What can you do on the Student Visitor Visa?
Since 1 December 2020, Student Visitor Visa holders are only permitted to study on English language courses lasting between six and eleven months.
For other courses lasting up to six months, it may be possible for non-visa nationals to come to the UK on the Standard Visitor Visa.
The Student Visitor Visa is also known as the Short-term Study Visa.
It should be confused with the Student Visa which is a separate visa category.
If you are a citizen of an EU or EEA country, or you have taken advantage of the EU Settlement Scheme, what you can do on the Student Visitor Visa may vary depending on when you arrived in the UK.
You can only study on an approved course that meets eligibility requirements.
You are permitted to stay in the UK for the duration of your stay plus 30 days, if you can prove that your course lasts less than eleven months.
As well as the visa application fee and the cost of your course, you may also have to pay additional fees (including the healthcare surcharge).
Contact us on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online for more information about your specific queries or application for a Short-Term Study Visa. You can contact us at our London, Manchester, or Birmingham immigration lawyers, or use the office finder to find the closest branch to you.
Who can apply for this visa?
To apply for this short-term student visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are aged over 16 years old
- You have been accepted on an eligible English language course
- The course is solely an English language course
- The institute or course provider is accredited and registered
- You have sufficient funds to support yourself without working
- You can pay for your journey home
As well as this, if you are aged under 18 years old, you must ensure that:
- Proof that you have organised a place to stay and made travel arrangements
- Confirmation that your parents’ or guardians’ consent to your studying in the UK
To be granted this visa, you must show that you intend to study solely on the course you were granted permission for.
As well as this, you must leave the UK within 30 days after the end of your course. If you fail to do so, you could be at risk of breaching immigration rules which may jeopardise future applications.
You are not permitted to work, undertake a work placement or any form of work experience.
Similarly, you are prohibited from taking on any business or professional activities for the duration of your visa.
What are the course requirements?
To study in the UK on this visa, your course provider must be either an accredited UK institution, or an eligible overseas course provider (if studying in the UK as part of an international course).
It is your responsibility to ensure that your course provider is an eligible accredited institution.
Your accredited institution must hold a valid student sponsor licence or accreditation and be listed by one of the following bodies:
- Accreditation Service for International Colleges
- Accreditation UK
- British Accreditation Council
- Education and Training Inspectorate (Northern Ireland)
- Estyn (Wales)
- Education Scotland (Scotland)
- Independent Schools Inspectorate
- Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
- Office for Students
- Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
If your course is with an overseas institution, it must meet the following points:
- The course has national accreditation
- Less than half of its programmes are based in the UK
- It offers programmes equivalent to UK degrees
To fulfil the criteria of the Home Office, if you apply for a this visa, your chosen course must meet the following points:
- The course does not result in a qualification
- It is not essential for applicants to have academic qualifications
- There is no required level of English language skills
- There is no minimum number of hours of study for your course
Please note that alongside the Home Office rules, your course provider may require that you meet certain criteria before being accepted on a course.
How to apply
To apply for this visa, you must apply outside the UK (you cannot switch to this visa) and receive a positive decision before travelling to the UK.
Follow these steps to apply for your visa:
- Apply to an eligible course and receive an offer inviting you to study
- Complete the online application form
- Pay the application fee
- Submit your supporting documents
- Provide your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph)
- Submit your application
- Wait for a decision to be issued
What documents do you need?
As with all visa applications, you will be required to submit supporting documents with your application to provide proof of your eligibility.
Student Visitor Visa checklist
- Fully completed online application form for a short-term student
- Receipt confirming payment of fees and healthcare surcharge
- Valid passport or travel document
- Letter confirming your acceptance to an accredited organisation, stating your details and the length and nature of the course
- Proof of sufficient funds to maintain yourself in the UK without recourse to public funds and without working
- (e.g., bank statements, proof of financial sponsorship, etc.)
- Proof of payment of your course fees
- Your proposed itinerary and where you intend to stay
- Medical certificates (e.g., proof of COVID vaccination status, clean TB certificate, etc.)
- Certified translations of any document not in English or Welsh
- Biometrics (facial photograph and fingerprints)
If you are aged under 18 years, you must submit evidence of travel, reception, and care arrangements when you enter the UK.
It may be recommended to take out private medical insurance if you have specialist medical needs.
You must also submit legal written confirmation from both parents or guardians (as well as their contact details) confirming their consent to allow you to come study in the UK.
Why was my Student Visitor Visa refused?
Some of the most common reasons for a Student Visitor Visa refusal include:
- The course is not on the approved list of providers
- The course lasts for longer than eleven months
- The course leads to a recognised qualification
- Failure to pay the healthcare surcharge for the National Health Service (NHS)
- The applicant does not have sufficient maintenance funds
- The applicant intends to work in the UK
- The applicant does not have the funds to pay for their return trip
- The applicant intends to take up a course other than the one they are applying for
- The applicant will require public funds to support themselves
- The application form was incomplete or contained errors
- The applicant intended to spend extended period of time in the UK
- The applicant intended to have frequent or successive visits to the UK
- The applicant is otherwise ineligible for a visa based on grounds for refusal to the UK
Since the 6 October 2021, it has become possible to apply for an administrative review if your Student Visitor Visa application was refused.
If you wish to apply for an administrative review, you must do so within 28 days of the date of receiving your refusal letter.
If you subsequently receive a positive decision on this, you will not have a refusal recorded on your immigration record, but you are required to declare it on any future applications.
Alternatively, you can re-submit your application, but this means there will be an unchallenged refusal on your application that you are required to declare.
Can you extend the visa?
It is not permitted to switch to another immigration category if you are granted a Student Visitor Visa.
Similarly, it is not possible to switch into this category if you are in the UK on another visa.
Another requirement of the Student Visitor Visa is that the UK is not your primary home.
You may be able to return to your home country and apply for a Student Visa is you wish to continue studying in the UK.
How much does the Student Visitor Visa UK cost?
The Student Visitor Visa application costs are outlined in the table below:
|Average cost of studying English including course fees and maintenance cost (weekly)||£490|
|Cost of administrative review application after refusal||£80|
Depending on where your course is, or the type of course, your exact costs may be higher.
The application fee is more expensive than a Standard Visitor Visa lasting six months (which costs £95).
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To apply for this visa category you must:
- be at least 18 years old;
- prove that you have sufficient funds to support and accommodate yourself in the UK during your course;
- demonstrate that you can meet the cost of your return or onward journey from the UK; and
- your course of study must be six months or under; or
- if your course of study is an English course, the maximum course length can be extended to 11 months.
You cannot switch to this visa in the UK, however, if you want to study in the UK for more than six months you must apply under the new Student Visa system from your home country.
You can leave the UK and apply outside the country.
No, you will not be able to bring dependants with you to the UK on this visa.
However, if you study in the UK using the Student Visa rather than the Short-Term Study Visa, you may be eligible to bring dependants to the UK with you.
At IAS, we can simplify the process of applying for a Study Visa. If you are unsure about which visa type is best for you, or which Study Visa you qualify for, one of our expert immigration specialists can advise you on your best option. They can also guide you through the application process for a Student Visitor Visa and ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible.
Our services include:
- assessing and advising on your eligibility under the UK immigration rules for a UK Study Visa;
- examining and collating your documents, ensuring they are sufficient for your application;
- preparing a Letter of Representation to accompany your application. This letter contains the merits of your case, references your supporting documentation and cites relevant UK law;
- completing each part of the application paperwork to the highest standard;
- liaising with the Home Office during your application process until a decision is reached.
Get in touch with IAS by using our online contact form or calling 0333 363 8577 to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced immigration lawyers.