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I am an Australian coming to the UK in August for a tour of Europe, which begins in London. I will then be coming back at the beginning of September for a 6-month study abroad program at a UK university. I have been told that entering the UK more than a month before the beginning of my program would potentially be risky. I was wondering if I would run into any barriers with applying for a visa online?

  • My period abroad would end up being less than 6 months: 5 months and 26 days
  • I also have all necessary documentation.

I have also been advised that after entering on a tourist visa in August, getting a short-term study visa would be the best option. Does this carry any risks?

Would there be any issues with entering as a tourist, given that I would have the approved study visa for the next month? I'm more concerned that they would think that I was trying to stay for longer.

  • Would there be any issues with entering as a tourist, given that I would have the approved study visa for the next month? I'm more concerned that they would think that I was trying to stay for longer. – JessE May 31 '18 at 11:16
  • gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/australia/study/six_months_or_less You don’t need a study visa for up to 6 months provided you have been accepted on a course with an accredited Institution. A brief previous visa-free tourist visit should not be a problem provided that on arrival you can show proof of your intended departure. If in doubt, check with your local UK embassy/consulate – Traveller May 31 '18 at 11:18
  • Getting a short-term student visa does not seem to carry any benefits, so it probably does not matter whether it carries any risks. – phoog Sep 13 '18 at 21:04
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It makes sense that you'd arrive in the UK to begin your time abroad, start with a trip throughout Europe, and enter a non-visa national. On your return, however, you may want to request entry at the UK border as a Short-Term Student.

With the documentation from the accredited university to which you have been accepted, you don't have to apply for a visa in advance of travelling, but request the correct immigration permission at the border. You would still get leave to enter but, as study is your main purpose, you so inform the Border Force Officer and your passport is stamped accordingly.

  • Is the passport stamp in fact different for a short-term student? – phoog Sep 13 '18 at 21:05
  • @phoog no, but the reason for entry recorded in the system, and a good idea for a non-visa national – Giorgio Sep 13 '18 at 21:07

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