UCAS Clearing for International Students

What is Clearing?

Clearing is the process that allows students who have received their results but have not got a university place to find a university course with spaces.

If you have not reached the required entry standard and have been rejected, or have changed your mind about the course you want to study or where you want to study, you can use Clearing to find one of the thousands of unallocated places at UK universities.

Can international students find a place through Clearing?

Yes, Clearing can be used by non-UK students. 

Last year almost 69,000 non-UK students had obtained places at UK universities 28 days after A Level publication. Over 5,000 had secured a place through Clearing with another 33,000 free to be placed in Clearing. 

International students are eligible if they have:

  • Applied through UCAS at an earlier stage (including after 30 June)
  • Been rejected by their firm and insurance choices
  • Applied to a course before 30 June, but were not made an offer
  • Qualified academically for a firm or insurance offer but have decided not to take it up
  • Have paid the full £22 application fee to enter Clearing.

Find out facts about international students studying in the UK.

How to use Clearing successfully

Clearing can seem complicated. Make it easier for yourself by following our step-by-step guide.

1. Research courses before results day

To prepare for the possibility of having to use Clearing, start your research this is your first step. Find courses that you can apply to through Clearing. The UCAS website will have a list of course vacancies so you can search for spaces on courses that interest you.

2. Find university contacts

To use Clearing you have to contact universities by phone or email. As part of your research, look for Clearing contact numbers on the UCAS website, there will usually be a number for students calling from outside the UK.

3. Talk to the universities

Discuss your academic qualifications, English proficiency, visa status universities, discuss with them your academic qualifications, proficiency in English if required and your visa status (while the UK remains a member of the EU this only applies to applicants from outside the EU).

4. Consider your options

Universities can and will make informal offers over the phone. You can consider informal offers from a variety of universities and usually you will have one or two days to decide which one you want to accept. Use this time to do more research.

5. Accept an offer

Once you have decided which university you want to go to, contact them, give them your UCAS Track ID number and password. This university will then appear on your UCAS Track as an offer you can then accept. Remember, you can only enter one Clearing choice at a time, but if the university fails to confirm your place, you should pick another.

Once you have accepted an offer, you will need to obtain a visa if required. You will need:

  • Evidence that you have accepted an unconditional offer of a place on a course. If the university has a Tier 4 Sponsor licence, and they will only not have this status in rare circumstances, they will issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which you will need to supply.
  • An English language test certificate if needed.
  • Evidence that you can afford to study and live in the UK. 

How long is Clearing open for?

Clearing is open from 5 July the same day as International Baccalaureate (IB) Results Day until 22 October.

You should aim to go through this process as quickly and early as possible for the following reasons:

  • Sorting out a student VISA if you need to can take time if there are lots of people applying at the same time as you.
  • You might require you to take some tests in order to secure a place. This could be a language test or an alternative test. They may also ask to have a Skype interview with you. You will need to ask each university directly what they require as it will vary depending on where you are from and university you are going to.
  • If you are taking IBs, you will have an advantage over UK students when using Clearing. This is because most UK students sit A Levels or (in Scotland) Scottish Highers and do not receive exam results until August. You have a month to use Clearing before thousands of UK students do.

Top tips from James Seymour, Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment at the University of Gloucestershire:

"Get in now – the UK government has confirmed that fees and loans won’t change for those who come to university in England, Scotland or Wales until at least the 2020–21 academic year, and until 2019–20 in Northern Ireland.

"Universities and UK students welcome EU students – they add to the mix, diversity and quality of the UK experience. Over 73% of young people in the UK, and 90% of UK university staff voted to Remain in the recent referendum. Good luck!"

If you still have questions about Clearing take a look at our general Clearing guide, read answers to Frequently Asked Questions, or Ask one of our experts.