Students coming to the RCM for periods of study shorter than six months (such as exchanges or the NAFA International Placement) are recommended to enter on a Short term study visa. This category of visa is much cheaper and easier to obtain than a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
Applying in Advance
Students from some countries, known as ‘visa nationals’ need to apply for an entry clearance vignette before travelling.
You will need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken (known as ‘biometric information’) at a visa application centre as part of your application.
All applications should be made online.
The RCM will provide you with a letter confirming that you have an unconditional offer of a place. You will also need to provide details of your accommodation and travel plans, along with evidence that you have enough funds to support yourself during your stay. You can find the most up-to-date list of documents you need to provide on the UK Government website.
Applying on Arrival
If you are not a 'visa national' you can choose whether to apply for entry clearance in advance or to get your visa stamped in your passport when you arrive in the UK. You don’t have to fill out an application form or pay a fee if you are stamped in on arrival. However, you will need to show your supporting documents to the Border Force official at your port of entry, so make sure you carry them in your hand luggage. They will stamp your passport to indicate that you have been admitted as a short term student. Please ensure they do this! The stamp indicates that you have entered as a student and not as a tourist, giving you the right to study in the UK.
E-gates at the border
From summer 2019, eligible travellers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United States will be able to use the ePassport gates at 14 ports, both in the UK and at Eurostar terminals at Brussels and Paris. However, the e-gates may only be used by travellers wishing to enter the UK for the purpose of tourism. Nationals of these countries requiring a Short Term Student visa must present at a desk manned by a Border Force official. If e-gates are used in error you will not obtain the necessary permission to study in the UK and the RCM will not be able to enrol you. If an official at your port of entry tries to direct you towards the e-gates, please explain that you require a Short Term Student endorsement and ensure that you receive the relevant stamp in your passport before leaving the border control area.