International students (from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland) require a visa (also known as ‘entry clearance’) to study in the UK. You will need to apply for the correct permissions to study in the UK even if you are a ‘non-visa national’. Non-visa nationals can choose whether to apply for entry clearance for Short-term study in advance of travelling, or to wait until arriving at the port of entry to the UK (e.g. at the airport Border Control) and make your request there.
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 Tier 4 (General) visa.
If you have applied for a Short-term Study Visa overseas before you travel, you should receive a Short-term study visa vignette in your passport.
If you apply for a Short-term study visa at the port of entry to the UK, the Immigration Officer will stamp your passport with a Short-term study visitor visa stamp. If they do not do this, you must ask if they can. It is important that if you apply for the visa when you enter the UK you make it clear to the Immigration Officer that you intend to study here. You will also have to declare this on a landing card.
If you have applied for a Short-term Study Visa to study an English language course for up to 11 months, you may be given an entry clearance visa for 30 days, and you will be required to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card within 10 days of arrival into the UK. Please read the instructions on how to have your BRP card sent to the University of Birmingham.
Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
Please see our Student visa pages for detailed information on how to appy and the documents nedded.
Short-term Study Visa
You will need a letter from the University of Birmingham called a 'Short-term Study Visa letter', you will need to request this from the University Admissions department.
When to apply
The earliest you can submit your application is 3 months before your date of travel to the UK. Remember that the visa will expire 6 months after the date the visa is granted to study a short course (or after 11 months if studying an English language course). Check the guide to processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in the country you are applying from.
How to apply
If you are a non-visa national then it is not compulsory for you to apply for entry clearance before you travel, if you wish to come to the UK as a short-term student for up to 6 months. If you choose not to apply for entry clearance then you can apply to enter the UK as a short-term student on arrival at the port of entry. If you do not obtain entry clearance before you travel you will need to produce all the documents to support your application to enter the UK when you arrive, this includes evidence of your offer of study (short-term study visa letter) and finances. It is important that you ask to be admitted as a student visitor (rather than a general visitor) and request that the stamp you receive in your passport indicates that you are here as a short-term study visitor. Please note that non-visa nationals should not travel to the UK via Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey without having applied for their visa before travelling. This is because if you arrive in the UK from elsewhere in the Common Travel Area, including Ireland you will not have the opportunity to go through UK immigration control and you will not be issued with the correct stamp in your passport to permit study in the UK.
If you are a visa national you must apply for a short-term study visa from outside of the UK by completing an online application form, with the exception of students residing in Cuba or North Korea who will apply in person. In most cases you will also be required to pay the visa fee online. The current fee for applications made outside of the UK is £85 for short-term student visas up to 6 months.
Biometric Residence Permits
If you have apply for a Short-term Study Visa to study an English language course for up to 11 months, you should enter the University of Birmingham Alternative Collection Location Code as part of your visa application in order to have your BRP card delivered to the University campus. Please read the instructions on how to have your BRP card sent to the University of Birmingham.
You should then book an appointment at a visa application centre, which may be in a different country. When you attend your appointment you need to take your printed application along with all the required supporting documents for your visa.
Documents that you must provide:
- Your current passport as well as any previous passports you have used to travel to the UK
- 1 passport sized colour photograph with your name written on the reverse (see requirements)
- Evidence that you can support yourself during your trip, eg bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months. This should include evidence of money to pay for: course fees, accommodation, daily subsistence (meals, etc), onward or return flights.
- A ‘Short-term study Visa letter’ from the University of Birmingham which can be requested from the University admissions department. If you want to do research or research tuition, you will have to provide evidence that you meet all the requirements
- Translations of any documents that are not in English
Please see the UKCISA short-term study visa web page for detailed information on how to apply and the documents needed.