Following the UK’s exit from the EU, students from the EU and the EEA including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, who arrive in the UK from 1 January 2021 will need to apply for the new Student route, which will be open for applications from 5 October 2020. The UK Government website provides an introduction for EU students on the UK points-based immigration system. There are also helpful FAQs and reference pages provided by Universities UK International, Study UK and UKCISA, all are updated regularly with the latest information.
Students from all other countries outside the EU will need to apply for a visa to study in Scotland.
The UK Government manages visas and immigration in Scotland and are the best place to visit for up to date information on visa requirements and information about applying for visas.
What type of visa will I need?
The type of visa you’ll need apply will depend on the type of course you’re studying, the length of time you’re studying for and your age.
The categories below will help you to find out what type of visa you should apply for.
Student visa (former Tier 4)
This category covers the majority of international students looking to study an undergraduate or postgraduate course in Scotland. You can apply for this category if you’re coming to the UK to undertake a full degree course or a course of study lasting six months or more.
Child student visa
Between the ages of 4 and 17 years old you can apply for a Tier 4 child student. If you are coming to the UK to study at an independent fee paying school.
Standard Visitor visa
You can apply for a Standard visitor visa if you want to study in the UK for up to 30 days (as long as it’s not the main reason for your visit) and if you want to take part in an exchange programme or educational visit (if you’re under 18).
Short-term study visa
You can apply for a short-term study visa if you’re doing a short course of study in the UK, such as an English language course, a training course or a short period of research. On a short-term study visa there are restrictions on your ability to work (including work placement and work experience) or carry out any business.
You will be eligible if you have successfully completed a course of study at undergraduate level or above at a university and have a valid Student Visa at the time of application. The leave period granted will be two years and will be non-extendable. Under the Graduate Route, you will be able to work, or look for work in any sector, at any level; you will also be able to switch into the skilled work route if you meet the requirements.
The new route will be launched in the summer of 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply. This includes students who have already started their courses.
The UK government has given concessions to students who have, or will be, applying for student visas in light of Covid-19. Please view the updated guidance on the UK government page.
If you’re beginning your studies in the 2020-21 academic year, you will be able to benefit from this new route, even if you begin your degree online in your home country due to Covid-19.
If you are due to complete your course in summer 2021 but have been unable to travel to the UK just yet, you will be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route when it launches, as long as you arrive in the UK before 6 April 2021 and complete the final semester of your studies in the UK.
If you are starting a one-year master’s course in January 2021, you will need to arrive in the UK by 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of your studies in the UK in order to be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route.
You can apply for a Start-up visa if you want to set up a business in the UK. You must be endorsed by an authorised body that is either a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs. With a Start-up visa, you can stay in the UK for two years; after this period you may also be able to switch to a General work visa (Tier 2).