Do I need a Visa?

 

Whether you need a visa to study in the UK depends on your circumstances and what type of visa you already hold, if any

 

I am an EU/EEA/Swiss national. Do I need a visa?

Until the UK leaves the European Union on the 31 January 2020,  unless a deal is agreed before this, EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will retain the right to free movement to the UK.  It is expected that the UK will leave on the basis of a deal and as such will move into a transition period.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs have produced detailed guidance for students:

Brexit: what does it mean for students and their family?

Brexit - EU Settlement Scheme

LSE also has it's own information for EU/EEA students, which we update regulalry:

EU/EEA nationals

I don't have a visa for the UK

If you are not an EU/EEA/Swiss national and do not have immigration permission which permits you to study in the UK, you must apply for the correct visa to be able to register for your programme:

  • Full-time degree programme and General Course students - you should apply for a Tier 4 visa unless you are eligible for one of the routes listed below.
  • Executive Masters and Part-Time students please read the specific guidance for more information.
  • Summer School and Executive Education - please read the specific guidance for more information.
  • Language Centre students - please read the specific guidance for more information
  • Short-term Exchange students - please read the specific guidance for more information

I already hold a UK visa

Select the visa type below for more information about your visa and whether it allows study whilst in the UK.

Standard Visitor (up to six months)

If you come to the UK with permission as a visitor, you cannot:

  • apply to switch to a student category in the UK;
  • study a full-time degree course, executive or part-time Masters programme or take a re-sit examination;
  • undertake more than 30 days incidental study per visit - incidental means that study cannot be your main reason for visiting the UK

UKVI have produced a guide to the visitor visa routes which explains permitted study.

Standard Visitor (2, 5 or 10 years)

If you come to the UK with permission as a visitor, you cannot:

  • apply to switch to a student category in the UK;
  • study a full-time degree course (including the Executive Masters in International Strategy and Diplomacy);
  • re-take your dissertation using this visa.

You are now permitted to use a long-term visitor visa to study for a maximum of 30 days, even if study is the main purpose for being in the UK. However, the main intention of your visa must be for permitted activities and if it is felt by the UKVI  that you have applied for a long-term visa solely for study purposes, it may be cancelled.

UKVI have produced a guide to the visitor visa routes which explains permitted study.

Tier 1 Routes

You can study while in the UK under any of the Tier 1 categories. However, if your visa does not cover the full length of your programme, you will need to ensure that you can either extend your visa or  apply for an alternative immigration route to be able to complete your programme.

If you need to apply for Tier 4, it is not possible to switch  in the UK from most Tier 1 categories. Seek advice from us before applying for your visa.

Tier 2 Routes

You can study in the UK on a Tier 2 visa  as long as you continue to work for your employer. It is advisable to check that your employer is happy for you to study while working for them. 

If you stop working for your employer in order to study, you need to apply for a Tier 4 visa, even if you have time left on your Tier 2 visa. Contact us for advice on when and where you may be able to apply.

Tier 5 Youth Mobility

The main intention of the Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa is to work in the UK.  However, it is possible to study on this visa.

Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange)

You can study in the UK under Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) as long as you continue to work for your employer. It is advisable to check that your employer is happy for you to study while working for them. You will be required to provide evidence of this if you intend to register for a programme on this visa e.g. a letter of consent.

If you stop working for your employer in order to study, you need to apply for a Tier 4 visa, even if you have time left on your Tier 5 visa. Contact us for advice on when and where you may be able to apply.

Points Based System (PBS) Dependant Visa

If you are in the UK as a dependant of someone with a points based visa e.g. Tier 4, you can study.

If your visa expires and you cannot extend your stay as a dependant, you will need to apply as a Tier 4 student. You cannot do this inside the UK, you need to return to your home country and apply from there. 

You will be required to sign a declaration confirming that your dependant is in the UK.

Diplomat

If you are currently posted to the UK as a diplomat, you are exempt from immigration control, therefore you can study in the UK.

If you are working as a diplomat outside the UK, you can enter the UK using your diplomatic passport but this does not permit you to study in the UK.  You will be classified as a Standard Visitor (see above).

You will need to obtain immigration permission to study.  The kind of permission you will need depends on the programme that you are studying at LSE.  

If your spouse or your parent is currently in the UK as a diplomat and you are in the UK as their dependant, you are also exempt from immigration control and can study in the UK as long as your family member remains in the UK during your studies.

ATAS Clearance

All international students who require a visa and plan to study a programme that requires ATAS clearance, must obtain an ATAS certificate regardless of which visa they have.  At the LSE, very few students require ATAS and this is at Postgraduate Research level.  You will be informed if your course requires ATAS clearance as part of your offer.

Dual Nationals

If you hold dual nationality for a country, which does not require a visa to study in the UK e.g. an EU country, please inform the relevant admissions team.  If you do not need a visa to study in the UK, we may not issue you with a CAS number to apply for Tier 4.

If you hold dual-nationality and plan to study on an EU passport, please read the advice on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance on the EU/EEA Nationals section of the Visa Advice pages.  You are not automatically entitled to access the NHS, so must obtain health insurance from your country before travelling.

Info Sheet for Dual Nationals

  

 

 

 

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