Short courses

The information on this page is only for exchange and visiting students that will be taking a short course of under 6 months at the University of Birmingham.  If your course is more than 6 months long you should read the Student visa pages.

Do I need a visa?

You will need to apply for student visa to enter the UK if you are from a country outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland. This visa will allow you to register and study at the University of Birmingham.

You will need to decide whether to apply for a Student or Student Visitor visa. We have listed the advantages and disadvantages of each type of visa to help you decide.

Student Visa (Tier 4 General)


  • It is possible in certain circumstances to extend this visa in the UK.
  • You will be allowed to work (restrictions apply) and to undertake placements that are part of your course.
  • This visa should be issued to start 7 days before your course start date and to expire 7 days after your course end date. This will give you time to make travel arrangements and arrive on time for your course.


  • You will need to meet English test requirements.
  • The visa fee application fee is more expensive than a Student Visitor visa.

Student Visitor visa


  • The application fee for this visa is less than for a Student Visa.
  • The UKBA does not require you to meet English language test requirements.


  • This visa will be given for a maximum of 6 months, this means 6 months from the date the visa is granted, NOT the date you enter the UK. If your course is exactly 6 months long this visa is not suitable for you.
  • Under no circumstances can you extend this visa in the UK or switch into another category. If you think you may need more time in the UK, you should not apply for this visa.
  • You cannot undertake any work or work placement that is part of your course.
  • You have to apply for this visa from outside the UK.

Which visa should I apply for?

You should carefully read the above information and consider your future plans, if there is any possibility that you might need extra time for your course, you must apply for a Student Visa. You should remember that the information on this page is only for students that will be doing a course that is 6 months (or less).

If you need further help please email ISAS.

How to apply?

Student Visa

Please see our Student visa pages for detailed information on how to appy and the documents nedded.

Student Visitor visa

You will need a letter from the University of Birmingham called a 'Student Visitor visa letter', you will need to request this from the University Admissions department.

If you choose to apply for this visa on entry to the UK (at the airport), you must make it clear to the UKBA staff at the passport check that you want to be stamped in as a 'Student Visitor'. If you do not specifically ask for this they are likely to stamp you in as a general visitor which is a different type of visa.

Please see the UKCISA Student Visitor visa web page for detailed information on how to apply and the documents needed.