How to apply for a short-term study visa

You can apply for a short-term study visa if you:

  • have been accepted onto a course at Sussex of six months or less or
  • have been accepted onto an English language course at Sussex of 11 months of less or
  • have been accepted to do a short period of research as part of a Sussex degree.

You must also:

Check if you need to apply for a short-term study visa

What you can and can't do if you have a short-term study visa

You should not apply for a short-term study visa if you want to work in the UK, extend your visa in the UK or bring your family as dependants to the UK.

Instead, you should apply for a Tier 4 student visa.

Find out more about what you can and can't do if you have a short-term study visa

Non-visa national

If you are a non-visa national (such as USA, Japan, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong), you can either:

  • apply for a short-term study visa online before you arrive in the UK
  • apply to enter the UK as a short-term student when you arrive at the port of entry.

See Appendix 2. Visa National List to check if you are a visa national or non-visa national

  • Who should apply?

    You might want to apply for a short-term study visa if you are:

    • a Visiting and Exchange student studying for less than six months
    • an International Summer School student
    • a Distance Learning student coming to Sussex for less than six months
    • an English Language student studying a course of less than 11 months. If you're doing a pre-sessional course, apply for a Tier 4 visa instead
    • doing re-sit/SITS at Sussex (for continuing Sussex students only)
    • a PhD student returning to Sussex for your viva. (If you have a short-term study visa, you can’t apply for the Doctoral Extension Scheme)
    • doing a short period of research or research tuition.
  • When to apply for your visa

    You can apply for a visa up to three months before your date of travel to the UK. If you are a visa national, you must apply online in advance.

    Check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take.

  • Visa application documents

    You must include:

    • your unconditional offer letter from Sussex
    • qualification certificates (where required) if your offer at Sussex was based on another course
    • proof you have enough money to support yourself without working (e.g. pay for your tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses) while you are in the UK
    • a current passport or other valid travel identification
    • one passport-sized colour photograph
    • details of where you will stay and your travel plans. Do not pay for accommodation or travel until you get your visa.

    Using the Tier 4 maintenance figures as a guide only, you should prove you have the equivalent of £1,015 per month for the duration of your course.

    If you’re staying with friends or family in the UK, which decreases your living costs, include evidence of this. 

    You need to provide the original documents and a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English.

    You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.

    If your course is more than six months long, you may need a Tuberculosis (TB) certificate. Check if you need to take a tuberculosis test

    Check the Home Office guide for a full list of visa application documents.

    Extra documents for students coming on research or research tuition

    You need to provide a letter from your course provider abroad. This must confirm that your research or research tuition is part of, or relevant to, your course abroad.

    See the UKCISA web pages for more information.

    Acceptable forms of evidence for proof of funds

    • bank statements
    • official financial sponsorship letter
    • your parents’ bank statement and a letter from them stating that they will financially support you for the duration of your stay. You only need to provide this if your parents are paying for your course, accommodation and living expenses
    • confirmation that your home institution is covering some or all of your course fees and living expenses.
  • Visa application costs

    It costs £93 to apply for a short-term study visa for six months.

    It costs £179 for the 11-month visa (if you're studying an English language course between six and 11 months long).

    If you are issued a visa for longer than six months, you also have to pay a healthcare surcharge. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

  • How to apply online

    If you are applying for a short-term study visa before you arrive in the UK, you must apply online on the UKVI website

    On the online application form, fill in the following options:

    • reason for visit: Study
    • visa type: Study (non points based system)
    • visa sub type: Study - short-term student six months (or 11 months if coming for English language study only).

    Make sure you have all your visa application documents with you when you enter the UK.

    If you are a non-visa national, you can apply online in advance or apply to enter the UK as a short-term student when you arrive at the port of entry.

    You must apply in advance if you have a criminal record or you’ve previously been refused entry into the UK.

    If you want to come to the UK early to travel, contact our immigration advisers.

  • How to apply on arrival (non-visa nationals)

    If you are a non-visa national, you can apply to enter the UK as a short-term student when you arrive at the port of entry. You are not charged a fee for this.

    When you arrive in the UK, show the following documents to the Border Force Officer:

    • evidence of your unconditional offer to study in the UK (your offer letter)
    • any qualification certificates that your offer at Sussex was based on (e.g. previous course)
    • evidence of your finances.

    Explain to the Border Force Officer that you want to be admitted as a short-term student and NOT as a standard visitor.

    Make sure you show your Sussex offer letter and ask that the stamp you get in your passport indicates you are here as a short-term student.

    See how the stamp in your passport should look

  • Entry via the Common Travel Area including Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey

    If you are a non-visa national and want to apply for your short-term study visa on arrival in the UK, do not enter from the Republic of Ireland or any other country within the Common Travel Area. You should apply online for your visa instead.

    There is no passport control for people entering this way, so you won't be able to apply for your short-term study visa on arrival and get a visa stamp.

    If you do not have a visa stamp, you cannot register for your course at Sussex.

    It does not matter if your passport is not endorsed with a date stamp on arrival in the UK, although keep evidence of travel.

    You should also make sure you enter after the 'valid from' date on your visa and meet any immigration requirements for entry to the Republic of Ireland, or other Common Travel Area countries.

  • Travelling in Europe on a short-term study visa

    If you want to travel to another European country while you are studying in the UK, check if you need a visa to visit that country before you arrive in the UK.

    If you are a visa national and need to apply for your short-term study visa before your arrival to the UK, you probably need to apply for a Schengen visa. You should apply for this visa in your home country.

    This allows you to visit European countries in the Schengen Area.

    If you are a non-visa national, you may not need a visa to travel to countries in the Schengen Area. However, contact the embassy of the European country you want to visit as some countries may require you to have a visa.