It is important that you think about immigration before you make any travel plans. The length of time you can stay in the UK depends on your visa.

Types of immigration permission

There are two types of visa to choose from, they are Tier 4 (General) Student and the Short-term study visa. It is not possible to apply for Tier 4 upon arrival in the UK so you must obtain this type of visa before travelling. Certain nationalities can request Short-term study permission on arrival and others must apply before travelling

Visa nationals

If you are a visa national you must apply for either a Tier 4 (General) Student visa or a Short-term study visa before travelling to the UK.

Non-visa nationals

If you are a non-visa national and want to apply for a Tier 4 visa, you should follow the procedure listed on our web page here.

If you are a single semester student studying for no more than six months and you wish to apply as a Short-term student, you can do this when you arrive in the UK.

Upon arrival in the UK you can request to have your passport stamped with a ‘Short-term study’ visa stamp. You should carry your University of Leeds offer letter, proof of accommodation booked in Leeds and your most recent bank statement with you in your hand luggage to present to an Immigration Officer upon arrival to evidence the purpose of your stay in the UK.  If asked, you should verbally confirm that the purpose of your stay in the UK is to study.

Which type of immigration permission to choose

If you are studying for a period longer than six months, you must apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student entry clearance visa before travelling to the UK.

Tier 4 visas can be extended in the UK and allow Study Abroad/Exchange students to work during their studies. To apply under Tier 4 you require a CAS, which will be issued to you by the Study Abroad Office via e-mail. To request a CAS please email the Study Abroad Office. Please familiarise yourself with the financial and application requirements of the Tier 4 visa listed here.

If you are studying for a period of less than six months you can either apply for a Tier 4 visa, using a CAS, or a Short-term study visa. If you are single semester student and wish to apply for a Tier 4 visa, you will need to email the Study Abroad Office to request the CAS. For assistance with deciding which type of immigration permission to choose, please check this information sheet

Short-term study visas are restrictive as they are valid for a maximum of six months, cannot be extended, as a Short-term student you cannot switch to any other type of visa in the UK and the visa prohibits you from taking any kind of paid or unpaid employment or internship.

If you choose to apply for a Short-term study visa in advance of travel, when applying online you should choose ‘Study’ as the reason for visit, ‘Study (non Points-Based System)’ as the visa type and ‘Study – Short-term student (6 months)' as the visa sub type.

Please follow our guidance here when completing the online visa application for the Short Term Study visa.

If you choose to come to the UK as a Short-term student without having applied in advance before leaving your home country, you must not to enter the UK via the Republic of Ireland.

If you enter via the Republic of Ireland you will not pass through UK immigration control and you will not be able to get the correct permission for study in the UK. You will then only have permission to remain in the UK for three months and then you will need to leave the UK and go to a country other than the Republic of Ireland and then re-enter the UK with the correct immigration permission as a Short-term student.

Please note: all applications for entry clearance (applying for a visa in advance of travel) must be made online.

The Tier 4 application fee is £335 and the Short-term study application fee is £93


How long will my Tier 4 visa be valid for?

Length of course Visa start date Length of stay allowed
12 months or more Up to one month before the start date of the course The full length of the course plus four months after it finishes
Six to 12 months Up to one month before the start date of the course The full length of the course plus two months after it finishes
Less than six months Up to seven days before the start date of the course The full length of the course plus seven days after it finishes

The duration of your visa may be different if you need to come to the UK for a pre-sessional language course before your main course of study.

Leeds International Summer School (LISS)

The Short-term study visa is the correct visa to apply for if you are a LISS student, therefore please follow the advice listed previously on this page as to whether you need to apply for this visa in advance of your travel or not.

Students who do not need immigration permission

If you are a national of one of the following countries, and are entering the UK using a passport from one of these countries, you do not need to apply for immigration permission to allow you to study in the UK: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

If you are not a national of the above countries, you will need immigration permission to study in the UK.

If you have any general questions about immigration and visas, please email If your visa application is refused or rejected, please email