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Visas for short periods of study

If you'll study for a short period of time at the University, you'll need the appropriate immigration permission. Find out more about which route you can apply for, the required documents and everything you need to do before and after receiving your visa.

Please note that this information applies to EEA and Swiss nationals who come to the UK after 31 December 2020, who do not have status under the EU Settlement Scheme.


Contact the Student Advice Service if you need help with your application.

Read additional visa information if you'll be studying on one of our short courses or Study Abroad programmes.

Short-term student visa

This visa is only for students who study an English language course between six and 11 months long. You cannot apply for this visa on arrival in the UK, you must apply at your local Visa Application Centre for Entry Clearance before travelling. You can only study the course for which your visa has been granted for. For further information about this visa please visit UK Council for International Student Affairs.

Visitor route

The visitor route is issued for a period of 6 months for those who are visiting the UK temporarily. You can study the following types of courses with this type of immigration permission:

  • a short course at the university where the duration is less than 6 months
  • an English course where the duration is less than 6 months
  • a study abroad programme where the duration is less than 6 months
  • repeat periods of study on a longer course such as degree, where the duration of repeat study is less than 6 months
  • a distance learning course longer than 6 months where you spend the majority of your time outside the UK and come to the University for short periods of study.

If you have visitor status, you have certain restrictions and conditions on your stay:

  • You cannot work or do a work placement in the UK, work on a self-employed basis in the UK or be involved in business activities.
  • You cannot extend your stay in the UK or switch into other visa routes.
  • You must have the funds to pay for your course and support yourself during your studies in the UK.
  • You must be a genuine visitor meaning that you must not use the route to live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, and that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit.
  • Your must be able to complete your course within the validity of your immigration permission.

Detailed information about this visa route is available on the UKCISA website.

Applying for the visitor route

You need to establish if you're a visa or non-visa national to understand how you can apply for your visa. You can find a list of visa nationals in Appendix Visitor: Visa National List.

Non-visa nationals

If you're a non-visa national coming to the UK as a Visitor, then you're not required to apply for your visa before travelling. You can request entry as a visitor on arrival from a Border Force Officer or if eligible, pass through eGates where you'll be digitally recorded as a visitor. You must carry all necessary documents in your hand luggage such as your visa letter from the University and your financial evidence as you may need to show these to a Border Force Officer. If you're not eligible to use eGates, you will receive a visitor visa stamp in your passport. Your entry to the UK is for a single visit and becomes invalid when you leave the UK.

You can apply for your visa before travelling to the UK if you wish. This would usually be issued as a multiple entry visa which can be beneficial if you plan on taking trips outside the UK during your course.

Please note that Irish nationals do not need permission to study in the UK under Common Travel Area arrangements.

Visa nationals

If you're a visa national then you must apply for your visa before travelling to the UK. This is called Entry Clearance and you can apply in any country outside the UK, not just the country you normally live. Your visa will be a sticker inside your passport that is date stamped on arrival to the UK. Your visa will usually allow multiple entries to the UK during your course. You should read through the guidance provided by UK Council for International Student Affairs before making your application.

Arrival at the UK border

You should follow our guidance to ensure that you enter the UK in the correct way. You may not be allowed to complete enrolment on your course without the appropriate immigration permission.


eGates can be used by nationals with biometric passports from the EEA, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America. You will be digitally recorded as a Visitor but you must keep evidence of the date you arrived in the UK such as your boarding pass so that you can be enrolled on your course.

Entering via the Republic of Ireland

The UK and Ireland form part of the Common Travel Area (CTA) and there is no immigration control on arrival in the UK from Ireland. If you apply for your Visitor visa before travelling to the UK, then your visa vignette won't be date stamped on entry. This isn't an issue but you should ensure that you keep evidence of your travel such as your boarding pass.

If you're a non-visa national and you enter the UK via Ireland without applying for your Visitor visa before travelling, you will automatically have permission to be in the UK for up to 6 months. If your course is longer than 6 months, you will not be allowed to enrol on your course.