Students Staff

Immigration overview

Applying for a visa to study in the UK

If you are a citizen of a country that is not part of the European Economic Area or Switzerland it is likely that you will require a visa to enter or remain in the UK to study.

The type of visa you need to apply for will depend on your circumstances including, what passport or travel document you hold, the length of your proposed study and where you are applying from. The UK Visas and Immigration website will tell you if you need a visa to study in the UK and if so what type to apply for.

British Nationality

Some British nationals require a visa to study in the UK, even though they may be entitled to apply for British citizenship and/or pay home fees. Check the Home Office website for more information and make sure you obtain the correct immigration permission to study your course with us.

EU, non-EU EEA and Swiss nationals

Until the UK leaves the EU on the 29/3/2019 - citizens of the EU, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland have the right to free movement and residence in the UK.

From the 30/3/2019 until 31/12/2020 - European, non-EEA and Swiss nationals will still be able to come to the UK without applying for permission to enter before you come. However, what you will need to apply for once you are in the UK will depend on whether the UK leaves the EU having agreed the Withdrawal Agreement or not and how long you want to stay. Once negotiations are concluded we will provide further guidance for European nationals wishing to study at our University post Brexit.

I have a permanent residence document from the UK government, do I need to do anything?

You’ll need to apply to continue living in the UK by either applying to the EU Settlement Scheme or for British citizenship, if you’re eligible.

I have dual nationality, do I need a visa?

If you have dual nationality with a country that is outside the EU, you can use your EU/EEA or Swiss passport to enter the UK.

Irish Nationals

Irish citizens will continue to have the right to live in the UK, this will not change after the UK has left the EU and you will not need to apply to the settlement scheme.

Current students - EU Settlement Scheme

If you enter the UK to live and study by 11pm on 29 March 2019 you will be able to apply to remain in the UK under the EU settlement scheme. Please see our EU Settlement Scheme page for more information.

Current European students who are planning to travel outside the UK and return on or after 29 March 2019 are advised to carry a Certificate of Registration in your hand luggage or; be ready to show evidence of your settled or pre-settled status if you’ve already obtained it via the EU Settlement Scheme.

Further guidance for EEA & Swiss students and their family

Read the guidance from UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) about living and working in the UK as a European student.

Immigration web pages and advice

Please note the Home Office change immigration rules and requirements regularly. Whilst we aim to ensure that the information contained in these pages is kept up to date there may be times when this is not the case. Please do not rely on these pages alone.

  • Check the Home Office for all the latest immigration updates and information.

Where can I get further advice?

International student support is integrated at the University of Essex and so various departments and services at the University provide documents, advice and guidance to our students and applicants. We recommend you start by reading the information and guidance contained in these pages. If you can’t find what you are looking for or need further advice you can contact the relevant service.

Immigration advice and services are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)
and we as an institution have to abide by the Commissioner's Code of Standards. The OISC has the power to investigate complaints made about immigration advice and services provided by an institution. We can only provide advice to University of Essex applicants and students. We are only able to provide advice to University of Essex applicants and current students.