Student Immigration

All you need to know about VISAs and studying

Visas for Short-term Exchange and Visiting Research Students / Short term Study visa

The immigration rules have changed therefore you should ensure you know the correct immigration permission you need to enter the UK. The information below is for international students attending an exhange programme at Kent of less than 6 months or visiting researchers.

Choosing the correct category of visa

You may need a visa to come to the UK to study, work, visit or join family.

There are different visas depending on:

  • where you come from
  • why you want to come to the UK
  • how long you want to stay for
  • your personal circumstances and skills

Before you apply, you must check if you need a visa and what type you need. Depending on your nationality, you might have to apply for entry clearance in advance of travelling to the UK. Please check this using the Visa nationals List link on the right hand-side of this page.


Short term study visa

You can apply for a Short-term study visa to study English language in the UK. This visa is for English language courses lasting longer than 6 months and up to 11 months. More information here.


Visitor Visa

A Standard Visitor visa lets you do a short course of study that lasts no longer than 6 months.

Erasmus exchanges (6 months or less)

You can apply for the Standard Visitor visa from 1 December 2020 to attend a short-term exchange at Kent.

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals

My exchange is for less than six months.  What options will I have after 1 January 2021?

EU/EEA nationals will be able to continue using the e-Gates to enter the UK after the 31 December 2020 and will require a valid passport to enter after October 2021.  Entering via the e-Gates gives Visitor permission for the UK.  You will be able to study for a maximum of six months on a Visit visa and should keep hold of your boarding pass as proof of your date of entry.

Study for more than 6 months

I am a visiting researcher/incoming exchange student and I will be at Kent for a period of more than six months.  What options will I have after 1 January 2021?

If you are planning to undertake a visting research period or exchange of more than six months, from the 1 January 2021 you will be required to apply for the Student route visa.  You will not be able to study for the full length of your time at Kent without obtaining immigration permission in advance.  

More information:

*You must enter the UK via a UK port of entry; for example, London Heathrow airport, Port of Calais etc. Please note that this means you cannot travel via the Republic of Ireland, as you will not pass through UK immigration control and you will not get valid permission to study in the UK.

*Calculate your time in the UK so you can make sure you don't come to the UK too early and can stay until your course has finished.


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Last Updated: 03/12/2021