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Immigration & visa information for prospective students

If you are planning to study at UWS including nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, then you may need to apply for a visa before travelling to the UK.

The type of visa you require depends on the course of study that you have chosen:

International students undertaking a full-time course that is longer than 6 months generally need a Student visa

International students undertaking a period of study between 6 - 11 months can enter as a Short-term student which applies to English Language courses only (from 1 December 2020) International students studying up to 6 months can apply for a Visitor visa (from 1 December 2020).

For latest updates on the Short term student visa route please visit this page of the UKCISA website. 

And for latest updates on the Visitor route please visit this section of the UKCISA website

The information provided here by the University is just guidance. Immigration laws change frequently, so for the most up-to-date visa information, we recommend that you visit the UK Government's dedicated webpages:

UK Government - Visas & Immigration website

Pre-Arrival Information for Students

Biometric Residence Permit

A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a document in the shape of a credit card issued by the Home Office and provides evidence of your immigration permission (also known as permission to enter or remain). If you arrive in the UK with a 30 or 90 day vignette (sticker) in your passport, you will need to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card from the designated Post Office listed on your letter within 10 days of arrival. If you are not able to collect your BRP within 10 days (for example, you are required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival in the UK), your BRP will be kept at the Post Office for you to collect as soon as permits.

For information on collecting your BRP once in the UK, please see the following guide:

Download our Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Collection document (pdf)

Police Registration

The condition to register with the police is given to people of certain nationalities who come to the UK for more than 6 months as outlined in Appendix 2 of the Immigration Rules If you are need to register with the police, the condition will be printed on your 30-day vignette, or if you have been granted leave to remain following an application made in the UK, it will be on your BRP.

Further information on registering with the police can be found on our guide:

Download our Registering with the Police guide (pdf)


If you are looking to stay in private accommodation, please look at the UWS private rental guide which gives you detailed information about looking for and managing private residential tenancies.

Alternatively, email for information on university student accommodation.

Download our PRIVATE RENTAL GUIDE (pdf)

Student visa

International students (including EEA or Swiss nationals from 1 January 2021) coming to study at the University of the West of Scotland on a full-time course for longer than 6 months require a Student visa or valid immigration permission before travelling to the UK.

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides information on eligibility and requirements for Student visas:

UKCISA Eligibility & Requirements

You should begin the process of applying for a visa no more than 3 months before the start date of your course and no later than 6 months after your CAS was issued.

Students Outside the UK

On 5 October 2020, the Tier 4 (general) student visa was replaced with the Student visa route. You can find comprehensive information on applying for a student visa from outside the UK at the UKCISA website.

In addition, you can find details about applying for a Student visa outside the UK by downloading our step by step guide: ‘Student Visa Guide outside the UK’.

Download Student Visa Guide (pdf)

EU students can download our 'Immigration and Visa Guide for EU students' at the UWS Europe webpage.


Students within the UK

On 5 October 2020, the Tier 4 (general) student visa was replaced with the Student visa route. You can find comprehensive information on applying for a student visa from within the UK at the UKCISA website.

In addition, you can find details about applying for a Student visa from within the UK by downloading our step by step guide here.


Credibility Interview

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Credibility interviews are now part of the Student Visa application process, they have been introduced by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) to try and make sure that only genuine students are studying in the UK. Read our Guide for more information.

Download our Credibility Interview Guide (pdf)
Credibility interview at UWS

Prepare for a successful student visa application

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Please read our guide below on how to prepare for a successful student visa application.

Download our Guide on how to prepare for a successful student Visa Application (pdf)
Student Discussing How to Join UWS as an Exchange Student | University of the West of Scotland

Prepare for Success

Prepare for Success is an interactive web learning tool for international students, whose first language is not English and who are getting ready to come to the UK for academic studies. It contains learning resources which are activity-based to help you find out about different aspects of academic life in the UK and the skills needed for effective study.

Use the website (link below) to gain an understanding of how you are expected to study in the UK and to help prepare you as much as possible before arriving in the UK.

Prepare for Success online Tool

Short Term Student and visitor visa

If you are an international student planning to study English language at the University of the West of Scotland for 6 to 11 months you should apply for a short-term student visa. From 1 December 2020 this route is only for students who apply for entry clearance to do an English language course between six and 11 months long. In addition to our guide, you can find comprehensive information about the Short term study visa on the UKCISA website. 

To find out if you are eligible to apply and what the changes are, please download our Short Term Student Visa Guide.

For study of up to six months, you may instead be able to apply for a Visitor Visa. Please download our Visitor Visa Guide. For latest updates on the Visitor route please visit the UKCISA website.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

International students undertaking certain courses of study may also need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate in addition to their Student visa in order to study in the UK.

The UK Government website provides comprehensive information about when an ATAS certificate is required along with application guidelines:

UK Government - ATAS information

Bringing family to the UK

If you are bringing family and dependants to the UK, you may need to apply for a depandent visa. The UKCISA website provides comprehensive advice on bringing your dependants to live with you in the UK:

UKCISA - Tier 4/Student Visa Route & Dependants

Asylum seekers

It’s important that you understand how your asylum seeker status affects your financial situation before you accept an offer of study at UWS. The UK Government provides comprehensive guidance on this matter:

UK Government - Assylum Seeker Status

In addition, the UKCISA website has information on tuition fees and student support for asylum seekers:

UKCISA - Home or Overseas Tuition Fees

You can also find out more in our Tuition Fee Status section.

Financial advice

The international student calculator will help you work out how to manage your money and build a budget for living and studying in the UK.

Further advice on money management is available in Money, Fees & Funding.

Our team of International Student Advisers (ISAs) can help with specific financial queries from international students. However, it is important to note that we do not have funding to assist students in financial hardship, although we may refer students to other appropriate agencies.

The UKCISA website has further advice on dealing with financial hardship as an international student:

UKCISA - Unexpected Financial Hardship

International Student Advisers

UWS’s team of International Student Advisers (ISAs) are authorised by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) to provide Level 1 immigration advice to our international students.

Contact our International Student Advisers


Last updated: 22/03/2021