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Studying in the UK | Tier 4 & Short Term Student Visas

The UK remains an attractive place for those wishing to come and study in the UK. It allows both adult and children to come and study at approved institutions. You can also come to the UK and study a short term study course. Shorter course programs do not require holding a confirmation of studies. 

When an application for a student visa is lodged, you must ensure you meet the requirements of the immigration policy. Further to this, you must have a valid passport or travel document which is genuine and valid. 

The Home Office will complete extensive immigration checks, when they consider the student visa application. Your immigration history will form part of the consideration. As part of the visa application, you must submit your biometric information to validate the immigration student visa application. 

It will be open for the Home Office to interview you as part of the student visa consideration. They will need to make sure you have the full intention to study in the UK. 

Structure of the student visa categories

When you apply for a Tier 4 student visa, you would be asked to provide a letter from the approved educational institution. They will complete a full assessment and check that you can follow the course in the UK. 

The educational provider will provide a confirmation of studies, which sets out the study program in the UK. Further to this, you need to meet the maintenance requirements and demonstrate you can support yourself in the UK whilst completing your studies in the UK. As part of the visa assessment, the Home Office will conduct a genuine student test, making sure that you can follow the course and your full intention is to come and study in the UK. 

The current system grants Student Visas for an initial period which varies dependant on the length of the course. In general, a Tier 4 Student can stay in the UK for the length of the course plus 4 months (for courses lasting one year or more) or one or two months (for courses between six months and a year). For shorter courses, international students are only granted a week to stay in the UK once the course has finished.

Restrictions and employment under the student visa categories

Depending on your course program, your right to work in the UK would be limited. The aim of the student visa is to complete your studies and whilst it is important for you to work to benefit your studies and stay in the UK, it should not interfere with your studies in the UK. 

Where you will be studying under the short-term student program, there is no right to work permitted and you must have funds to support yourself throughout the periods of your study in the UK. You may be able to rely on third party financial support. 

Change of courses or institutions

Whilst studying in the UK, you can change the course or educational institution and may require you to submit a new immigration application. In a short-term student visa, you may not be permitted to switch your educational provider or the course unless you apply for entry clearance visa. 

Extending your leave to remain as a student

Students can always apply for an extension of visa while remaining within the UK, however they need to show any progress of studies undertaken and satisfy the extension requirements. 

The maximum period of time that a student can stay in the UK on short courses one after the other, below degree level, is two years. On a degree and post-degree courses, this is also limited to 5 years. 

Bringing Partners & Children as Dependants

The student visa category only allows certain migrants to bring their dependants to the UK. Your dependants can come and join them as their dependants during the time of their course provided. Please note the short-term student visa does not allow you to sponsor dependants. 

Evidences required for a student visa

Depending on the category of visa you intend to apply, there are some specified documents you will require to support the visa application. When providing documents to the Home Office, this must include translated documents in English.

Administrative review on the student visa following refusal

The student visa category allows you to challenge against a decision if the application is refused. The refusal notice will explain fully to the grounds of the refusal and will provide details whether you can challenge against the decision. 

Whilst the Tier 4 visa permits an administrative review, the short term student does not come with any right to appeal. However you can still challenge the decision if this was wrongly concluded. 

Taking legal advice on a student visa in the UK

We at ICS Legal will provide guidance and correct advice on which route to apply under the student visa category and we find this is essential when considering to study in the UK. You can speak to one of our UK Immigration Lawyers on 0207 237 3388 or you can email us at



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