A visa (sometimes referred to as ‘Entry Clearance’) gives you permission to enter the UK.
Before you travel to the UK check whether you need to apply for a visa
Advice for EU / EEA / Swiss nationals
If you hold an EU / EEA / Swiss passport or national identity card showing your EU / EEA / Swiss nationality, you do not need immigration permission to study in the UK.
You can travel to the UK using your passport or ID card and there is no immigration restriction on studying.
View a list of EU and EEA countries.
Advice for non-EU / EEA / Swiss nationals
If you are a national of a non-EU / EEA country, or Switzerland, you must seek immigration permission to come to the UK.
My programme is more than six months long
If you are coming to the UK for the main purpose of studying a programme which is more than six months in length, you should apply for a Tier 4 visa in your home country before travelling.
My programme is less than six months long
If you are coming to the UK for a programme that is less than six months in length, and you do not wish to work (including work placements as part of your programme) or extend your studies in the UK, you can apply to come to the UK as a short term student.
My programme is an English language course
If you are studying an English language course of up to 11 months in length, you can come to the UK as a short term student. However, you will not be able to extend your visa in the UK, and if you wish to undertake further study in the UK, you will have to return to your home country to get a new visa.
Nationals of some countries can travel to the UK for up to six months without needing to apply for a visa before travelling. These are called 'non-visa nationals'.
If you are a non-visa national, you can ask for permission to be admitted to the UK when you arrive at immigration control.
You will get a stamp in your passport that will allow you to stay in the UK as a short term student for up to six months.
Travelling via the Republic of Ireland
If you have not obtained a visa before you travel, you must enter the UK through a UK port of entry. To avoid any difficulties with immigration control, it's our advice that you arrive directly to / in the UK.
If you do not meet UK immigration control on arrival, you will not be permitted to study in the UK.