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Immigration and Visas

Short-term Study Visa

Students coming to the UK for courses lasting less than six months without any placement or work requirements will usually need to obtain a Short-term Student visa (previously known as "Student Visitor visa"). If you have come to the UK as a Short-term Student, you are only able to study on a course which lasts for 6 months or less, and you will not be able to extend this visa in the UK.

You may enter the UK as a Short-term Student if you are coming for any of these reasons:

  • to attend the King’s College London Summer School
  • for one semester as a Study Abroad student (please read our additional guidance)
  • to take resit exams or undertake a short resit period and do not wish to apply for a Tier 4 visa (NB: you will not be able to then extend this visa in the UK) 
  • to study a distance-learning course which involves coming to the UK for short period of study, perhaps once or twice a year. In this instance, you may enter the UK each time as a Short-term Student. Your Short-term Student letter from King's should detail each instance of your study at King's throughout the course, and you should carry this letter with you each time you enter the UK
  • to undertake research as part of a PhD which you are studying abroad, and this period of research at King's will last for less than 6 months
  • a medical elective period in the UK of up to 6 months, that is linked to a medical, dental or scientific degree-level course at an overseas Higher Education Institution (HEI) 

For students who are coming to King's for the first time i.e. for a semester of Study Abroad, or for a Summer School, your Short-term Study visa support letter will be issued to you by Admissions through your King's Apply account once you have met all of the conditions attached to your offer.

For students already enrolled on a course at King's, you will need to request a visa support letter using non-standard letter request under Regsitry Services Enquiry Form

The process for coming to the UK as a Short-term Student is different depending on whether you are a visa national or non-visa national. Please refer to Appendix 2 of the UKVI's Immigration Rules for Visitors - if your country of nationality is not listed in Appendix 2, then you are a non-visa national.

Important message for Non-visa nationals arriving at the UK border 

If you are from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the United States, coming to study in the UK for 6 months or less,  and have not applied for your short-term study visa in advance, you must see an officer to get a short-term study visa stamp in your passport. Without this stamp, you will not be able to study.  Do not use the E-Gates, follow the signs for ‘see an officer’!

If you are a visa national, you will need to apply for the visa before you can travel into the UK following details on Home Office official website. If you are a non-visa national, you do not have to apply for this visa prior to travelling to the UK, but you will be required to show all of your supporting documents (including the visa support letter issued by the university) on arrival into the UK. At that point the immigration officer will stamp your passport, this stamp is considered to be your visa and should state something like “short term study”.

NB: If you are studying a science-based subject at Masters or PhD level (even if you are only coming to King's for a short period e.g. to undertake some research as part of your course), you may need to obtain an ATAS certificateYou will need to obtain this before you travel/apply for your visa.

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