Short-term Student visas (STS) allow students to come and study in the UK for a course of six months' duration. You cannot apply for a Short-term study visa from inside the UK.

Study at the University of Westminster

You can apply for a Short-term Student visa to study at the University of Westminster if you are aged 16 and over and you are:

  • Studying a short course (six months or less) with no work or internship
  • Taking a 1-semester Study Abroad programme which is less than six months and does not include an internship or work placement
  • Returning to the UK to re sit an exam, retake a module where the University has been unable to issue you with a CAS for a Tier 4 visa
  • Take an oral (viva) examination for part of a PHD qualification
  • Complete a period of research for less than six months

Researching in the UK for less than six months

You can come to the UK for a short period of research if you are already enrolled on an overseas degree course.

To be eligible:

  • your course in your home country must be equivalent to a UK degree on UK NARIC
  • you must be carrying out the research at the University of Westminster
  • your research must form part of, or be relevant to the course you are studying overseas
  • you must be at least 16 years old
  • You will be required to provide a letter from your overseas education provider that confirms the course you are currently studying overseas and confirms that the research you will undertake in the UK relates to this course

What are the main conditions for a Short-term Student visa?

You must:

  • have enough money to support yourself without working or help from public funds, or that relatives and friends can support and house you
  • be able to pay for your return or onward journey out of the UK
  • intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your course or before the end of your visa, whichever is earliest
  • hold a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance where relevant
  • if aged 16 or 17 there are additional requirements, please seek further advice before applying

Other conditions

  • You must leave the UK no later than the date your immigration permission ends. If you stay in the UK past your visa expiry date you will be in the UK illegally as an overstayer
  • You cannot apply to switch into any other immigration category while you are in the UK
  • If you wish to continue studying in the UK after your immigration permission as a Short-term Student has come to an end, you will need to return home and apply for entry clearance as a Tier 4 student, Short-term Student or in another appropriate immigration category
  • You cannot do any kind of work, business activity, work placement or work experience during your studies in the UK
  • You will not be entitled to free National Health Service health care, you must take out private medical insurance from your home country before you come to the UK
  • You may not be eligible for exemption from Council Tax depending on the length of your course
  • You must not use this visa to study in the UK for extended periods through frequent and successive Short-term Student visas. Please seek advice if you have applied for a Short-term Student visa recently

What documents do you need when you apply for this visa?

You will need to provide the following documents to support your visa application:

  • a short-term study visa letter from the University of Westminster. This letter will confirm that we hold a Tier 4 sponsor licence and will confirm the details of your course. Please contact [email protected] once you have been accepted onto a short course here. If you are a 1-semester Study Abroad student, the Education Abroad team will provide you with this letter
  • if undertaking a period of research you will need a letter from your overseas education provider that confirms the course you are currently studying and that the research you will undertake at University of Westminster relates to this course
  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • evidence that you can support yourself during your trip, eg bank statements or payslips for the last six months
  • details of where you intend to stay and your travel plans – you should not pay for accommodation or travel until you get your visa

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances, eg evidence of your:

  • previous study, eg academic certificates, references or transcripts
  • English language qualifications, eg certificates or awards
  • accommodation and travel plans
  • permission to be in the country you are applying from (if you are not a national)
  • financial sponsor’s occupation, income, savings or funds that will support your studies
  • if you are under 18 you will need additional documents, seek advice before submitting your application

You need to provide the original documents.

You’ll also need to provide translations of any documents that are not in English.

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

Read the guide for a full list of documents you can provide.

How and where to apply for a Short-term Student visa

Visa nationals

If you are a national of a ‘visa national’ country, you must apply for your visa before coming to the UK. You can find a list of visa national countries in Appendix 2 of the Immigration Rules.

You need to complete the visa application form online, unless you are applying from North Korea. You cannot apply for a Short-term Student visa from inside the UK. See below how to apply.

Non-visa nationals

If you are a not a visa national (see above) you have the option to apply for your Short-term Student visa before coming to the UK (see application process below), or request the Short-term Student visa stamp on arrival at the airport, please see information below on arriving in the UK.

Applying for the Short-term Student visa prior to coming to the UK will make your transit through the airport easier and quicker. It will also normally allow you to travel in and out of the UK whilst you are on your course (eg for a weekend in Europe).

We advise that you do not apply for a Short-term Student visa at the airport if you have had previous immigration problems.

