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It is the responsibility of individuals to make sure that they meet the UK immigration regulations for international students. This should be done before making arrangements to travel to the UK.

European Economic Area Nationals

Nationals of a country in the European Economic Area can enter the UK freely by showing their passport or national identity card. A visa is not required. The EEA consists of: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Non-European Economic Area Nationals

To find out whether you need a student visa to enter the UK, you will need to apply to the British Embassy or High Commission in the country where you live. Information on visa status and application procedures is also available on the

Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. If you are told that you are a visa national i.e. that you do require a visa, you will have to complete an application form and provide evidence to demonstrate to the Entry Clearance Officer that you fulfil the following conditions:

  • That you have been accepted for a full-time course of study (usually regarded as a minimum of 15 hours organised daytime study per week of a single subject or closely related subjects). If your degree course is classed as full time you will not normally be required to show the number of hours.


  • That you can meet the cost of the fees, your maintenance and the maintenance of any dependants that you bring with you, without working in the UK or claiming to public funds.


  • That you intend to leave the UK at the end of your course.




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Visa nationals must not attempt to travel to the UK without a valid visa under any circumstances. Airlines and shipping companies will not allow you to travel without a visa if you are required to have one. Visa nationals entering the UK on a visitor/tourist visa will not be allowed to change to student status. It is important therefore that you apply for the correct type of visa. You should complete form IM2A and submit it to the British Embassy or HIgh Commission with the same attachments listed below for non-visa nationals.

If you are not a visa national it is possible (but not advisable) to come to the UK without entry clearance. However, If you apply for entry clearance before coming to the UK it will make your arrival faster and less problematic. In order to gain entry clearance you need to apply to the British Embassy or High Commission in your own country. You need to ask for form IM2A. You should then submit:

  • the passport

  • 2 recent passport-sized photographs

  • the fee (currently 33.00 payable in local currency and non-refundable).

    Detailed guidance about Immigration and other matters can be found on the UKCOSA website.

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