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. The Home Office have introduced a new Hong Kong BN(O) visa scheme, 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. 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, 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.

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 and then apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

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 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. SU Advice have created an EU Settlement Scheme factsheet to address some of the frequently asked questions students are asking about the scheme. We understand the application is fairly straightforward and the trusted organisations below provide extensive guidance online that we hope will give you all the information you require.

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.

Please also read our Brexit advice and support for Essex students for guidance about other changes that may affect students and institutions when the transition period ends.

New 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 to study for more 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.

We are working hard to update our immigration pages as soon as possible. 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.