If you are studying on a course or joining GCU as an exchange student, returning for re-sits, to sit your Viva or complete your studies for less than 6 months you can apply for a short term study visa. If you are studying an English language course you can apply for an 11 month short term study visa.

What is a Short-Term Study Visa?

The Short-Term Study Visa allows students to come to the UK for 6 months or less to study (or up to 11 months for English language study). Short-Term Study Visa is covered in the Immigration Rules Part 2 which includes Paragraph 56K. You can apply as a Short-Term Study Visa if you are:

  • From outside EEA and Switzerland
  • Over 16 years of age
  • Able to show you have enough money to support yourself while in the UK
  • Not intending to work during your stay in the UK
  • Planning to:
    • Study a short course of 6 months or less OR
    • Study up to 11 months to study an English Language Course OR
    • Study part of a distance learning programme where you are required to be on campus for part of your programme OR
    • Resit an exam, repeat a module or resubmit coursework
    • undertake a short period of research as part of a degree course if you are studying abroad
What are the Differences between Short-Term Study Visa and Tier 4 Student Visa?

This visa is different from Tier 4 Student Visa in a number of ways. The main difference is that the visa cannot last for more than 6 months (or 11 months for English language students). There are other differences, as detailed below:

  • You cannot extend your Short-Term Study Visa, and you cannot "switch" into another category while in the UK
  • You cannot have dependants on a Short-Term Study Visa. If you wish your family members to join you, then they will need to apply to come here as Standard Visitors, or in another category (if they meet the requirements)
  • There is no requirement for your course of study to be full-time; part-time study is permitted
  • You cannot work (paid or unpaid) on a student visitor visa, and your course of study cannot contain a work placement or work experience
How do I Apply?

Online Application

You must apply for Short-term study visa through the UKVI website. You will need to register for an account first if you have not already done this. The correct visa category is:

  • Reason for Visit: 'Study'
  • Visa Type: 'Study (non Points-Based System)'
  • Visa Sub Type: 'Study - Short-Term Student 6 months' OR ''Short Term Study 11 months - English Language'

Application Fee

The application fee is £97 for a 6 month visa and £186 for an 11 month visa. This should be paid in local currency.

How long can I stay?

You are required to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your short period of study, or before the visa expires, whichever is the earliest.

You must not add additional study after your arrival in the UK that will last in excess of the 30 day period at the end of the original period of entry you requested.


ATAS clearance is required for those coming to the UK under the short-term student route in order to study relevant courses for up to six months (where an applicant is 18 or older when applying for immigration permission or will turn 18 before the permission expires).

This will affect those on relevant courses who come to the UK using this route to undertake a course, research or research tuition, an elective, a viva, a re-sit exam, a re-take module or part of a course under the distance-learning provision.

Further information can be found on our ATAS page.

Visa National

You must apply for entry clearance before you leave your home country. When travelling to the UK, it is advisable to carry all the documents you submitted with your application in your hand luggage as Immigration Officers may ask to see these when you arrive in the UK.

Non-visa National

If you are coming to the UK as a short term study visitor, and you are a national of a country that does not appear on the Home Office's visa national list, then you may not need to apply for a visa before you travel here.

However we strongly advise all students to apply for your visa before you leave your home country to avoid any issues on arrival to the UK.

If you plan to travel via Dublin you must apply before leaving your home country as there is no facility to issue the visa on arrival in the UK when travelling via the European Common Travel Area.

If you are applying for an 11 month English Language Short Term Study Visitor, you will need to apply from your home country, regardless of your nationality.

If you wish to apply for a 6 month Short Term Study Visit visa as a non-visa national, you must be ready to show all the relevant documents detailed above relating to your stay and studies in the UK, as well as your return flight ticket. Make it clear to the Border Force Officer that you wish to be admitted as a student visitor. Your visa will take the form of a six month visitor stamp that the officer will endorse as a Short Term Study Visitor.

Ensure that the officer fully understands that you wish to be admitted as a short term study visitor, not as a Standard Visitor or tourist, for which study is restricted.

Please Note that a visa issued on arrival is a 'Single Entry'' and if you travel outside the UK during your studies you will need to apply for a new visa on re-entry. You should carry your Acceptance Letter, Confirmation of Student Status Letter and financial documents to confirm you can continue to support yourself for the remainder of your studies. Evidence of your accommodation is also required.

Entering the UK with your Visa

As you have obtained your visa in your home country, you must ensure your visa is stamped upon entry to the UK. As part of your continued requirement to adhere to GCU student and visa conditions, your visa must be stamped with your date of entry to activate it.

If your visa is not stamped on entry, you must present yourself to an immigration official at the airport in the UK and explain that you have not had your visa stamped. It is advisable to keep copies of your flight booking and tickets for your personal record to confirm your date of entry to the UK in addition to the stamp on your passport.

The university will monitor this during Registration.