International students may require a visa to study in Wales. It’s essential to consult up-to-date information, and to make sure you apply in good time.
Currently, students from outside the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland need a visa to study in Wales. The UK Government is responsible for issuing visas: please ensure you look up the latest official information. Every Welsh university will be happy to provide further guidance through its international office.
The type of visa that you will need to study in Wales depends on the type of course you are studying, the length of the course and your age. Most international students on degree-level courses of six months’ duration or more will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa. If you’re coming for a year or less to study English as a foreign language, you may instead need a Short-term study visa, which imposes more restrictions on your rights to work while in the UK.
You will need to produce documentation to prove your identity and your course of study – see the UK Government website for details – and to attend an appointment at a UK visa application centre in your home country.
You will be eligible for the Graduate Route if you have successfully completed a course of study at undergraduate level or above at a university and have a valid Tier 4 student visa at the time of application. The leave period granted will be two years and will be non-extendable. Under the Graduate Route, you will be able to work, or look for work in any sector, at any level; you will also be able to switch into the skilled work route if you meet the requirements.
The new route will be launched in the summer of 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply. This includes students who have already started their courses.
The UK Government has confirmed that if you begin your studies through distance learning in the 2020-2021 academic year, you will still be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route, provided you arrive in the UK by 6 April 2021. View the update guidance at gov.uk
Brexit and EU / EEA / Swiss nationals
Following the UK’s exit from the EU, students from the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, will need to apply for specific permits to study in Wales. The UK Government website provides advice on how the EU exit will affect EU students studying or planning to study in the UK, the Erasmus programme as well as other relevant information. There are also helpful FAQs and reference pages provided by Universities UK International, Study UK and UKCISA, all are updated regularly with the latest information.