Anyone who is planning to study in England is required to have a visa in order to stay   in the country for an extended period of time. Immigration requirements for England (and the United Kingdom as a whole) are determined by your nationality and the country(ies) that you have citizenship in. This part of the guide will focus on giving you a general idea of the guidelines for getting a visa for study in England.

European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss Citizens:

If you are considered a citizen or a national of one of the following countries, this first section apply to you:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

If you have a passport from one of these countries, then you do not need a visa in order to study in England (or anywhere in the United Kingdom). This also includes those who have dual nationalities (two or more) who use an EEA/EU/Swiss Passport in order to get into the country. You can get a visa if you would like, but it is not required. If you would like more information about studying in England as an EEA, EU, or Swiss National, check out the UK Council for International Student Affairs FAQ page for EEA, EU, and Swiss national students.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals

If you are looking to come to England to study abroad, you will need a visa. There are two categories of nationalities that the UK Border Control has, and you will have to determine which you fall under before you can know how to apply. Your visa application will also be based on what you’re studying and how long you plan to stay in England.

Visa Nationals:

Visa nationals are those who are citizens of the countries that are included in this list (which can also be found on the UKBA website).

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia Herzegovina
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burma
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • People’s Republic of China (unless they hold a passport issued by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or Macao Special Administrative Region)
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Cuba
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ivory Coast
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Korea (North)
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palestinian Territories
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Republic of South Sudan
  • Republic of Sudan
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome e Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Surinam
  • Swaziland
  • Syria
  • Taiwan (unless they hold a Taiwan passport which includes the number of the identification card issued by the competent authority in Taiwan)
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela (unless they hold a Venezuelan passport which contains biometric information held in an electronic chip)
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • The territories formerly comprising the socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

If the country you are a citizen of is on this list, here is what you have to do in order to study in England.

  • You have to obtain your visa prior to arriving in England.
  • If you plan to be in the country for 6 months or more or you want to work in England (either as an unpaid internship or in order to make a living), you must obtain what is called a Tier 4 (general) student visa.
  • If you are not working and you are staying for less than 6 months, then you may get either a student visitor visa or a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

Non-visa Nationals:

If your country of citizenship is not on either one of the above lists (visa national or EU/EEA/Swiss), then you are considered a non-visa national. Here is what you must do in order to study in England.

  • You have to obtain your visa prior to arriving in England.
  • If you plan to be in the country for 6 months or more, or you want to work in England (either as an unpaid internship or in order to make a living), you must obtain what is called a Tier 4 (general) student visa.
  • If you are in the country for less than 6 months, and are not working, then you can apply for entry to the UK as a student visitor.


Applying to be a student overseas can be a lot of work, but the agency at your college or university (or the one you are attending in England) can assist you with everything that you may need. If you want to check and make sure if you need a visa, check out the UK Border Agency’s webpage. All the information that you will need can be found there, and they even have a web application that will allow you to see whether or not you need a visa.

Useful information for the UK residents applying for a Schengen Visa from the UK

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