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. When you arrive in the UK you’ll need to attend one of our in-person registration/right to study checks where we will check your documents allow you to study with us. Read our registration pages for more information, you’ll find a link to our Identity and Right to Study Documents table, this will give you more information about the documents you’ll need to complete your registration.

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. The Home Office have introduced a new British National Overseas (BNO) visa, this visa allows study in the UK and can lead to settlement, you can find out more on its website.

Covid-19 has caused disruption to British Citizenship ceremonies, to register as a British Citizen you must have attended the ceremony. Read the .gov.uk website for more information about Citizenship ceremonies. 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, 23:00 on the 31 December 2020 (UK time). After you’ve arrived, you will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. If you plan to arrive in the UK from 1 January 2021, after the transition period ends, you will need to apply for entry clearance under the UK’s new Student Immigration Rules, unless you already have settlement. Irish citizens will continue to have the right to live in the UK, this has not change since the UK has left the EU and you do not need a visa to study with us.

If you were living in the UK before 31 December 2020 but didn’t apply for settlement via the EU Settlement Scheme by the 30 June 2021, you may still be able to apply if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. If you were absent from the UK for more than 12 months and didn’t apply or were refused previously it maybe worth reapplying since the Home Office introduced concessions allowing a longer gap if it was due to Covid-19. Please visit the .gov.uk website for more information and to apply.

I have applied for EU Settlement, but my application is still pending, what should I do?

We understand that your certificate of application should include information about what you can do whilst your application is pending. You should be allowed to study in the UK whilst your application is pending, we’ll need to see a copy of your certificate of application at your in-person right to study check. Please note that, you register and start your course at your own risk, if your application is refused you may need to apply for a Student visa overseas to continue your course and would need to request a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) from the University, we are unable to guarantee our sponsorship for a student visa.

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 and should have either applied 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. If you don’t have settlement in the UK, you are likely to need a Student visa to study with us.

Further guidance for EEA and Swiss students and their family

Immigration advice and guidance is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), our University and SU student immigration specialists are trained and authorised to provide immigration advice and guidance about the UK’s Student Immigration Rules. Unfortunately, this means we aren’t able to offer advice about other categories of the UK’s Immigration Rules, including settlement applications.

Government guidance about applying for EU Settlement can be found on their website. After you have read the information available from the above organisations, if you have a question you can’t find the answer to or need further clarification, you can contact a UKCISA adviser via their student advice line.

Student Immigration Rules

The UK’s Immigration Rules changed on Monday 5 October 2020 when the new Student route replaced Tier 4 (General). The Student route will also apply to EEA/Swiss nationals without settlement rights, who arrive in the UK after the end of 2020 study a course that is longer than 6 months. To apply under the Student rules, you will need a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) from the University. Please read the UKCISA website for information about the Student rules.

Students who applied before 5 October 2020 will have been issued with Tier 4 immigration permission, those that apply on or after 5 October 2020 will be issued with Student immigration permission.

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.