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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, but there are some exceptions.

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals arriving by 31 December 2020

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 study in the UK. You will need to register your residence in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 at the latest in order to continue to be able to live, work and study freely in the UK after this date. Applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme will be granted either Pre-Settled Status (if they have been in the UK for less than five years), or Settled Status (if they have lived here for 5 years or more), in the form of a digital status.

Further guidance on how to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme is available for current RCM students on Learn.rcm

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

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals arriving from 1 January 2021

If you hold an EU, EEA or Swiss passport and you arrive to study in the UK from 1 January 2021, you will need to apply for a Student Visa before you travel, unless one of the other categories below is applicable.

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The UK's departure from the EU

The UK’s immigration system has changed following Brexit. A new student visa route has been introduced and this has been opened for all international students, not just EEA nationals, on 5 October 2020. There are also changes with regard to fee status and access to funding support.

Read more here

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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, unless you already hold a visa in another category. You can check whether or not you need a visa on the UK Government website. Most RCM students require a Student visa. The Student visa category replaced the former Tier 4 (General) Student visa from 5 October 2020.

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 Standard Visitor visa instead.

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.

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 a Student visa is normally more appropriate.