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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, there are no restrictions.

Last year almost 67,000 non-UK students had obtained places at UK universities 28 days after A Level publication. Nearly 5,000 of these students had secured a place through 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 does Clearing work?

Clearing can look like a complicated process. However, you can make it easier by following our step-by-step guide of how to go through Clearing.

1. Research the course

If you are going through Clearing, your first step is to do some research. The UCAS website will have a list of course vacancies and you can search for spaces available on courses similar to what you originally applied for.

2. Find university contacts

Clearing is not an automated process, you need to contact universities directly either by phone or email. Clearing contact numbers are listed on the UCAS website. Often, there are numbers especially for students calling from other countries. Look out for these numbers.

3. Talk to the universities

When you contact the 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 that International Baccalaureate (IB) results are published, until 23 October. However, you should aim to go through this process as quickly as you can for the following reasons:

  • You may need to sort out VISAs or change the details of one you have already applied for. If you are not from the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you will need to hold a Tier 4 student VISA to study in the UK. It usually takes 15 days for applications to be processed, but can take longer if lots of people are applying.
  • Some UK universities may 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 IB, going through Clearing early gives you an advantage! This is because most, but not all, UK students sit A Levels or (in Scotland) Scottish Highers. These students do not receive their exam results until August. This gives you a month to sort out a place before thousands of UK students enter Clearing.

Top tips from James Seymour, Director of Admissions at the University of Buckingham:

"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 2018–19 academic year, and until 2017–18 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.