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How to make a Student Visitor application

If you are from the EEA (the European Economic Area), Norway or Switzerland you do not need to apply for immigration permission to enter the UK.

From the 24 April 2015, the Student Visitor Visa will be re-branded as the Short Term Student visa.  Depending on when you apply or when a decision is made on your application, you may receive a visa which says either Student Visitor or Short Term Student.

If you are from outside the EEA and you are coming to study at LSE for less than six months, you can come to the UK as a Student Visitor/Short Term Student. Usually you cannot come to the UK as a Tier 4 student unless you are planning to continue on another programme at LSE (for example if you are studying on the Summer School and going to study on a full time programme at the LSE).

The information below applies to students coming to LSE to study (this list is not exhaustive - contact ISIS if you need advice):

  • A Summer School course only, with no intention to proceed directly to a full-time programme at LSE
  • Executive Summer School programme
  • A short Language Centre course only, with no intention to proceed directly to a full-time programme at LSE
  • Visiting research students who plan to attend LSE for less than six months as part of their overseas degree
  • TRIUM Executive MBA students
  • MSc Health, Economics, Policy and Management
  • Executive Global Masters in Management
  • CEMS/MiMS students coming to the UK for one term
  • IMEX students on International Management Programme
  • Executive LLM 
  • Executive MPA
  • Executive MSc Behavioural Science
  • Students coming to UK for short executive training courses
  • Students on the University of London International Programme coming to the UK to attend a study weekend 
  • Students who are returning for re-take examinations/their viva who will complete their studies and return home

What are the rules for Student Visitors/Short Term Students?

  • You can stay in the UK for a maximum of 6 months (or 11 months to study English language only)
  • You cannot apply in the UK to extend your stay
  • You cannot work in the UK
  • You can study full time or part time and the course does not need to lead to a qualification 
  • You are not entitled to free treatment from the National Health Service (except in an emergency at Accident and Emergency in a hospital)
  • You cannot use the Student Visitor/Short Term Student visa to study a full time programme by applying for successive visas.  

Where do I apply?

This depends on your nationality. If you are a 'visa national', you must apply outside the UK to enter as a Student Visitor. Visa nationals always need a visa to enter the UK. You can check if you are a visa national on the gov.uk website|.

If your country is not on the list, you are a 'non-visa national'. This means that you can choose to apply at the embassy in your own country for permission before you leave. Alternatively you can bring all your documents and apply at the border when you arrive in the UK. If you apply at the airport, there is no charge.

When do I apply at the embassy?

You can apply up to three months before the date that you intend to travel to the UK (you can state on the application form when you intend to come to the UK and the visa start date will be close to this).  You can check how long it takes to process Student Visitor applications in your country on the UK Border Agency website. See under 'Other Visitor'.

Visa processing times|

Why apply at the embassy for 'entry clearance'?

It currently costs £80 to apply for a Student Visitor/Short Term Student visa at the embassy. This will increase from April 2015 to £85.

  • As outlined above, if you are a 'visa national', you must apply at the embassy for entry clearance.
  • If you are coming to the UK for up to 11 months, (for English language programmes only) you must apply for entry clearance - you can obtain a maximum of 6 months if you present at the airport.
  • If you apply for entry clearance, it is possible to obtain 'multiple entry' permission. This means you can leave and re-enter the UK using the same Student Visitor visa (which will be a sticker in your passport). If you apply at the airport, you will be granted permission for one entry only (this will be an ink stamp) and when you leave the UK or Common Travel Area (Ireland), the visa 'cancels' and you need to present again the next time you enter the UK.
  • When you arrive at the UK with 'entry clearance' you already have permission to enter the UK. This means if you are refused entry you have a right to appeal against the decision.

How do I apply at the embassy?

You need to submit  the online application form and you will also have to submit your biometrics (fingerprint scans and a digital photo of your face). In some countries you can only apply using paper forms. The Home Office website lists how you can apply  and how to book a biometric appointment. 

How do I select the Student Visitor Visa?

  • Reason for visit - Choose "Visit" from the options
  • Visa Type - Choose "Special Visitor" from the options
  • Visa Sub Type -  Choose "(Special) Student visitor", up to 6 months from the options 

UK Visas and Immigration| 

How do I apply when I enter the UK?

Remember you can only apply at the airport or on Eurostar or at a port if you are coming to study in the UK for less than six months and you are a 'non-visa national' - see 'Where do I apply?' above.

You don't need to complete an application form but you need to carry all your documents and present them to the immigration officer when you arrive who will ask you about your plans and about your programme of study at LSE. It is important that you state that you would like to enter the UK as a Student Visitor not as a General Visitor or Business Visitor.  Your passport will be stamped and the immigration officer should also write 'VST' in pen beside the date stamp. 

From the 24 April 2015, it is likely that the endorsement on your entry stamp will say "STS" for Short-Term Student.  However, some Border Force Officers may still endorse your stamp with "VST".  You will be okay to register if your most recent entry stamp has been endorsed with "VST".

What documents do I need?

To obtain permission as a Student Visitor/Short Term Student you need a letter to show that you are going to study at an accredited institution. This includes institutions who hold a Tier 4 sponsor license. Your letter from LSE will confirm that LSE holds a license.

  • if you are a new student and you have accepted an unconditional offer on your course you will receive an offer certificate or letter from LSE - it must confirm that you have accepted your unconditional offer*  (This is not the same as a 'Certificate of Acceptance for Studies' (CAS) and you cannot use the letter or certificate to apply for a Tier 4 visa)
  • if you are a Summer School student, you will be sent a link to request a letter when you have paid your tuition fees (and accommodation if you are staying in LSE residences). you can check how to obtain this at:  Summer School Visa FAQs
  • if you are a returning for re-take examinations you can request a Student Visitor letter from the Registry for students
  • If you are a research student registered overseas, you can request a letter from the Research Degrees Unit

In addition to the document from LSE you need to show:

  • you are over 18 years old
  • your visit will not last longer than 6 months (unless you are applying for the extended English language Student Visitor visa)  
  • you intend to leave the UK at the end of your student visit
  • you do not intend to work
  • you have enough money to support yourself while in the UK
  • you can pay for your return journey home (you can show a return ticket)

How much money do I need to show?

The immigration rules for Student Visitors/Short Term Students do not state exactly how much money you need to show but the guidance states that you should  be able to show evidence of funds to cover your period of stay in the UK and your journey to and from the UK. 

What if you already have a visa?

If you have any queries about the type of visa you already hold, please contact ISIS:

ISIS web query form
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More information

LSE Guide to Completing the Student Visitor Application Form|  (this is based on the paper form but you can use it to help you complete the online application form)

UK Visas and Immigration| - summary page on Student Visitors/Short Term Students

UKCISA |- making a Student Visitor application

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