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Immigration and visas

If you're an International student coming from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, you will need to follow specific regulations to enter, study and work in the UK.


If you need assistance, you can get in touch with:


A visa gives legal permission to enter or to stay in the UK. You need to submit a successful application to get this permission.

It's important to apply for the right type of study visa for your needs. You can check which type you may need using the UK Government’s visa checking tool.

Close up shot of a woman's hand cutting a strip of fabric with scissors
A student working at London College of Fashion

Short-term Study Visa

For students coming to the UK to study for short periods of time on an English language course, a short course, or to retake a unit

Photo of a woman sitting at a sewing machine

Tier 4 (General) Visa

For students coming to the UK to study on courses like degrees, diplomas and presessional courses

Student in full graduation robes walking towards the Royal Festival Hall
UAL Graduation 2018 at Royal Festival Hall

Options after graduation

Find out more about attending graduation and staying in the UK after completing your course

Travelling abroad

If you're from outside the EEA and plan to travel outside the UK during your course, there are important considerations to make when planning your trip.


You must check if you need a visa for the country you wish to visit as your UK visa will not be valid for travel to other countries. Refer to the embassy website of the country you wish to visit for more information.

If you are travelling to European countries, you may be able to apply for a Schengen visa.

Factsheet: Schengen Visa (PDF 308KB)

Before travelling to any country outside the UK you must check that your passport is valid and that it will not expire while you are there.

Lost and stolen visas

If your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is lost or stolen while abroad, you will not be allowed to re-enter the UK. You will have to apply for a 'single entry replacement BRP visa' before returning.

If you do not have a BRP and your visa is in the form of a sticker in your passport (a vignette) which is lost or stolen, you will not be allowed to re-enter the UK. You will need to apply for a new passport and then apply for a 'vignette transfer' before returning.

Follow the guidance from UKCISA or contact the Student Advice Service. You must contact your College Tier 4 Compliance Administrator if this delay will cause you to miss classes.

Returning to the UK

If you're still studying on your course with a valid study visa, you can leave and return to the UK. Make sure you have the following documents at the border:

  • Student status letter - download one from your online portal, or visit the Language Centre or the College short course office
  • Passport
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), if applicable
  • Police registration certificate, if applicable

You should not return to the UK after the end date of your course, even if your visa is still valid. Your entry at the border will be refused as you have fulfilled the purpose of your study visa. Contact the Student Advice Service for more information.

Find out more