For information about the invasion of Ukraine and visa and immigration matters see the University's webpage about the response to the invasion.
For updates on coronavirus and visa matters, see the University's webpage and the UKCISA website.
Find out if you need to apply for a visa
If you are an international student coming to the UK to study at Oxford, you will need immigration permission. This requirement includes you if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national unless you have applied for and been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Irish nationals do not need a visa or status under the EU Settlement Scheme to live, work or study in the UK.
The type of permission/visa you require will depend on the type of course:
- To attend a full time course or period of study for longer than six months you must apply for a Student visa (under the Student Route). Read our Student visa webpage for full information. Normally you need to apply for your Student visa in your home country, but you may be able to apply in the UK if you have a current visa for example for previous study, work or as a dependant.
- For a short course, or to undertake a period of study as a visiting student, for less than six months, you will need to use the Visitor route (which may or may not require a visa) or alternatively apply for a Student Visa.
- For distance learning courses (meaning a course where you are only required to be in Oxford for teaching for short periods and you will be based outside of the UK between teaching blocks) you will use the Visitor route
- For some part-time courses of more than six months but with long or frequent attendance requirements you may not be eligible for either a Student visa or a visitor visa, based on the structure of the course, and it may therefore not be suitable for non-UK residents. Note that we cannot issue a CAS or sponsor you for a Student visa for a part-time course at Oxford
- If you are applying for a student visa and want to bring family members with you they may be able to apply as your dependants and will need visas (this does not apply for undergraduate degrees unless government funded). Read our information, visa for your family. Alternatively, family members could visit you during your studies.
If you are eligible for a visa for the UK in another capacity - for example as a dependant of another student, or as a worker, or ancestry visa holder - you may be allowed to study with this permission and will not need to switch to a Student visa.
If you are studying a subject that requires an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (postgraduate research students and undergraduate students in science, engineering and technology subjects) you need to obtain an ATAS certificate before you apply for a Student visa or Visitor visa, or before you can enrol on the course if studying on another kind of visa.
Information for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals
If you are a national of the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, and you have been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme you do not need to apply for a visa to study.
The deadline for EU Settlement Scheme applications was 30 June 2021, but if you started living in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020 and have 'reasonable grounds' for not having applied yet, you might be able to make a late application. See 2. below.
If you have not been granted pre settled or settled status and are not eligible to apply then you will need immigration permission for study as above.
As part of a Student visa application you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, but if you have a European Health Insurance Card and do not work or plan to work in the UK you may be able to apply for a reimbursement of IHS - see section 5 on the Student visa page.
Irish nationals do not need a visa or status under the EU Settlement Scheme to live, work or study in the UK.
Applying under the EU Settlement Scheme
Further information about the implications of Brexit for our current and future EU students is also available on the University webpages.
1. What is the EU Settlement Scheme?
The EU Settlement Scheme is for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals already living in the UK when the UK left the EU to continue to hold the same rights to work, study and access the UK's National Health Service (NHS). Irish nationals do not need to apply because of the Common Travel Area agreement between the UK and Ireland. Non-EU/EEA spouses, partners and dependants of an EU/EEA national may be able to make linked applications under the Scheme.
2. Is it too late to apply?
The application deadline was 30 June 2021 but in some circumstances the Home Office will consider applications made late by people who otherwise meet the requirements of the Scheme. For information on the circumstances in which you could make a late application, read the Home Office information, EU Settlement Scheme: information for late applicants. If you had been previously living in the UK before 31 December 2020 but are temporarily away e.g. on a study year abroad, or returning soon, you can also apply for the EU Settlement Scheme online from the country where you are temporarily staying but you would need to show evidence of your qualifying residence in the UK. It is important to apply as soon as possible. It may be a good idea to get specialist help with your application.
3. What if I couldn't return to the UK because of Covid?
On 10 June 2021 the Home Office made some important concessions on the effect of absences due to Covid on eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme. This might mean some students who thought they had broken their residence might still be able to apply. If you started living in the UK before the end of December 2020 and haven’t applied for the scheme, please check this latest UK government information on absences due to Covid, and you might find UKCISA’s information helpful too.
