Short-term study visa

Travelling to Bristol via Ireland

If you are coming on a short-term study visa and have not secured your visa before travelling, do not arrive via Ireland.

The UK and Ireland have a Common Travel Area and you will not go through UK immigration after transferring in Dublin. You will not have a valid visa to study.

Who can apply

You may be able apply for a short-term study visa if you are:

  • studying in the UK on a part-time or full-time course that lasts less than six months, for example a Study Abroad course;
  • returning for exams;
  • a visiting postgraduate research student.

A short-term study visa is not appropriate for every course less than six months (eg medical electives).

Read the UKVI Short-term study visa eligibility information.

Some nationalities are required to apply in advance for a short-term study visa, while others can be stamped in as a Short-Term Student on entry into the UK at the airport. Even if you can be stamped in on entry you will still need to travel with the documents required.

Please see the UKVI Short-term study visa application information on how to apply for the visa if you are required to apply before travelling into the UK.

Please contact us to check which visa you need.

A short-term study visa cannot be extended. If you want to study a full-time course which lasts more than six months you will need a Tier 4 student visa.

Study Abroad students

If you are not sure if you want to stay for a year or just one semester, you should apply for a Tier 4 student visa to come for a year, because the short-term study visa cannot be extended.

If you are on a short-term study visa and you later decide you want to extend your stay, you will have to return home and apply for a Tier 4 student visa before you can return to the UK.

Distance learning

If you who choose to study through distance learning the University cannot offer sponsorship for a Tier 4 student visa.

You will instead need to secure a short-term study visa for every visit to the University, throughout the duration of your course.

There are risks associated with doing this, which should be carefully considered: 

  • For most nationalities, you will have to pay a visa application fee for each visit.
  • UK immigration rules and policies change often and with little notice. The University cannot guarantee that the short-term study visa rules in place when you begin a distance learning course will remain in place throughout the duration of your course. The rules in place at the time of each visa application will apply, not those in place when you begin your course.
  • If at any point your short-term study visa application is refused, this may affect future visa applications.

For those courses where we offer the choice of full-time residential study or distance learning, the full-time residential mode with a Tier 4 student visa carries significantly less risk.

Documents you must provide

Read the UKVI list of documents you must provide when you apply.

How to apply

If you do need to apply before travelling to the UK, read UKVI how to apply information.


You cannot work on a short-term study visa.

Health insurance

If you enter the UK on a short-term study visa, you are not entitled to National Health Service (NHS) treatment. We advise that you to take out private medical insurance.

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