Visa and compliance update - March 2019
25 March 2019

Short-term study visas and course extensions 

What are the rules about students extending their stay in the UK beyond the end of their original course? It depends what they say when they apply for their visa.

When students are issued with a six or 11-month short term study visa, their intentions are assessed according to the dates they give on their application. If they only give the course dates, they are expected to remain in the UK for no longer than 30 calendar days after their studies end, as stated in their visa letter. For example, if the student applies for a visa to take a course from Thursday 4 March 2019 to Friday 3 May 2019, the latest the student must leave the UK is Monday 3 June 2019.

Any centre that allows a student to extend their leave would be doing so against the published guidance. However, if the student knows they want to extend their time in the UK, they need to state this as an intention on their application – so, they should declare an intention to enter the UK for the full six or 11 months and doing two (or more) courses if they enjoy the first one. They will never be penalised for leaving the UK earlier than they originally planned because they didn't like the course/weather/had an emergency at home etc.

Students who state their intention to stay for the whole six or 11 months will have to submit evidence of having enough money to cover the whole period.

The Home Office guidance for short term students clearly states that applicants must not:

  • Fall under the general grounds for refusal
  • Intend to study at an academy or state-funded school (for example, one which provides free education and is funded mainly from public funds)
  • Intend to study in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive periods as a short-term student
  • Intend to take employment (other than as an elective which meets paragraph A57D(a)(iii) of the rules), including paid or unpaid work, a work placement or work experience in the UK
  • Intend to be: self-employed, involved in business activities or any professional activity in the UK
  • Have recourse to public funds
  • Add additional study after their arrival in the UK that will last in excess of the 30-day period at the end of the original period of entry requested.

EEA and Swiss students entering the UK after Brexit

The UK government produced information for visitors from the EU, EEA and Switzerland coming to the UK after Brexit. The guidance sets out what EEA and Swiss nationals entering the UK can expect when going through immigration.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, EEA and Swiss students will be able to enter the UK as they do now. They will be able to use their ID or passport, and will be allowed to work and study.

If the UK leaves without a deal, EEA and Swiss nationals will still be able to enter as they do now, either with an ID card or passport, with no restriction on work and study. Should they intend to stay in the UK for more than three months, they will have to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain in the UK.

There is currently no information available about the cost and process of applying for the European Temporary Leave to Remain. The responsibility is on the student and/or employee to make the application. As there are no plans for a stamp to be given on arrival, it is recommended that all visitors retain evidence of their travel (e.g the boarding pass).

For more information for EEA nationals and their family members after Brexit, please visit the UKCISA website.

Changes to the immigration rules

The Government has announced streamlined documentary requirements for Tier 4 students from the following countries: Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Oman, Peru and Tunisia. From Saturday 6 April 2019, nationals of these countries benefit from not being required to submit all of the mandatory documents with their Tier 4 applications. Argentina, the Maldives and Trinidad and Tobago have been removed from the list of 'low risk' nationalities.

Visa fees set to rise

UK visa fees are set to rise for applications made from Saturday 6 April 2019. However, there are no changes to the cost of the short-term study visas. The costs remain at £97 for the six-month visa and £186 for the 11-month visa.

The cost of a standard visa will increase by £2 to £95 while the cost of the Electronic Visa Waiver will double to £30.

List of Travellers Scheme

The List of Travellers scheme is an EU-wide scheme that allows non-EU students residing in the EU to travel to another member state without having to apply for a visa. It can only be used where the student is travelling with a school group and when accompanied by a teacher.

The Home Office has given reassurances that the List of Travellers' visa scheme will continue to be accepted for some time if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, similar to ID cards. The Government will notify any changes to this as soon as possible.

If the UK leaves with a deal, the List of Travellers form will continue to be accepted until at least the end of the implementation period in December 2020.

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