Students Staff

Immigration overview

Applying for a visa to study in the UK

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.

Find out if you need a visa to study in the UK and if so, what visa 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.

Covid-19 has caused disruption to British Citizenship ceremonies, to register as a British Citizen you must have attended the ceremony. The Home Office have told us that there are no plans for alternative arrangements at this time and ceremonies will be rescheduled as soon as it is possible. Applicants in this position should contact their Admissions adviser to discuss their options.

EU, non-EU EEA and Swiss nationals

Citizens of the EU, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland have the right to free movement and residence in the UK provided they arrive to live in the UK by the end of the transition period, the 31 December 2020. After arrival, you will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for settlement in the UK if you don’t already have it.

For those who plan to arrive in the UK on or after 1 January 2021, you will need to apply for entry clearance under the UK’s new immigration rules, unless you already have settlement.

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 to live without needing a visa provided you are arriving by 31 December 2020.

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.

Further guidance for EEA & Swiss students and their family

New “Student” Immigration Rules to apply from 5 October 2020

The UK’s Immigration Rules are changing for students and will apply from 9:00 (Bon Monday 5 October 2020, the new Student route will replace Tier 4 (General). The Student route will also apply to EEA/Swiss nationals who don’t have settlement rights and will arrive on or after 1 January 2021, to study for more than 6 months. To apply under the Student rules, you will still need a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) from the University. Please read the UKCISA information about the key changes between Tier 4 and the Student rules and the Statement of Changes published by the government on the 10 September 2020.

Non-EEA/Swiss nationals

If you have a valid University of Essex CAS and will be submitting your visa application online in the UK or overseas;

  • before 9:00 on the 5 October 2020 - you will be applying under the Tier 4 (General) rules and can find information and guidance within our immigration pages and by following relevant links.
  • from 9:00 on the 5 October 2020 - you will be applying under the Student rules and can find information and guidance on the government website and from UKCISA who are currently updating their website.

EEA/Swiss nationals

  • If you will arrive in the UK by 31 December 2020 - you will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for settled status by the deadline and should not need a visa. Please read the UKCISA guidance for EEA/Swiss nationals which includes information about the EU Settlement Scheme. You should contact UKCISA’s student advice line if you have any questions as our advisers aren’t able to offer advice about applications for settlement in the UK.
  • If you will arrive in the UK on or after 1 January 2021 and don’t have settlement rights – you will need to request a CAS and should be eligible to apply under the Student rules. You can find information and guidance on the government website and from UKCISA who are currently updating their website.

Our immigration pages will be updated as soon as possible after the 5 October 2020. Immigration advice and guidance is regulated, our staff need to be trained in the new rules once the government have published all the guidance in order to be competent to update our website and offer tailored advice. The introduction of the new rules co-insides with the start of the Autumn term so it may take a while for our advisers to be able to offer tailored advice and guidance and we may need to refer you to the UKCISA student advice line in the meantime.

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 are only able to provide advice to University of Essex applicants and current students.