4. When should I apply?
If you think you are eligible to apply it is probably best to do so now. Although the Home Office have not set a limit on the date they will consider late applications, it is likely that an application made as soon as possible will have a greater chance of success.
5. Can I apply for the EU Settlement Scheme from outside the UK?
It is possible to apply either in the UK or from outside the UK. You should stay where you make the application until you have received a Certificate of Application.
6. How long does the application take and has the pandemic delayed applications?
Standard applications were taking a week or two before the pandemic but are now taking longer, particularly when UKVI need to request further information. Late applications are taking longer than those made before the deadline. After applying, you will normally receive a Certificate of Application (CoA) which confirms your rights while you are waiting for the outcome. For information on the CoA see the Home Office letter on UKCISA's website.
7. What documents will I need to apply?
The Government website explains what documents can be accepted (evidence of UK residence and passport/national identify card) and for students at Oxford you could also use the enrolment certificate from Student Self Service as evidence of your student status and UK residence. This can be uploaded online and does not need to be stamped or signed by the college. If you need evidence for a longer period e.g. the 5 years or more for settled status you could also ask for a letter confirming attendance/enrolment for a previous course. Other ways to show your residence include bank statements, letter from employer, P60, P45 or council tax or utility bills. You do not need a national insurance number unless you have been working and needed to obtain one.
8. What type of phone do I need for proving my identity?
There is an EU-Exit: ID Document Check app which will work on an Android phone or an iPhone 7 model or above. The app does not store your personal data on the phone once you have completed the application. You can use somebody else's phone for the application if the app does not work on your own phone but remember to give your own contact details. If you have problems completing your application, contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre.
9. Can I get help with my application?
We can answer questions by email to direct you to relevant Home Office information but cannot give expert help with an application. We may be able to suggest other sources of expert help.
10. What is my status while my application is under consideration?
After applying, you will normally receive a Certificate of Application (CoA) which confirms your rights while you are waiting for the outcome. For information on the CoA see the Home Office letter on UKCISA's website.
11. What is the difference between pre-settled status and settled status?
When your application is approved you will either be granted settled status if you have been in the UK for 5 years or more, or pre-settled status if you have been here less than 5 years - including if you have only very recently just arrived, for example new students starting this term. If you are granted pre-settled status you can upgrade this later to settled status once you meet the 5 years residence requirement. If you get pre-settled status but would like to change this to settled status later, please read the Home Office information on the residence requirements very carefully. Both pre-settled and settled status give you the same rights to work, study and use the NHS but allow different periods for how long you can be outside the UK without losing the status (5 years for settled status, 4 years if Swiss; or 2 years if pre-settled status but may then affect you applying for settled status at a later date). Settled status would also allow you the opportunity to apply for citizenship after a further 12 months.
12. Is there any terminology I should be aware when completing the application?
Yes, in answer to the question about a permanent residence card your answer will usually be no, but see the Government website for a definition of what this means.
Indefinite leave to remain- would have been granted on the basis of working in the UK for 5 years, or 10 years residence for a combination of work/study/living in the UK. You do not need to apply if you have this status so the answer would be no.
13. What will I receive after my application is approved?
You will not receive a physical document (unless you are a non-EU/EEA dependant/family member of an EU/EEA national) but your status will be confirmed online and you can use this to show an employer in the future if you need to work, or to show a University if you start a new course of study. It is a secure status and you will be able to send a code to an employer or University so they can check your status online, they do not need any special software.
14. Is there an appeal process if my application is unsuccessful?
You can apply for an administrative review if you think there has been a mistake. You can also apply again if you think you should have been granted settled status instead of pre-settled status.
15. Where can I get more information?
Most of your questions will be answered in the Government guide online, or contact us for advice
See also the EU Settlement presentation in the related documents section of this page which shows you some images of the application process and provides further guidance
Please check if your questions are answered above first before contacting us
Remember to identify yourself e.g. your Oxford student number, if you are not using your Oxford college or department email address.