skip to main content

Immigration guidance

Information for students from outside the EEA and Switzerland

The European Economic Area is made up of the European Union (EU) countries, and also Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

If you are from a country from outside the EEA or Switzerland you will need a visa to study. It is your own responsibility to check your visa status and ensure you obtain the correct visa before travelling to London.

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. 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.

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 6 months to take a short course/courses. If you are 16 or over, you apply as a short-term student, and if you are under 16 you apply as a short-term student (child).

For more information, please visit GovUK's Overview page for short-term study visas.

Back to top

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

You can apply up to 3 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.

Back to top

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 select 'Short-term student visa' to start this application. You do not need CAS number for your Short-term study visa application.

When selecting the length of planned stay in the UK please ensure that you select 6 months. Short-term study (11 months) visa only allows you to study an English language course.

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.

Back to top

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.

If you are an International student from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the United States of America coming for short term study (less than 6 months) you must not use automated eGates on arrival into the UK unless you have applied for entry clearance before travel. This is because you need to see a Border Officer to obtain the correct Short-term study visa stamp as evidence you have entered with the correct permission.

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.

Back to top

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 must not intend to stay in the UK for longer than 30 days after the course end date given in the visa application and leave the UK within 30 days after the course has ended, 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.

Back to top

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 5 or 6 months in the UK and then return to the UK for a few months or more after less than two months 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. Please carefully read page 11 of the UKVI's Short-term study visa guidance of what the Home Office considers to be frequent or successive study.

Back to top

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 Team

Back to top

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.

Back to top

What if I have any further questions?

Email the Immigration Compliance Team at

Back to top

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.

Back to top