Some students will need a visa to come and study in the UK. To know if you need a visa and which type, please first check which category your country is in:

  • EEA - includes European Union countries and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. For these students, there are no visa requirements and students have the right to work. Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market. This means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.
  • Non-Visa Nationals - includes countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Israel.  These students can either get a visa on arrival in the UK (in the form of a stamp in their passport) or before they come. This depends on the type of visa they require (see below).
  • Visa Nationals - includes countries such as Turkey, Colombia, Ecuador, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, China, Thailand, and most Middle Eastern countries.  These students must apply for a visa before they come.

To check if you will need to apply for your visa before you come to the UK, check on the government website here.

Student Visas

Who Needs a Visa?

If you are studying for 6 Months or Less

Many students can study in the UK for up to six months without a visa and some nationalities need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa.

• Non-visa national students do not need a visa to study in the UK for up for six months.
• Students from the Gulf Cooperation Council should apply for an Electronic Visa Waiver.
• All other nationalities should apply for a Visitor Visa before travelling. Students can study for up to six months and are able to change courses / institutions within this six-month period.
• Please note that ID cards are no longer accepted For EEA and Swiss nationals and you must travel with your passport.
• A Standard Visitor visa costs £100 for up to 6 months. You can apply from 3 months before you travel.

Useful information:

• Some students will be able to use the electronic passport gates. Please see the UK government website here to check if you are able to use the eGates.
• If you are unable to use the eGate then the Border Officer will stamp your passport with a Visitor Visa stamp. They might ask to see your school enrolment letter, so please have this with you.

If you are studying for 6-11 Months

If you are studying for over 6 months, then you will need to apply for a visa before travelling.
• You will need to apply for a Short-Term Study Visa.
• You can apply for a Short-term study visa up to three months before you travel.
• All applications must be made and granted before leaving your country. You will then need to collect this visa, in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit, within 30 days of your arrival in the UK at your designated post office. UK Visas and Immigration will issue you with a letter providing you with information about where to collect this
• Students can stay in the UK for the length of your course plus an extra 30 days if your stay is no longer than 11 months.
• The Short-Term Study visa is £200, plus the healthcare surcharge as part of the online application which is £470.

If you are under 18 and applying for the Short-Term Study Visa, on arrival you will have to be able to show you have your parents' consent to your travel and all arrangements.

Advice on Visa Applications and Immigration Queries

UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) is a registered organisation that gives international students free advice on immigration, working in the UK, Higher Education and other topics that you may find helpful.

You can call the UKCISA advice line on:

  • Outside the UK: +44 20 7788 9214
  • Inside the UK: 020 7788 9214

The UKCISA website is:

The school cannot help you with your visa application. If you would like someone to help you personally with visa application queries, we would advise that you contact one of the registered immigration advisory companies in Bristol.

Schengen Visas

If you are thinking of visiting other countries in Europe during your stay here, you may need a Schengen Visa to do so.  Nationals of the member countries of the European Union do not have to obtain a Schengen Visa but all other nationals should check with the Embassy of the country to which they want to travel whether a Schengen Visa is required.

A list of contact details for all foreign embassies in the UK can be found here.

You should be able to find all the information required to make an application on the embassy websites.  You will normally need to make an appointment at the relevant embassy in London, to which you will need to take your application form and all the relevant documents.  It is important for you to think ahead about any possible trips, as the appointments are often booked up for many weeks.

Please click here for some information about Schengen visas from UKCISA.

Immigration Health Surcharge

The UK government has introduced an immigration health surcharge. The health surcharge will be paid by non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who apply to come to the UK to work, study or join a family for a period of more than 6 months. If you are coming to the UK to study for more than 6 months, you may have to pay this fee. Those who pay the surcharge will be able to access the National Health Service (NHS) in the same way as a permanent UK resident. For more information about this charge, please click here.