Types of visa
1. Tier 4 (General) student
This is the visa you'll need if you're a non-European Economic Area (EAA) student intending to study a course of six months duration or more. If you're on a shorter course but may need to extend your visa and/or intend to work, then you should also apply for Tier 4 (General) student. See our advice on making your application.
2. Short-term study visa
You'll need this if you're a student intending to study a course of six months duration or less. If you're from a country where you require a visa, apply before travelling, otherwise you can apply on entry at the border. Think carefully whether the short-term study visa is suitable for you or not; remember that if you choose this route there will be no option to extend your stay beyond six months and you won't be able to work. If you do decide to stay in the UK for more than six months, you'll have to return to your home country to make a new entry clearance application. Find more information about short-term study visa application.
3. No visa required
If you're an EEA or Swiss national and you've been accepted on a course of study, you're free to enter the UK and you have the right to live here for the duration of your study. Your spouse and dependent children will usually be able to join you in the UK.
4. Standard visitor visa
This only applies if you're coming to Plymouth to attend your graduation ceremony. Please see the Home Office website for the list of documents you will have to provide with your application.
5. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa
This category provides international students who are graduating from UK universities with the opportunity to extend their stay in the UK after graduation for one year to establish a business. Please find more information on our Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa page.
If you're an EEA student you may have a registration certificate. This is a document, issued to EEA or Swiss nationals, that confirms your right of residence under European law. You don't need to have a registration certificate to enter, live in or work in the United Kingdom but you can apply for one if you feel it would be useful to be able to demonstrate your right or residence.
If you're a Croatian national who's been accepted on a course of study, you're free to enter the UK and have the right to reside in the UK for the duration of your study. However you'll need to apply for a registration certificate if you want to work in the UK. You should also apply for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving your home country.
Find more information on applying for your registration certificate on the UK Visas and Immigration website.
If you're a non-EEA student coming to study as an exchange student, or on a short course of less than six months at Plymouth University, you'll need to obtain either Tier 4 (General) student entry clearance, student-term student entry clearance.
If you're an exchange student on a programme of six months duration or less you may be recommended by UK Visas to apply for a short-term study visa. However, if there's a chance of any of the following you'll need to apply for Tier 4 (General) student entry clearance:
- you'd like to do some part time work whilst studying
- you'll need to apply for a visa for another European country.
All non-EEA students who want to study on a pre-sessional English programme and then progress to a degree programme in the UK, will need to obtain a Tier 4 (General) student entry clearance visa before travelling.
As a pre-sessional programme student you'll need to use your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) and your conditional degree course offer letter to apply for your Tier 4 (General) student entry clearance visa. You may be granted an initial student visa for the duration of the pre-sessional programme. Once you've completed the pre-sessional programme and have met any other conditions, such as academic requirements, you'll be issued a new CAS for your degree course or you may be issued with a joint CAS which can be used for your pre-sessional programme and follow on degree.
We can help you extend your Tier 4 student visa in the UK so that you can begin your degree programme. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about our pre-sessional English courses.