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This page gives an overview of the UK visa system in general.

This page was last updated on 27 April 2015.

Please note that these rules may change, so we recommend that you check with the British Embassy or Consulate in your country, or aternatively the UK Government website for the most up to date visa information.


If you are a citizen of a country in the European Union or the European Economic Area, or of Switzerland, you do not need a visa to enter the UK. If you are from one of these countries none of this note applies to you and you can stop reading now!

If you have two passports because, for example, you have dual nationality, with one nationality being from inside Europe, you will be considered as a European citizen and so you will not need a visa to study. For example, if you are Brazilian student but also have a valid Italian passport, you will not need a visa to study English at LSC Stanton, because you will be able to enter the UK with your Italian passport.

If you come from anywhere else in the world you will need a visa, so please continue to read this page!

For adults aged 18 or over, there are two sorts of study visa that you can obtain:

  1. Short-Term Study Visa (6 months) (6 month STSV)
  2. Short-Term Study Visa (11 months) (11 month STSV)

Each visa gives different rights and entitlements, so when you book a course you will need to tell us which one you want.

Please see the table below for a summary of the different types of study visa for non-European students.

  Length of visa Right to work? Right to extend? Valid for beginners?
STSV - 6 months Max 6 months No No Yes
STSV - 11 months Max 11 months No No Yes

How to decide on the best visa for you

There are four steps that you should take to decide on the best visa for you.

1. Establish if you are a Visa National or a Non-visa National


For visa purposes, the world is divided into 3 areas, as follows:

  1. EU/EEA/Switzerland: If you are a citizen of one of these countries you do not need a study visa. Please stop reading this page now!
  1. Visa nationals (VN): If you are a VN you need a visa to enter the UK for any reason, and you must obtain your visa before you travel to the UK (this is called ‘pre-entry clearance’). Examples of VN countries are: Colombia, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Turkey.
  1. Non-visa nationals (NVN): Non-visa national countries are all countries that are not European or Visa National countries. Examples of these countries include Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, and Venezuela.

2. Consider the different types of visa

Short-Term Study Visa (STSV)



A STSV has no minimum level requirement (so Beginner level students can apply for a STSV), cannot be extended, and STSV are not allowed to work during any part of their time in the UK.

Advantages Disadvantages

- Students of any level of English can obtain a STSV (e.g. Beginners can obtain a STSV)

- The STSV - 6 months is free on arrival for non-visa nationals. All other STSVs must be applied for prior to travelling to the UK.

- It cannot be extended or renewed

- For visa nationals, applications must be examined and passed by a visa officer

How do I get a STSV if I am a non-visa national?

Non-visa nationals can get a 6 month STSV free when you arrive in the UK.  You do not need to apply for an ordinary STSV - 6 months before you come to the UK.

Non-visa nationals must apply for a 11 month STSV before travelling to the UK.

To do this, you will need to show your Letter of Invitation from LSC Stanton. You will also need to show that you have enough money to support you during your time in the UK, for example, by showing that you have money available to you on a credit card or in cash or travellers’ cheques. You should also show that you have bought a return ticket at the end of your stay. For a full list of the documents you must provide, please visit the UK Government website

How do I get a STSV if I am a visa-national?

If you are a visa national you will need to get your STSV before you travel to the UK. You must have a Letter of Invitation from us and show that you have enough money to pay your course and live on. You will have to do biometrics and pay the appropriate fee.  You will have to prove that you have a good reason for learning English and persuade the Entry Clearance Officer that you will return home after the course.  If you are using an agent in your own country they will help you with the visa application.  If you are applying personally, you can find the form you need by clicking here. For a full list of the documents you must provide, please visit the UK Government website

How long is a STSV valid for?

There are two types. A 6 month STSV is valid for 6 months. An 11 month STSV is valid for 11 months.

Do I need to have a minimum level of English?

No.  A STSV is available for people at any level of English. It is the only study visa available if you are below intermediate level.

Can I renew a STSV?


Can I work part-time if I have a STSV?


 3.  Make your application for your course, telling us which type of visa you want


1. Tell us what sort of visa you want

If you need a visa to enter the UK you will need support from us, so you must tell us what sort of visa you intend to apply for.  Unless we know this we do not know what sort of support to send you.

2. Send us a copy of your passport

We need information from it to produce the support that we will send you.

3. For a STSV, send us the information needed for a STSV support letter

If you want a STSV we will need to send you a STSV support letter so we need certain information.


4.  Use the documents we send you to apply for your visa