Most international ─ non-European Economic Area (EEA) ─ students need a visa/entry clearance to study in the UK. You can check the UK Visas and Immigration website
to see if you will need a visa/entry clearance to enter the UK.
Please note, if you are an non-EEA national and the above website states that you "do not need a visa" it means that you don’t need to obtain a visa prior to travel. You may still be required to make a visa application on arrival at the UK border. Please refer to our guidance notes for more information.
European Economic Area (EEA) nationals do not need a visa or entry clearance to study in the UK. If you are an EEA national you can travel into the UK using your passport or National Identity Card.
Further information is also available through your local Visa Application Centre.
Which student visa?
There are two different visas which students can apply for:
- Tier 4 student visa: You will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa if you intend to study in the UK for more than six months.
- Short-term study visa: If your course is for less than six months and you do not plan to extend your stay or undertake any kind of employment while you are here, you will need a short-term student visa.
Please note that the short-term study route is not always appropriate for students studying a presessional English course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) as there may not be time between courses to return home overseas and make a Tier 4 visa application.
Other visa categories
If you hold leave to remain in the UK in visa category other than Tier 4, it may be possible for you to study on your current visa. If you are unsure, please contact us for more information.
Time limits and academic progression
UK Visas and Immigration place certain limits on the length of time that students can spend in the UK on a Tier 4 student visa to study courses at certain levels. Current students who need to re-sit part of their course will be subject to the limits outlined.
- 2 years for course below degree level (excluding time spent on a child student visa)
- 5 years for undergraduate degree programmes and taught postgraduate courses
There are exceptions to the five year limit if an undergraduate course was four or five years long to begin with and a student wishes to progress to a postgraduate taught course. There are also exemptions for courses in architecture, medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine. PhD courses are exempt from the five year limit.
Your studies in the UK should also represent academic progress – for example, upon completion of a masters degree (NQF level 7) you are expected to progress to an NQF level 8 course. If you have previously studied in the UK at the same level or at a higher level, this is likely to present an issue and you should make enquiries with us before you apply to study at Nottingham. If you already applied to study at Nottingham and you did not indicate your previous study in the UK on your application form, you should contact the Admissions Office immediately.