Short-term study visa

Changes to Visa Rules for Short-term Students

Starting from rom 1 December 2020, Short-term Study is open for new applications only to students who wish to study English language courses. For all other short-term study purposes (like the ones listed below) students are now expected to apply for Standard Visitor visa that will allow study for up to 6 months. We have updated our Standard Visitor visa page, so if you have not yet made a visa application please refer to this webpage for up-to-date information instead. The below information is only relevant for those students who have a Short-term study visa already and are continuing to study the course which their letter was issued for. If you are not sure how this change affects you, please feel free to contact us

The Short-term study visa is for people who want to come to the UK to study or do research for a short period of time on a course that does not include a work placement or work experience (with the exception of medical electives). It is a route for students who wish to enter the UK for 6 months or less. If your research or study period is likely to exceed 6 months, you should explore applying for a Tier 4 visa instead.

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.

Using eGates on arrival

If you are eligible to obtain a Short-term study visa at the UK border, please do not use eGates on arrival. You will be admitted as a Visitor and not as a Short-term student, and you will not have a valid visa to study. You must make sure you see a border officer on arrival in the UK to receive a Short-term study visa stamp. Once your passport has been stamped, please check that you have been given the correct stamp before you leave the terminal.  It must state 'STS' or 'short term study' to be registered for your course.  If it is incorrect please return to the border officer and ask them to re-stamp your passport.

Who can come to the UK as a Short-term student?

Information about different categories of students who can come to Bristol on a Short-term study visa are contained in the dropdown menu below. Information about using a Short-term study visa to study a pre-sessional course at the University can be found on this page

Applying for a Short-term study visa

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

If you are studying a course or doing research in one of these subject areas, you may need an ATAS certificate to come to the UK as a Short-term student. The offer letter issued by the relevant School/Faculty Office (not by supervisors or academics) should state if you require it.  If you require ATAS clearance, you will need to have an ATAS certificate before you can apply for a Short-term study visa. Holding an ATAS certificate is also a requirement of registration at the University.  

It can take up to 20 working days to obtain an ATAS certificate, so please allow enough time for your application to be processed. Waiting times can be longer during peak time in the summer months. Your faculty will be able to provide you with the information regarding your course/research that you require to make your online application for your ATAS certificate.  Please see our ATAS information for more details and the link to the application form.


You cannot work on a Short-term study visa. This includes voluntary (unpaid) work. The only exception is work undertaken as part of medical elective for those students who obtained an STS visa for this purpose.  

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.

Health insurance

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

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