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.
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.
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 If your visa is in an out-of-date passport you will need to apply for a BRP.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.
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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.