UK Short-term Study Visa

Do you need a visa to study in the United Kingdom?

To study in the UK, you WILL need to obtain a Short-term Study Visa.  As a US citizen, you have the option of getting a Short-term Student Visitor entry stamp in your passport when you arrive at the UK border to meet this requirement, or to get a Short-term Student Visa vignette sticker in your passport before you depart.  If you are not a US citizen, you may be required to undergo the advance process and get a vignette sticker in your passport.  If you complete the UK Short-term Student Visa Process in advance, there are several steps you must undertake to prepare your visa application and submit your materials to the UKVI processing center in New York.  Many of these steps are not required for students who elect to get their Short-term Student Visitor entry stamps upon arrival at the UK border.  It’s extremely important that you read the information about the process of obtaining a visa included in the acceptance packet emailed to you from your Program Coordinator. Still unsure about which visa you need? Check here.

Please read through this information carefully, as visa instructions can be complicated, and materials can take weeks or months to obtain.

IMPORTANT: CISabroad will only advise students on visa procedures for travel requirements for your CISabroad program only and as this visa process pertains to U.S. citizens. CISabroad is not responsible for advising students on visa issues if they plan to travel internationally before or after the program dates or for non-U.S. citizens. These instructions are intended for US passport holders. International students must also be aware of additional documentation and/or processing time needed for their visas.

Please note that you will need a passport to receive your visa and if you do not yet have one, the process of obtaining a passport can take time.

For up to date information on the Short-term Study Visa please refer to the UK.Gov website.

The Short-term Study Visa

This visa is for students coming to the UK for a short course of 6 months (1 semester) or less. On this visa you can Study only! With the Short-term Study Visa you CANNOT work, participate in an internship, get married, or use public funds. If you have any dependents or family coming to the UK with you they will need to apply separately for their own visa. You cannot extend a Short-term Study Visa from the UK, you must re-apply from outside of the UK.

For students entering the UK from the U.S., this visa can be obtained when you arrive in the UK after you get off the plane. When entering the country at customs you will need to provide proper documentation, which will be sent to you in an email entitled IMPORTANT: UK Visa Documents.  There is a fee associated with this visa; this fee is always assessed for students who apply for the visa in advance, and typically not assessed for students who opt to receive a Short-term Study Visitor stamp in their passports at the UK border.  The Short-term Student Visitor stamp looks something like this:

If you are applying at the border, please do not fly through Ireland!  You will end up bypassing the immigration line, which you must pass through in order to receive your visa stamp!  You also must NOT use the ePassport gates at the airport, but must stand in line to see a border control officer to get your passport stamped. 

Please make sure to carry all of your travel documents with you whenever you exit and re-enter the UK!

Documents You Must Provide

As soon as we have received the documentation necessary from our UK partner university, you will receive all of the documents needed from CISabroad via email from your program coordinator. You must have these with you when you arrive at Customs. Do not pack them in your checked baggage. Make sure to print them out in full color. For a full list of supporting documents check here.

  1. Valid passport. Your passport cannot expire within six months of your programs end date.
  2. Evidence of sufficient funds
  3. Proof of medical insurance and enrollment
  4. Acceptance letter from the UK university at which you will be studying. *NOTE* – Additional documents may be necessary so please check your UK Visa Instructions or contact your program coordinator if you have any questions.  Having your return flight information printed is recommended.