Immigration Corner: I want to study in the UK
Dear Mr Bassie,
I plan to do a short course of study in the United Kingdom and I understand that I may be eligible to be granted a short-term study visa. I would appreciate it if you could provide some information on this.
Persons can apply for a short-term study visa if they are doing a short course of study in the United Kingdom. They are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland; and meet the other eligibility requirements.
As an academic visitor, a person will need a standard visitor visa and he/she would not be able to apply for this visa if that person qualified for British citizenship - including if he/she was eligible for dual nationality. That person must apply for British citizenship instead.
If a person is granted visa for short-term study that person can do a short course of study in the United Kingdom, such as an English language course or a training course; or do a short period of research as part of a degree course if he/she is studying abroad.
However, the holder of this visa will not be able to study at a state school; or work, including on work placement or work experience, or carry out any business; and he/she would not be able to extend this visa or allow the holder to bring family members, that is 'dependents', with him/her - such dependents must apply separately; the holder would not be eligible for public funds.
Persons holding this visa for this purpose can stay in the United Kingdom for six months - for any short course, including English language courses, or short period of research if that person is 18 years or over. He/she may stay up to 11 months if he/she is 18 years or over and taking an English language course.
The cost of the visa is £85 for a six month visa and £162 for an 11-month visa. A person can apply for a visa up to three months before the date of travel to the United Kingdom and the applicant should get a decision on the visa within three weeks. The processing time for how long it will take to get this visa will depend on the country from within which the application is made.
In order to be eligible for this visa, a person must prove that he/she has been offered a place for a course in the United Kingdom at an accepted place of study; he/she has enough money to live on without working or receiving help from public funds, or that relatives and friends can support and house the applicant; and can pay for his/her return or onward journey.
If a person is under 18 years of age, he/she must also have made arrangements for travel and stay in the United Kingdom; and have permission from his/her parent or guardian to study in the United Kingdom.
The applicant must be accepted on a course with an education provider that holds a Tier 4 sponsor licence, otherwise his/her course will need to be held at an educational institution listed by one of the following: Accreditation Body for Language Services; Accreditation Service for International Colleges; Accreditation UK; Bridge Schools Inspectorate; British Accreditation Council; Education and Training Inspectorate (in Northern Ireland); Estyn (in Wales); HM Inspectorate of Education (in Scotland); Independent Schools Inspectorate; Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted); Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education; Schools Inspection Service.
English is a foreign language
When learning English as a foreign language, a person must be at least 18 years old and be accepted on a course to learn English as a foreign language if he/she is applying for an 11-month short-term study visa. Please be aware that a mixed course, some of which is spent studying English, will not count as a course to learn English as a foreign language.
A person can also apply for a short-term study visa if he/she is at least 18 years old and studying at an overseas higher education institution and part of his/her course is in the United Kingdom.
The institution that is overseas must hold its own national accreditation; offer only part of its educational programme in the United Kingdom; and offer programmes that are equivalent to a United Kingdom degree.
A person can also go to the United Kingdom for a short period of research if already enrolled on an overseas degree course. To be eligible his/her course must be equivalent to a United Kingdom degree; he/she must be carrying out the research at a United Kingdom recognised body; or a body that receives public funding as a higher education institution; and the person must be at least 18 years old.
I hope this helps.
- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.