A visa is a certificate (sometimes referred to as ‘Entry Clearance’) which gives you permission to enter the UK.
The visa is put into your passport or travel document by an Entry Clearance Officer at a British mission overseas.
If you are travelling to the UK to be a student, you may need to apply for a visa to enter the UK.
Advice for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals
If you hold an EU/EEA/Swiss passport or national identity card showing your EU/EEA/Swiss nationality, you do not need immigration permission to study in the UK.
You can travel to the UK using your passport or ID card and there is no immigration restriction on studying.
Advice for non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals
If you are a national of a non-EU/EEA country, or Switzerland, you must seek immigration permission to come to the UK.
- My programme is more than six months long
- If you are coming to the UK for the main purpose of studying a programme which is more than six months in length, you should apply for a Tier 4 visa in your home country before travelling.
- Tier 4 general visa
- My programme is less than six months long
- If you are coming to the UK for a programme that is less than six months in length, and you do not wish to work (including work placements as part of your programme) or extend your studies in the UK, you can apply to come to the UK as a short term student.
- Short term student visa
- My programme is an English language course
- If you are studying an English language course of up to 11 months in length, you can come to the UK as a short term student. However, you will not be able to extend your visa in the UK, and if you wish to undertake further study in the UK, you will have to return to your home country to get a new visa.
Nationals of some countries can travel to the UK for up to six months without needing to apply for a visa before travelling. These are called 'non-visa nationals'.
If you are a non-visa national, you can ask for permission to be admitted to the UK when you arrive at immigration control.
You will get a stamp in your passport that will allow you to stay in the UK as a short term student for up to six months.
Travelling via the Republic of Ireland
If you are planning to apply for the Short-term study visa upon arrival at the UK port, you should not travel via the Republic of Ireland.
If you travel via the Republic of Ireland, you will not pass through UK immigration control and will not have the opportunity for the Short-term study visa to be stamped into your passport. This means that you will not have permission to study in the UK and you will not be able to enrol on your programme at the University of Edinburgh.
If you are travelling to Edinburgh from overseas, you should fly directly into Edinburgh airport or transit through one of the other airports on the UK mainland.