If you are a non-visa national and you decide to apply for your Short-term Student visa on arrival in the UK, you MUST make sure that the stamp in your passport says Short-Term Study (STS). If your passport is stamped with a Visitor endorsement, we will not be able to enrol you on your course. You will need to travel with all of your supporting documents in your hand luggage, including:

  • Your official Short-term student letter from the University
  • Proof that you have the required money for your accommodation, living costs and cost of travel back to your home country
  • Read the guide for a full list of documents you can provide.

You can be refused entry if the Immigration Officer is not satisfied that you still meet the conditions for a Short-term Student visa.

If you receive a STS stamp at the airport and you travel out of the UK during your course, you would need to apply for a new Short-term Student visa stamp when you return from your trip. In order to receive another Short-term Student stamp, you should travel with the University Short-term Student visa letter, your financial evidence and other relevant documents in your hand luggage each time you want to enter the UK. You can be refused entry if the Immigration Officer is not satisfied that you still meet the conditions for a Short-term Student visa.

Please be aware that you should not travel to the UK via Ireland as there are usually no immigration personnel to stamp your passport. This can cause serious problems when trying to enrol on your course and may result in you having to leave the UK and re-enter to get the correct stamp.

Applying for Short Term Study visa prior to Travelling to the UK

To start, go to Gov.uk's Short Term Study, Apply.

To access the application form, you need to create an online account. The visa application fee is currently £97.

Please ignore all references to the 11-month English Language course visa: we do not offer these courses at the University of Westminster so you cannot apply for an 11-month visa for a course with us.

You can apply for a visa up to three months before your date of travel to the UK, and you should get a decision on your visa within three weeks.

Remember, you can access full information on the application process, eligibility and documents required on Gov.uk's Short-term study visa page.

You can also find more information on UKCISA's website.

Arriving in the UK

When you are preparing for your arrival in the UK you may have questions about what to bring and what to expect. Please see the UKCISA website for useful information on how you should prepare.

It is also important to be aware of the eGates when arriving in the UK. The eGates, also known as ePassport gates, are automated self-service barriers located at immigration checkpoints at UK airports. They are an alternative to seeing an Immigration Officer/Border Force Officer. You may have seen communications from the UKVI advising you of this option.

You can enter the UK via the eGates if you hold a current passport (with a biometric chip) from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America. Registered travellers can also use the eGates.

We advise that you do not use these gates to enter the UK as a Short-term Student, see further information below.

If you hold a current passport (with a biometric chip) from one of the above listed countries and you are coming to the UK to study for less than six months on a Short-term Student visa you have the option to apply for the visa before you travel, also known as entry clearance, or to obtain a Short-term Student stamp at the border (airport).

Students who apply for entry clearance before travelling to the UK

If you apply for entry clearance before you travel to the UK, you will be given a vignette (sticker in your passport). This sticker will confirm the duration of your visa and your visa conditions. It is important that you enter the UK after your Short-term Student visa begins. Entering the UK before the start date on your vignette could mean that you enter the UK as a visitor which will cause problems for you when enrolling onto your course at the University. You may be asked to leave the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) and return during the validity of your short term study visa (as stated on your vignette/sticker).

If you enter the UK using an eGate and you do not receive an entry stamp in your passport we advise that you keep evidence of your flight tickets as proof of your entry to the UK.

Students who do not apply for entry clearance before they travel to the UK

If you do not have prior entry clearance and are going to get a Short-term Student stamp at the airport you must not use the eGates. Instead, you must see an Immigration officer/official (Border Force Officer) on arrival at the airport to get your passport stamped with a Short-term Student stamp. You can print and show the Immigration official evidence that you need a stamp, which you can download here:

If you use the eGates you will not receive a stamp in your passport, you will enter the UK as a visitor. Entering the UK as a visitor will cause complications for you when enrolling onto your course at the University. The University will not enrol you on your course if you enter the UK as a visitor and you may be required to leave the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) and return with the correct Short-term Student stamp. If you enter the UK as a visitor there is no application route to convert your visit visa to a Short-term Student visa whilst you are in the UK.

We have been advised that students who have completed immigration control and used the eGates, where they do not have prior entry clearance or a short term study stamp in their passport, and are still at the airport can approach a Border Force Officer to obtain a Short-term Student stamp.

Plan on working in the UK while studying?

If yes, the Short-term Student visa is not the right visa for you.