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, 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 http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/info_sheets/working_during_studies.php
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 and check the UKCISA website http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/immigration_coming_to_uk.php
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 will 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.
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 3 working days of accepting your unconditional offer.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fill out a visa applicaton using the online “print and send” facility.
- A guide to doing this can be found here.
- 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 email@example.com. Plesae note that this service is extremely busy in October so if you are wanting an appointment at that time you may need to wait as we are booking 20 half hour sessions daily on a first come first served basis.
Due to the high volume of queries, 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.
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.
You can find a list of all Embassies at the following link:
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