UK Visa Application ProcessImmigration controls are strictly enforced in the UK. All students require permission from the UK government to enter the country in order to study (the only exception is students who hold a European Union passport; in this case no visa is required). There are two routes available:
All students are responsible for getting a passport. If you already have a passport it must be valid for at least 6 months after your planned return from the UK. All students are also responsible for obtaining the appropriate visa in order to participate in their respective program.
NON-U.S. CITIZENS: You may need to follow a different process to obtain permission to study in the UK. You may check to see if you need a visa on the UK government website. Contact your program coordinator for more information.
Tier 4 (General) Student Visa:The following students require a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa for academic reasons:
- Anyone studying in the UK for more than one semester
- Students undertaking an officially supported academic work placement (EDCP386)
- Anyone wishing to find part-time work (paid or unpaid)
- Obtain a CAS statement (number) from your host institution.
- Complete the online application, biometrics and supplemental application 2-3 months before the program start date. The application cost is currently ca. £322 (~$470 dependent on the exchange rate). Students must work with their local university or program provider to obtain the necessary paperwork and instructions.
- You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have a pre-determined amount of money available for your living costs (‘maintenance') in a cash bank account, preferably in your name, or through scholarships and loans. You should begin to prepare for this ahead of time, as funds must be available for at least a month before you APPLY for the visa.
- You must mail in your original passport as part of your visa application, so you should plan to be without it for a few weeks within the two months before your program starts.
Short-Term Student Visa:If none of the criteria given above for the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa applies to you, you may enter the UK on a Short-Term Student Visa.
- There is no pre-application process for U.S. Citizens. Please be aware of the following:
- There is no additional cost for this visa type
- You must provide proof of study at immigration. This is your acceptance letter from the program provider or exchange partner institution.
- You are required to demonstrate adequate funds for stay upon entering the UK. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have a pre-determined amount of money available for your living costs (‘maintenance') in a cash bank account, preferably in your name, or through scholarships and loans.
- This route has a number of restrictions:
- No work placement (internship) is permitted
- Very restricted volunteering opportunities are permitted
- No part-time work (paid or unpaid) is permitted
- You may not use this route if you are a student registering for EDCP386 (academic work placement) or if you will be a year-long student in the UK.
The Short-Term Student visa is valid from the date of entry to the UK and will expire either after 6 months or on the last day of the program. The visa validity is at the discretion of the Border Force Officer.
Special point about visas
Terminology in the UK can mean something completely different from your understanding in the USA. British law is very clear about what students can and cannot do. Work placements or internships that are not academically assessed through courses are not permitted.
When entering the UK, only provide your passport and letter of acceptance. Do not provide additional paperwork (example: proof of funds) unless asked directly by the agent. You must be able to provide this information immediately upon request, or risk being deported.