Visas for Short-term Exchange and Visiting Research Students

Information for international students attending an exchange of less than six months or visiting researchers

ISVAT are the only team authorised to provide immigration and visa advice at LSE

This page has information is applicable for students undertaking a short-term exchange at LSE such as:

- Erasmus exchanges (6 months or less);

- Undergraduate Department of Management exchange term

- CEMS exchanges;

- MBA exchange term;

- Visiting Researchers;

- LSE specialist short-term exchanges e.g. Dartmouth.

What visa do I need to attend a short-term exchange at LSE?

We recommend that if you do not already hold immigration permission, which permits study in the UK,  you should apply for the Short-term Student visa to attend a short-term exchange at LSE.

If you plan well in advance, you should be able to get the correct visa on time.  If you arrive in the UK on a six-month Standard Visitor visa, expecting to do more than 30 days non-incidental study you will not be able to register for your programme. Don't take the risk, get the right visa!

I'm an EU/EEA student.  Will I need a visa after the 31 January 2020?

Information as of 22 January 2020

The UK is expected to leave the EU with a deal.  This means that we will enter the transiition period and the ability to enter the UK on the basis of free movement will remain in place until the 31 December 2020. This means that you will not require immigration permission to attend teaching for your Executive Masters degree up to the 31 December 2020.

We anticipate that from 2021, EU/EEA nationals may need to  immigration permission to come to the UK to study.  

I will only travel to LSE for my teaching and 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.  However, entering via the e-Gates currently only gives tourist permission for the UK.  You will only be able to study for a maximum of 30 days and the activities you will be able to undertake in the UK will be restricted e.g. you will no longer have the right to work in the UK.  We will update this page once more details are available.

I am a visiting researcher/incoming exchange student and I will be at LSE 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 "Study" route visa.  Full details are yet to be published, but this is expected to replace Tier 4 in 2021.   You will not be able to study for the full length of your time at LSE without obtaining immigration permission in advance.  You may also be required to apply for ATAS clearance depending on the area of your research.

What are the facts for Short-term Students

  • You should plan to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your course ends or when the visa expires, whichever is soonest. 
  • You cannot extend your Short-term Student visa in the UK
  • You cannot switch into another visa category in the UK e.g. Tier 4 or Tier 2
  • You cannot undertake any work or business in the UK
  • You can study full time or part time and the course does not need to lead to a qualification 
  • You are not entitled to free treatment from the National Health Service 
  • You cannot use the Short-term Student visa to study a full time programme by applying for successive visas.  
  • The 11 month Short-term Student route can only be used for English Language programmes where you are coming to the UK to learn English. It is not the right choice for a short-term exchange at LSE.

Do I need to apply for a visa

Depending on your nationality, you will either need to obtain your visa before travelling or you can request entry as a Short-term Student at the border. You can check if you need to apply for your visa before travelling on the website.

  • If you need to apply for a visa before travelling, you are known as a Visa National.
  • If you do not need to apply for a visa before travelling you are known as a Non-Visa National.

Applying before travelling to the UK: Visa Nationals

It currently costs £97 to apply for a  six month Short-term Student visa at the embassy. You will be granted with a multi-entry sticker in your passport which will be valid for 6 months.  This means you can leave and re-enter the UK using the same Short-term Student visa, but you must be able to show you have studies to complete.

You can only select the 11 month visa if your are studying the full EAP Foundation Programme.

UK Visas and Immigration 

Guide to completing the Short-term Student Application Form (pdf)

Short-term Student Document Checklist (pdf)

Applying for a Short-term Student at the border: Non-Visa Nationals

If you are from a country which does not need to apply for a Short-term Student visa before travelling, you can request to enter the UK as a Short-term Student at the border.

You will need to ask the Border Force Office to enter as a Short-term Student and show them the letter you have been given by LSE.  Please make sure you have this in your hand luggage.

It is very important that you check you have the correct visa before leaving the border.  The stamp should say STS or Short-term Student.

The stamp you receive at the border is only for a single-entry.  If you plan to travel outside of the UK and have further sessions of teaching to attend, you will need to request to enter as a Short-term Student each time you arrive at the UK border.

If you are travelling through Ireland, this is known as the Common Travel Area.  You will not go through UK immigration controls so you will need to show that you have entered Ireland (e.g. a stamp in your passport) and provide your boarding pass as evidence of how you travelled to the UK.

e-Gates from May 2019

The following nationalities can now enter the UK using the e-Gates :

  • USA
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada

Entering the UK using the e-Gates only grants you permission to be in the UK as a tourist, so you will need to speak to a Border Force Officer to obtain the correct immigration stamp. You can show them your offer letter from LSE and a copy of this UKVI document.

You will be required to leave and re-enter the UK on a Short-term Student visa within 30 days of your arrival to be able to continue studying your programme.

Please bring a printed copy of either your boarding pass or flight details to registration. If you enter via the e-Gates, LSE will need to take a copy of these to record your date of arrival. 





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