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14 Aug International Students: Studying in the UK

If you are a national of any European Economic Area and Switzerland you can study in the UK without any restrictions.

Nationals of other countries can come to the UK as students in 2 ways:

1. You can apply to come to the UK as a student visitor (or a child visitor if your under 18) if you want to study a short-course (course lasting no more than six months) and will not work during your stay.

2. Students, who want to undertake a long course of study and want to work during their stay, must apply under ‘Tier 4’ of the UK’s point based system for immigration. An independent Education provider will need to sponsor you during your stay.

You must demonstrate your English language ability by doing an English language course (unless you are a national of an exempt country i.e. a country that is part of the English Speaking Common wealth e.g. Jamaica), which can be done at a private college for example (ESOL) or (IELTS) if you want to come or remain in the UK in certain immigration categories.

IELTS level 7 is the Standard English Language entry requirement for most further and higher education courses in the UK.


International students must be able to show;

A bank statement stating a balance that will be available to them while studying in the United Kingdom, and reveal the source of all finance that will be used to fund their course while in the UK. This proves to the interview panel at the British Embassy in country, and the entry clearance officers in the UK, that the candidate can maintain themselves while in the UK and will not require recourse to public funding.

Genuine original academic certificates showing that the necessary pre-requisites for the course have been met; this satisfies the British Embassy staff that you are able to follow the course.

Confirmation of acceptance from the education and training provider, or sponsor, stating that you have been accepted onto the course and confirmation that all fees for the duration of the course have been paid. This satisfies the entry clearance officers of your intention to follow the course for its duration.

International students are required to sign a declaration confirming that they will abide by the terms of their visa and will leave the UK at the end of their course.


International students on full-time courses i.e. courses of at least fifteen hours attendance per week, are permitted to work for ten hours per week.

A work permit will be issued by the British Embassy in country when your visa is issued.

Sponsors with a tier 4 licence, general, can sponsor international students 18 years old and above, sponsors with a tier 4 licence, child, can sponsor international students below 18 years old.


The Chevening Scholarship provides full and part-time funding for full-time courses at postgraduate level, this is applicable to candidates taking a one-year masters degree in any subject and at any UK University.

Some Universities offer their own scholarships, to international students; application to the university of your choice is advised.

What is Tier 4?

1 Tier 4 – points based system – primary immigration route available to students who want to study full-time in the UK. You must be sponsored by an education provider that has a sponsor license.

2 State schools cannot admit students who come to the UK under tier 4.

What is sponsorship?

A sponsor is an education provider that offers courses of study and has a license to sponsor students so they can take those courses. If you want to study in the UK under tier 4 of the points based system you must have a sponsor. Sponsorship also provides evidence that the student will study for an approved qualification and places duties on the sponsor that it must abide by.

Audley Sinclair

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