Entry and Employment Regulations
The UK welcomes international students from all around the world, but there is a rigorous visa process you must follow.
It is important to be aware of the entry and employment regulations that affect international students in the UK. In this section, The Complete University Guide has information on:
A guide to the regulations introduced between April 2011 and April 2012 can be downloaded here.
- A valid passport current for the duration of the stay in the UK is required.
- In addition, students from certain countries coming to university in Britain will need to obtain entry clearance (often called a 'visa') from the UK Border Agency before arrival. This could take several weeks to arrange.
The application is assessed on a Points Based System (Tier 4). Under this system you will need 40 points by satisfying two criteria:
- one by obtaining a Visa Letter or Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the university where you plan to study (30 points);
- and the other by proving that you have enough funds for you (and your family, if applicable) to live here (10 points).
The UK Border Agency has determined the level of maintenance money required in addition to your tuition fees for your first year.
- From April 2012, Tier 4 applicants without dependants will be required to show they have £1,000 for each month of the course up to a maximum of nine months in inner London; or £800 for each month of the course up to a maximum of nine months elsewhere.
- You must have 40 points to be considered for a visa but, once in possession of firm evidence in writing covering both criteria, you will have the necessary paperwork to complete the visa application form.
Institution of study
If your application is successful, you will be expected to study at the institution which has accepted you, not at another one.
The university, for its part, will be responsible for keeping your personal details up to date, and reporting students who do not arrive, do not have a satisfactory attendance record or who leave before completing their course. You should apply at least one month, but not more than six months, before coming to the UK.
- With the introduction of the new Points Based System, international students can also apply through Tier 1 to extend their stay for up to two years after graduation in any UK country. The Fresh Talent initiative in Scotland is now part of these new arrangements.
- Non-visa nationals clearly do not require a visa for entry but it might be a sensible precaution to submit your study documents to the British Consulate in your own country to obtain an official entry certificate. Nationals of an EU country, and also Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, are free to travel to the UK without a visa to study or work.
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