If you want to study in the UK for a period of six months or less on a full or part-time course you are eligible to enter as a Short-Term Student. If you want to be allowed to work in the UK or go onto another course, you should apply for Tier 4 (General) Student visa.
1. Choosing the correct immigration route
The Short-Term Student category does not allow you to work, extend your stay from within the UK, or switch into another visa category (for example to Tier 4 (General) Student). For these reasons you should make sure that this is the correct option for your studies before coming to the UK. Some programmes at the University, such as the EMBA, require travel to the UK for short, finite blocks of study or modules but the overall length of the course exceeds six months - this is known as 'distance learning'. In these cases the Short-Term Student route may also be appropriate as long as you do not spend more than 56 days in any 6 month period in the UK. Medical electives can now be undertaken using the Short-Term Student route but they must be unpaid and involve no treatment of patients .
2. Do you need a visa?
You may need to apply for a visa as a Short-Term Student before travelling to the UK. You will need a letter from the University of Oxford, specifically written to use to apply for a Short-Term Student visa. The letter will confirm your place and the details of your course. For details about how to apply, visit the Home Office website. Once a visa has been issued it is a good idea to have the letter in your hand luggage when you travel. This is particularly relevant if you are attending a distance learning course and have to enter the UK several times during the life of one or more visas.
3. No visa required? Arrival in the UK
If you are not required to obtain a visa before travelling to the UK as a Short-Term Student, you will have to show the following documents to the Border Force Officer when you arrive:
- your passport
- the letter from the University of Oxford, specifically written for use as a Short-Term Student, confirming that you are undertaking a period of research or study and details including fees and dates
- financial evidence including your previous three months bank statements and one or more of the following:
- if a parent, relative or friend is paying for you to study, a letter from them confirming what their relationship to you is, how much money they are going to give you, how often, for how long, and where that money is going to come from. You will also need evidence that they can fulfil their promise, for example, their bank statements or wage slips, or a letter from their employer confirming their salary;
- if you are being sponsored by a government or scholarship agency, a letter from them confirming how long the scholarship will continue for and what costs it will cover;
- if you are going to pay for your studies with your own savings, original bank statements covering at least the last three months.
It is important that when you arrive at the border and show the letter confirming your studies, you explain that you want to enter the UK as a Short-Term Student. The Border Force Officer should stamp your passport with an entry stamp which states 'Short-Term Student'.
Warning: do NOT use the eGate when you arrive. This is because you need to see a Border Force officer to grant you permission to enter as a Short-term Student and stamp your passport to show this status. For information on eGates, see the UK government webpage.
Please note that if you are on a short course lasting 6 months or less, whether you obtain a visa or a stamp in your passport, you may only remain in the UK for up to 30 days beyond the end date of your course/programme/ elective as stated in the letter provided or leave the UK before your permission to enter or visa expires if sooner.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has more information about the requirements of this immigration route.