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 with pre-settled/settled status. Do I need a visa?

If you have successfully applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, you will not need to apply for a visa to study at LSE.

We understand that if your EU Settlement Scheme application is still in progress you will be able to study with us whilst a decision is being made.

Any EU/EEA/Swiss students who did submit an application to/were not eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme will need to obtain a Student visa to join LSE for studies.

All students who do not have immigration permission which permits them to study in the UK,  must apply for and obtain  the correct visa in advance of enrolling for their programme:

  • Full-time degree programme and General Course students - you should apply for a Student 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 (tourist) Visa

You will be able to study up to six months on a Standard Visitor visa. If you come to the UK with permission as a visitor, you cannot:

  • study a programme of more than six months on consecutive visas e.g. a full time degree programme
  • apply to switch to a different visa category in the UK e.g the Graduate Route;
  • work including unpaid internships

Can I come to the UK on a tourist visa and enrol for my full-time degree programme? 

Case One: Student travels as a tourist to the UK and plans to apply for their Student visa in the UK.

It is not possible to travel to the UK on a tourist visa (officially known as a Standard Visitor visa) and apply for your Student visa in the UK.  If you apply for your Student visa from a Standard Visitor visa, you will not be able to enrol for your programme and you will be refused your visa. You would also need to return to a country where you are permitted to apply and  complete the process, then return to the UK when your Student visa is valid.  You risk not being able to join LSE if you have to do this, so it would be best to wait in your home country to complete the process than risk travelling.

Case Two: Student has a Student visa application in progress in their home/digital application made overseas.  They travel to the UK as a tourist to start their studies and plan to complete their Student application at a later date.

If you need a visa to study your degree programme at LSE and you do not have a Student visa already, you must apply for and obtain this before travelling to join your programme.

If you arrive in the UK on a tourist visa, you will not be able to enrol for your degree or attend any teaching until you have a Student visa in place.  You would also need to return to your country of application to complete the process and only return to the UK when your Student visa is valid.  You risk not being able to join LSE if you have to do this, so it would be best to wait in your home country to complete the process than risk travelling.

The only time you will be able to use a Standard Visitor visa to study up to a maximum of six months but only in certain conditions.

  • You will be able to use a Standard Visitor visa to attend retake assessments or attend your viva.
  • You can use a Standard Visitor visa for a short-term exchange e.g. CEMS, SSE CIVICA Exchange
  • You can use a Standard Visitor visa for the Summer School unless you are attending to meet the conditions of your offer when you should seek advice on applying for a Student visa.

You should note that:

  • You cannot work on a Standard Visitor visa - this includes unpaid internships
  • You cannot use consecutive Standard Visitor visas to study a full time degree programme of more than six months
  • You cannot switch from a Standard Visitor visa into other immigration routes in the UK e.g. Student Route, Skilled Worker Route,Graduate Worker Route

Skilled Worker Routes

You can study in the UK on a Skilled Worker 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 student visa, even if you have time left on your Tier 2/Skilled Worker visa. Contact us for advice on when and where you may be able to apply.

Graduate Route

 You cannot use the Graduate Route to study a degree programme where a student can be sponsored under the Student Route. You cannot also enrol for a programme if you are awaiting the response to a Student visa application having applied whilst holding a Graduate Route visa.  You can only start your studies when the Student visa is issued.

You will be unable to enrol for either a full-time or part-time degree programme at LSE or any exchange where a CAS can be issued on a Graduate Route visa.

The Graduate Route is a one time only opportunity and you cannot split the time.  Therefore, if you have been granted a Graduate Route visa and then wish to study at LSE, you will need to apply for a Student visa to enrol and will have lost your only time to benefit from the Graduate Route. You will also be unable to enrol if you have a Graduate Route visa and are awaiting the outcome of a Student visa application.

You should also note that there is a minimum time period that you must meet to be eligible for the Graduate Route.  If you are planning to study on a non-Student visa e.g. a PBS dependent, but want to apply for the Graduate Route you should seek advice from us.

High Potential Individual Visa

You cannot use the High Potential Individual Visa to study a degree programme where a student can be sponsored under the Student Route.You cannot also enrol for a programme if you are awaiting the response to a Student visa application having applied whilst holding a HPI visa.  You can only start your studies when the Student visa is issued.

You will be unable to enrol for either a full-time or part-time degree programme at LSE or any exchange where a CAS can be issued on a High Potential Individual visa.

The High Potential Individual visa is a one time only opportunity and you cannot split the time.  Therefore, if you have been granted this visa and then wish to study at LSE, you will need to apply for a Student visa to enrol and will have lost your only time to benefit from the High Potential Individual. We are unsure at this point in time if having been granted this visa will exclude you from the Graduate Route, but we do know that if you have been granted the Graduate Route you cannot apply for this visa.

If you had hoped to study at LSE on a High Potential Individual visa, please contact us for advice.  

British National Overseas Visa

You will be able to enrol for your programme on the British National Overseas visa.

Youth Mobility

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

If your visa does not cover the length of the programme, you will need to plan to obtain alternative immigraton permission to complete your studies. You will now be able to apply for the Student Route from inside the UK from a Youth Mobility visa.

 

Government Authorised Exchange

You can study in the UK under the Government Authorised Exchange route 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 enrol 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 student visa, even if you have time left on your visa. Contact us for advice on when and where you may be able to apply. 

You will now be able to apply for the Student Route from inside the UK from a Government Authorised Exchange visa.

Points Based System (PBS) Dependant Visa

If you are in the UK as a dependant of someone with a points based visa e.g. Student/Skilled Worker, you can study.

If your visa expires and you cannot extend your stay as a dependant, you will need to apply for a Student visa. You will now be able to apply for the Student Route from inside the UK from a Dependant visa.

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). Some nationalities may need to apply in advance.

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

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. Some nationalities are exempted, so please check Appendix ATAS if you are unsure.