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Visas and immigration

Before coming to the UK, it’s important that you check whether you need a visa to live and study here.

If you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you do not need a visa. The EEA consists of European Union countries, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

A new Immigration rule for nationals of Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates comes into force on 1 January 2013. Nationals of the above countries will not require a visa to come to the UK as a visitor, including a short-term student visa for up to six months if they complete a free online Electronic Fee Waiver document. Applicants must complete the document at least 48 hours, and no more than three months, before the date of travel. The document will be valid for entry to the UK on one occasion. Create the Electronic Fee Waiver document!



Studying for less than six months?

If you want to study in the UK for six months or less*, you could apply for a short-term student visa or child visitor visa (if under 18 years old).

If you come to the UK on a short-term student visa or child visitor visa you will not be permitted to work (paid or unpaid as part of your course). You cannot apply to extend your stay in the UK as a Tier 4 student, you will have to return home and apply. Please visit the UKVI website for further information.

*Note: if you are studying on an English language course, you could be allowed to stay in the UK on a short-term student visa for up to 11 months.

Studying for more than six months?

If you are not an EEA or Swiss national and you want to study in the UK for more than six months, it is compulsory for you to apply for Tier 4 entry clearance.

You cannot make your Tier 4 application more than three months before the start of your course. If you attempt to do so, your visa application will be refused. However you do need to make sure that you leave enough time for your application to be processed before you arrive in the UK. 

Please visit the UKVI website or the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website for further information.

Extending your visa from inside the UK

If you are already in the UK, but need to stay longer in order to complete your course or start a new course, you will need to make an application to extend your stay. You can only do this if you meet the Tier 4 requirements.

It is important that you apply to extend your stay in the UK before your current visa expires. For full guidance on the current Tier 4 rules and requirements and how to apply, please visit the UKVI website.