Immigration guidance for short course students

This important information applies to short course students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland only. The EEA is made up of the European Union (EU) countries, and also Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

You must present your passport and valid visa/proof of entry clearance to the Short Course Office before the start of your course. Instructions on how to do this will be sent to you when you book your course. Your immigration documents will be checked, and providing these are valid for study, you will be able to start your course.

Please note we cannot allow you to start your course if you do not have the correct immigration permission. 

The information below applies to students who are coming to the UK to study a short course and require a Short-term study visa.

What is a Short-term study visa?

A Short-term study visa will allow you to come to the UK for a period of up to 6 months to take a short course/courses. If you are 16 or over, you apply as a short-term student, and if you are under 16 you apply as a short-term student (child).

For more information, please visit GovUK's Overview page for short-term study visas.  

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When should I apply for a Short-term study visa?

You can apply up to 3 months before the date that you intend to travel to the UK. The length of time it takes to issue a visa varies so we recommend you check visa processing times for your country

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How do I apply for a Short-term study visa?

Only 'visa nationals' need to apply in advance for a Short-term study visa.

I am a visa national:

You must apply for entry clearance as a short-term student before you travel. We strongly recommend that you read the Home Office's guidance on supporting documents before making an application. 

Online applications: When you apply online select 'Short-term student visa' to start this application. You do not need CAS number for your Short-term study visa application.

When selecting the length of planned stay in the UK please ensure that you select 6 months. Short-term study (11 months) visa only allows you to study an English language course. 

Please submit your completed visa application and supporting documents to your nearest visa application centre. Your visa will be in the form of a sticker placed in your passport, and it will specify the category it has been issued for, eg C-Visit-Student or Short-term student. Please check you have been given the correct type of visa and that it has been issued for the correct length of time.

When you travel to the UK, bring all the documents that you submitted with your visa application as you may be asked to present them to officials at the UK Border.

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I am a non-visa national:

You can apply for a Short-term study visa either before you travel to the UK or request permission to enter as a short-term student upon arrival at a port of entry to the UK, eg London Heathrow Airport.

If you decide to apply upon arrival at a port of entry to the UK, you must declare that you are here to study and show UK Border Force Officers the visa letter we send you when you book your course. Please also be ready to provide evidence that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your time here and to present any supporting documents if asked.

Explain to the UK Border Force Officer that you want to enter the UK as a short-term student and ask that the stamp in your passport indicates you are here as a short-term student.

Failure to obtain the correct stamp upon entry to the UK may result in you not being able to study here for more than 30 days.

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Arriving via the Republic of Ireland?

If you plan to enter the country via the Republic of Ireland, please read this important advice from the UK Council for International Student Affairs.

What do I need to know about the conditions of the Short-term study visa?

  • You must not intend to stay in the UK for longer than 30 days after the course end date given in the visa application and leave the UK within 30 days after the course has ended, or before your visa expires, whichever is sooner.
  • You will not be given permission to work (this includes unpaid work and internships).
  • You cannot apply or switch to any other immigration category whilst in the UK, and you cannot extend this permission.
  • You will not be entitled to free treatment from the National Health Service (NHS). This means that you will need to have medical insurance to cover your stay in the UK.

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Can I enter the UK more than once as a short-term student?

There are guidelines about how often and how long you can stay in the UK on a Short-term student visa. For example, you may be refused entry to the UK if:

• you have already spent 5 or 6 months in the UK and then return to the UK for a few months or more after less than two months in your home country;

• you are living in the UK for successive short periods of time, broken up by short periods out of the country. For example, if you live in the UK during the week and then leave the UK at weekends.

We strongly recommend that you do not visit the UK for more than 180 days (6 months) in any 12 month period. Please carefully read page 11 of the UKVI's Short-term study visa guidance of what the Home Office considers to be frequent or successive study. 

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I already have a visa; can I study a short course at University of the Arts London

It depends on your individual circumstances and the type of visa you have:

  • Tier 4 (General) Student/Child: you are allowed to study a short course as supplementary study to the main course for which you have been given a Tier 4 visa.
  • Standard Visitor Visa (C-Visit): yes, you are allowed to study for a maximum of 30 days either in one go, or over a number of shorter periods, provided the main reason for holding this visa is not to study. If you are planning to study for a total of more than 30 days, you need to apply for a Short-term study visa.

It is illegal to enrol on a short course if you have a Short-term student (11 month) visa. This visa only allows you to study an English language course.

If you are not sure that the visa you currently have allows you to study a short course, please email the Immigration Compliance Administrator

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Information for students on a preparation course

If you are applying to join a preparation course (taking place in the summer, immediately before the start of your main course), you may be able to apply for a Tier 4 visa, and we will send you further details. 

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What if I have any further questions?

Email the Immigration Compliance Administrator at

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Useful links

UAL's Student Advice Service has advisers who are specially trained on immigration issues and can assist you with enquiries about visa and immigration matters. 

The UKCISA and GOV.UK websites have the most up-to-date visa information. 

Please read UAL's short course booking terms and conditions carefully before you make a booking. 

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Where do our international students come from?

We've welcomed short course students from the following countries:

Afganistan         Algeria America
Angola Antigua Argentina
Armenia Australia Austria
Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain
Bangladesh Barbados Botswana
Belarus Belgium Benin
Bolivia Brazil Brunei
Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burma 
Cambodia Canada Chad
Chile China Colombia
Congo Croatia Cyprus
Czechoslovakia Denmark Dominica
Holland Ecuador  Eygpt  
Estonia Ethiopia Finland 
France Germany Ghana
Greece Grenada Guatemala
Guyana Honduras Hungary
Iceland India Indonesia
Iran Iraq Israel
Italy Ivory Coast Jamaica
Japan Jordan Kazazhstan
Kenya  Kyrgyzstan Latvia
Lebanon Liberia Lithuania
Luxembourg Macedonia Madagascar
Malawi Malaysia Maldives
Malta Mauritius Mexico
Moldova Mongolia Morocco
Mozambique Namibia Nepal
Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua
Nigeria Norway Oman
Pakistan Panama Peru
Philippines Poland Portugal
Qatar Romania Russia
Rwanda Senegal Serbia
Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore
Slovakia Slovenia Somalia
South Africa South Korea Spain
Sri Lanka Saint Kitts and Nevis Sudan
Swaziland                  Sweden Switzerland
Syria Taiwan Tanzania
Thailand Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia
Turkey UAE Uganda
Ukraine USA Uruguay
Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam
Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe

If you are a non-EEA or Swiss national you must have the correct visa to study a short course in the UK. It is your own responsibility to check your visa status and ensure you obtain the correct visa before travelling to London.