Visas and immigration

If you are not a national of a European Union (EU) / European Economic Area (EEA) country and you wish to study in the UK, it is important that you apply for an appropriate UK visa or entry clearance before you arrive. There are two types visas that allow you to study in the UK: the Short-term Study Visa and the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa.

Note: Leicester College is a Tier 4 Probationary Sponsor. As such, there are some limitations on the courses we may offer international students. Currently, we can only offer courses at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 4 or above on a Tier 4 Student Visa. In addition to this, we can also accept applications for courses such as ESOL or our short courses that require a Short-term Study Visa.

Tier 4 (General) Student Visas

You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you have not previously studied in the UK for 2 years below degree level.

You can only apply for courses at (NQF) Level 4 or above – that means Foundation Degrees, Bachelor Degrees and Higher National Certificate (HNC) / Higher National Diploma (HND) programmes.

To apply for your visa you will need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number, which we will give you once you have been accepted onto your course and you have paid your deposit. Detailed information on the process will be provided in our offer letter to you.

Detailed information for Leicester College students on how to protect their Tier 4 (General) Student Visa is available in our Tier 4 Information Document.

Further information from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on the Tier 4 Visa process is available on the UKVI website.

Short-term Study Visas

If you are 18 years or older and you are coming to the UK to study for a maximum of six months (or 11 months if you intend to study intensive English language), you may be able to enter as a short-term student.

The ordinary Short-term Study Visa category will allow you to come to the UK if you are 18 years or older, and want to enter:

  • for up to 6 months to study a short course in any subject area; or
  • for up to 11 months to study an English language course.
  • UK Short-term Study Visa fee is currently £93 for a six-month visa and £179 for an eleven-month visa.

If you choose to come as a short-term student you will NOT be allowed to do any work (including unpaid work) or a work placement or work experience (even if it is part of a course). Short-term students are not allowed to apply to switch into any other immigration or visa category while still in the UK.

This type of visa cannot be extended – If you wish to continue your studies after the visa ends, you will have to leave the UK and apply for another visa in your own country to return. This is also true if you wish to change where you study when your visa ends.

You cannot submit your visa application more than three (3) months before your course starts. Detailed information on the Short-term Study Visa application process, including the documents you must provide with your application, is available on the UKVI / Home Office website here.

Credibility Interviews

When you apply for your visa, you may need to attend a credibility interview with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) in your home country. These interviews are used to ensure that only genuine students are allowed to enter the UK. These credibility interviews are extremely important and you must be well-prepared. We have prepared an information sheet on preparing for credibility interviews.

Evidence of Funds Required
When you apply for your visa, you must be able to provide evidence that you can support yourself during your time in the UK.

All full-time Tier 4 Student Visa applicants must have had at least £9,135 (£1,015 per month for nine months) in a bank account for at least 28 days at the time of visa application to meet the UKVI “maintenance requirements”. This amount is in addition to any course fees that may remain outstanding. Bank statements must be dated no more than 30 days prior to the date you make your visa application. Please note that you must be able to provide evidence that these funds are in a personal bank account in the name of the enrolling student or in the name of his / her parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and not in a business or trust account.

You can demonstrate access to funds with bank statements for the last 6 months. Bank statements must be in your name, or in the name of your parent(s) / guardian and cover at least one month before you submit your application and dated no more than 31 days prior to making your application, showing that you meet the financial requirements.

Tuberculosis Tests
Residents from certain countries who come to the UK to study for more than six months will need to take a tuberculosis (TB) test and provide your test results as part of the visa application process. The list of countries subject to TB testing and the approved TB testing clinics are listed on the Home Office here. Please note that some countries don’t have approved testing centres and, if so, you’ll need to get tested in a neighbouring country.

Can I get a Short-term Study Visa on arrival in the UK?

If you are a visa national (that is, you need a visa to travel to the UK) then you must apply in advance from outside of the UK.

If you are a non-visa national (citizens of the USA, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau are non-visa nationals), you can either:

  • apply for a Short-term Study Visa for six months from your home country before you arrive in the UK; or
  • apply to enter the UK as a short-term student when you arrive at the UK Border (generally a UK airport).

However, even as a non-visa national, if you are planning to study an English language course lasting more than six months (but up to the maximum 11 months), you must apply from outside of the UK (and if you are from certain countries you will have to pass a tuberculosis screening test before you apply). Additionally, if you have previously been refused a visa for any reason, you should apply in advance from outside of the UK.

Note: some restrictions apply to Taiwanese passport holders who are applying for a Short-term Study Visas on arrival. If the bio data page in your passport doesn’t include a personal ID number, you must apply for a Short-term Study Visa from outside the UK.

Visa information is provided for guidance only. Detailed up-to-date information on all student visas is available on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

Applicants already in the UK

If you are already in the UK on a non-student visa and you wish to undertake some form of study at Leicester College, please contact the International Office and we can advise what your study rights are and what courses we may be able to offer you.

Schengen Visas

You should apply for a Schengen visa if you are planning to visit other European Economic Area (EEA) countries during your studies and you are a national of a non-EEA country that requires a visa.

Under the Schengen scheme you only need to apply to one consulate or embassy of a Schengen member state, but you would still be able to visit other member countries.

You should apply to the consulate/embassy of the country where you plan to spend most of your time, or where you will go first. Please note that the UK is not part of the Schengen scheme and having a visa to travel to the UK will not allow you to visit Schengen countries if you are from a country that requires a Schengen visa.

For more information on Schengen Visas, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the EU website.