What is a Student Visitor Visa?
A Short Term Study Visa is a type of Student Visa that allows people from outside the EEA to come to the UK for the purpose of study. It is commonly referred to as the Student Visitor Visa.
You are eligible to apply for this type of UK visa if you wish to visit Britain and study in a UK institution (like a university or school) for a period of fewer than six months.
Please note that this is different from a Tier 4 Student Visa, which comes under the points-based-system and is used by students who wish to take on long-term study, bring family members, and switch to other visa categories. The Student Visitor Visa and Tier 4 Student Visa are two different kinds of entry clearance. Call our team on 0121 667 6530 to find out more.
Student Visitor Visa eligibility assessment
You are eligible for a Short Term Study Visa if you fulfill each of the following criteria:
- You are doing a short study course at a UK institution (school, college, or university)
- Are from a country that is outside of the European Economic Area
- You meet the rest of the visit visa requirements (see ‘requirements’) section for more info on this
Academic visitors do not meet the eligibility requirements for a Short Term Study Visa. They can apply for a Standard Visit Visa or a Paid Permitted Engagement Visa depending on the type of role they need to fill in the UK.
Requirements for Student Visit Visa category
The requirements for this type of Student Visa are as follows:
- You have been offered a place on a legitimate UK course
- You have enough money to support yourself during your planned study and time in the UK, without relying on a work income for public funds
- You can prove that you will return home at the end of your course and that you can pay for your journey home. This requirement is called the ‘reason for return’ requirement.
The Home Office will assess whether you meet the reason for return requirement by considering factors like whether you have a course you are completing at home, a job/career, or a family in your home country.
A Student Visitor Visa allows you to stay in the UK for the length of your planned study. So, if you need to complete a three-month course, for example, your visa will last for three months.
Generally, this type of Study Visa lasts for a maximum of six months, and if a student needs to come to the UK to study for longer than this time, they would usually consider applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa instead.
There is an exception to this validity requirement, which occurs if you are studying an English language course. If this is the case, your Student Visa can be valid for up to 11 months.
Depending on your home country, you may be able to come to the UK for a certain period without having to apply for any sort of Student Visa. This is the case for American nationals, for example, as the UK and US accept temporary migration between countries as part of its ‘special relationship’ understanding.
Types of visa use
You can use this type of visa if you want to come to the UK for two main purpose. These are:
- As a student (in a school, college or university)
- As a student researcher
To apply for a Student Visitor Visa, applicants must have had an offer from an institution in the UK that has a national accreditation. This offer must be official and recognised as such. If part of a university course, it must be equivalent to a UK degree.
Researchers can apply under this category if they want to conduct research as part of a recognised UK degree (such as a postgraduate degree). They must be at least 16 years old to do this and the research must be conducted at the university.
Short Term Study Visa application process
Once you have ensured that you meet the Student Visit Visa requirements, you can start the application process. This involves compiling all your supporting documents (see below) and your application forms and submitting them to UKVI for consideration.
You will need to complete an application under ‘Short-term Student Visa’ category, which falls under the ‘Visitor’ umbrella.
You can make a Student Visitor Visa application online through the government website. You will also need to have your biometric information taken. This can be done at various application centres around the UK.
After this, you can pay the application fee and submit your application. It should take around six weeks in total to process this.
Short Term Study documents
As well as your application forms, you will also need to submit several documents to support your application. These include:
- Your passport/another valid travel document
- Proof that you hold enough funds to support yourself while you study in the UK (e.g a bank statement that shows proof of adequate savings)
- Proof that you have set up appropriate accommodation that covers your full stay in the UK (for example, this could proof that you have arranged to stay in halls or residence or on school grounds if you are attending a British boarding school)
- Your TB test results, if you are from a country where this is required
- Contact details for the applicant’s parents or guardians (if they are under the age of 18)
All your documents must be translated into English or Welsh if they are not originally written in either of these languages.
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You cannot switch to a Tier 4 Student Visa from a Short-term Student Visa. To apply for a Tier 4 Visa you must return to your home country according to your Visitor Visa guidelines. From there, you can make a fresh application under the points-based immigration system.
You must apply for a Short-term Study Visa from outside the UK, in advance of your course. When you have entered the UK to begin your studies (after your visa has been granted) you should carry your documentation with you. This is because UK Border Force Officers could technically ask to see them.
This requirement is called the ‘sufficient funds’ requirement.
The amount of money you need to show that you can support yourself during your stay in the UK varies. The final amount depends on how long your course lasts and the cost of your planned trip.
For example, for a week-long trip, government advice recommends having approximately £800 in your account, to cover your travel to and around the UK, as well as maintenance.
You must demonstrate with your application that you are able to afford the tuition fees for the course you are enrolling in and that you have booked a return flight/travel in time for when your visa expires.
An international student who is a national from a country outside the EEA who wants to study in the UK can apply for a study visa.
They can either apply for a Student Visitor Visa, if their course if six months or less (or 11 months or less if it is an English language course). Otherwise, if it is longer than this, they should apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa which will allow leave to remain based on this category of the points based system.
As well as this, there are other visas that allow you to study in the UK. These include the UK Ancestry Visa, the Spouse Visa and the Standard Visitor Visa (although this is only up to 30 days maximum).