Check if you need a Student visa
UK visa requirements and immigration criteria are managed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
All prospective international students coming to study in the UK for a course lasting more than 6 months, including those from the EU, EEA (except Ireland) and Switzerland who have not secured other immigration status on or after 1 January 2021, need to secure a Student visa before they arrive. This includes those who begin their course remotely in autumn 2020. Applications can be made online at GOV.UK and students can apply up to six months before their course starts.
Students intending to come to the UK to study a course lasting less than 6 months may be eligible for a Standard Visitor visa. This also includes EEA (except Ireland) and Swiss nationals (unless they have secured alternative immigration permission).
You can find out if you need a visa to study in the UK on the UKVI website.
Types of UK student visas
If you are 16 or over and want to study at degree level or above for a course which is longer than 6 months, you will need to apply for a Student visa (previously Tier 4 visa).
You may be eligible for a Standard Visitor visa if you are:
- studying a short course (less than six months)
- studying a distance-learning course
- studying as a visiting student for less than six months
- need to re-sit an exam or attend a viva
You may be eligible for a Short-term study visa if you are studying:
- an English language course lasting longer than 6 months and up to 11 months.
UKCISA has published useful information about the Standard Visitor visa.
Other visitor visa categories
UKVI provides information on other visitor categories. It is your responsibility to get the correct visa type to study in the UK.
Application processing times may be lengthy. You should always apply for a visa in plenty of time.
Full-time Student visa
If you are studying for a full-time degree you will most likely need a Student visa, previously called Tier 4 (General) visa.
If you have a Student visa (or a Tier 4 visa), it is important to understand the restrictions of your visa and your responsibilities. It is also important to understand what the University must do as your sponsor. This includes why the University may contact you.
Read our guide on important information for your student visa.
If you do not keep to the conditions of your visa, you may need to stop studying.
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss student and have secured an e-visa, you must keep your personal details up to date and inform the Home Office if your travel document changes, using the View and Prove service.
Part-time Student visa
Students studying part-time for a postgraduate master's degree or doctoral programme may be eligible to apply for a part-time Student visa. This may be useful if you are working overseas and want to study for a part-time degree in the UK. It may also be useful if you need to repeat a year or semester of study on a part-time basis.
To be eligible, your studies must be longer than six months and not distance learning. A full-time student can switch to a part-time visa in the UK (and vice versa). You must still meet all the UKVI requirements (including academic progression, for example, applying for a higher level course). You will need to get your student part-time visa before switching to part-time study.
- no work permitted (including placements)
- you cannot bring dependants with you
- you must meet all visa requirements, including financial and English language requirements
- you must apply for ATAS clearance if required
- you must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge for the full length of your course when you make your visa application
- the University is still required to track your engagement with your studies and report significant changes to UKVI. Academic engagement contact points will be tailored to your course for part-time study
Apply for a Student visa
Find out our step by step guide on how to apply for a student visa.
Arriving at the UK border
International students from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America, as well as nationals from Switzerland, EU and EEA countries coming to study for longer than 6 months on a student visa and travelling on a biometric passport can use the eGates.
eGates are an automated self-service option that eligible travellers can use at passport control at 15 UK airports and Eurostar rail terminals. They are a quicker way to cross the border. The eGates use facial recognition technology to check your identity against the photo in your passport.
Standard Visitor visa
The Standard Visitor visa allows you to come to the UK if you are aged at least 16 for a maximum period of 6 months to:
- study a short course
- attend a short period of intensive teaching as part of a longer programme
- re-sit an exam or module
- undertake a viva (postgraduate student)
- complete a study-abroad programme in the UK as part of an overseas course (programme is less than 6 months in length)
- research in the UK where you are studying abroad for a Bachelor's, Master's or doctorate degree which is relevant to your research visit
To be eligible for the Standard Visitor visa, you must show that:
- you have proof of the purpose of your visit (your offer letter from the University of Bath may serve as evidence)
- you will leave the UK at the end of your visit (e.g. return flight tickets / evidence that you are expected return to your home country)
- you have secured accommodation for the duration of your visit (e.g. accommodation contract, or evidence of temporary accommodation where you will stay while you look for somewhere to live)
- you are able to support yourself and your dependants during your trip and have enough funds to cover your return journey (e.g. bank statements, a scholarship letter, educational loan documents)
- you have a valid ATAS certificate (where applicable)
- you will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home
The Student Immigration Service will also issue incoming students who hold an unconditional offer with a Standard Visitor visa letter. If you are a current student and require a Standard Visitor visa, you will receive a letter to support your application once your department has informed the Student Immigration Service of your study / visit dates. This letter will be sent to your University of Bath email address, and you will need to print it out and use it for your visa application.
