Immigration & VISA information for prospective students

If you are planning to study at UWS including nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, then you may need to apply for a visa before travelling to the UK.

The type of visa you require depends on the course of study that you have chosen:

  • International students undertaking a full-time course that is longer than 6 months generally need a Student visa
  • International students undertaking a period of study between 6-11 months can enter as a Short-term student which applies to English Language courses only (from 1 December 2020)
  • International students studying up to 6 months can apply for a Visitor visa (from 1 December 2020).

Applying from outside the UK

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course.

You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Applying from inside the UK

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before your course starts.

You must apply before your current visa expires. Your new course must begin within 28 days of your current visa expiring.

Useful links

If you are an EU student, please see our Immigration and Visa Guide for EU students.

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also provides easy-to-read information on eligibility and requirements for Student visas.

Please read our guide below on how to prepare for a successful student visa application. However, the information provided here by the University is just guidance. Immigration laws change frequently, so for the most up-to-date visa information, we recommend that you visit the UK Government website.

The UK Border Force has developed ten top tips to ensure you have everything you need for a smooth arrival into the United Kingdom.

Students within the UK

On 5 October 2020, the Tier 4 (general) student visa was replaced with the Student visa route. You can find comprehensive information on applying for a student visa from within the UK at the UKCISA website.

In addition, you can find details about applying for a Student visa from within the UK by downloading our step by step guide here.

(ATAS) Academic Technology Approval Scheme

International students undertaking certain courses of study may also need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate in addition to their Student visa in order to study in the UK.

The UK Government website provides comprehensive information about when an ATAS certificate is required along with application guidelines.

Bringing family to the UK while studying

Students are not entitled to bring dependants to the UK while studying unless they meet the following criteria:

  • You are studying for a course which is a PhD, other doctoral qualification or a research-based higher degree
  • You are financially sponsored by the UK or an Overseas Government

The UKCISA website provides comprehensive advice on bringing your dependents to live with you in the UK.

Asylum Seekers

It’s important that you understand how your asylum seeker status affects your financial situation before you accept an offer of study at UWS.

The UK Government website provides comprehensive guidance on this matter.

The UKCISA website has information on tuition fees and student support for asylum seekers. You can also find out more in our Tuition Fee Status section.

Financial advice

The international student calculator will help you work out how to manage your money and build a budget for living and studying in the UK.

Further advice on money management is available in Money, Fees & Funding.

Our team of International Student Advisers (ISAs) can help with specific financial queries from international students. However, it is important to note that we do not have funding to assist students in financial hardship, although we may refer students to other appropriate agencies.

The UKCISA website has further advice on dealing with financial hardship as an international student.

International Student Advisors