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Coming to Cardiff

Which visa should I apply for?

Most international students need to apply for a Tier 4 general student visa.

If you are 16 or 17 years old you must apply for a Tier 4 visa for "adult students" and not a visa for a "child student". Under the "adult" Tier 4 visa you will receive a visa for the full length of your course and also be allowed to extend your visa, (this may not be the case if you apply under the "child" route).

If you are coming to study an English language course that is a maximum of 11 months, or a degree course for a maximum of 6 months, you may hear that you can come to the UK on a "Short Term Study Visa" instead of a Tier 4 student visa.

If you choose to come using a Short Term Study Visa, you will be much more restricted than if you come on a Tier 4 student visa. You will not be allowed to do any paid or voluntary work (even if it is part of a course) and you cannot extend your stay in the UK or bring your family with you. For these reasons, it is not usually appropriate to come to the UK using a Short Term Study Visa and so we recommend that you apply for a student visa.

The exceptions to this are:

  1. Students studying on distance learning courses who need to come to Cardiff University for an examination or to attend a short course of less than 6 months and do not want to work in the UK.
  2. Study Abroad students studying for less than 6 months (one semester) who will definitely be returning home after their course finishes and do not want to work in the UK.
  3. Students studying on the English for University Study Programme at Cardiff who do not want to work in the UK.

The advice on this website is for students applying for a Tier 4 visa. If you want to find out about coming to the UK as a student visitor, see:

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