Immigration Corner | Short-term study visa application and eligibility
Dear Mr Bassie,
I would like to go to England to attend a six-week professional study course, and I would like to know if I need to apply for a student visa before going.
I would appreciate any guidance that you provide.
In such cases, it is possible to apply for a short-term study visa. Persons from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland can apply for a short-term study visa if they plan to participate in a short course of study in the United Kingdom, if they meet the other eligibility requirements. Persons will need a standard visitor visa if they are an academic visitor. It should be noted that persons cannot apply if they qualify for British citizenship, and that includes if they are eligible for dual nationality. Those persons must apply for British citizenship instead.
Persons making this type of application, if successful, will be eligible to do a short course of study over there, such as an English-language course or a training course. Those persons will also be able to do a short period of research as part of a degree course if they are studying abroad.
Those persons will not be eligible to study at a state-funded school. They will not be eligible for employment, including work placement or work experience, or carry on any business. The successful applicant will not be allowed to extend this visa or take family members (dependents) with them as they must apply separately. In addition, those persons cannot get public funds.
With the short-term study visa, persons can stay in the United Kingdom for six months for any short course, including English-language courses, or short period of research if they are 16 years old or over. However, persons may use this visa and stay for 11 months if they are 16 years old or over and taking an English language course.
With respect to fees, the costs are £97 for a six-month visa and £186 for an 11-month visa. Persons can apply for a visa up to three months before the date of travel to the United Kingdom, and those applicants should get a decision on their visa application within three weeks. Please note that processing times for obtaining a visa will vary from country to country.
With respect to eligibility, persons must prove that they:
n Have been offered a place on a course in the United Kingdom at an accepted place of study.
n Have enough money to support themselves without working or help from public funds, or that relatives and friends can support and house them.
n Can pay for their return or onward journey.
In addition, if the applicants are under 18 years of age, they must also have made arrangements for their travel and stay in the United Kingdom and have permission from their parent or guardian to study in the United Kingdom.
The successful applicant must be accepted on a course with an education provider that holds a Tier 4 sponsor licence.
Otherwise, the course will need to be held at an educational institution listed by one of the accreditation bodies that is listed online at the UK government website.
If applying for a short-term study visa to learn English as a foreign language, the applicant must be at least 16 years old and accepted on a course to learn English as a foreign language if they are applying for an 11-month short-term study visa. Please note that a mixed course, some of which is spent studying English, will not count.
Persons can apply for a short-term study visa if they are at least 16 years old and studying at an overseas higher education institution and part of the course is in the United Kingdom. The institution 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.
Just for completeness, persons can go to the United Kingdom for a short period of research if already enrolled in an overseas degree course. To be eligible, the course must be equivalent to a UK degree, those persons must be carrying out the research at a UK-recognised body or a body that receives public funding as a higher-education institution, and the applicant must be at least 16 years old.
John S. Bassie
- 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.