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Short term study visa

RCM students in the SU bar
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.

Am I a visa national?

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.

Apply for a short term study visa

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.

Travelling via the Republic of Ireland

Non-visa nationals planning to travel to the UK via the Republic of Ireland should consult advice issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). You may require prior entry clearance. 

UKCISA advice

Visa conditions

You must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your course or the end of six months, whichever of these is sooner. 

You can:

  • Follow a course of study for up to six months.
  • Exit and re-enter the UK if required.

You cannot:

  • Undertake any work, including work experience.
  • Extend this visa.
  • Bring any family members with you as dependents.
  • Access public funds (such as unemployment benefit).