitzerland
SyriaTaiwanTanzania
ThailandTrinidad and TobagoTunisia
TurkeyUAEUganda
UkraineUSAUruguay
UzbekistanVenezuelaVietnam
YemenZambiaZimbabwe

If you are a non-EEA or Swiss national you must have the correct visa to study a short course in the UK. It is your own responsibility to check your visa status and ensure you obtain the correct visa before travelling to London.