Additionally, if you are coming to undertake research or to be taught about research (including as part of a Study Abroad exchange), you will need to prove that:
- you are enrolled on a course of study abroad equivalent to at least degree level study in the UK and
- you are coming to take part in research that is relevant to the course you are studying overseas
Apply for a Standard Visitor visa to study at Bath
If your nationality is listed in Appendix 2 of the Immigration Rules, you must apply for your visa before you travel. If your nationality is not listed in Appendix 2, you have the option of applying before you travel or applying when you arrive at the UK border.
Most students will need to apply online before coming to the UK, and attend a visa application centre to provide biometrics and supporting documents, including the Standard Visitor visa letter which the Student Immigration Service will have provided them with. You should aim to apply for your visa around 2-3 months before you intend to travel.
If you are able to apply when you arrive in the UK, you must travel with all the supporting documents listed above.
EEA and Swiss nationals, as well as travellers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America coming on a Standard Visitor visa are able to use the eGates. As you will not receive a stamp on your passport, it is very important that you retain evidence of when you entered the UK. We recommend that you keep your boarding pass or evidence of your flight itinerary.
Long-term Standard Visitor visa
If your period of study is longer than six months, you will not meet the requirements of the Standard Visitor route.
However, the Long-term Standard Visitor visa may be appropriate if you are studying a distance learning or part-time programme and you wish to come to the UK for short periods of study activities, such as summer or winter schools, induction weeks, sitting exams, meeting with a supervisor, etc.
The Long-term Standard Visitor visa allows multiple visits of up to 6 months at a time over a period of:
- 2 years
- 5 years
- 10 years
You must meet all the Visitor rules in order to apply for the Long-term Standard Visitor visa.
Prohibited and permitted activities under the Standard Visitor visa
If you hold a Standard Visitor visa, you are allowed to:
- visit friends and family
- engage in tourist activities
- undertake a recreational study for up to 30 days
- undertake volunteering provided it is for a registered charity and is for no longer than 30 days
- attend conferences or seminars
If you come to the UK under a Standard Visitor visa for the purpose of studying, you are not allowed to work in the UK, including:
- taking employment in the UK
- doing work for an organisation or business in the UK
- establishing or running a business as a self-employed person
- doing a work placement or internship
- direct selling to the public
- providing goods and services
You are also not allowed to:
- access medical treatment, other than private medical treatment or to donate an organ
- get married or form a civil partnership, or give notice of intention to marry or form a civil partnership
- receive payment from a UK source for any activities undertaken in the UK, except for reasonable expenses to cover the cost of travel and subsistence
If you would like further advice on whether you qualify to come to the UK as a Standard Visitor for your studies, please contact the Student Immigration Service.
Short-term study visa
The Short-term study visa is available for students wishing to come to the UK to study English language courses lasting longer than 6 months and up to 11 months.
Applying for the Short-term study visa
Applications can only be made from outside the UK. You must meet the following requirements when making your visa application:
- pay for your tuition fees and the Immigration Health Charge
- provide any required biometrics
- provide a valid passport or other valid travel document
- be aged 16 or over on the date of your application
- provide a TB certificate (courses longer than 6 months) if you are from a country where this is re requirement
- provide your offer letter evidencing you have been accepted onto an English language course (that does not include any other subject) that lasts no longer than 11 months
- provide financial evidence that you are able to support yourself (living and accommodation costs) when in the UK (e.g. bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months)
- provide financial evidence that you are able to cover your return journey
- provide details of where you intend to stay and your travel plans - you should not pay for accommodation or travel until you get your visa
Requirements under the Short-term study visa
Under the Short-term study visa, you are subject to the following conditions:
- you must intend to leave the UK within 30 days of the end of your English language course, or at the end of 11 months, whichever is sooner
- you do have no access to public funds or the State Pension
- you are not eligible to work or carry out any business (this includes paid or unpaid work, work experience or work placements)
- you cannot extend this visa
- you cannot bring family members (dependants) with you on this visa
- you may study only on the course for which you were granted permission
- you cannot change your course while in the UK
When you arrive at the University
As a new student, you must have your passport and visa checked on entry to the UK. You can only upload a copy of your passport and visa and begin Registration Online (ROL) once this has been done.
During September arrivals, this is done in the wider passport check process. If you arrive after this time, you must present your documents to the Student Immigration Service in Wessex House 8.29, between 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00.
eGates nationals will also be required to provide evidence of their date of entry into the UK in the form of a boarding pass or flight confirmation.
As a current student, you must have your passport and visa checked on arrival by the Student Immigration Service in Wessex House 8.29, between 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00.
In-person passport check sessions (for new and current students) take place by appointment only. The Student Immigration Service will contact relevant students closer to the date of their arrival to the UK and invite them to book a slot for their checks.