Who needs a visa?

Who needs a visa?
Most international students coming to study in the UK will require a visa, normally a Student visa.

You will need to apply in the Student visa route unless you:

  • hold a full UK passport (note this does not include British National (Overseas) passports)
  • hold an Irish passport
  • hold Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • hold Settled or Pre-Settled Status in the EU Settlement Scheme
  • already have a different type of visa that allows you to study for the full length of your course

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals

If you hold an EU, EEA or Swiss passport, or are a relevant family member of a national of these countries, and you established residence in the UK before the end of the Brexit transition period (before 11pm on 31 December 2020) you do not require a visa to live, study or work in the UK. You must hold Settled or Pre-Settled Status granted through the EU Settlement Scheme

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals without Settled or Pre-settled Status who come to the UK after 1 January 2021 require a Student visa. 

You can find further information on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.


Students on short programmes

If you are coming to study on a programme lasting less than six months then the Standard Visitor route is recommended.  This includes exchanges lasting one term, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts BMus/BEd London placement, and the Boston and Princeton Experience Programmes.  

See our Standard Visitor visa guidance for further details.

Other acceptable types of UK visa or residence permit

If you are already in the UK on a different type of immigration permission it may be possible for the RCM to register you as a student. Examples are given below (please note that this list is not exhaustive). It is not possible to study on the RCM’s courses on a Graduate Visa.

The RCM cannot provide detailed advice on applying for these other types of visa. If you plan on using one of these visas we strongly recommended that you seek advice from a qualified immigration advisor or lawyer who specialises in these immigration categories.

British Nationals (Overseas)

British nationals (overseas) passport holders require a visa to study in the UK, and may wish to consider a BN(O) Visa instead of the Student visa route. The BN(O) visa provides more flexible work rights and a route to future settlement. Further information is available on the UK Government website.

Dependant Visa

Dependants of someone who is already working or studying in the UK are permitted to study on this visa, so long as the visa of the person to whom the student is a dependant remains valid. Dependants are normally a partner or a child.

Find out more about Dependant Visas

Ancestry Visa

Nationals of Commonwealth countries whose grandparent(s) was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man and who can prove that they plan to work in the UK, are permitted to study on this visa. This is a work visa category and a Student visa is normally more appropriate.

Back to top