Study Abroad Requirements for the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has many of the best universities in the world and is the #2 destination for international students (after the USA). During the 2017-2018 academic year, there were 458,490 foreign students studying abroad in the UK, accounting for 19.6% of all students enrolled in British educational programs. The most popular fields of study for international students in the UK include: business and administrative studies, engineering and technology, social studies, creative arts and design, biological sciences, law, medicine and dentistry, languages, computer science, physical sciences, architecture, mass communication – among many others. Foreign students choose to study in the UK because a degree received from a British university is recognized around the world, living in the United Kingdom is an incredible experience and there are options to work in the UK after graduation with a two-year work visa. Depending on the student’s citizenship, a student visa to the UK may be required.  


UK Student Visa Requirements

AbroadEd collaborates with UK College Online to offer affordable and flexible online distance learning programs leading to a recognized British qualification. UK College Online students who successfully complete their academic program have several university pathways available, including the option to apply for transfer to an accredited university in the United Kingdom where they can complete their undergraduate or graduate degree online or in person on campus in the United Kingdom. UK College Online students who want to live and study on campus at a university located in the United Kingdom to complete their Bachelor’s Degree or MBA Degree program may need to receive a Tier 4 UK student visa, depending on their citizenship and other factors. (Students who will complete their university degree program online will not require a student visa.) 

Currently, international students who are citizens of one of the 28 European Economic Area (EEA) countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK) or Switzerland are not required to receive a Tier 4 UK student visa to study abroad in the United Kingdom. Please note that this may change, depending on when and how the UK completes the “Brexit” process to leave the European Union (EU).

In general, the requirements to apply for a Tier 4 UK student visa include:

● receiving an unconditional offer of a place (i.e., acceptance to enrol) in a qualifying academic program at a licensed Tier 4 university in the UK (the Tier 4 sponsoring university will provide the foreign student with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies which will need to be entered in the Tier 4 UK visa application)

● application for the Tier 4 UK student visa must be made online within six months after the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) was issued, but no more than three months before the foreign student will begin his/her academic program in the UK

● paying the Tier 4 UK student visa application fee (£348 for students applying from outside the UK) and also (if relevant) £348 for each dependant who will be joining the foreign student to live in the UK

● paying the healthcare surcharge fee

● being at least 16 years of age (proof of parental or guardian consent will be required for international students under 18 years of age)

● demonstrating the ability to read, write, speak and understand English (this will usually require a foreign student who wants to attend a degree program at a higher education institution in the UK to attain a Common European Framework for languages level of B2 on a secure English language test)

● providing proof of adequate financial resources to pay for the study abroad program and living expenses in the UK

● possessing a valid passport or other travel document

● providing fingerprints and a photograph taken at a visa application center 

● providing any additional documents that may be requested

● foreign students may need to satisfy other requirements in order to be issued a Tier 4 UK student visa

Please note that this is an overview of the UK student visa requirements (which are subject to change by the British government) and the international student may want to check with the Tier 4 sponsoring university in the United Kingdom for more details prior to applying for transfer to their academic program. 

International students who are issued a Tier 4 UK student visa for academic programs lasting at least six months may arrive in the UK  up to one month prior to starting their courses. Tier 4 foreign students who meet certain criteria may also be able to have eligible family members (dependants) join them to live in the UK. In addition to receiving a world-class education from a British university and enjoying the incredible opportunity to live in the United Kingdom, international students holding a valid Tier 4 student visa may have the option to work in the UK according to certain rules while enrolled in their study abroad program. Furthermore, qualifying Tier 4 foreign students who graduate from a university in the United Kingdom may be able to apply for a two-year work visa so they can live and work in the UK following graduation!

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