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Who needs a visa?

Who needs a visa?
Not every international student needs a visa to study in the UK. Those who require permission will normally need a Tier 4 (General) Student visa, but there are some exceptions. Please note that British National (Overseas) passport holders must obtain a visa.

EU or EEA passport holders

If you hold an EU, EEA or Swiss passport you do not need to apply for a visa to study in the UK and you will not have anything stamped in your passport on arrival. EU rules enable you to exercise a right of residence as a student in the UK if you are registered on a course of study and if you have comprehensive sickness insurance. You must show your passport at new student check-in to prove your immigration status and also to any employer you want to work for while you are in the UK.   

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

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The UK's departure from the EU

As the process of the UK's departure from the European Union unfolds, the Royal College of Music will continue to provide updates for current and prospective EU students and those studying on the Erasmus scheme. We are pleased to confirm that EU students applying for entry in 2019 and 2020 will be eligible for home fee status and to apply for UK student loans and grants.

Latest news for EU students

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Non EU or EEA nationals

If you are not an EU or EEA national you will almost certainly need a visa to study in the UK. You can check whether or not you need a visa on the UK Government website. Most RCM students require a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

The only exceptions are students on programmes lasting less than six months (exchanges, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts London placement or the Boston and Princeton Experience Programmes). For these programmes we recommend a Short term study visa instead.

British nationals (overseas)

British nationals (overseas) passport holders require a visa to study in the UK.

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.

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.

Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain in the UK

Holders of Indefinite Leave to Enter/Remain have no restriction on studying in the UK. If you wish to work alongside your studies, your Indefinite Leave visa must be in your current passport or in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). If your visa is in an out-of-date passport you will need to apply for a BRP. 

PBS 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

Ancestry Visa

Nationals of Commonwealth countries whose parents or grandparents were born in the UK, 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 Tier 4 is normally more appropriate.