Skip to main content

Study Abroad visas and immigration

Work by Memunatu Barrie | BA Textile Design 2021

Visa and immigration information for Study Abroad students.

Do I need a visa?

To help ensure that your Study Abroad experience runs smoothly, check to make sure you meet any visa and immigration requirements for entering the UK before you travel.

If you will be travelling to the UK on a passport issued by a country outside the UK or Ireland, you will need a visa to enter the UK. You may be subject to additional restrictions while you are in the UK.

If you are a national of a country in the European Union (EU), The European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland please find the latest guidance on Brexit for EU students on the UK government’s website and UAL Brexit information for students.

What type of visa should I apply for?

There are 2 types of visas that Study Abroad students can apply for:

Please ensure that you obtain the correct type of visa. It will not be possible to change your immigration status after you arrive in the UK.

Where can I get help?


You can email studyabroadoffice@arts.ac.uk if you are unsure about what visa is best for you.

UAL’s Student Advice Service has advisers specially trained on immigration issues and can assist you with enquiries about visa and immigration matters.

The UK government and UKCISA websites have the most up-to-date visa information. Because UK immigration rules are constantly changing, you should keep consulting these sites regularly for updates.

Standard Visitor visa

Students studying for 1 semester (and on the Summer Study Abroad programme) usually enter the UK as a Standard Visitor.  Please make sure you understand what you can and cannot do on a Standard Visitor visa before entering the UK.

Some students may not need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa before travelling to the UK. Whether you need to apply before you travel depends on your nationality. You can use the Government Visa checker to find out whether or not you need to apply before you travel to the UK.

Non-visa nationals

These include nationals of EU, EEA, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the USA. To find out if you are a non-visa national, the country of your nationality will not be listed on the UK government’s Visa National list.

You can obtain a Standard Visitor visa stamp upon entry to the UK. To receive the Standard Visitor visa stamp upon entry at the UK border, you will need to carry a Standard Visitor visa letter in your hand luggage alongside your passport and other documents you may need to provide to support your application to enter the UK as a visitor.

The Standard Visitor visa letter will only be issued to you by the Study Abroad Office 3 months before the start of your programme. Please see the terms of your offer for further details.

You can apply for your Standard Visitor visa before travelling to the UK if you wish. This would usually be issued as a multiple entry visa which is beneficial if you plan on taking trips outside the UK during your course.

Please email the Study Abroad Office if you have any international travel planned prior to the start of your Study Abroad programme.


Students will not be able to complete enrolment until they can demonstrate that they have obtained the correct visa..

The use of e-Gates

If you are a national of EU, EEA, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the USA you are permitted to use the e-Gates to enter the UK as a Standard Visitor for a period of 6 months or less.

The use of eGates to enter the UK as a Standard Visitor will mean that you do not receive a stamp in your passport. It is important that you retain some form of evidence of entry to the UK such as travel ticket or boarding pass (if applicable). This will help you to remember exact duration of your 6 month stay and also we will ask you to provide this evidence at your enrolment.

Arriving via Ireland

If you travel to the UK via the Republic of Ireland, there will be no immigration control on arrival in the UK from Ireland. You will in most cases automatically have a permission to be in the UK for six months. Find out more about arriving via Ireland.

Visa nationals

These include nationals of Russia, Vietnam, China and India. To find out if you are a visa national, the country of your nationality will be listed on the UK government’s Visa National list.

You will need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa prior to travelling to the UK.

When you apply online, select ’Standard Visitor visa’.  

You must not apply for a Short-term study visa.  The Short-term study visa will only allow you to study an English language course. You will be unable to study on a Study Abroad course with this type of visa.

Please submit your completed visa application and supporting documents including you Standard Visitor visa letter you received from us to your nearest visa application centre. Your visa will be in the form of a sticker placed in your passport. It will specify the category it has been issued for, eg C-Visit or Standard Visitor. Please check you have been given the correct type of visa and that it has been issued for the correct length of time.

Student route visa

Any international students making a visa application from 9am on Monday 5 October 2020 will apply for the Student route visa route. This is the new name for a visa route previously known as a Tier 4 visa.

For instructions on how to apply for a Student visa and everything you need to know before and after receiving your visa, check out Immigration and visas for the latest guidance from the UK government’s Home Office. You can also contact Student Advice for guidance.

Find out more about the new points-based immigration system.

Students will not be able to complete enrolment until they can demonstrate that they have obtained the correct visa.

After you receive your visa, please check that you have been given the correct type of visa and that it has been issued for the correct length of time. You must travel to the UK within the start and the end date of your visa you received.

Schengen visas

If your Study Abroad programme includes a study-trip to Berlin or Paris, you may be required to apply for a Schengen visa before you arrive to the UK. Please check if you require a Schengen visa before you travel to the UK by visiting the German Embassy website (for Berlin study-trips) or the French Embassy website (for Paris study-trips).

Please note that students of some nationalities (such as US, Canada, Australia) do not require Schengen visas.

Schengen visa allows travel to, and between, all countries in the Schengen area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

If you find that you do require a visa you must obtain this prior to your arrival in the UK. If you arrive to the UK without a Schengen visa, it will be impossible to obtain one in the UK if you are studying her for less than 6 months.

You may require trip details such as, dates, flight numbers, hotel addresses to apply for your visa. To receive this information, please contact studyabroadoffice@arts.ac.uk if you need a letter confirming trip details.

Travelling back to the UK – you will need to carry your passport and Short-term study visa letter when re-entering the UK.

UAL Study Abroad courses

  • Work by Ishwari Satej Ambavane | MA fine art: drawing
    Study abroad on our degree programmes

    Study alongside locaal degree-seeking students for 1, 2, or 3 terms and immerse yourself into UK student life.

  • Work by Claudia Gusella | BA Fashion Design Womenswear
    LCF Semester Study Abroad programmes

    Bespoke 14 week LCF semester programmes designed especially for incoming study abroad students.

  • Textile Design by Emma Rubin, Summer 2019. Image credit: Adam Razvi
    Summer Study Abroad

    Study from 3 to 8 weeks on one of our summer programmes.

  • Optional study abroad modules page.
    Image credit: Ana Escobar
    Optional Study Abroad modules

    Add on the Creative Industries London 3 week optional module. Fits with J-Term and Maymester.