Short term study and visitor visa

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If you wish to come to the UK to study a course for less than 11 months, you should consider a Short-term Study Visa or Standard Visitor Visa, instead of a Student Visa.

What is a Short-term Study Visa?

A short-term study visa will allow you entry to the UK to study English language courses lasting longer than 6 months and up to 11 months.

What is a Standard Visitor Visa?

A Standard Visitor visa may be appropriate if you are:

  • a Pre-sessional English student, Study Abroad Exchange/CATS student coming to UH for less than 6 months.
  • repeating module(s), and the time needed to repeat is less than 6 months.
  • an external research student and need to visit campus for less than 6 months to do research, or to receive instruction on how to conduct research.
  • returning to re-sit an exam and the time needed to re-sit is less than 6 months.
  • returning to attend your viva.

Please note that you cannot apply for a Short-term Study or Standard Visitor visa from within the UK.

If you will be studying a pre-sessional English course and intend to continue your studies at UH afterwards, you may apply for entry clearance for a Student Visa if eligible.

Am I eligible?

To apply for a Short-term Study or a Standard Visitor visa, you must:

  • be genuinely seeking entry to study.
  • be joining an English language course lasting longer than 6 months and up to 11 months for a Short-term Study visa or studying a course of less than 6 months for a Standard Visitor visa (see above).
  • have enough money to support yourself while you are in the UK – you will need to show that you can pay for your tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses.
  • have an unconditional offer to study from the University of Hertfordshire.
  • be able to pay for your return or onward journey.

If you’re under 18 you must also:

  • have made arrangements for your travel and stay in the UK.
  • have permission from your parent or guardian to study in the UK


If you enter the UK on a Short-term Study or Standard Visitor visa, you cannot:

  • work – paid or unpaid.
  • undertake a paid or unpaid work placement, even if this is part of your studies.
  • extend your visa in the UK – you will need to leave the UK by your visa expiry date.
  • apply for other visas from within the UK.
  • bring dependants.
  • access the National Health Service (you will need to obtain private health insurance).

If you wish to do any of the above, then you must make an application for a Student Visa instead.

As you must be genuinely seeking entry to the UK as a short-term student you may, as part of the visa application process, be required to undergo an interview with the Home Office. Read further details about credibility interviews.

Where and when do I apply?

Visa nationals

Some nationalities (Visa Nationals) will need to apply for and receive a short-term study visa before they travel to the UK.

Check that you are eligible to apply and can meet the requirements.

You can apply online up to 3 months before your course start date (shown on your University offer letter). You will need to pay the visa application fee and provide your original offer letter, information about your accommodation arrangements and original financial documentation which shows how you intend to fund your studies.

You will only get a visa for a maximum of 6 months for Standard Visitor or 11 months for Short-term Study from the date you confirm to the Home Office as your intended travel date, so make sure that you will have enough time on the visa to cover the whole of your studies.

When you travel to the UK, make sure that you bring all the documents that you submitted with your visa application with you – the Border Force Officer may ask to see these documents when you arrive.

Non-visa nationals

If you are coming to the UK to study a course for less than 6 months, you can either apply for a Standard Visitor visa outside of the UK (before you travel) or you can apply at the UK port of entry when you arrive (for example, at Heathrow airport).

If you are a non-visa national coming to the UK to study an English language course lasting longer than 6 months, you must apply for a Short-term Study visa outside of the UK (before you travel).

You can check to see if you are a non-visa national on the Home Office website.

If you plan to obtain entry clearance as a Standard Visitor when you arrive, you will need to show all your offer documents to the Border Force Officer, such as your unconditional offer letter and evidence of your finances.

Unless you have prior entry clearance, you should avoid travelling to the UK via the Republic of Ireland, as you will probably be unable to apply for entry as a Standard Visitor student. Any stamp you do receive when travelling through the Republic of Ireland is likely to result in you having insufficient leave to complete your studies at the University.

When you arrive at the UK airport, you must NOT use an eGate. You must ask the Border Force Officer to be admitted as a Standard Visitor student - you will need to clearly explain to the Border Force Officer that you will be studying. Make sure that they look at your offer letter. The stamp you will be given in your passport should indicate that you are here as a student. The stamp is your ‘visa’ and will last for 6 months. Please note that the Border Force Officer can use your course end date (on your offer letter) as your visa expiry date.

If you are a Registered Traveller, when you arrive in the UK you must go through passport control and see a Border Force Officer - do not use an eGate.

If you are directed to use an eGate it is important you retain evidence of the date you arrived in the UK. Acceptable evidence includes an e-ticket, paper or electronic boarding pass. You will need to show your evidence as part of your enrolment at the University.

Make sure you don't come to the UK too early to ensure you can stay until your course has finished.

Additional guidance

You can also use the Home Office website and UK Council for International Student Affairs website for further guidance. Useful pages include;

You may also find our frequently asked questions page useful.

Frequently asked questions