Advice and Counselling Service

Advice and Counselling Service menu

Which immigration permission should I apply for?

Which immigration permission should I apply for?

Tier 4 or Short-term Student immigration permission?

There are two main types of immigration permission which you can apply for to study a course at Queen Mary University of London. You should read the full description before making a decision on which category of immigration permission to apply for.


Tier 4 (General) Student

Short-Term Student

Can be granted to non-visa nationals on entry to the UK



Visa application fee



How long you will be able to stay in the UK

The full length of your course plus additional time at the start and end of your course

Up to 6 months or until your course ends plus 30 days (whichever is sooner)

Employment (including paid or unpaid work experience)

Full time work is allowed during vacations and during a work placement that is part of your course at Queen Mary.

Part time work is allowed during term time for Tier 4 (General) students studying full-time. 

Students who have Tier 4 (part-time) immigration permission are not permitted to work at all during their studies. 

No work allowed except volunteering. Please note this is not the same as voluntary work which is not permitted.

Can be extended in the UK

Yes, if you meet the requirements


Can switch to other categories in the UK (E.g. Tier 2 Sponsored Skilled Worker)

Yes, if you meet the requirements


Type of course that can be studied

Restricted to full-time courses above a specified academic level. The Admissions Office can tell you if your course is at the appropriate level.

Part-time courses leading to a qualification at RQF level 7 or above can be studied with Tier 4 immigration permission, although these students would not be permitted to work or bring their dependants.

Full-time or part-time courses at any level

This can also be to conduct research or to receive tuition on how to conduct research towards your studies at an academic institution outside of the UK.

Can bring family members as dependants Yes, can bring eligible family members if studying a postgraduate course which is 12 months or longer, or you are a government sponsored student studying a course which is longer than 6 months No

How to apply

For guidance on the Short-term Student Visa requirements and application process, see our Short-term Student Guide

For detailed gudiance on applying for Tier 4 immigration permission, please see our Guide to applying for a Tier 4 visa

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

Paying the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your immigration application gives you free access to the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK. The surcharge is paid by anyone who applies for entry clearance to come to the UK for more than six months. If you are coming for six months or less you do not pay the surcharge. You can read more information about the surcharge in our student advice guide ‘Applying for Tier 4 (General) Student immigration permission.’

Medical and dental students undertaking electives

The Home Office has changed its guidance a number of times on the type of immigration permission you need to apply for to come to the UK to do a medical or dental elective. The current rules state that if are studying medicine, veterinary medicine and science or dentistry abroad, you will be able to undertake electives in the UK with Short-term Student immigration permission "provided these are unpaid, and involve no treatment of patients"

MBBS Malta students undertaking SSCs in the UK

You can undertake your SSCs with Short-term Student immigration permission provided they are unpaid and involve no treatment of patients. You can also choose to be sponsored for the full length of your programme with Tier 4 immigration permission which would allow you to enter the UK any time during your course, provided that you are entering for the purpose of study. Periods of study in the UK should be arranged with your School Office and you should request a letter each time you come to the UK confirming your period of study to show to the Border Force Officer.

Please see the table above to compare the two different types of immigration permission. Please note that the Immigration Rules would not allow you to undertake SSCs with Standard Visitor immigration permission.

You can apply for your immigration permission in the country where you are living. 'Living' means that you are there lawfully for a reason other than a short-term visit, so if you are living in Malta for the purpose of studies, you can make your immigration application in Malta.

You submit your visa application online, and then attend an appointment at the Visa Application Centre in Valletta. There are currently appointments available fortnightly on Tuesdays. Please see our guides for Short-term Student immigration permission and Tier 4 immigration permission for further details about the process.

The Queen Mary Summer School

If you are coming to join us for the Summer School, you would normally apply for Short-term Student immigration permission. See our detailed information about applying before you travel or, if you are eligible, on entry to the UK, the application process and visa conditions.

In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa instead of Short-term Student immigration permission. Students should refer to our Tier 4 advice guide Applying for Tier 4 (General) Student immigration permission for detailed information on the Tier 4 visa application process.

*You can check our detailed immigration guidance for Summer School 2019 students by watching our recording of the webinar: Immigration permission for QMUL Summer School students . The guidance starts around 2:20 minutes.* 

Associate Research students

An Associate Research student is normally seen a as a student for the purposes of UK immigration, not staff (although we understand that in your home country you may be considered staff). Therefore you should use this guide to decide whether it is most appropriate for you to apply to enter the UK as a short-term student, or as a Tier 4 (General) Student.

Postdoctoral researchers and other employees

If you will be coming to the UK to work for Queen Mary, for example as a postdoctoral researcher, you will need to contact the College's Human Resources department for information about applying for immigration permission, which would allow you to work in the UK.

To find the appropriate person to contact, visit the Human Resources website.

Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.

Return to top