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How you can come to study on a short course in the UK as a student visitor | Immigration Matters

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The student visitor visa should not be confused with the points based Tier 4 student visa. You should apply for a student visitor visa if you want to come to the UK to do a short course of study, not longer than six months, during your visit.

Examples of short courses include English Language, TEFL or ESOL courses, which can run for periods starting at six weeks.

The basic rules published by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) state that you should be aged 18 or over (under 18’ can apply as a child visitor), and you must have been accepted on a course of study provided by:

  • an education provider that holds a sponsor licence under Tier 4 of the points-based system; or
  • an education provider that is accredited by an accreditation body approved by the UK Border Agency; or
  • an education provider that is inspected or audited by either the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education in Scotland, Estyn in Wales, Northern Ireland’s Education and Training Inspectorate or the Independent Schools Inspectorate; or
  • an overseas higher education institution that offers only part of its programmes in the UK, holds its own national accreditation, and offers programmes that are of an equivalent level to a UK degree.
  • During your visit, you must:
  • support and pay for accommodation for yourself and any dependants, without help from public funds; or
  • ensure that you and your dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends, and will not take employment.

You must leave the UK at the end of the visit and should be able to meet the cost of your return or onward journey.

Unlike students on Tier 4 student visa, you must not:

  • take employment in the UK (including part-time or full-time vacation employment);
  • engage in business, produce goods or provide services within the UK (including selling goods or services direct to members of the public);
  • study at a government-funded school;
  • undertake a work placement or internship (paid or unpaid) as part of your course of study;
  • extend your stay in the UK;
  • carry out the activities of a business visitor, a sports visitor or an entertainer visitor;
  • receive private medical treatment; or
  • be in transit to a country outside the common travel area (the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).

If you are aged 18 or over and you want to come and study in the UK for more than six months, you must apply under Tier 4 (General) of the points-based system.

Applying for a student visitor visa

Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for permission to come to the UK as a student visitor (known as a ‘visa’ or ‘entry clearance’) before you travel. To find out whether you need a visa check the ‘Do I need a UK visa?‘ questionnaire on the UKBA’s Visa services section

Visa National’s, those people who need a visa to enter the UK should visit the ‘How to apply’ section of the UKBA’s Visa services section, which will tell you which visa application form you need to use, as well as listing the documents that you should provide when you apply.

Non-visa National’s do not normally need a visa to come to the UK as a student visitor, but may want to consider applying for entry clearance if you have previously been refused entry to the UK.

UK University Services (UKUS) are offering English Summer courses such as the 4 week Teaching English as a Foreign Language Course – TEFL starting soon. There are also 12 week courses and ESOL programmes.

For more information see

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2 Responses to “How you can come to study on a short course in the UK as a student visitor”
Read them below or add one

  1. Hi,

    Student visitor visas are for up to 11 months for English students.


  2. A sample of students studying at private institutions showed that 26 percent of them could not be accounted for.

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