skip to main content

Visas and immigration

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.

Do I need a visa?

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

What type of visa should I apply for?

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

* Short-term study visa for students on courses of 6 months or less

* Tier 4 (General) student visa for students on courses that are longer than 6 months and/or students who wish to work while in the UK

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.

Arrival at the UK Border

If you are a Study Abroad student from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the United States of America coming for short term study (less than 6 months) you must not use automated eGates on arrival into the UK. The automated eGates do not provide you with the appropriate entry clearance that will allow you to enrol as a Study Abroad student.  You must see a Border Officer to obtain a Short Term Study visa stamp which you will need to enrol as a Study Abroad student.

You can download an Exceptions Request Form (PDF 145KB) to either print and carry with you or save on to your mobile device, confirming that you need to see a border official.

Image of passport e-gates with a red cross, image of UK border agent and passport control with a green tick

Short-term study visas

For students studying 1-2 Terms, for 1 semester and on the Summer Study Abroad programme usually enter the UK on a short-term study visa.

The majority of students on the Study Abroad programme choose to use the Short-term study route as it is easier and cheaper to apply for.

Some students may not need to apply for a Short-term study 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 leave.

Non-visa nationals

These include nationals of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Canada and the USA.

You can obtain a Short-term study visa stamp upon entry to the UK. To receive the Short-term study visa upon entry at the UK border, you will need to carry a Short-term study visa letter in your hand luggage alongside your passport. The Short-term study visa letter will only be issued to you by the Study Abroad Office after you have confirmed your place on the academic programme to which you have applied. Please see the terms of your offer for further details.

It is important to tell the Border Force Officer that you have arrived for a study abroad with the University of the Arts London and want to enter the UK as a Short-term student visitor and that you require the Short-Term student stamp in your passport. This stamp indicates that you are here as a Short-term student.

The Short-Term student stamp is for single entry and becomes invalid when you leave the UK.  You will need to obtain a new Short-Term student stamp from Border Force each time you re-enter the UK during your course.

You can apply for your Short-term study 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 notify 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.

Visa nationals

These include nationals of Russia, China and India.

You will need to apply for a Short-term study visa prior to travelling to the UK.

When you apply online, select 'Short-term student visa' to start this application. When selecting the length of planned stay in the UK, please ensure that you select 6 months.

The Short-term study visa (11 months) 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 Short term study 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-Student or Short-term student. Please check you have been given the correct type of visa and that it has been issued for the correct length of time.

Short-term study visa example

Example of a short-term visa

Tier 4 (General) - Student Visa

You will need to apply online for a Tier 4 (General) student visa before you travel to the UK. You cannot apply more than 90 days before the start date of your Study Abroad course and you must have received an unconditional offer for your course.

Before you apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa, we strongly encourage you to read the visa application guides for Tier 4 applications made from outside the UK. This guide was prepared by the UAL International Office.

You will also need to submit the following original documents for your application:

  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number. We will send you a CAS statement once you return your Offer Acceptance Form. This statement will include UAL’s Sponsor Licence number and your CAS number. You should not send the CAS statement with your Visa application, but you will be required to enter this number onto the visa application.
  • A valid passport
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Financial documents - you will need to submit original bank or building society statements showing that you have enough money to cover your tuition fees and a specific amount of money to cover living expenses for the duration of your course. The statement must show that it has been in your account for at least 28 consecutive days. These funds must be in your personal bank account unless you are receiving ‘official sponsorship’.
  • Qualifications - you must submit original documents listed in the ‘Evidence used to obtain offer’ section of your CAS statement. Please note that you are not required to submit your portfolio, even if your CAS statement mentions one.
  • Official translations - if any of these documents are not in English, you will need to provide an official, translated copy which must include the documents' translation date(s) and the translator's name, signature and contact details.
  • Financial sponsor's consent letter - if you are receiving “official sponsorship” (i.e. your costs are being covered by your home university or a 3rd party provider), you must provide an original, stamped letter from your sponsor on their headed paper stating your name, date of birth, the value of the sponsorship they are providing and the length of time for which the sponsorship is valid.
  • TB test result - you will need to provide a TB (Tuberculosis) test result if you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months and are resident in any of these listed countries.

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 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.