From 1st December 2020 a standard visitor visa allows the study of short courses (less than 6 months) and replaces the short term study visa. However, if you are to undertake an English language course which is 6 to 11 months in duration, you will have to apply for a short term study visa.
All international students are required to submit their immigration documents for a right to study check before starting their course in the UK.
If you do not receive a visa in your passport then you will need to save your Boarding Pass and Flight Details to submit for your Right to Study Check, as evidence of when you entered the UK using an e-Gate.
A Right to Study Check must be completed on the My RTS site shortly after arriving in the UK.
Is a Visitor Visa right for me?
A standard visitor visa may be an option if the following circumstances apply to you:
- Your programme of study is for less than 6 months and you do not require a Student Visa;
- To resist an exam or retake a module and you need to be in the UK for less than 6 months;
- To take a viva (oral) examination as part of a PhD qualification;
- To complete a study abroad programme as part of an oversees course, if the duration is less than 6 months;
- To sit an entrance exam;
- To undertake a medical elective if you are studying medicine, veterinary medicine and science oversees which is equivalent to at least a degree level of study in the UK;
- the elective must form part of or relevant to the course and provide confirmation from your overseas provider; and
- electives must be unpaid and involve no treatment of patients
- Complete a period of research or research tuition;
- Enrolled onto a course overseas equivalent to at least degree level of study in the UK; and
- The research must from part of or relevant to the course overseas; and
- Your overseas provider must confirm that the research or research tuition is relevant to your course overseas
If for any reason the visitor visa will not be suitable please read the information about applying for a Student Route visa.
If you are granted a standard visitor visa, the following conditions will apply;
- Granted a visa for a maximum period of 6 months;
- Cannot extend your visa;
- Not be permitted to work in the UK, undertake a work placement or work experience;
- Not be able to apply with dependents at the same time, they will have to make a separate visa application for a visitor visa; and
- Not be able to apply for public funds (benefits, tax credits or housing assistance)
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 Route visa.
Please note you cannot enter the UK successively on a visitor visa to complete a course which is longer than 6 months.
If you need further help please contact the IST.
What happens after I have submitted my application?
If you have applied for a Standard Visitor Visa overseas before you travel, you should receive a Standard Visitor Visa vignette in your passport.
If you are a non-visa national that chooses not to apply for a visa, then you can either see a Border Control Officer at immigration or enter the UK through an e-gate. However, you must carry the evidence listed in the 'How to Apply' section below in case you are randomly checked by a Border Control Officer. Please also make sure to save your boarding pass or flight details as evidence of when you arrived in the UK.
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.
How to apply?
Please see our Student visa pages for detailed information on how to apply and the documents required.
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 visa national you will be required to obtain your standard visitor visa before you enter the UK. If you are a non-visa national you can obtain this permission at Border Control upon your arrival to the UK. You will need to make your standard visitor visa application from outside of the UK by completing an online form.
If you are a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) national or national of Switzerland and you do not have status under the EU Settlement Scheme you can also obtain this permission at Border Control.
If you are a non-visa national you can use the E-gates at the airport. Please ensure you keep your boarding pass, this will be needed for the Right to Study check.
Travel via Common Travel Area (Entry via Republic of Ireland)
If you are planning on travelling to the UK via the Common Travel Area, you should apply for entry clearance as a standard visitor before travelling to the Republic of Ireland. If you have not secured a standard visitor visa before travelling to the Republic of Ireland and then travel to the UK, you will not have a valid visa for study.
Standard Visitor visa supporting documents for visa and non-visa nationals
- Your current passport and any previous passport held which you have used to travel to the UK;
- A letter from the University confirming your student status, this will have to be requested from the college administrative department;
- Letter from overseas provider/institution if applicable;
- If your course leads to a qualification at Master's or doctorate level, or a postgraduate qualification abroad you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate. This will be applicable if you are on a relevant course and 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. You should obtain this ATAS certificate before you make your immigration application (at the UK border or as entry clearance), as the Home Office guidance says you will need to provide the certificate with your application. Therefore, you will need to apply for the ATAS clearance as early as possible;
- 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 and
- Translations of any documents that are not in English.
You will be required to obtain medical insurance before you enter the UK on a visitor visa. You will not be permitted to receive non-emergency NHS services whilst on a visitor visa. The Immigration Health Surcharge does not apply to a visitor visa.
It is recommended you obtain the appropriate health care insurance before your arrival to the UK.
Short term study visa – English language courses only (6 to 11 months)
If you are studying an English language course which is 6 to 11 months in duration, you will be required to apply for a 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 college administrative department.
When to apply
The earliest you can submit your application is 3 months before your date of your intended travel to the UK. Your visa will be valid for a period of 6 months to allow you to study a short course (or valid for 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
Both visa and non-visa nationals will be required to make a short term study visa application from outside of the UK by completing an online application form.
Documents that you must provide:
Your current passport as well as any previous passports you have used to travel to the UK
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's Admissions Department or your unconditional offer letter
TB certificate if applicable
Translations of any documents that are not in English.
Please see the UKVI short term study website for detailed information on how to apply and the documents required.