IMPORTANT: This information provides guidelines about the visa process. Visa regulations often change, and procedures can vary by Consulate and/or Embassy. Students should verify the current visa application procedures with the appropriate Consulate or Embassy before initiating the process. While every effort is made to ensure these guidelines are updated and as accurate as possible, the Office of Global Education and High Point University cannot guarantee that the visa information posted is the most current. The information included only applies to US citizens.
A visa is required for study in the United Kingdom. Which visa you’ll need and how you apply for it depends on the length of your stay and whether you plan to work or have an internship.
Important: Students traveling from the USA to the UK to study abroad should enter the UK on a direct flight from the USA. Students should not attempt to make their first entry to the UK via Ireland, as passengers on flights from Ireland to the UK do not clear immigration on arrival at the UK airport and the student will not, therefore, be able to be admitted in the correct status. As such, many British universities now require international students to fly directly from their home country to the UK to ensure they are admitted in the correct status. In many cases, these universities instruct any international students arriving via Ireland to leave the UK and re-enter from another country (such as France or Belgium) to ensure they clear immigration on arrival in the UK.
You have two options for applying for your student visa:
If you are planning to stay in the UK for less than 6 months and do not plan work or have an internship you can apply for your student visa upon arrival in the UK. This can be convenient because the stamp you’ll receive in your passport upon entry to the UK serves as your ‘visa’; however, this visa is valid only for your initial entrance to the UK. Upon every entrance to the UK (both initially and after every time you travel to another country), you’ll need to show a series of documents to the immigration officer to receive a new visa. The process is not fool-proof and there is the potential that you can receive the wrong stamp, which would require that you depart the United Kingdom and reenter to go through the process again.
Because of the above scenarios, our partners in the UK have strongly advised that US students pre-apply for their short-term study visa before they depart for their semester abroad. You can apply up to 3 months before your program begins. Traveling with a pre-approved visa provides a more stream-lined entrance into the UK (as you’ll need only show your passport and visa, not all other supporting documents) both on your initial entrance as well as every time you travel outside of the UK.
Review the Short-term Study Visa information provided by the UK government. This guide will explain the process and provide a link to the online application.
You must prove that you:
When you apply you need to provide:
You need to provide the original documents. You also need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.
You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.
Note: You must apply online for a Short-term study visa; however, you will need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at an approved facility as part of your application.
You must have the following original documents upon arrival and may have to present them to the border and customs agent:
If you are planning to stay in the UK for more than 6 months or you want to work or complete an internship you need to apply for the Tier 4 General Visitor. This must be applied for prior to your departure for the UK. You must have the following original documents:
Note: Even if you are completing an unpaid internship you must have the Tier 4 General Visitor visa.
Additional information about Tier 4 General visas can be found here.