Do I need a visa?

Most overseas students will need a visa to study in the UK, and there are different visas depending on your situation.

Background information

The UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) is a department of the Home Office. The Home Office is the lead government department for immigration and passports.

The UK operates a points based system of immigration. Under this system, education providers must be licensed by UKVI if they wish to recruit international students. The University of Kent is a Student visa sponsor.

Depending on your nationality and personal circumstances, you may need a visa to study in the UK. You can find out if you need a visa by completing UKVI's online checking tool.

The type of visa you will apply for depends on the length and level of your course, as well as your personal circumstances. The majority of our overseas students require a Student route visa (previously known as a Tier 4 visa) and are sponsored by the University.

Do I need a visa if I have dual nationality (one being British)?

If you hold a British passport, you will not be subject to UK immigration control (ie you will not need a visa).

What type of visa do I need?

The type of visa that you need to apply for is determined by your choice of programme and length of study.

Student visa (previously known as a Tier 4 visa)

The majority of overseas students at the University of Kent hold a Student visa, previously known as a Tier 4 visa.

In order to get this visa, students must first apply for a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS), and may require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.

  • A CAS is a unique identifiable number, provided to you as an electronic virtual document by the University, in order for you to make a Student route visa application.
  • The ATAS applies to all international students and researchers (apart from exempt nationalities) who are subject to UK immigration control and are intending to study or research at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects.

Full information can be found on the Student visa webpage.

Standard Visitor visa

Visa nationals

If you a national of a country included on the GOV.UK Appendix Visitor Visa National List, you can visit the UK as a Standard Visitor to study a course of less than six months in length (unless it's a distance learning course).

Non-visa nationals

If you are a national of a country NOT included in the list above, you can enter the UK without a visa in advance and will be admitted as a visitor upon entry (either by a stamp in your passport or via eGates if eligible). 

Full information on coming to study as a visitor can be found on the Standard Visitor visa webpage.

Post study visa

Graduate visa

The Graduate visa gives international students permission to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, for at least 2 years after successfully completing a course in the UK. It is essentially the re-introduction of a post-study work visa.

Full information can be found on the Graduate visa webpage.

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