Which study visa (entry clearance) should I get?

Which study visa (entry clearance) should I get?

Which study visa should I get?

The table below shows some of the key differences between the Short Term Student visa and the Tier 4 General (Student) visa. Click on the tabs above to find out more or email International.CampusLife@swansea.ac.uk with more specific queries.

 

SHORT TERM STUDENT

 

 

 

TIER 4 GENERAL (STUDENT) VISA

For courses and maximum stay of less than 6 months.

English language students can stay for up to 11 months (must be at least 18 years old)

For courses of any length

Cannot work (paid or unpaid)

Can work part time during term-time and full-time during holidays

  • Degree level students can work 20 hours during term-time
  • Students below degree level can only work 10 hours during term-time

All students can work full-time during holidays

Cannot undertake placement / internship

No self-employment and cannot engage in business activities

 

Can undertake placement / internship

No self-employment and cannot engage in business activities

Cannot extend for more time from within the UK. Students must leave the UK within 6 months (or 11 months for English language students)

Can extend for more time in the UK

  • Visa nationals must always apply for visa before coming to the UK
  • Non-visa nationals do not need to apply for visa beforehand but can request to be granted entry at the airport on arrival (if coming for a maximum of 6 months)
  • English language students wanting to stay for longer than 6 months must apply for a visa beforehand and must also show that they have been accepted on a course lasting more than six months

ALL nationals must apply for this visa before coming to the UK. This visa cannot be granted at the airport on arrival.

Applicants under 18 years old can come under "Short Term Student (child)" visa 

Must be at least 16 years old

Not entitled to National Health Service (NHS). Get medical insurance before travelling to UK. Health care can be extremely costly in UK. 

Not entitled to National Health Service (NHS) if coming for less than six months. Get medical insurance before travelling to UK.

An Immigration Health Surcharge cost will be charged at the time of application if you are coming for more than 6 months.  This will be £150 for each year of your visa.

You can find further information on the Immigration Health Surcharge cost from here

Find out more about some of the latest visa changes from UKCISA Latest News.

Tier 4 General (Student) Visa

You will need a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies). See below for information on how to get your CAS. Details of documents needed and how to apply for a Tier 4 General visa are here http://www.swansea.ac.uk/isas/immigration/applying-for-a-visa/ 

Where do I get the CAS from?

 

Short Term Student

See if you are a visa-national or non-visa national

  • See Appendix V (scroll down to Appendix 2)
  • If your country of nationality is on the list, you are a visa-national. You MUST apply for a visa before coming to the UK
  • If your country is not on the list, you are a non-visa national. You can get Short Term Student status on arrival

How to apply for a Short Term Student visa (for visa-nationals)

From 6 April 2015, English language students coming for more than 6 months will be required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge cost that is charged at the time of application.  This will be £150 per year. Check with the Visa Application Centre or UKVI website for details.

You may also need to provide a Tuberculosis (TB) test certificate. See https://www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa to find out if you are required to have one.

Documents for non-visa nationals
As a non-visa national, you can get Short Term Student status on arrival at a UK airport. Bring with you your University acceptance/unconditional offer letter, qualifications and proof of funds.

Where do I get the University acceptance letter from?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My course is less than 6 months but I want to work or take up an internship

A: You must apply for a Tier 4 General visa as that will allow you to work or undertake an internship.

Q: I am a non-visa national. What happens when I arrive in the UK?
A: Explain to the Immigration Officer at the airport or port that you are coming to study and show your acceptance letter from the University. You may be asked to provide proof of financial support, such as bank statements, confirming you have enough money for the duration of your stay, so be sure to carry these documents with you.
We recommend you provide proof of finances to cover any tuition fees plus £1015 per month for the duration of your stay. You will need to show bank statements for the past six months. We also recommend that you carry proof of payment of your programme fee paid to your home institution or programme provider
Request you be granted “Short Term Student” status on entry. Check that the Immigration Officer has stamped your passport. If they haven’t, you should request they do before leaving the airport. If your passport is not stamped, this will cause you problems enrolling at the University. Keep your flight ticket and boarding pass in case you need to prove where and when you travelled later.

Q: I am a non-visa national but I want to travel to the Republic of Ireland first before coming to the UK
A: If you come to the UK without Entry Clearance (Visa) and enter via Ireland, you may not meet an Immigration Officer and you will not have an entry stamp put in your passport. In this case, it will not be possible to apply for entry as a “Short Term Student“. Entry into the UK and study is permitted, but only for a maximum of three months. If this happens, keep any travel ticket or any proof of date of entry. You will then have to travel outside the UK and Ireland before the end of the three-month period, and return via a UK border. Carry your university letter with you and proof of your finances, so that you can re-enter the UK as a Short Term Student. If you are a visa national and you wish to study for more than six months, you must go to your home country and apply for a Tier 4 General visa.

Q: I am a non-visa national. I want to travel out of the UK before or after my course ends
A: If you travel BEFORE your course ends, get a statement of enrolment from Academic Registry and take it with you. Show it to the Immigration Officer when your return to the UK and ask to be re-admitted as a “Short Term Student”.
If you travel AFTER your course ends, ask the Immigration Officer to re-admit you to the UK as a “Standard Visitor”. You should NOT be re-admitted as a “Short Term Student” as you have completed your course. If you come back to the UK for less than 48 hours to board a flight to your home country, ensure you have proof of your onward travel to that country.

Q: I am a visa national. I want to travel out of the UK before or after my course ends
A: You will very likely be granted a visa for 6 months. However, you are expected to leave the UK soon after you complete your course, even if you still have time left on your visa.

If you want to travel outside of the UK, it would be better to travel before your course ends. If you do this, get a statement of enrolment from Academic Registry and take it with you when travelling. Show it to the Immigration Officer when your return to the UK. You should be allowed back in the UK on your existing "Short Term Student" visa since you have not completed your course yet.

If you travel AFTER your course ends, you should NOT be allowed back in the UK even though your "Short Term Student" visa may still be valid. You would have already completed your course and no longer fulfill the requirements of coming to study a course, so should not be trying to re-enter the UK under your "Short Term Student" visa. If you want to come back to the UK for a holiday, you will need to apply for a "Standard Visitor" visa beforehand.