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Do I need a visa?

If you are not a national of one of the countries on the list below then you will need a visa for study.

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, or United Kingdom

What sort of visa do I need?

Is your course more than 6 months? If yes, you need a Tier 4 visa
If your course is less than 6 months you can either study on a student visitor visa or a Tier 4 visa . Please read the section below for advice on making this choice.

Student visitor visa or Tier 4 visa?

The student visitor visa is a cheaper option than Tier 4 but you will have to leave the country when it ends, you cannot apply for further leave to remain within the UK if you arrive on a student visitor visa.  Also you cannot do any work (paid or unpaid) on a student visitor visa. On a Tier 4 visa, you are able to work up to 20 hours per week during term time if you are on a course at degree level or above, or 10 hours on courses below this level. You can work full time during holiday periods. Please see here for more information

Therefore if you are doing a short pre-sessional course (e.g. English language) before your main course, it is usually better to get  a Tier 4 visa so that you can apply for your Tier 4 visa for the main course within the UK after you have completed the pre-sessional. In some cases your visa will cover your short course and your main course (usually just the 4 week or 2 week pre-sessional courses). Usually your visa will cover your pre-sessional course only and you will need to apply for a new Tier 4 visa after your pre-sessional course for your main course. For more information see section 3 of the pre-arrival guide.

There are two short films that show the visa application process.

These are particularly useful if you are applying from China or India, but you might also find them useful if your home country is not China or India.


Watch a film about applying for your visa from China. here


Watch a film about applying for a visa from India. here


Entry clearance and credibility interviews

For information about immigration control, see section 5.1 of the pre-arrival guide. here

Most students will have a “credibility interview” as part of the visa application process. If this applies to you it is very important that you attend the interview. It is conducted either by video link (skype) or in person. The Home Office staff will ask you some questions to determine that

  • you genuinely intend to attend the course of study for which you have obtained a visa and
  • your proficiency in English language is acceptable

The questions will not be difficult so there is nothing to worry about. For example, you may be asked why you have chosen the particular course that you have chosen, or how you intend to pay your fees and support yourself, and you will be required to answer the questions in English.
If you come from one of the following countries, you will not have a credibility interview.

Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, plus British National (overseas), Hong Kong and Taiwan passport holders.

Nationals from all other countries may have a credibility interview. More information can be found. here.

Extending your visa

You may need to extend your Tier 4 visa while you are in the UK, for example:

  • because of intercalation (also called interruption or deferral ) or
  • if you have had to repeat study, or
  • if you have transferred to a longer course, or
  • you need an extension to the time writing up your thesis, or
  • you are progressing onto a new course,for example from pre-sessional to main programme

Please see details about how to make your application here

In these cases you can apply to extend your Tier 4 leave to remain.

  • If you are starting a new course you should receive your CAS automatically within 5 working days of accepting your unconditional offer, so long as we have all the required information for you such as passport and your transcript or certificates.
  • If you are extending your  visa for any other reason, such as having an extension, once this has been approved you should request a CAS by emailing us at
  • Fill out a visa applicaton using the online facility.
  • When you have done this you can make an appointment to see a visa adviser from ISAS to check your application. If you wish to use this service, which is free of charge, you need to make an appointment through The Base. Either come to University House or email
  • Due to the high volume of queries, especially at peak times such as October, it is extremely important that you bring the required documents with you when you attend the session, so we can check everything and send your visa application. Pay particular attention to your bank account which must show the required amount of money for 28 days and be dated no earlier than 31 days in the past. You can find out more here

Travel Visas

If you are travelling outside the UK during your studies, you should check the visa/entry requirements with the embassy of the country you would like to visit. Find out more here:

Some European Countries are part of the 'Schengen' group and will allow you to apply for one visa which gives permission to enter several countries. You can find information about Schengen Visas here:



For Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) see here

For Tier 4 Doctorate Extension see here







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