Cobwebs in the corner of an old arch
Arch into Radcliffe Square
(Image Credit: Ming Du / Graduate Photography Competition)

Visas and immigration

Visa requirements

There is information and help available for students who require a visa to study in the UK. 

Student Immigration

The University's Student Immigration website provides guidance on:

  • the type of visa you may require to study at Oxford
  • applying for your visa before you arrive
  • your visa status and legal obligations
  • visa requirements for any family members you bring with you
  • travel during your stay
  • staying on to work after your studies.

Do I need a visa to study at Oxford?

If you have pre-settled or settled status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme or indefinite leave to remain, you will not need a visa. Otherwise, most other non-UK nationals will need a student visa, except Irish citizens who do not require a visa because of the common travel area.

If you require a visa to study in the UK, we recommend that you apply for your course by the December or January deadline for your course.

If you are considering studying on a part-time basis, please read the information about visa eligibility for part-time courses.

What kind of visa do I need?

Most students will require a student visa. If you are coming to Oxford for a course or period of study that is six months or less in duration, you may be eligible to come as a visitor.

For more information about the type of visa you will require to study at Oxford, visit the Student Immigration pages.

Can family members join me in the UK during my studies?

Following a rule change on 17 July 2023, family members of students commencing their studies in the 2024-25 academic year will only be able to join students who are studying a DPhil or a Masters by Research course. For information about visas for your family, visit the Student Immigration pages.


For more information on what to think about before you come to Oxford, and information for new European and international students, visit our page about arriving in Oxford

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

Some of our graduate courses in science, engineering, medicine and technology are included in the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) scheme. If you require a visa to study in the UK and you receive an offer to study one of these subjects at postgraduate level in the UK, you must have received your ATAS certificate before you apply for your visa.

The following nationalities are exempt from the ATAS requirement:

  • EU, EEA countries and Switzerland
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • USA.

Please note that you cannot apply for your visa until an ATAS certificate has been granted

If you receive an offer for a subject covered by ATAS, your academic department will inform you that an ATAS certificate is required. Recognised students coming for one, two or three terms in any of these subject areas below will also need ATAS and your academic department will advise you. As a guide, the courses below are likely to be included in the ATAS scheme:

About these course

The list of courses above is provided as a guide and may not be the complete list of Oxford's graduate courses that are included in the ATAS scheme - your department will inform you if an ATAS certificate is required for your course.

This list may be updated at any time to reflect the addition of new courses included in the ATAS scheme, or information received about an existing course and its ATAS requirement

For some courses, the requirement to obtain an ATAS certificate may depend on your research area.

Any ATAS requirement for a DPhil course also applies to:

  • students who are moved to MLitt or MSc by Research status at transfer or confirmation (which are key milestones for DPhil students);
  • students admitted directly to the DPhil course of a 1+3 programme who had previously been enrolled on the taught MSc course of the 1+3 programme; or 
  • students who are admitted to an MSc by Research course in a subject that is usually only offered at the doctorate level (eg MSc by Research in Zoology).

What happens if I receive an offer for a subject covered by ATAS?

If you receive an offer for a subject covered by ATAS, your academic department will inform you that an ATAS certificate is required. 

How do I apply for an ATAS certificate?

You can apply for your ATAS certificate with a conditional offer from your department; you do not need to have your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number. Your department will need to provide you with a CAH3 code and a research project description, or list of course modules (for taught courses). You must wait for the department to give you this information first before you apply for ATAS.

Applications are free, submitted online and take at least 20 working days (30 working days or more in the April to September busy period) to be processed. Your certificate will be sent to you by email to include with your visa application.

More information about applying for ATAS including FAQs and guidance for completing the online form, is provided in our visa and immigration pages. 

Recognised Student status

The information below is intended only for those applying for Recognised Student status.

If you are not a UK or Irish national (or do not have settled or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme or indefinite leave to remain) you will need immigration permission for study in the UK.

If your period of study will be for more than six months you must apply for a Student visa before coming to the UK. You will need to request your department to assign you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS). See our website for information on applying for a Student visa. Student visa holders have restricted permission to work in the UK and further information about restrictions on working can be found on our Working while studying page.

If your period of study will be for less than a maximum of six months you could apply for a Student visa as above or alternatively you could use the visitor route. You will need a visitor for study letter from your Oxford Department and written confirmation from your home institution that your research in Oxford will be part of or relevant to your course. If you are a ‘Visa National’ you must apply for a six-month visitor visa before travelling to the UK. Please refer to the Government's visa pages to check if you have to apply for a visa and also to apply for a visa.

If you are a ‘Non-visa National’ and coming for less than a maximum of six months you do not have to apply for a visa before travel. You can instead show your visitor for study letter and the letter from your home institution on arrival at UK Border Control and ask to be admitted as a visitor. Alternatively, if you are a nationality that can use the eGates at UK Border Control, you can enter via the eGates as a visitor. Visitors are prohibited from working in the UK.

Please note, whether you are studying under the Student Route or as a visitor you cannot apply for a visa from within the UK and so cannot extend your period of study. It is your responsibility to check how long it will take to obtain a visa in your country and to plan the submission of your application accordingly. You should ensure that the start of your stay corresponds with the start date of an academic term.

Please see the University's further information on visas and immigration or alternatively, you can email the Student Immigration team at [email protected] for more details.

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