Applying for a visa
Applying for Short-term student visa – from overseas
A Short-term student visa enables people from outside the EEA to study
short courses in the UK. There are three Short-term student routes:
- Short-term student (6 months) for applicants aged 18 and over for a
maximum of 6 months study (previously student visitor)
- Short-term student (11 months) for applicants aged 18 and over for a
maximum of 11 months English language study only (previously extended student visitor)
- Short-term student (child) for applicants aged under 18 for a maximum
of 6 months study (previously child visitor)
These routes maybe suitable if you are studying as follows:
- English language for less than six months (not pre-sessional)
- English language course of between 6 and 11 months duration (not for under 18’s)
- Study Abroad student, if you will be with us for less than six months
- resitting exams or retaking modules, if your studies are for less than six months
- a distance learner who needs to visit for less than six months
- PhD students returning for their Viva, providing you are returning for less than six months*
If you will be studying a pre-sessional English course and intend to
continue your studies afterward, you should apply for entry clearance under
Tier 4 (General) if you are eligible and not as a short-term student.
If your course includes a work placement or work experience you should apply for entry
clearance under Tier 4 (General), if you are eligible, and not as a short-term student.
*Please note that this is not currently covered in the Immigration Rules or Modernised
Guidance. However, the Home Office have confirmed to us that this is a suitable route in
Before making your application overseas
Check you are eligible to apply and can meet all the requirements. Read the
and Home Office guidance.
Your visa will be valid from the date you tell the Home Office you intend to travel, so please make sure you will have
enough time to cover the whole of your course. You will have to leave the UK by the date your visa expires or the date your
course ends, whichever is sooner.
If you are applying to come to study an English language course for between 6 and 11 months duration you may have to pay
the Immigration Health Surcharge unless you are exempt.
The University will not be able to register you for your course if your visa expires before the course end date.
Immigration Health Surcharge
Short-term student (11 months)
From 6 April 2015, applicants will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge,
unless exempt. The amount you will be charged will be based on the length of your visa and is currently £150 for those Short-term students coming to
the UK for 11 months. This surcharge will give you access to NHS hospital care whilst you are studying in the UK.
Before making your Short-term student application you will need to first create an account on the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) portal to
obtain a reference number that should be written into your application form. If you are required to pay a fee you must do so. If you do not pay
the correct fee you will be contacted by the Home Office requesting payment. If you fail to pay the fee by the deadline given your application
will be refused.
Please note: We have been advised that the Immigration Health Surcharge portal is awaiting update. Until it is updated
Short-term students (11 months) will not be required to pay the IHS charge but will be entitled to NHS hospital care.
Short-term students (6 months)
You won't pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and are not entitled to free NHS hospital care in the UK, unless your country has a reciprocal
agreement with the UK.
UKCISA provide information about NHS healthcare
for overseas nationals. We provide information regarding local services and facilities
for your campus.
You must ensure you have adequate private health insurance for the whole of your stay in the UK. This usually has to be arranged prior to travel.
The NHS will charge 150% of the usual tariff for hospital treatment that is given to overseas visitors who are not exempt from paying fees.
Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) collection
If you are applying for a Short-term student (11 month) visa you should be issued with an Entry Clearance vignette (sticker) in your passport that
is valid for 30 days. You must arrive in the UK within the 30 day period of the vignette. Within ten days of your arrival in the UK you must go to the
collection point you designate on your visa application to collect your Biometric Residence Permit, this is your full visa.
When you complete your visa application you will be asked to enter a collection location, see below for the nearest collection points to your University
of Essex campus. If you are planning to arrive in the UK early and will not be coming to campus within ten days of your arrival in the UK you should select
a convenient collection location.
Colchester – select the box for Alternative Collection Location and input code: 2HE557 (available to select from
25 June 2015). It will show the Colchester Campus address for the BRP to be sent to.
Loughton - select the box for Alternative Collection Location and input code: 2HE557 (available to select from
25 June 2015). It will show the Colchester Campus address for the BRP to be sent to. You will be informed later about when your BRP will be available to
be collected at our Loughton Campus.
Southend – select the Southend-On-Sea Post Office, 199/201 High Street, Southend On Sea, Essex SS1 1LL.
To collect your BRP you will need the Home Office decision letter that tells you when and where your BRP will be available and your passport. If you are
issued with Entry Clearance for the duration of your course you will not need to collect a BRP in the UK. We will be publishing more information soon about
the local collection arrangements as soon as they are finalised.
If you have any questions about this, please complete our enquiry form and one of our advisers will
Where and when to apply
When can I apply?
You can apply up to three months before your course start date, as shown on the letter from the University.
Where should I apply?
If you are a visa national or you are applying for entry as a Short-term student (11 months) you must apply outside the UK for entry clearance.
Please check the Home Office website to see if you need to obtain entry clearance overseas as a Short-term student.
Can I apply when I arrive in the UK?
If you are a non-visa national and your course is less than six months, you can choose to apply for entry clearance outside the UK (recommended) or; you
can apply at the UK port of entry when you arrive.
Make sure you don't come to the UK too early to ensure you can stay until your course has finished.
Please check the Home Office website to see if you need to obtain entry clearance overseas as a
How to apply overseas
The majority of applications are made online. Go to the Home Office website
and select your country from the country finder to find out what you need to do and to download and read the guidance notes, including those on supporting documents.
Letter from the University
The University will supply you will a letter that meets the Home Office requirements to support your application for a Short-term student visa. When you
receive it please check that it contains all the information the Home Office require.
- New students - you should receive a letter from us when you have firmly accepted our offer and if necessary paid a deposit.
- Study Abroad students - your letter will be produced and sent to you by the Essex Abroad Office.
- English language students - your letter will be produced and sent to you by the Essex Pathways Department.
- Postgraduates - your letter will be produced and sent to you by the Graduate Admissions Office.
- Current students - you can request a Certificate of Registration via the Student Documentation Ordering System.
Please mention that it is for a Short-term student application and give the overseas address you want it sent to.
It will usually take up to 5 working days for this to be produced and sent out.
Who to contact for further guidance
If anything above isn’t clear or you require further advice, please complete the online enquiry form.