Students in the registration hall

International studentsExchange and study abroad - visas

Students coming to the University of Strathclyde on exchange; and are non-EEA nationals; will need a visa that covers the period of their programme of study.

Students coming for one semester (i.e. less than 6 months) have the choice of applying for either a Short Term Study Visa (STSV) or a Tier 4 (General) Student visa - students who choose this option must inform the Admissions Team in order for them to amend the admissions record and provide students with the appropriate documentation to apply for their Tier 4 visa.

Exchange students studying for a full academic year or longer (i.e. over 6 months) MUST apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa.

Short Term Study Visa - online application

  • A STSV allows students to come to the UK to study for up to 6 months per year.
  • The application is generally considered to be easier and cheaper than the Tier 4 (General) Student visa. 
  • Short Term Study Visas cannot be extended; if a student decides to spend more time studying in the UK, they would have to return home to apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa. 
  • Work is not permitted on a STSV;  this includes work placements and unpaid work.

The STSV application is online and further information can be found here. One of the required documents is a letter from the University of Strathclyde confirming programme details (including the programme start and end date). This letter should be on official letter-headed paper and should confirm if any tuition fees are required. The letter will confirm that the University of Strathclyde is a Tier 4 Sponsor, by stating our Sponsor Licence Number- P8KB0DJU9. The letter does not need to be in any particular format.  Once the place on the programme is confirmed, the letter can be requested by emailing the Admissions Team.  The online application form will ask “Do you have a valid CAS number.”  The answer should be “No”. A CAS number is not required for short-term study, a letter from the University is sufficient.

Short Term Study Visa - non-visa nationals

A non-visa national can travel to the UK for a study in the UK for up to 6 months without having obtained a visa before travelling. They are still subject to immigration controls but can request to enter the UK as a Short Term Student when they arrive at the UK Border – it is important that not to use the eGates as the correct immigration permission to study will not granted and will:

  • not be permitted to register at the University of Strathclyde
  • have to leave the UK and re-enter in order to obtain the appropriate immigration permission

Students should be aware that if their journey to the UK includes entry to the UK and then further air travel  to Glasgow they should make the request for Short Term Study Visa at the airport of entry before they travel to Glasgow.  Border Force Officers are not available in Glasgow for passengers travelling on an internal flight from anywhere in the UK including the Common Travel Area.  Please print this handy eGate Visual Aid and present to immigration staff before crossing the border 

Check here to check if you are a non-visa national.

Students who decide to apply for your STSV stamp at the airport should bring all required documents in their hand luggage.  If an ATAS certificate is required, this should also be printed and carried in hand luggage.  Further information can be found here.


Some courses (mostly in Science and Engineering) require ATAS clearance, which takes around 4 weeks to process. If your course needs an ATAS it is important to apply for it well in advance as it can take around 20 working days to be approved and sometimes longer during peak periods.   The STSV letter will confirm if ATAS is required or not.  ATAS applications can be made online.  ATAS Certificates will be emailed directly to the email address used in the application.   The ATAS Certificate should be included in any STSV application; either in advance or at the airport.

Important information on travelling via the Republic of Ireland  

Students who intend to request a STSV at the airport on arrival in the UK should ensure they do not travel via the Republic of Ireland (which is not part of the UK).   Student who travel via the Republic of Ireland never meet a UK Border Force Officer to request a STSV. Instead they will receive permission to enter for 3 months only (and it is not possible to extend the visa in the UK).  See side block for further guidance.

Further important points for those studying with a Short Term Study Visa

  • Only permitted to spend 6 months within the UK in any 1-year period under the STSV route
  • Expected to leave the UK at the end of your programme (as stated by you when you applied) or before the visa expiry date- whichever is EARLIEST
  • The STSV does not allow any work in the UK, including work placements and business activities
  • No dependants (i.e. any family members must apply independently for their own visas)
  • It is not possible to extend a STSV and it is not possible to switch into any other type of visa from within the UK
  • No entitlement to free healthcare (National Health Service) with a STSV; it is advised to take out private medical insurance at home before travelling to the UK.